Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

Monthly Archives: September 2021

When you need a plan, the last thing you need is a plan.  §

I have these moments where I think, “What I need is a plan. A plan to get back on the horse. A plan to pull it back together. A five year plan. A one year plan. A ten year plan. Whatever. A plan.”

And then the next moment, when I think about doing it, I feel tired.

I feel tired, tired, tired.

So tired.

Too much living. Too many things. Too many people.

When life was simpler, lives were livable.

But now?

How many people can you love and lose? How many towns can you live in and leave? How many caskets can you carry? How many memories, tragedies, diaries, trajectories can one lifetime hold?

How much is too much?

I’m tired. Do I want to make a plan? Do I care to make a plan?

For what purpose? To do it all over again?

I’m tired of loving people. I’m tired of living places. I don’t like where I am, but the proverbial definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result.

How many plans have there been?

How many books have I written? How many degrees have I earned? How many homes have I outfitted? Plan after plan after plan, executed over decades.

I always end up here. What will be different this time?

I know, I know. Try a different genre of plan. As in, way different (I mean, I’ve done the date a dominatrix and the move to New York with $200 to your name and the promise to write a book in a month without knowing how things).

Join a monastery? Hike from the top of Alaska to the souther tip of Chile with only the clothes on my back?

I mean, I’m not twenty any longer.

Somebody drop the meaning of life in my lap, please.

I have a lot to give but no fucking way to give it.

Why do things happen the way that they happen? Why do lives turn out differently?  §

Sometimes you can fight despair gently.

But sometimes gently won’t get you there.

Sometimes you have to fight despair with every last thing that you have.

I am fighting despair with every last thing that I have.

— § —

Here’s a nod to all the things that I won’t write. The things that you can’t say on your blog or anywhere else for that matter because they would make other people like you less and because they would make you like yourself less.

The things that you think anyway, even though this is the case and you won’t write them down or admit to it.

Here’s to being sad about the way that life has turned out so far. About all the times you choose and pursue and win the wrong triumphs. Some people do that a lot. I’m one of them. They’re wrong because they don’t get you anything in the end and because later on you regret them.

Here’s to being lonely and getting lonelier each time a new face is added to your life somhow.

Here’s to the self-indulgent feeling that some people are just cursed by destiny.

— § —

Some people are designed to be happy, and they are.

Some people are designed to be sad, and they are.

I’ve had some very high highs in my life, but they don’t seem durable. They don’t last for me. Even things that people say are the “enduring” highs that we’re supposed to pursue. Family. Education. Health. And so on.

They didn’t endure for me, even though they did for other people.

But I suppose I’m still lucky in a way.

I haven’t been diagnosed with a brain tumor or lost a loved one to a car accident. Thank God.

But I confess to significant envy of the people that went to college, got an advanced degree, got a good job, got married, had kids, bought a house, grew a 401k, took out a giant life insurance policy, and how have nice barbecues or weekends on their boat on Lake Powell.

I went to college, got an advanced degree, got a good job, got married, had kids, got hated, got threatened, got divorced, ended up in a mountain of debt, own nothing, have no 401k, have no life insurance, and now think I will be working at 80 while my ex is out having nice barbecues or weekends on their boat on Lake Powell.

What sin did I commit?

I was a damned good husband. And I’m a damned good father. And I won awards with my advanced degree. And I wrote a bunch of books. And everyone always congratulates me and tells me they look up to me.

So why can’t I have a good middle class life?

— § —

I guess it’s just not on the cards for some people. Fate’s a bitch.

No. No, it isn’t. Stop asking.  §

I don’t know what this is for.

There was a time, once, when writing was my outlet. There was a time, once, when shooting was my outlet.

Pen and camera in hand, I lived my life at a distance, at a remove, so that I could cope with it.

Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, New York, schools, road trips, drug trips, bad relationships, endless bottles of alcohol, tattoos, degrees, research projects, career twists.

There were, here and there, flowers. Clear, dark nights walking in the city alone. Rainstorms. Bundles of concrete and steel tucked away in the nooks of the endless map. Miles and miles and forests and forests and cities and cities.

There were moments to cling to, things to anchor to from a distance—from behind a pen, from behind a lens—and to hold on to for dear life.

— § —

This isn’t an outlet any longer.

There is no outlet. No outlet that can cope. No outlet that can help me to cope.

The rain falls and the wind blows and more rain falls and more wind blows and the leaves are torn from the branches and the branches from the trees and the trees from the frightened earth and the earth from the substrate of being and all swirl and swirl and clamor and rush in the tremendous fury of the tragedy.

— § —

The tragedy, our state of being, the nature of our world. The tragedy.

I can live in darkness. I can cope with a bleak world of suffering and hate, of the song of destruction wailing always and everywhere amidst twisted figures of suffering and deformity and decay, blah, blah. I can drink with the devil.

I can live in light. I can cope with a sparkling world of echoing giggles and the scent of lemons and springtime, in which creation bubbles forth in endless fertility and naive ecstasy in simply being. I can drink with God.

But these are not our world.


It is the both that I can’t cope with. That I have no outlet for. Both.


Fucking both. Always both.

Innocence forever arising anew from heaven only to be fed to the slaughter, without understanding, without guile, without cause. Laughter giving way to cynicism giving way to the demonic. Springs of purity feeding cataclysmic mountains of corruption that race ever skyward, a symphony of mold and blood and feces and rotting, defingered arms and socketed faces conducted by the devil himself, virtuoso and maestro.

It is the fallen world that I can’t cope with.

The fallen world.

— § —

There is no outlet from the fallen world and there is no escape from the fallen world.

The world in which all good things must end.

The world in which every innocent babe becomes Judas, Machiavelli, Jekyll and Hyde, and ultimately corpse in due course.

This is unacceptable.

In an unacceptable world, there is no outlet that matters. All outlets are merely ways of feeding diseased effluence into a dying sea whose death is never complete, whose suffering can never be slowed.

— § —

No, this is not a suicide note. I am always asked. For thirty years or more I have been asked, every time I reach the familiar impasse.

“Is this a suicide note?”


“Are you okay?” they always ask.

No. No I am not okay. No, I have never been okay. Not for a single day for as long as I can remember, since before I can remember, since before I could speak a word, have I been okay.

Who is okay in a fallen world?

Who is “okay?”

“What can I do? Who can help?”

I mean, what is the purpose of these questions?

“Who can help” is the eternal question, since time immemorial, since the dawn of man. The answers are Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. That’s who can “help.”

There is no help to be had.

Gravity pulls in one direction only. The fall is the fall.

We fall forever.

”I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”

— § —

”A Klee painting named ‘Angelus Novus’ shows us an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. This storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.”

— § —

”History, which is a simple whore, has no decisive moments but is a proliferation of instants, brief interludes that vie with one another in monstrousness.”

— § —

Every assassination, every cancer, every treachery, every unmarked grave, every cold case, every unheard cry in the darkness is proof that truth always wins out in the end.

Requiem.  §

The kids got COVID at school.
Then, my ex-wife and her husband got COVID.
Then, I got COVID.
Then, all hell broke loose.

— § —

At first, it was, “I think we might just be okay.”
Then, “I think I have gone crazy.”
Then, “Maybe I won’t go crazy?”
Now, “This is what it is like to go crazy, little bit little, with no means by which to stop it.”

— § —

There is no reality.
There is no reality.

Nothing that you take to be real is real. The ground beneath your feet and the rolling sky above your head are not there. You think they’re there, you may even be sure they’re there, you may even test your theory and physically find them to be there, and so they will appear to be there—until the day on which they suddenly disappear without warning.

And it will happen. It will happen to you.

Life, in this world of unrealities, is fundamentally a story of loss:

You are born.

Every day you lose something, some days more than others.

Some days large amounts of meat are torn directly from your trembling heart.

And ultimately, once it is all taken from you, you die.

— § —

Always remember that no matter how bad you think today is, today is already and fleetingly “the good times, before so very much was lost.”

It is an iron law of the universe that you reach tomorrow with less than you had today. So enjoy whatever hell you inhabit—because it is inevitably tomorrow’s paradise, achingly lost.

— § —

You are going crazy, too.

Some of you just don’t know it yet.

Reality is unacceptable and truths are hard.  §

It has been a long time since I posted anything. Things are not going well.

— § —

It has been a bad week.
It has been a bad month.
It has been a bad year.
It has been a bad decade.

— § —

One likes to think that “oh, the worst must surely be over by now, whatever comes next will be better.”

So far, this has proven not to be a working bit of hopetry.