Here is a story called "Moonman". A fictional journey through mental breakdown and disintegration. About a dreamer in the city. Its under construction so to speak.. there may be some incorrect spelling and poor grammar. /Anders
Waking up. A greyish light. Sunday. Nobody cares. Union street. Modern or post modern times.
Question marks seems to rain down from the sky; What have you done with your life? why this tragedy and loneliness?
On the inner projector there is a version of myself running desperately down the street.Why?
its a rage against emptiness itself, against lovelessness. And there's hatred , for Lily, for the rigid careerism and for alienation... aggressiveness turns inwardly – there's no-one here in the room except me, myself and my fantasy figures - to accuse myself seems more objective this moment, good work. I see another image, a dysmorphic young wolf who has been ostracised. Is that the image of my destiny?
Fragments of memory; Paula's story about that backpacker who never wanted to settle down. He became a nomad, and as such he became an outsider. Eventually he travelled to Tibet and was never heard from again. Did he commit suicide? did he die on the mountain? on some level I kind of identified myself with him. This makes me blush. We were undoubtedly related - at least that was what I felt when Paula told me his story. But I all I uttered was "what a loser". I can see him clearly before me; the anguish of returning home to boring Sweden when all the money is gone just to slave on a deadening day-job for six months in order to stack up the cash for a new trip. And in the meantime live on noodles and meet all the stable health-, food and excercise fanatic middle-class swedes with all there careers, children, mortgage loans, couple dinners och God knows what while he himself was a degraded misfit, a lost cause, constantly adrift with no plans and no goals, an extraterrestrial being just visiting. Maybe in the midst of all that, he thought to himself, why not disappear in the mountains and see what happens?
I live inside the feeling of being persecuted; afflicted by a compulsion to become somebody, an eagerness to show off trophies and conquests. What kind of poison of greed and shallowness is roaring in the soul? My inside is a corrupted state. How did it become that way? Have I confused outer pressure with my own will, is that the simple nature of this conspiracy?
A newspaper tumbled in the wind down the street. An old chestnut tree stood outside the cemetery. Dark jealous-green leaves. And I thought also of what I could not see; the root system; a hidden existence under sane asphalt. Masks, mud, "multnad", middle age remnants, metamorphosis. And mom. Rest in peace. Shrew.
Life is slow and taken for granted, like the asphalt around it. I have to change something.
The summer night came. Alone in the room. A butterfly flares around in the blue darkness. From time to time, it stops like a strange prehistoric sign on the wall - a triangle with rounded corners and a chic, colorful pattern in the middle. After a long time tripping with an umbrella, I manage to roll out the butterfly through the window. It flickers toward the street lights and the leaves and disappears.
I fall asleep and dream of a big tree whose leaves are made of yellow post-it papers. I show the tree to an old man in white hair. The old man smiles in recognition and then points to a large forest of similar trees. We walk for a while in the big forest of trees with green, yellow and red papers. We come to a large meadow where a magnificent tree arch out its crown.
"southward, what luck's meadow!"
The man takes a piece of paper out of the tree's foliage and reads aloud ..."step out of this shadow ...."
It is now several months since Gina broke up with me. I'm still crushed. Amazed at my own reactions. And I am thinking of leaving the country.
She said at the beginning "You're the only good thing going on in my life right now," (and now I have reached the same sort of ghastly emptiness that makes people speak in that way). I remember when we lay in the grass in the park. It was at the end of the summer as now ... the cloudy gray-blue sky above us and the sunlight hit a slip in the clouds. Someone had lost his helium balloon and we saw the single red entity rising upward though the airspace.
I know this route. Playing all kinds of games to create distance to the occurred. In the dream I sit and cry at a black lake in the woods and the image appears of a creepy dog with glass splits in his fur.
Life is both slow and frenetic; employed by a fire; It's as if Gina while saying "I want to break up" also placed a glowing grain inside my chest.
I resigned from work and planned to travel to the Faroe Islands. It was not that smart.
Some reviewers said about me that "the most important to him, that is to escape himself".
lA psychiatrist with a high forehead named Jon Grimberg wrote down his thoughts about me in his notebook;
"Self-contempt blooms ... from an initial dissolution of self-esteem with a perception of inferiority as a core. Or after ineffectual fruitless megalomania. In short, the patient has a disturbed self-esteem. But what components are there in self-esteem? Both a liberal and a conservative?.... that maybe sound to easy, but is it gardening of oneself mentally- and respect for oneself,, and also attending to the truth, no matter how painful? "
The fountain at the Iron square is like an octagonal crow airport, almost anyway.
I met Gina for a coffee at the Cigar Cafe. It was the first time we saw each other since our split.
"Where to fix the eyes?". A short nervous ride in a crowded tram and I was there, ten minutes to early. The café owner, Robert, doesn't like me, I can't break the "social code" around here. Maybe my recent misfortune makes me even more repellent.
Gina ounces of pills, freedom and flashy entrepreneurship. I'm wearing black and smoke. Gina tells me she's going to move; something about Stockholm. The late August sun shines strongly in the blue but it does not heat well.
After almost twenty minutes Gina says "I have to get going ..." She is lost forever. We hug and say goodbye. I am a factory working hard to produce just the right amount of breezy indifference, but I know that my pale stare reveals me and that I will cry when I get home.
Gina walks over the lunchtime square. She moves her hips. I think of Switzerland and neutrality - "Imagine if I could be forever neutral ... a sexless observing neutrum, then everything would be good, free from desires." Mister Switzerland. She used to call me that. We walked up a lush stairway which leads up to the gray buildings on Upper Fogelberg street. What did I answer her, maybe, "I'm a middle child ... just like you by the way"
Gina disappears in the crowd. She's among the hopes of humans. Looking for the privilege. Her swaying movements continue in me like a fiery aftermath. The sum of despair never seems to reach its limit. I have to kill the desire for her. That's my job now.
I got up straight away and left the cafe. When I got home, I tried to put myself over my emotional lif and think about it as if it were a math problem. Yes, just like grandfather who had the hobby of solving clever equations on Sundays.e
"An incorrect amount can be corrected ... just by going back until you discover the error and starting from there start adding again"
I wake up at night. Sweaty sheets are shaped like mountain chains by the worried being. I dreamed of a morning in a world dependent on the constellation of the twins. It's world news when the constellation collapses; for some reason, the twin stars in the night sky can not be seen anymore. The newspaper headlines outside the store read; "Castor and Pollux have finally fallen apart." And cyclists lurk between the dewy houses. Tall poisonous plants grow in the windows.
I got up, put my clothes on and walked down to Seven Eleven to buy some cigarettes. I find out its Friday night and people are out to enjoy themselves. They all seem so far apart.
At Pustervik I drink beer and pick on a girl in the bar. If only I could get a little fuck. But I'm not successful. I can hear someone singing "Baby has got the bends and do I have any real friends?"
Self-loathing seem to be increasing for every day that goes by. And in the bar, the whole universe seems to avoid me; Even the peanuts seem contradictory.
Jon Grimberg writes in his notebook; "Was Hannes dependent on Gina for his sense of self-esteem, like a cling-up/climber that depends on a host tree to get nutrition?"
The beard grows and I'm still wearing black and smoke. Relatives and friends have begun asking questions; "Whats going on with you?" "won't you get a job? " "What are you doing with your life?". Some ideas about doing the right thing and being useful to others cause my cheeks to blush at these quizzes but I try to keep the personal utilitarianism at bay (as if I tried to shovel a few liters of darkness). However I can not resist the thoughts of Gina, they are pouring down like rain. Since she moved, she has been living as the "highest" inside my head. Every thought takes the trip past her.
I have set up a formula; I = hellish, she = angelic. I sit at the kitchen table and look into the gray. The leaves have begun to turn yellow on the trees. A tram is whizzing metallic somewhere far away. Life seems to be happening elsewhere. I remember a woman I once worked with whose husband had died, and the only thing she talked about was that she wanted to be lobotomized, she wanted to forget his love. No, lobotomy is nothing for me. There must be another resort. Speaking of lobotomy and memory, Paula just got a job as a research assistant at the psychology department. She was to help out in a project investigating the effects of alcohol on episodic memory. Interviews and transcription. I set up a new formula; I = unemployed, Paula = employed. What happens to us little people when technology is so advanced that much of production and service becomes automated and we're all out of jobs? Are we gonna live on welfare or will there be such a thing as universal basic income? (which at least would kill the shame of being unemployed) .
I went for a walk. I've got a penchant for streets that nobody walks on, I'm drawn to deserted places and I like to listen to monotonous and mangling kraut music.
At Little square I sat on a bench and watched the statue of Jonas Alströmer. Thanks for bringing the potato here man. The statue depicts a man on the move, a man with a mission, who had something wise to do. I wish I could be like that. I'm thinking intensively for a minute, trying to find my life project, which will make me happy and new. But I'm disturbed in the concentration by the clatter of the jackdaws.
"You do not want to be who you are, you want to be the one you wish to be."
A magazine from SJ is on the bench. On the front there is a portrait of a smiling successful person. I immediately leave the newspaper. Thinking of burning it. The song Atlantic City is playing in the brain's jukebox "Down here it's just winners and losers and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line" . Yes, but it's too late now.
When I fall asleep in the evening, I dream I'm a miniature man inside a bottle gliding on the bay in the moonlight's radius. On the other side, glitters of light are visible. The gated community is sleeping. The satellite dishes on the roofs pose for the starry sky. Further on, a small guest house is sighted. Are they renovating? The house is stripped to a stony ground with a skeleton of wooden beams on top of it. Low cellotones vibrate in the air.
Some nights are long journeys into the feeling of uselessness. Some nights I get up to masturbate and afterwards I sit and stare out the window. Watch the flickering street lights and contemplate the crystalline enigma of the ceremonial religious animal. The blind spot of the soul is playing tricks on me. Maybe I feel this resentment and bitterness because I can't get anywhere in the hierarchical system? A low status being with an urge to dominate ? Am I only the result of an unfulfilled greed? Megalomaniac all over. I check facebook - everyone is doing incredibly well. Examine the Twitter feed - everyone is either rightous, witty and/or indignated/outraged. Social media doing what it does best; cultivating mob mentality and generating mob mentality. I am a prisoner of generalization and simplification. Just like you my handsome friend.
When I wake up in the morning, I have a stomach ache and my head is like a buzzing beehive with voices from all sorts of enemies. I hear Peter Höök say, "You will never be as successful as your father." Nothing good or uplifting inside that brain at the moment.
I remember a party where I tried to charm Gina, it was long before we got together, and the attempt failed miserably and was crowned by the subsequent commentary of Peter .."Game over Kiddo". I can hear the comment repeatedly "Game Over Kiddo". He got me there. I'm trying to remember a good feeling, a hot streaming breeze ... the extravagant experience on that first flight on my own, and the wonderful banality when you get the knot and the extra play on flipper ...the perfect golf shot...whatever. I try to medicate myself with the memory from all those little events . But it does not work. I'm probably depressed. The brain circuitry wanders every dark trail it can find.
I get up. Still haunted by Peter Höök's ill-minded spirit. Fucking schoolyard marauder.
Breakfast takes two hours. At least. A magpie is rustling among the leafy networks outside the window. The sound of annoyed rasping mussels. Like the irritated throat clearing of the schoolmaster in middle school when you had not done your homework.
After breakfast, I try to counterattack against the inner slanderous voices. I make a list
"People I despise in alphabetical order;
Andersson, Mattis - Narcissistic bully-type, sucking up and kicking down, these qualities make him an exemplary sadistic middle management executive ... I want to operate a container of helium in his lungs so that he never again be taken seriously
Aaron - Roughly trimmed talkative type and ardent capitalist who always teased me at work, made fun of my words ... a classic antagonist ... wish him an chainsaw-awakening every morning for the rest of his life
Höök, Peter - Do not know anyone who will enjoy my defeat more than him. Should have a permanent companion with bleating voice.
Demi -Hides her sadism behind a pale princess's gloria and the perfect wandering persona ...but I know she always wanted to destroy me ... She personifies the fake personality."
I pause. To jot down hatred on paper seem pointless. It does not help me transcend the pain, I just become more like them. The emptiness of space. A buzzing fridge. I still feel as low as before. "Game Over Kiddo".
Thursday is a diabolical node of memory in my consciousness. She/he/it broke up on a Thursday and scenes from this nightmarish day of origin are being replayed over and over. I noticed in the doorway that her face had changed, as if it was wandering through the steel bath of indifference. The eyes were alpine and more blue than before and it was as though the eyes were the place where I was pushed out of her dreams. And everything was planned to the last detail. The clothes that I had at her place was properly folded in a brown paper bag. Toothbrush, razors and magazines lay on top. Even the week-old orange Gerbera plant was in in the bag. I was to be eliminated. The vertigo-like symptoms are what I remember he most. The memory of the dialogue is more fragmented. There were claptrap phrases and clichés "it's not you ... it's me." "I don't think we should hear from each other for a while". "You'll be better off with someone who can help you fulfill your potential" . Then echoing steps down the stairs and out into the fresh air. I could feel the universe expanding and the tears running down the cheek. I took a wobbling bicycle ride home with the brown paper bag dangling under the handlebar.
I walk the cobblestone of Postgatan in the darkness. It was here, about 150 years ago or so, that people walked to ships that would take them to America. The Wilson line to the land of opportunity. I can fantasize about the poor drone who remained on the dock, who saw others who dared while he remained. "The West is the best .... give in, and we'll do the rest".
The movement of the continental plates causes the North American continent to slide farther away, a constant move is taking place. I make a new formula, even if it's ridiculous; Gina = America, I = Europe afflicted with crop failure. "She's outside where the companies dream and the money goes round and I'm still here, tragic as the son of a superman".
I wander on the quay towards the twilight sky. There are white fringes on some of the river's waves. Rough yellow light shines among the cranes at the shipyard on the other side. I keep telling myself that the resignation is just ridiculous and that I will find geist again. "Get rhythm when you get the blues".
How can my brain assign such importance to her? Is it because I have a tendency to torment myself?
If the soul is made up of a color spectrum, it is as if a combination of colors - (some crucial coefficient in the psychological matrix) - associated with vitality and lust for life have disappeared - they seem to have gone away with her. How is that possible?
I dream of a little man who frenetically drills in the urge for color or something that can be called a life force. But nothing happens. The fury only intensifies.
When I get home I put on a terry bathrobe. One of the few pieces that I feel genuine in. As if the very fabric gave me cred. Hesitate a long time on mixing a drink but decide instead on making coffee.
At the kitchen table I start drawing the flow chart of my life on a large paper . It must be possible to see where it has gone to hell, where the original offense occurred, where it all turned pear shaped?
Some things have had to happen earlier in life that foretold this crisis. I created a timeline and small images of events that I think may have had an impact. I fall asleep.
In the dream that follows I have intercourse with Gina on the kitchen floor. A yellow light is filtered through the veiled curtains. We quit in the middle of the act and she says "this doesn't work anymore, you have to get up". As I wake up I notice that the hand painted a keyhole on the paper while I was sleeping. A new formula is made up; keyhole + comment "you have to get up" = The end of victim mentality. I pour a cup of coffee sweeps and I see it clear as glass, I have to stop being a victim! ... I have to take responsibility for my suffering. Easier said than done she said.
For a few hours I had the assertiveness, and sorrow and anguish didn't clog the nervous system.
I cleaned the apartment, threw out the trash and went for some groceries. The setting sun looked almost hopeful in my eyes.
The Faroe Islands is an archipilago cast out into the North Atlantic like a couple of oblique lines that runs from southeast to the northwest. There are no trees according to the travel guide and it is the foggiest place in Europe. The Greenlanders have many words for snow, the Faroe Islanders probably have more for fog. The weather is capricious and changes quickly and it often causes people to dispose of the word Kanska (maybe); "Maybe we can get together today, it depends on the weather." It is "maybe-country".
I sit under the awning at the cafe Cigar and read in the guidebook and dream away. But the money is running out and I can't afford to go there anyway. And soon I have to look around for a new job. Waitress maybe? Here at Cafe Cigar? But Robert hates me, he thinks I am to artsy-fartsy. A pretentious bastard.
Suddenly, I see Peter Höök. He leads a bicycle across the square. It would be great if I became invisible now.
- well well Hannes! Peter exclaims
I try to hide the guidebook.
Peter laughs a little bit more and scan the surroundings with a hawkish gaze.
- yes ... and here you are ... do you have lunch break ?
I try to look relaxed.
- Yes you could say that
- gö-ött ... what are you doing nowadays?
Peter measures me with his eyes again.
- ehh, I don't have any job or so right now .... I resigned...gonna try to find something new
I try to speak as low and as composed as possible, but I feel transformed from the peaceful rumorous daydreamer to a tense little boy who is under the microscope of an evil stranger.
- so, you are unemployed? Peter says loudly. Some extra emphasis when he pronounce the condemnation that is unemployment. It's as though Peter really said "so, you're worthless" so everyone in the cafe can hear it.
I blush severely. A red color on my face and some remnant of it seems to remain for the rest of the day; Taint! The redness of shame.
During the conversation that follows, in which Peter, fortunately, doesn't ask about Gina, I think of mountain top fog and that I would like to travel really far away. The Faroe Islands and its green-hilly mountains seems more inviting than ever. The great escape.
Just before we part ways, Peter, my best fiend, asks, suprisingly, if I want to tag along on a afterwork session this Friday (or "Av-ee" as he says). My will; his will that fronts me. Seas between. Send a postcard from the land of compromise.
- sounds nice , maybe... thanks for the invitation...I'll consider it...
- yes .. speak to you later...
- see ya
- Take care!
It seems contradictory to go to After work when you're out of work. There should be something called "Before work" where unemployed customers meet and try to relieve each other's social stigma.
When I lie on the couch later in the day, the feeling of worthlessness has painted me on the inside. "Forget this cruel world where I belong. I'll just sit and wait and sing my song". Outside the window the leaves of the chestnut tree trembles in the wind. The sun is sparkling through the glimpses in the leafage.
Sleep arrives. Rendez vous at the stranger zoo. In the dream, I walk barefoot on the asphalt. I'm going to a forest grove and follow a path down to a beach. Wading over to an island. The water is shimmering light green and the bottom is a mosaic of seashells and rocks. Suddenly a part of the bottom loosens and walks away. It's a crab that runs away laterally, like quick fingers over a guitar's fretboard. The crab has a shield of small eyes that mirrors around. I come across to the island on the other side and enter the dark forest. The pathway leads to a clear-cut where a boy sits and cries.
A lightning conductor is sitting on rooftops to protect a building from the harmful effect of the flash. The flash is led down through a wire and spread out into the ground. A similar device, firmly invisible, should protect a person's soul from mockery and insults. If every human being is like a house, my lightning rod on the roof has failed passing on mocking lightning out into the ground. Every derisive lightning has been uploaded within me and turned into hate and spiteful lust for revenge. I'm ready to explode.
On Wednesday I walk along Third long street. I stroll past what used to be a police station, old apartment buildings, a chestnut tree and a patisserie with a red and white neon sign. The road ends in a bike/walk path lined with rowan trees.
The leaves of the rowans are under the weight of ripe berries. Two opposing yellow brick buildings seem to squeeze the way - I'm standing there in between. Between Scylla and Charybdis. Smash against the hard rocks of safety or drown in the whirlpool of extreme freedom? Make a choice. The Liberal component upgrades the conservative component, but the conservative is protecting the liberal component. I'm under pressure from two different perceptions; "One gets to hate" is up against "one should not hate". How are you doing? We need each other but I'm not there yet. I feel such hatred.
The red color of shame has been reinstated, now manifested like a big stamp over the throat. I turn the other way around and walk up Warmland street and sit at one of the cafes in the intersection below the church of Oscar Fredrik.
The daylight is dull. The sun shines like a foggy dot behind blue-gray veils of clouds.
Order a cup of tea. Borrow a pen from the waiter and go and sit in the shadows. Paint little devils, demons and dead men on a napkin.
I soon finished the tea and headed home. Suicidal thoughts flashed inside.
There was no wind. Fog in the air. Did not see any sky. Somewhere in the distance hollow laughter could be heard. The windows on the other side of the street look like sleepy gray eyes.
In Jon Grimberg's notebook there are several thinkers' thoughts about artistry:
"To the extent that I managed to translate emotions into images, an inner calm came and entered the stage", "The purpose of art is to make the individual free, it does so by awakening, using and developing the individual's ability to keep the material world at a distance of objectivity."
I have begun to feel uncomfortable in the apartment. The couch and the red armchair have become like tumors and they remind too much of myself, or at least about an era that's over. I want to move on. Some phone calls and hours later. Removal men from Gold Moor in dark green sweaters come and pick up the furniture to drive to the dump. I'm going with them. It feels kind of productive. I get a free tip card as an individual but the companies have to pay. Tellus; an extraordinary waste station. Just sit back and watch the clash between ecology and economy. But you have to sit on the floor.
In the truck I talk to Tobias, one of the movers. He says he likes his job because "you get to go around and meet new people", "I can not sit in an office all day." The roaming Life of a mover. Sounds nice.
I don't want to return to the stale office landscape. And all those moronic telephone calls; a mockery of the intelligence. As creative as a stone reading from a list.
At the dump in Högsbo people in bright orange overalls move around and help customers loosen their garbage into the proper container. In the grey air over the containers large well-fed gulls circle around.
Perhaps more noisy, joyful and prosperous here than in the city. They're in their essence, in their correct element, keenly interested. "Interest" , inter and esse, Latin language, to be in the midst, be between, be involved in, encircle. What are my interests?
After the sofa and the armchair have been throwed into the container marked "combustible," I get a lift with the movers to Markland street. It's in their direction. "Thank you". Then I take tram number 8 towards the center. "What is my interest?". A pushed pendulum swings back. Imagine if I had the guts of the gulls and circled as jauntily as them around my key interest. But what's there in the middle? maybe just a hollow room with a spiteful comedian dancing round a pole . And even if I find what I like there's always the money issue ... damn the money! what if I can not afford to do what I like best. A speaker voice on the tram declairs "next ... Crossroad!". I take the next and get off at Berzelli street.
The fog has lifted over the city. Some clouds have yellow splashes from the sun. Leaves are whirling around in pirouettes on the sidewalk below Lorensberg Theatre. "What is my interest?". Nothing is revealed. I stop at a window to an art gallery. Should I try to paint more?. The wind is a bit chilly. What if I'm just a tragic figure who'll never find out what he or she should do. Yes, think about it. But We're all tragic in a way.
I go to the library. Browsing through some books in the art department. In an illustrated biography on Yves Klein, poet of the void , I wade through single-colored images; superpinkred, moss green and eternity deep blue. It turns out that Yves Klein first was very interested in Judo and then became very interested in color. I was first very interested in Gina Söder, football and drinking beer with the lads ... but what now? I flip eagerly through the pages of the book as if a burst in the heart told me that I've possibly found a distant soul mate who can inspire. I also feel the great emptiness ... maybe I can do something with it.
Back home in the apartment I sit on the floor where the sofa stood before. I want to paint something.
But what? To paint emptiness itself is like trying to paint that metallic beeping sound of a heart machine-monitor that buzzes when a patient's heart has stopped beating. It seems too difficult. The only thing I can think of painting is a seagull flying over a dump.
From Jon Grimberg's notebook;
"The Austrian Viktor had a concept he called the Sunday neurosis. With that he meant that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest. It is the moment when a human being get sight of the treadmill he is caught in and does not like what he sees". For me the universe has transformed into a Sunday afternoon.
I walk down Gibraltar street . Far away in the background, beyond the brick of Hvitfeltskas school buildings, I sight the Vasa Church tower as a green pen tip against blue-gray cloud banks. What happened to faith? Is it in the grip of religious people giving it a poor reputation? and who only use it for social control, consciously or unconsciously?. Ideologies and religions. I'm not really a believer but I can't deny the supernatural possibility altogether, that would be way too arrogant. Is it true that everybody has a belief system or an ideology and that it would be impossible to act in the world without it ? You might say you're a nonbeliever but your actions makes the opposite claim. In any case, there are vicious hardliners in every camp. Infected with Ideology locked-in syndrome. Caught in a feedback loop in their echo chamber. But what do I know I'm just pidgeonholing again. Remember she used to say that there isn't a proper box for every phenomena. But she was super fast when it came to point to the fact that someone was a white male and as such inherently privileged. "You don't get to complain". Now there's a proper box you can't get out of. Maybe there's a thing called Identity neurosis? - a game they play on the far left and the far right and where individuals are downtrodden and subdued, based on their group identity, to serve a collective madness. Nothing new really. I would like to ask now how my logic and my conclusions are undermined by my membership of a certain statistical group ? - why can't I just be an individual with whims and interests and not an agent for an evil power structure? . Is Post modernism the dominating religion in Sweden. High priests dying in the webs that they spin.
Earlier today, during a mini episode of depression, I wrote a postcard to the Swedish Academy:
I have questions about dignity. I feel that I live an unworthy life.
In your word list, the explanation says "rise to high dignity, positions etc". This is unsatisfactory to me. I seek to find a more exhaustive explanation, a psychological semantic network you could say, to this word. For example , what does it mean to live a worthy life? Can you answer this or do you have any tips about other sources where I can find answers to these questions?
Grateful for help. Answer to. Hannes@zerogravity.com
Best Regards Hannes Tallby ".
Of course I felt super-ridiculous after posting it. I tried to walk it off. Crisis then walk. Patterns of behaviour. Everyday I return to the same shipwreck in my mind and I cannot solve the puzzle there. Can't upgrade the unconscious. Unable to patch the correct link to catharsis. Wrong code, lost keys... and some sinister magnetism of the soul is working against me. The void laughs in my face. And my friends seem to subtly avoid me. I don't blame them really.
After awhile I sit at a bus stop on Teacher street. Coffee mug in hand. The Sundays - Here's where the story ends. Yes but what happens next. Mica once picked me up here at this adress. The car was his church in a way and he almost always drove it on sundays. The freedom of travelling to your choice of locale in an enclosed metal entity and being the one behind the steering Wheel. God, Guns and gasoline.
"Hello" he said. I entered the vehicle and we drove away.
"Do you remember when we went to Stockholm to look at Sweden - Paraguay and we stayed at that shady motel in Solna?"
"Yeah that was fun, Linda was with us... and we listened to Page Hello Hallå Månbasen .... Who was the one who decided the match? .... was it Andreas Andersson?"
"Yes..... awesome times ..."
We went out to Hisingen. Mica called it devil's island. A peculiar silence occured. It was as if we had exhausted our shared bank account of nostalgic anecdotes. I sat and felt the smell of flame retardants. Remember I wanted to get off. Nothing in here moving really. And I can almost never socialize with others for more than fifteen minutes at a time. Brain overload kicks in. He quietly drove. One hand on the wheel and one around the coffee mug. Sometimes he gazed out over the docks,, the cranes and the towering buildings. Squinted eyes in smooth daylight. We came to Eriksberg. The clouds were ridged like fluffy blinds in blue and gray. Then passing through dark tunnels. Near the City Golf we stopped. People stood on the terraces, with varying degrees of seriousness and concentration on their faces, and hit golf balls out over a green field. It swished and popped. "We should hit some balls " Mica said as he was watching one of the golfers. I said sure. We hired some clubs and bought a bucket filled with balls and went up to the terrace . We started to swing those clubs." I tried to make a golf ball land in a big net basket a hundred meters away. From idea to realization. From idea to basket. "Plop!".
Don't know what this memory of Mica -in an automobile going to the driving range - is supposed to mean. Perhaps there isn't a meaning to it, just the daily whims of the brain. Check mate little brother. Chances are the meaning is that I'm not supposed to find a meaning. Would that be considered nihilistic?
Well no, even if I say that there isn't a meaning to life there might still be great value in it.
It was almost dark when I got home. I shivered in the chilly wind outside the house gate. I also quivered from a sense of meaninglessness that I could not get rid of. It is a curse to think about the meaning of life. If I lived in a country subject to the conditions of misery instead of being, as in Sweden, subject to the conditions of boredom, the thought of the meaning of life would never have occurred ..or would it? .. striving for basic necessities had not given me any time to ponder. To strive against misery ... maybe I should help others in need, work at the Red Cross or something. But I feel uneasy as I think of being absorbed and ruled by an organization .... No I would like to have my own little business in some way ... but how is that going to happen? I don't really have any talents I could monetize. The money. Damn. Another train of thoughts that crash into the money issue.
In the dark apartment the TV set is flickering, projecting a cold blue light against the wall where the sofa stood. Some program about genetic engineering. Turn off. Darkness settles like a blanket thrown over the floor.
Remember a hotel room paid with money inherited from grandfather. New York, in march 2000. He turned in his grave. The year before the twins fell. And just after I dropped out of university. End of an era. I had a compact disc walkman as a constant companion. There was something different in the air. A sense of blue-eyed wonder. What did I do? Coffee shops and diners. Walking around buying postcards. I was only 19 so I couldnt get beer in the pubs- couldn't neutralize my perpetual shyness so I mostly stayed in the hotel rooms. Reading, jerking off and listening to music. I am one of those who can say I have masturbated on all the major hotel chains in America. When I phoned home, yes phone booths were still common, I told them I visited the museums and played chess with Stanley Kubrick in Central park ( mom had no idea who he was)
Morning light flowed through the blinds. Just awakening and in the drunk passage between dream and reality,a question about the people who first met in a record store in Athens, Georgia, in 1980, what did they sing about? The song The Great Beyond' bubbled somsewhere outside in the corridor . I got up and looked out the window. Saw a strip of magnificent blue sky above and in between the buildings. And powdery white strokes of condensation from morning airplanes. "I am looking for answers from the great beyond". It became the soundtrack on the shy boy's backpacking tour around the World. Burning that inheritance on extended adolescence. But I found no answers only more questions and nothingness.
What is it ... to be aggressively set towards nothingness? Some thirteen years since that essential discovery I still feel a terrible antipathy towards the empty, why can't I just accept it and relish in its perplexing weirdness It's as if the empty is a way of life I despise. How can I be mad at emptiness, which is nothing.? The brain says no and the blood and the viscera says yes, there must be something.
The sky was the bluest I have ever seen and it seemed like I laid eyes on it for the first time and it sang of a wild flora of possibilities, and something beyond the blue seemed to shout on me ... to fall ... to fall into the nameless ... "the nameless".
Emptiness is the unconditional cavity, in a mind that suddenly does not aim for comprehension ... thoughts just spin around the void like flies around a pond in the summer ... they can not be attributed to anything more than their own whimsical movements ... .in quintessential triviality.
The butterfly is fluttering in my mind. But there's another kind of emptiness - the one when futility shows up ...like a flower blossomed out of the assertion ... the empty stands near the stupid ....Am I just stupid? ... Do I move foolishly in circles around a crack in my own essence ? Also there is a light blue version of emptiness, like the glossy sky ... it allows the lack of understanding, it is a bitter jewel. What more can be said about emptiness ; a sense of vacuity that is still saying something.
Grimberg once asked "Is it you or the world that you perceive as empty?." . Maybe I should just go to bed. Is emptiness the disinterest that settles as a film over the eyes and that is preventing me from entering into relationship with the outside world?
Buzz from the kitchen fan. No room service available on Union street. I'll have to take some sleeping pills now. I can't calm down. I'm a gibberish machine.
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