Death was decreed for this Steppenwolf. He must with his own hand make an end of his detested experience—unless, molten in the fire of a renewed self-knowledge, he underwent a change and passed over to a self, new and undisguised. Alas! this transition was not unknown to me. I had already experienced it several times, and always in periods of utmost despair. On each occasion of this terribly uprooting experience, my self, as it then was, was shattered into fragments. Each time deep-seated powers had shaken and destroyed it; each time there had followed the loss of a cherished and particularly beloved part of my life that was true to me no more. Once, I had lost my profession and livelihood. I had had to forfeit the esteem of those who before had touched their caps to me. Next, my family life fell in ruins over night, when my wife, whose mind was disordered, drove me from house and home. Love and confidence had changed of a sudden to hate and deadly enmity and the neighbors saw me go with pitying scorn. It was then that my solitude had its beginning. Years of hardship and bitterness went by. I had built up the ideal of a new life, inspired by the asceticism of the intellect. I had attained a certain serenity and elevation of life once more, submitting myself to the practice of abstract thought and to a rule of austere meditation. But this mold, too, was broken and lost at one blow all its exalted and noble intent. A whirl of travel drove me afresh over the earth; fresh sufferings were heaped up, and fresh guilt. And every occasion when a mask was torn off, an ideal broken, was preceded by this hateful vacancy and stillness, this deathly constriction and loneliness and unrelatedness, this waste and empty hell of lovelessness and despair, such as I had now to pass through once more.
“empty hell of lovelessness and despair”
i love this dang book
man . . . . . . i gotta hurry up and get dirty again. i’m dirty, but i’m not dirty enough just yet. when i was LA, all spooked up and strange, i thought: “yeah baby. this is the version of myself i like most.” (spoilers: i hate all other versions of myself (lol))
i mean: i ended up in a huge korean karaoke bar with ten friendly strangers who came over, one by one, and introduced themselves and talked to me, and hugged me, and so on. people were dancing around and screaming and bless their hearts. we all piled into my rental car and went to someone’s house, god only knows who, and kept on hanging out until it was way late. next day i went to a clown-themed strip club on sunset with sarah pardini, and she gave me $20 in singles, and we sat right at the front . . . she called it “the rack” . . . and man we were laughing like hell. it was so dumb and weird. i loved the hell out of it. all weekend i was waking up on floors and couches! eating and drinking with strangers! confiding and being confided to! driving real fast, and being alone in parks and in diners, and so on. . . .
i wrote some terrible trash and a few letters too! in the very same silver lake coffee shop where i had brushed my teeth and washed my hair in the bathroom sink just before heading off to the LA convention center to cover an expo i never actually got into. man! i guess that’s my LA headquarters. i guess that is where i set off from to debase myself beneath that merciless sun!
starsailor! you’re alive! god bless you, mr. starsailor. we all thought the experiment had failed. well, maybe that comes later. but the thing lives on for now at least. . . .
now get to work!!!
hanging out with people in california language lesson:
“yes” = “maybe”
“maybe” = “no”
“for sure dude!” = “no”
“rad! let’s hang out soon!” = you will never hear from this person again
a hard “no” does not exist in california parlance
there ya go
dante in the clover patch
good-bye sarah pardini (and todd, the weird frankenstein-handed pillowman who lives in sarah’s room)