I’ve got too much work to do and I don’t want to do any of it. I just hope my driver’s license renewal went through and that I get it before 20 March because otherwise I’m gonna fscking go spare.
I was wondering: do other people have all of the same feelings as me, but they just somehow manage to bottle it all up really well so that they seem bored and tranquil all the time? I mean, do they get annoyed with my intensity because it threatens their ability to keep a lid on their own? Or do they just not have the same feelings at the same levels as I do, meaning that they get annoyed because they really think I’m making it all up or that I’m off my nut?
All in all, I think I’m in a pretty good mood this morning, although I have a lot of work to do before early afternoon. Right now I’m sitting in the basement doing laundry, because I am completely out of things to wear.
This morning I am thinking fondly about my significant other. I talked to her on the phone last night just after reading Hunger, so I was in that misty, hazy mood that you get into when you’ve just read an intense novel and are open to anything and everything and appreciative of all that you know and love. It’s funny how when you’ve been in a relationship for a while, the sound of the other person’s voice can make your night. At the same time, I’m getting very accustomed once again to working, thinking, walking and talking as a solo act. Graduate school will do that to a couple, I guess.
I have to call the Utah DMV today to see if my renewal will be accepted. I already called the rental agency, and they won’t rent without a current driver’s license.
Hunger: A fine little book. A moving little book. And yet somehow, it just doesn’t get to me on the same level as some of the others from the existentialist and proto-existentialist traditions. The trouble is that Hamsun’s books are full of consciously innocent people unable to avoid doing damage to others whom they also know to be innocent people; circumstance and absurdity are the evils that toy with peoples’ lives.
That doesn’t ring entirely true to me. Absurdity on this scale implies some subjective incongruity in the analysis of context. But if we are all innocent, and we all know this, then there is no subjective incongruity. I think rather than “we are all innocent” ala Hamsun, the more true statement is Dostoevsky’s sneering, if unwritten, mantra: we are all guilty, and circumstance and absurdity are really phenomenological manifestations of our own broken natures… Absurdity is not a force a priori, but rather is experienced as the conflicts between different elements of our natures (in the individual) and different natures (in the group). Absurdity is the reflection of our individual and collective guilt, in the mirror of our claims of, and aspirations to, individual and collective innocence.
Where Hamsun somehow fails:
“I talked at length about these burns which my soul had suffered. But the longer I talked, the more anxious she became; finally she said ‘Oh, my God!’ in despair a couple of times, wringing her hands. I could see quite well that I was torturing her, and I didn’t want to torture her but did so anyway. At last I thought I had managed to tell her the broad essentials of what I had to say. I was moved by her despairing look and cried:
‘I’m leaving, I’m leaving! Can’t you see I have my hand on the latch already? Goodbye! Goodbye, do you hear? You could at least answer when I say goodbye twice, all ready to leave. I don’t even ask to see you again, because it would cause you pain. But tell me, Why didn’t you leave me alone? What have I ever done to you? I didn’t get in your way, did I? Why do you suddenly turn away from me, as if you don’t know me any longer? You have plucked me thoroughly clean, made me more wretched than I’ve ever been. But, good God, I’m not insane. You know very well if you stop and think that there’s nothing wrong with me now. So come here and give me your hand! Or let me come to you. Will you? I won’t do you any harm, I’ll just kneel before you a moment, kneel on the floor right there, in front of you, for just a moment; may I? No, no, then I won’t do it, I can see you’re scared, I won’t, I won’t do it, do you hear? Good God, why are you getting so frightened?”
Dostoevsky succeeds beyond all expectations:
‘Water, give me some water, over there!’ I muttered in a faint voice, realizing full well, however, that I could’ve done both without the water and without the faint voice. But I was putting on an act, as it’s called, in order to maintain decorum, although my nervous attack was genuine.
She gave me some water while looking at me like a lost soul. At that very moment Apollon brought in the tea. It suddenly seemed that this ordinary and prosaic tea was horribly inappropriate and trivial after everything that had happened, and I blushed. Liza stared at Apollon with considerable alarm. He left without looking at us.
‘Liza, do you despise me?’ I asked, looking her straight in the eye, trembling with impatience to find out what she thought.
She was embarrassed and didn’t know what to say.
‘Have some tea,’ I said angrily. I was angry at myself, but she was the one who’d have to pay, naturally. A terrible anger against her suddenly welled up in my heart; I think I could’ve killed her. To take revenge, I swore inwardly not to say one more word to her during the rest of her visit. ‘She’s the cause of it all,’ I thought.
Our silence continued for about five minutes. The tea stood on the table; we didn’t touch it. It reached the point of my not wanting to drink on purpose, to make it even more difficult for her; it would be awkward for her to begin alone. Several times she glanced at me in sad perplexity. I stubbornly remained silent. I was the main sufferer, of course, because I was fully aware of the despicable meanness of my own spiteful stupidity; yet, at the same time, I couldn’t restrain myself.”
I really gotta stop reading these kinds of novels. I like them too much.
I should probably try to gather up some breakfast and/or lunch. Something to keep me alive for a little while longer so that I can write my papers and make progress in the all-important Project 51. But I have no ideas and no determination. It’s another ten minutes or so until my laundry is done. I’ll wait until then; then I’ll gather up my PC, get back to work on the writing that I was supposed to submit yesterday, and try to find some lunch.
With luck, I will be able to submit my writing by 1:00 or 2:00 in the afternoon… Still early enough that I can’t really be accused of anything. Hopefully.
I have run out of things to say.
Yes, it’s a shock to me as well.