"I am trying like Klee, to create something that will have a life of its own, that can put me in real danger, a danger which I willingly take on myself"
William Burroughs, Painting and Guns
Bloggers protect their offline identities to various extents, and the identities of those they write about. I could still pretend that Mikey is a character, a narrator. And it’s true: Mikey is a construct, a character that is being developed to carry out certain functions for its owner. Having features of a meme. There you go, Nardac, a real meme: Mikey and realgem and his slice-of-lime logo. It’s infected some people’s minds; if you find yourself clicking onto here regulary, you’re one of them. But I am probably the worst victim myself.
Also, as noted before (see part 3 of the post) on several occasions, there is something relevant here about Italo Calvino’s observation that the first character any author creates is the one who will write his book for him.
Now, anyone with a modicum of internet investigative skills could find my Real Name (tm) and other significant personal information about me without any great effort. (This is not an invitation to flood my inbox with emails beginning “Well, Mr _____, I happen to know that, in 2003…”)
When I began realgem this didn’t really matter to me. No disguises, I thought: just the ones I use in normal life (like this). It was also almost some sort of a cathartic exercise – live life in the open - at a dark time in my life. At the same time, I was setting myself up in direct competition with Big Brother – surely my life was more interesting than those dipshits? Well, Big Brother 5,000,000 – realgem 2,500 (and now down to 29 or so…)
It has been said the main qualifications for journalism are having a suit and tie, a half-way plausible manner, and a low, rat-like cunning. Well, I’ve got plenty of all of them, although mostly I wear suits without ties and use the ties for tourniquets. I can’t find veins in my lower arms easily any more, and that’s quite bad. I use the silk cat-print one (nine lives…) The dinosaur print one is bad luck, even though dinosaurs are cool (who on earth came up with a silk brontosaurus-print tie? Ah, T M Lewin & Sons of Jermyn Street).
Real-life stories. Not necessarily
What can we, real humans, do in this age of compartmentalisation and specialisation, of personal hygiene and over-use of deodorants - supermarket self check-outs – ticket vending machines - the attempts to erase all personal human contact from public life - the nanny state?
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
Yeah, there’s rock-climbing or para-gliding or scuba diving – contrived kicks you do your 9-to-5 to pay for. What is there in modern life that you can do that will challenge you on every side? Put you in physical danger and expose you to adrenalin; stretch your skills in applied psychology and force you to deal with a wide variety of people; challenge you mentally and intellectually, make you solve puzzles and improvise your way out of situations; learn new languages and cultures?
[redacted] until hair grew on my toes and I found myself becoming a hobbit and thinking (or maybe shouting): “Oh God, anything, anything you ask me, just for a boring life.” Casting yourself into the chasm of blind faith in God is all good and well, but you’ll still have your free will to deal with, motherfucker.
[It had ejaculated when it hit the windscreen – strange non-sequitur which will probably never be explained]