derrida, exes, the holidays - an essay

The short intro to an essay, the cliff notes for the essay. But probably not related, so, best to read the whole thing

but if you can't or won't, here it is:


We live in the world of tweets and soundbites, except for books and short stories and long poems and essays and

New Yorker articles. And of course many of the conversations we have, long and complex and detailed, with our

smart and sensitive friends, lovers, mentors, these conversations are almost like essays, these dialogues, or

plays, dramas in our lives, we are speaking and listening and "reading" these conversations in real time.

My last real girlfriend often would talk in long Proustian sentences, which means lots of commas, ellipses, and especially

parentheses, very complex, and I listened, mainly these were long fascinating monologues in her sweet sane voice that would only

fall into problems if I interrupted. The emotional problems, more heightened drama, as if the play was being interrupted, Hamlet was only allowed his short

monologues and the interruptions were ok. Joyce's interior monologue, or maybe Virginia Woolf used that description, instead of saying

stream of consciousness, which is what most people say, suggests that these "monologue interior" would go on for a long time, until the book or chapter was over. But these were thinking monologues, not spoken, so quite different, to show what the author and her "characters" are thinking.


Reading the introduction to Derrida tonight, by the translator of Writing and Difference, Alan Bass, gave me a lot of ideas for this essay and for a new website, like a "blog" sort of but more, called "essays, poems, prose and other writing". Something to showcase my writing without the limitations or the pigeonhole of a blog post, the short, challenging but often anemic mega tweet. This short introduction to this essay, which may have already ended, is an example. To condense ideas into a short form. I miss that girlfriend/almost partner for lots of reasons, and love dictates that I miss her long monologues too. Because when you love someone a lot then these things can still have their emotional hold. Like hair, skin, all those things. The things you miss that at the time seemed challenging, annoying, or even traumatic.


I picked out Derrida because I was trying to help my daughter, who is seven, find a book she can read tonight. She read her book on flower fairies but partly to set a good example and also because it's good for me I started on the Derrida book again, which I had read parts of, some of the essays. I think that Bass even said it was better to read them out of order, maybe JD said that, maybe it would be good for you to jump ahead in this essay to the section on sex, or death, or kink, I don't know. I certainly can't control what the reader, you, does, if you skim it and look for the section on kink and sex and topping or just patiently keep reading until you get there, like a good sub.

She wants a mouse for my computer so she can do minecraft better. Last night I played a video game on my phone called PubG, and I rarely play games, but my job seems to suggest I do that more, since I am trying to sell stuff to gaming companies related to video and "AI". It was a great fun game, similar to the Hunger Games.

I like the idea of a website just for my writing, maybe on wordpress who knows, or the website I already use, but my visual art may or may not fit in there, it could be just writing.

I like the idea of an essay, this, which would introduce readers to my other writing, my books, my art, my life. My two published novels are self-published. My third book, in progress, is a very long memoir or novel which could be more than one book. The new book started as an attempt at either a memoir of some kind or a book about my father, and what it has been like becoming a father, and how that has changed my view of him, and how his death has affected me. I write about that, about my childhood, my mother, and many things but also a lot about music and film and art and women, the women I have married, dated, slept with, loved or thought about. The book ends up being about my descent into addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, depression, suicide, ptsd, ocd, so many things including a kind of manic psychosis. And then it shows how I somehow came out of that and recovered, became sane, more or less, and whole, and able to love and be sober and healthy most of the time, and how somehow the depression eventually went away. But the anxiety is still here.


My first book is about a young man dealing with drinking and drugs and mental illness, and death, but not exactly like me but similar to an ex who had multiple personalities. She was also a former alcoholic or drug addict and had a lot of ptsd from childhood abuse, mainly sexual, like me but much much worse, horrific stories that were like anyone's worse nightmare. So that could be a good background for Robert, the character in Blue, that novel. Novella really, but dense and difficult enough I suppose. Influenced I thought by Joyce and Beckett but friends compared it to Kerouac. I actually have not read a lot of Kerouac so that's a thing. I loved Mexico City Blues and still do when I dip into that. Maybe Kerouac was also influenced by Joyce and Beckett.


My second novel:


Tonight is the night before Thanksgiving of 2018 and this moment is a moment of pain, fear, sadness, and or loneliness for me. To go into detail, not only is it hard because my family is not here, I do not have people who have invited me to any kind of Thanksgiving dinner except Abhaya's mom, which is nice. But after recent painful breakups that possibility of a girlfriend to offer some solace for this holiday is not there. And reminder of how fucked up my family was, with the drinking and abuse, and how Thanksgiving was once a nice time with my cousins and my grandmothers' house, in Ravenna, and food an football and snow and frost and hunting in the fields of the farm in the morning the frost on the cut hay fields. Or cut corn. The cut stalks. Crunching under my boots as my dad and I walked out with our shotguns, into the cold air. And I miss him too. His coffee and cigarettes and simple life views from the generation that grew up in the depression, WW2, born in 28, drank and smoke and drove cars fast. Not a complicated man. And there is nothing wrong with that, even as I live in a time when men like me are expected to be many things, complex and stable and sensitive and tough all at the same time. And vulnerable, which is supposed to be a source of strength, which is fine but in reality it's also a source of pain and sadness and stress, so fuck that strength shit. So many people repeat things they read or hear without really examining the idea to see if it's really true or not.


To allow the walls to come down, to be vulnerable, is a way to experience life. It happened to me I think because I became a father to a daughter, held and bonded to a baby, then had so many things fall apart, and change, and rip the armor I had off so that only my heart was there, feeling and getting attached, in my case to a woman who I thought I just liked and maybe loved...


Tonight how much can I write, and is this an essay or a journal entry? Does anyone really care? Abhaya has a cough, maybe still the effect from the smoke this last week. But no school tomorrow she can sleep in, and I can, no work, not for me. And there are those who do have to work tomorrow, just to pay their rent, or who live in war zones, or refugee camps, or detainment centers, or reservations, or temporary camps like up near Chico and the Camp Fire, which has spread smoke all over California for over a week. And I miss Cindi and others and feel the loneliness even getting a nice text or like or whatever. It's just a hard holiday. The thing that happened with Cindi last Thanksgiving is too hard to talk about now, maybe later. It didn't help in my overall feeling about this holiday, just as a few years ago, at Christmas, surfing over by Rodeo Beach, I was shut out from Mel's Christmas and that added to my hard feelings about that holiday. As a friend said this week it's hard not getting invited but harder maybe getting disinvited like Cindi did. And just happened to make that feeling I already had so much worse.

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Watching Netflix, with my daughter Abhaya. Canine Intervention, a great show about helping dogs and their humans learn to be in harmony with each other and the world. I use small dumbells to sit and

© 2016 Charles Keatts

charles keatts