Category Archives: Featured

Fantasy of the recluse

I will have to, until my very last breath, suffer the idiocy of the insipid and the folly of fools.

I want to share with you my fantasy. In this little idealized version of my future, I’ve written mymasterpiece. I have a decent amount of money, just enough so that I don’t have to worry about how I will live very modestly for the rest of my life so long as I work a little bit here and there. I live in a very small split-level house with lots of sunshine in a place that is usually moderately cool but never bitterly cold. It rains on occasion, usually a gentle drizzle and maybe a nice thunderstorm or two in the summertime. The supermarket (which has a very decent butcher and delicatessen counter) is a short walk away, there is a little green park nearby where children play. The neighbors are warm and congenial, quiet and respectful. And most importantly, I am detached from the world I live in. I have become, for the most part, a recluse observing suburban tranquility at arm’s length.

Mr. J.D. Salinger died a recluse. Only God knows why he decided to exclude himself from society: the rest of us can only guess. But I know why I would want to.You see, I’ve just about had enough of people and society. Everything just feels wrong. The rich get richer, and we have this condition called middle-class poverty. The educational system has become a travesty, no longer even worthy of being called a system in which one becomes educated. Ignorance and hate pervade society. People turn their backs on each other in times of need. Dishonesty, infidelity, debauchery, and selfishness is no longer a shock; in fact, one should expect as such. People are slaves to the dollar. Men abandon their bastard children, women cuckold their husbands, children lose their innocence before they should… And don’t even get me started on the realm of dating and marriage.The world no longerhasany love or romance. It has become (or perhaps always was) a cold and impersonal place, a system where the ruthless succeed through rampant self-promotion and selfish acts. As far as mankind seems to have advanced, we seem to have lost touch with what it means to be human. What good is it that we can live until we are 90 if we must spend that time on this earth? Why would I want to spend my entire life in a world where the good and just are punished and the dastardly reign freely? Where is the pleasure in living in a place where instead of love and happiness illuminates all, darkness prevails with only brief punctuations of light?

I cannot create my own nation. And I cannot wipe the slate clean with a flood of the earth. Nor can I cure the maladies of society. I do not wish to be a participant in this sort of world. And though I have strong desires to have children, to believe that I could raise them to be strong enough to resist the influence of this world that I so desperately despise would be entirely foolish. As out of touch with reality as I may be, as disillusioned as I certainly am, a fool I am not. The only course of action left to me would be to remove myself from society; to take solace in what little pleasures I can still find while surrounded by the dreariness of a hopeless humanity.

Alas, this is but a mere flight of fancy…unless it becomes reality, I will have no choice but to continue to participate as a member of society. I will have to, until my very last breath, suffer the idiocy of the insipid and the folly of fools. Perhaps I will have to simply turn my despair into an amusement of the dismal destinies that people carve out for themselves. All I know is that I had better get to work on my novel if I wish to stand a chance against all that ails me.

Thanks to Eastop for his photo: I used it as the thumbnail for the featured gallery.

Maybe I should move to Iceland

According to OKCupid, I should move to Iceland if I wanna find love. Or Massachusetts.

And apparently I should steer clear of Ukrainian and Egyptian women. Haha, I take this all with a grainof salt, but still.

Time to give some consideration to moving the hell out of New York. I never really did feel like I belonged, despite my efforts to plant some roots here. I grew up in New York City and have never lived anywhere else, and I’m the nesting type. Moving around doesn’t feel very much like my style, but hey, if something’s not working, why not try something else? I don’t know…something to think about.

The truth behind my loneliness

This entry’s been long overdue, so excuse me if it feels a little out of context. I only just finished it.

This blog is clearly a reflection of my loneliness. It is an expression of my angst, disappointment, frustration, and disillusionment with the world. If you walk up to me on any given day and asked me how I felt, I’d bullshit you and tell you I feel great. But dig even a little deeper and you’ll quickly see that am a lonely man.

With all my idealism and my unwillingness to bend to the will and ways of the world, it would seem that my loneliness is an inherently lifelong affliction.

It was Luanne’s birthday, and I was one of the few to attend her dinner at Holy Basil. Always the quiet one at social gatherings, I planted myself in the corner seat. Her husband Dmitri sat across from me, with his close friend (a French fellow) seated to his left. As the night went on, we got around to talking about my writing. I revealed that I was working on a novel. Naturally, they asked about it.

My novel is a portrait of loneliness. In it, I want to explore the nature of loneliness: is it a self-imposed burden, or is it a product of our environment and experiences? Is loneliness something you create from within, or is it something that finds you and follows you? The problem is that there is no answer. I explained this to them. Dmitri and the Frenchman asked what type of book it was. My novel is largely autobiographical, and I said as such. The Frenchman made some very interesting points about how the novel could get a little too self-indulgent. Of course I had considered this from the beginning, but this reminder would help in my decision on how to shape the voice of my novel. After a few moments and sidebars later, Dmitri returned to my rhetorical question: does loneliness come from within or without?. He said, “It’s self-imposed. You do it to yourself. You’re lonely by choice.” I was curious as to his answer. “How so?” I inquired. Dmitri explained.

And oh what an explanation it was. It was one of those moments you expecttohave in a therapist’s chair. Insightfully, Dmitri said that I hold on to my loneliness to write. Because of the autobiographical nature of my novel, because I am practically living the novel, I force myself to be lonely.

I spent the rest of the night in deep thought. I am always quiet, but the profundity of this observation essentially silenced me. I became rapidly absorbed in my own thoughts. As socially ungraceful as it was, I stared off into nothingness, examining my life and my writing. I could not help it. I had just heard an insightful and frankly mindblowing observation. It was so true. The simplicity and truth behind my loneliness had been exposed. He answered the question to my loneliness.

I realized that in the same way that I became a method actor whenever I lied, whenever I was in the sales mentality, I was a method writer. The fate of my novel’s protagonist could not be written because his fate was intertwined with mine. I was living the life I wanted my character to have so that I could write about it. I needed to experience his emotions so that I could write with authenticity. I needed to be as lonely as he was.

The questions is, will I leave my state of loneliness once my novel is complete? Or can my novel ever be complete? Previously, I had written a screenplay with characters who weren’t quite based on myself. I was able to finish that screenplay because I could see them move forward in their lives. I simply needed to write what happened in that world. But with my novel, I cannot do the same. I cannot write the story of my character because I do not know how my own life will turn out.

I am not sure if the loneliness will persist, but one thing is certain: I need to step back in order to work on my novel. Considering the somewhat autobiographical nature of the novel, and considering how close it is to me, it will not be easy. But if I am to indeed create this “portrait of loneliness” (as I like to call it), I will have to start distancing myself from the protagonist so that I don’t get in my own way.

On Smooching

On Smooching
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The gentle comfort of a lover’s embrace… The way your heart blossoms when you feel your lover’s warm breath softly on your skin… The sweet touch of a her lips pressed against yours… The familiarityof his nose nuzzled against yours… The bliss of all the sensations of an impassioned kiss, the way your he holds you, the way she touches you… Is this not enough?

I have no statistics about young people (and by young people I mean anyone under the age of 25) and their smooching habits. So I could very well be wrong and disillusioned in my assumptions. But from what I can tell, a little necking nowadays probably entails some “heavy petting”. By heavy petting I mean the touching of each other’s privates.

I also have no clue what kids did “back then” either, so I’ll not make any references to what it was like back then. But whatever happened to just some good old making out? I believe there is much to be enjoyed in simply smooching. Why all the hurry to get to the “good part”? The good part isn’t getting a girl to put her hand on your junk, and it’s not “scoring” when a girl lets you feel up her breasts or allow for some digital play in her nether regions. The good part starts when you’re sitting together, bodies pressed against each other. It starts when you lean in and look into her eyes. The good parts are when you feel her breathing, when you feel her press herself closer to you…it’s everything that happens from the moment you sit together, through the kiss itself, and the little afterglow afterwards. In our MTV age, in an age of precocious sexual activity that starts at a young age, I think we’ve got to learn how to slow things down. Stop and smell the roses. I mean, what’s left to be exciting about a kiss if all you’re thinking about is getting your rocks off?

Thanks to mikelawrey for the image!

Finding the right job

There’s a reason I like Holden Caulfield. There’s a reason I absolutely love The Catcher in the Rye. It’s because I identify with Holden on so many levels. And just like Holden, in the midst of myloneliness and the sentiment of preserving innocence, I too find myself toying with the idea devoting myself to a religion and becoming a clergy member of some sort.

Most recently, I got myself into a job I thought I would enjoy. I was hired as a security officer at a very upscale retail location. Everyone, including my employers and veteran co-workers told me I should be proud that I got the position: considering the economy where it is now, and how selective the company is with their employees, my successful hire was considered quite a feat. It wasn’t anything to me because I have an extremely high success rate when it comes to passing interviews.

Everyone I spoke to seemed to like their jobs. The work is easy, the environment is clean, mostly quiet, and void of riff raff. Most of the employees are friendly and enjoy their work. My co-workers exalted the way the company takes care of its employees. The job pays well, and there is no work to take home.On paper, it’s a very good job. But three days into my new job, I was already crying and sobbing. I was depressed at the long hours. Imagine going in to work when the sun is high and bright. The day is full of promise. Imagine leaving work with tired feet, walking out of the building onto the bustling night streets of New York City. The entire day just passed you by, and in that day, you have achieved nothing. Your work produces nothing, and you have nothing to show for ten hours of work. By the time you get home and finish dinner, you’re already trying to ready yourself for the next day.It reminds me of this Russian coworker at my old place of employment. I remember walking to the train station with him one evening after work. He walked fast, and the length of his legs made it harder for me to keep up with him. I asked him how he liked it here in America. “American way is bullshit. Every day is another day of eating shit. You wake up, go to work, come home, sleep, and repeat cycle. I eat shit today. Tomorrow I eat shit again.” He observed how incredibly money-centric it was here. He recalled how it was easier to relax and have time for leisure. And it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to have a good time back in Russia.

What he saidrangso true to me…although I haven’t lived anywhere but New York City, I felt the same way he did about “the American way”. And it was how I felt when my workday ended. I hated the fact that my job was mind-numbingly boring, and that it really amounted to nothing at the end of the day. I didn’t feel like I was making a difference at all: I wasn’t contributing anything or producing anything. The fact that a well-programmed robot could do my job was even more demoralizing.

I realized that I was in the wrong line of work. My various skills were not being put to use. There were no challenges for me, and I was not being mentally engaged. With such an enormous aversion towards my current line of work, I decided to do something about it.

Over the course of a week or so, my mind wandered, trying to find a job that would be suited to me. I wondered about my qualities: my penchant for writing, my flair for the dramatic, my ability to motivate people, my desire to inspire and help others, and my intellectual interest in religion. Thinking back to a conversation I had with my professor this one day from a chance meeting in the train station, I realized that perhaps his suggestion to become a minister was a good one.

And so I toyed with the idea. I imagined that it would incredibly rewarding. And though every job has its moments of boredom, I didn’t suppose that being a minister would be boring on a day to day basis. As much of a lone wolf as I believe myself to be, I do crave face to face interaction with people as a part of my job: it helps break up the monotony of the daily grind. Considering that I seem to draw people in need of advice, I would also be in a very good position to help people.

The only problem is whether or not I can bring myself to settle down with the concept of faith. Do I believe in God? Do I believe that He is there? That He has a plan for all of us? And all of that other mumble jumble? I have no doubt that I can fake it…I fairly certain that should my morals fall by the wayside, I could “infiltrate” the ranks of the clergy (let’s not get into a debate about how God wouldn’t let that happen).

Considering that I don’t want to go to hell (or wake up with an awful feeling every morning knowing that I’m just a big phony for that matter), I do believe I should continue my job hunt. Finding my way will be difficult, and I can only hope that I can do so with celerity and grace.