Hal likes to get high in secret, but a bigger secret is that he’s as attached to the secrecy as he is to getting high
– Infinite Jest
I return to this blog not because I have something specific to say but because I am feeling psychically strange and the self-cataloguer in my brain is reacting to the collector’s excitement for procuring the unique over the everyday. We mark high and low tides thinking those to be the most interesting data points and leave the in-between unrecorded for posterity. So here I am – feeling self-obligated to give 15 minutes of stream of consciousness.
In some ways this leads to a more authentic post than my usual commentary. When I’m writing because I have something to say and not because I’m self-obligated to… make no mistake… the source of that commentary is the writer Hank Yan, who has an idea he wants to convey and an audience that he’s speaking to and most importantly a specific self-image that stands as the source of those ideas. Even when he/I is/am writing about myself and my state of mind. What I’m saying is that the authenticity of that self-image cannot be corroborated. A third party stands equally good chance of describing what is really going on with Hank as Hank the writer, as Hank the PR department of Yan Enterprises.
A little on the psychic strangeness – it’s a combination of exhaustion (mental), sickness, bewilderment, stress, lust, loneliness and jamais vu. Jamais vu, incidentally, is the opposite of deja vu – rather than being in a place that seems strangely familiar, you’re feeling lost and brand new to a place that should be familiar. I was pretty sick for about 2 weeks. This ended an strong streak of both physical fitness – working out nearly every day – and tremendous productivity and engagement at work. Since then – physical discomfort ad poor performance. There’s a sense of being in a place that I never expected – of being strange and outcast at 26 and needing to make changes. I keep wondering if greatness and outperformance imply … not unhappiness, but an estrangement from everything – society … etc.
I’ve always strongly desired to be great but remain “normal” but now I wonder what that means and if it’s worth. Anyway the conclusion is to not overthink it. I’ve been starting Infinite Jest and holy hell, there is a writer who overthought it. Don’t get me wrong – I am enjoying it so far and enjoy DFW’s work more generally. But the level of detail and self-awareness that’s necessary to make the observations that he makes of his characters… Right? To be able to comment in detail on some of the exact thought processes, he must himself have been painfully self-aware as he sat in similar situations. I thought I was obsessive but this is next level. It’s actually mentally taxing to wade through.
Better I think not to use the mind so much – to both be and be aware of the being is too much to handle. Hence why writing and introspection is not always healthy. I want to join the Olympic Club swim team so I have a regular physical outlet that feels like an obligation. The physical is important because it releases the mental when the mental cannot self-release. Anyhoo, that’s about it. Things are not bads.