I started this blog business at the prompting of Nate Davis, from Diamond Tribe Resistance, and as an alternative to the format of my kinetic essays, which sometimes demand too great a sense of completion to ever begin. Nate and I wanted to create an arena where we could indulge a bit in our geekier, philosophical halfthoughts. The kinetic essays, for the most are the ideal; always a bracing mixture of thoughts and correspondent actions. Thought comes a little too easily is the problem. Everything else from childish jokes to pretentioous pensées on early v. later Wittgenstein, gets lost waiting for an opportunity to hook onto my Life-Narrative. So I consider this page as a kind of a drainoff; promising nothing of quality, but being casual enough that Nate and I and whoever else can make our dialogue fun and public, and maybe generate a real philosophical climate, both in realtime Philadelphia and anywhere else that will have us. So that’s that. Next topic.
Christmas came doublequick this year. Reason being we had a Hallowe’en party on the 16th of December, at the South Philadelphia Athenæum; it threw off my biological calendar and robbed me of my usual enjoyment of our hyperreal, solstice rituals. Hallowe’en on the 16th of December— that leaves only nine days of Christmas, if Christmas itself is figured. Mine was spent with relatives who, upon hearing about octopus piñatas and other projects, thought it sounded like I had “too much time on my hands.” Two vastly different, competing brands of ambition, I guess. I kept murdering the conversation. “Yeah, speaking of which, I wanted to have a competitive eating contest in Philadelphia— only with non-toxic materials. Two teams. The first team to finish eating a box of crayons, wins”………. Whew. Tough crowd. Anyway.
The Return Home is always best for measuring the progress of your life-narrative; I feel like Stephen Dedalus or something. It’s good though, galvanizing. You remember and savor all that highschool, hometown era alienation that once gave you such direction and clean self-definition. The Return Home: What You Are Not.
Still in Portsmouth. On a similar note about The Return Home, I wandered by my childhood home with Joe, Billy, Laura, and Lisa from Dearraindrop today; past 1556 Michigan Avenue. Michigan Avenue—the street itself— is the backdrop of a good quarter of my dreams; well, that and my weirdly parallel home in Portmouth, Virginia. They are sites that I can limn subconsciously; and I’ve always thought there was this intrinsic connection between dreams, these forms, and subconscious memory and learning. It makes the subconscious almost navigable.
These same real-life forms, like 1556 Michigan Avenue or Seatack Elementary, become metaphors around which I still to this day, sort and collect my identity. I mean, it may seem strange, that an elementary school can be a metaphor, but meandering through Oceana, my old neighborhood, I can feel something clicking and uncanny. Tyree and I returned the next day, to stroll through our brains together, and remember again the loud growl of F-14 Tomcats flying so low that you can read the wings.
It’s a Living Dream. The memories of the earliest particulars become whole systems of classification, whole taxonomies, to the point where the addresses of bratty childhood friends takes on other significances like Miranda=War of the Sexes, Ian=Fraternity, and Allison=Young Love.
I think the tour through Virginia Beach was in some senses opposite to Portsmouth; strong identities tugged. Actually, in the addendum for the Dearraindrop/Deitch Galleries, I wrote about the Seven Cities, that conglomerate of cities that make up Hampton Roads: Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Newport News, and Hampton. I wrote about Mount Trashmore, a landfill that the city of Va Beach covered with tons of sod, then with playgrounds and skateparks, and finally declared it a public park and “the only known mountain in the Tidewater Area.” I called it a “metaphor.” And in the context of forms, memory, subconscious, and all that, I couldn’t have been more dead-on; that it entered the early, pliant memories of every child in that area and guided sensibilites for years and years to come. Like Michigan Avenue or Seatack elementary, only more public. It certainly did me. It was emblematic of the zillion possibilities within what others would consider a cultural wasteland (here, the stripmalled Virginia Beach, but more generally the end-direction of the United States of America).
I felt refreshed, ready to return to Philadelphia, despite being the victim of some weird virus that causing my tongue to swell and my gums to bleed. All remedies have come to nothing, including a good fortyeight hours spent dozing under an electric blanket. The South Philadelphia Athenæum still has no heat and I now have no money, so the road through January might be a little icy.