Raqim

For those wondering, the name Raqim (pronounced Rah-Kim) means "writer" in Arabic. The origin is actually mysterious and the name is referenced only once in the Quran, which referred to the Al-Raqim Cave of the Seven Sleepers in Jordan. 

A blogger wrote this back in 2009 (sorry, I can't find the link to his blog...I just lifted this quote and saved it in an MS Word file, so shout-out to that person): 

"Most said it refers to a book or inscription on which their story was written down after their death and placed in the cave [...] The name of Petra itself is Greek for 'rock'. Judging from their own inscriptions, the Nabateans themselves called their capital Reqem, meaning 'of varied colours' - apparently in reference to the varied colours and shades of the sandstone cliffs which formed the narrow confines of the city.

- Salibi, Kamal. The Modern History of Jordan.

Perhaps they were inhabitants of Petra and escaped from it? Maybe the Raqeem is Reqem. Petra."

Whether it means "writer," "poet" (as defined by the website Harris and I found the night I looked for my new name) or "varied colors," I think it's a nice name and I share it with Rakim the legendary rapper and A$AP Rocky's real name, haha. Also, the name was chosen at random and it just so happened to mean "writer," so Harris and I had a WTF moment, thinking it was destiny to carry that name. 

lk;lknl.jpg

Photo taken in 2006, back when I was skinnier and handsome LOL. I'm laughing but also crying on the inside. 

Status Update

1. I received my business cards.

1.jpg

One for Lot 49 Private Detective Agency. If you need background checks, surveillance, undercover operations or digital forensics done, feel free to message me. To view a comprehensive list of all my services, visit: www.lot49agency.com/primary.

The other business card is for general purposes since I do a million different things. I just hand it off whenever I do freelance journalism assignments or photography work. 

2. Shout-out to the editors of 100 Word Story and to the publisher, Outpost19. It's always cool and humbling to see my name inked on the pages of a book.

2.jpg
2a.jpg

3. I found this old laminated transit map of NYC. Back in 2007/2008, I used this instead of Google Maps because my phone broke on my way there. Anyway, it got me around and helped me re-learn the city I used to call home. Seeing that map in the storage box brought back a lot of memories. 

3.jpg
3a.jpg

I found other old maps of places I've been to. 

3b.jpg

4. I received a surprise in the mail today. It's a copy of Lettres Mag, which had a successful Kickstarter campaign. I had no idea why I received it. The sender label didn't tell me anything. No name--nothing.

I opened the package and saw this beautiful magazine with thick, premium paper. I saw a note handwritten by Agnes, the creator and editor of Lettres, stating that Audrey had gifted me this copy and the opportunity to write and submit my own letter for the next volume. Thank you, Audrey. Although we don't talk anymore (even though I'm technically talking to you if you're reading this), I'll always appreciate your thoughtfulness and generosity. 

4.jpg

T(ex)t

T(ex)t is a blog series featuring old conversations, posts from my archived blogs, and other text content from the past. They are sometimes accompanied by photos or illustrations. 

The Dying Process in Dreams

Light and shadows flirt openly on the weathered back fence. The leaves of the mango tree my grandma planted before she died trembled as an invisible serpent stalked my weakness.

IMG_20170123_085909_252.jpg
IMG_20170123_090122_697.jpg

Razor blades of grass try to pierce my skin, but it’s futile—I’m already in the middle of decay. Autonomous realities cross paths, collide and overlay. The objective had become lost in my madness.

IMG_20170123_083441_602.jpg
IMG_20170123_083430_491.jpg
IMG_20170123_083503_522.jpg

Inch by inch, my consciousness disappears in the wind stream. My atoms begin to disperse, breaking bonds, causing my physical self to become transparent, walking (or waking) into another world.

IMG_20170915_194141_728.jpg

A version of "The Dying Process in Dreams" was originally published in Visual Verse (Vol. 2, Ch. 2, December 2015). 
 

Anemone Birthmarks & Butterfly Attacks

I'm no longer moving to Chicago. The job I was going to apply to at the University of Chicago is no longer available, because the project's funding had ended. I also realized that it makes more sense to open my agency in Houston and just cover the entire state of Texas. There are more potential clients simply due to a higher population. In a decade, Houston will probably surpass Chicago as the third largest city (in terms of population) in the United States. I love Chicago and I wanted to try to make it work by moving there, but as with my affair with San Francisco, it's a city best loved from afar and in between long absences. 

DSC_0003.jpg

In order to do everything, I must let go of some things. I need to compress and concentrate all of my projects until they are laser beam-focused. 

IMG_20171115_081524.jpg

I had a hyper-vivid dream last night in which I was standing in a field with a few people. It was a cloudy day, but they were stratocumulus clouds instead of altostratus (or what some people refer to as "overcast"). Anyway, the sky became darker and darker within seconds, like some strange weather phenomenon or the opposite version of the dancing sun mystery supposedly experienced in Fatima. It felt evil. The clouds themselves began to swirl and coalesce. I didn't want to say anything at first, so I looked at the facial expressions of the other people with me. They didn't seem bothered or even notice. I asked them if they were seeing the same thing I was witnessing. They said they didn't and asked if I was all right. The best way I can describe the feeling inside my chest--and this is just based on what I've read online and in books--is what supposed alien abductees felt when they were paralyzed and taken. I guess another way to describe it is the feeling of sleep paralysis: dread, naked fear, helplessness, and the realization that you are a small and weak human being compared to powerful forces that are out there in the universe. 

IMG_20171115_081530.jpg

I believe this next decade will have many fun challenges and life-changing events. There is nothing I can't do (well, except for brain surgery...also, I can't sing to save my life). Almost anything is possible for as long as I put in the work and learn as much as I can. 

IMG_20171115_081540.jpg

A couple of nights ago, I told Daphne that I needed to regress in order to progress. What I meant was that I needed to go back in time to my roots, back to who I was as an 18-year old, in order to move on to the future. I liked the type of person I was at that age. I was a dreamer and a realist at the same time. I was motivated, inspired and headstrong. I was cynical enough to not be fooled by the liars in this world, but I wasn't jaded either. I was still enthralled by the beauty of a sunrise. I was also more focused on my original ambitions, or what I call the Unholy Trinity: photojournalism, writing and filmmaking. Journalism was the career that I loved, writing was my side project, and filmmaking was my secret passion. 

IMG_20171115_081602.jpg

Burying the past by creating new memories is exciting to me. It's cyclical. After all, the future becomes the present and then the present becomes the past all within seconds. This is why I'm glad that I kept copies of all my blogs and social media accounts. I need some documentation that I actually did all of these things. Otherwise, all of these memories would have been buried in a mass grave in my mind. 

IMG_20171115_081815.jpg

What We Wanted and What We Got

I remember smoking a cigarette down the street from the bookstore, waiting for you to clock out so that we could have dinner. Standing in the middle of the pedestrian street, I watched your figure manifest into a final form, like a ghost, among the crowd. You walked over to me with a smile, never letting the corners of your mouth relax until you came close enough to speak to me. In another life, we're already living in that brownstone duplex near Hamilton Park, talking about literature or discussing our marriage the following Spring. In this reality, we are ghosts, and you are no longer walking towards me. I'm no longer waiting for you to appear. 

IMG_20180129_210451.jpg
IMG_20180129_211258.jpg

Perhaps there is a planet kinder than this one. Maybe there are happy conclusions to sad stories in rejected manuscripts that will never see the printing press. Imagine: our daughter reading that book, on that planet, in another dimension. 

IMG_20180127_180939.jpg
72860005.JPG
72860007.JPG

Status Update

1. Blur my thoughts again..

2. I began writing the profile of my character for In Memoriam (read the summary of the concept here). It's obvious that the main character is somewhat based on me (i.e. Miguel is just the Spanish version of my name and "Rima" is an anagram of "Mira"). Since the character is dead, it feels like I'm writing a eulogy or obituary for myself. However, for the most part, the character and narrative is fictional. 

Outline IN MEM.JPG

So why did I choose Central Valley as the setting? Well, I chose to challenge myself even more with this literary project. The challenge is to write a Great American Novel (e.g. The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, et al.) compressed into a novella length and the narrative told through guestbook logs. Is it possible? Possibly. 

I want to capture a time and place (California in the mid- to late-20th century). The key to writing the Great American Novel, in my humble opinion, is to show the reader how your characters and their surroundings evolved together. As my main character struggled on his way towards the American Dream, you see the reflection of his journey in how California evolved from a wilderness populated by impoverished farmers and miners and outlaws to one of the wealthiest economies in the world. 

3. I've officially launched my marketing and SEO campaign for Lot 49. Let's solve some cases. 

kml.JPG

4. I recorded a recitation of a poem from Close Proximity, titled "Oceanography." Enjoy.

For Chelsea.

5. This is the look of a man who is bewildered by worldly affairs, but stupid enough to participate in this game called life. 

IMG_20180326_054624_3.jpg

The Railway Notebook: San Diego to Houston

1. It doesn't feel the same. Maybe I'm dead inside, but nothing feels the same. There are no sharp emotions, no divine highs or hellish lows. I felt nothing as I took a bite of my carne asada fries and wondered why the fuck I came here in the first place.

IMG_20180328_160908.jpg

2. California will always be a land of myths to me; mythologies I've created. There are three places in this state that are connected to memories of a woman. One of them doesn't even live in the United States. I'll never figure out California in the same way I'll never truly understand my childhood in New York City. 

1.jpg

3. How is it possible to be depressed in this beautiful, sunny weather? While waiting for my train to Los Angeles, all I could think about was splaying my body across the tracks and masturbating to see if I could cum before the train cuts me in half. But then I bought ice cream and felt better and happy again. 

IMG_20180328_105240.jpg

4. In some ways, this trip marks the ending of my "former" life and the dawn of my next awakening. The future starts now.

3.jpg
4.jpg

#Five

I met a nice lady from La Jolla who was headed to L.A. to spend Passover with her family. She was kind and talkative, and gave me a local newspaper she loves to read. I remarked how the column she suggested I read made me want to go back to writing op-ed pieces. She said, "Why not? You can start now." I truly attract the best kind of strangers.

6. "I don't ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way
I don't ever want to feel
Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way"

- Red Hot Chili Peppers, Under the Bridge

6.jpg
6b.jpg

7. Where does our consciousness go when we die? Some say heaven/hell/purgatory. Some say another dimension or alternative timeline. Others opine that there are no souls and no afterlife, and that dying is similar to a dreamless total-blackout sleep, but forever. My theory is that we all end up at a shithole motel in Van Nuys with basic TV channels (and only softcore porn), 10-year old mattresses and a swimming pool littered with used condoms. That's where our souls will spend eternity.

8.jpg
8c.jpg
8b.jpg

8. One of the most talented pianists in the world plays at the Los Angeles Union Station. 

9.jpg
9b.jpg

9. Whilst on the phone with Daphne at the station, an Asian man who looked older than his actual age approached me shyly. He waited for me to pause my phone call before asking me if I was Filipino-descent. I told him I was and so began another hour-long, single-serving friendship with a stranger. He told me he was trying to get back to San Diego but was not able to get his mom's money transfer in time because of the Easter holiday weekend. So he was stuck in L.A. for basically the weekend if he couldn't find another way to get the money. I told him I couldn't help him with the bus ticket, but I could buy him a meal and give him a handful of cigarettes.

We talked about Filipino gangs in L.A. (he was bangin' back in the 90s) and how he was cool with the Mexicans, but didn't like Vietnamese gangsters, even though his wife was a Vietnamese gang member herself. He told me about his stints in prison and various other topics. He was a talkative, funny guy.

We then went outside to smoke and talked to an old lady from Chattanooga. I told her that it's one of my favorite towns. We--all eight of us in the small smoking "pen" (it looked like an actual dog or pig pen with metal bars forming a square)--somehow ended up talking about our experiences with animal attacks. It was hilarious. 

11.jpg

10. There are three types of people who take long train rides: 

A) People who don't like to fly, because of phobia, or cannot for religious reasons (a group of Amish ladies boarded in Alpine), or due to medical conditions.

B) What I call "railway groupies." They're usually retirees who love trains and everything about them, from the history of the railroad to the unique design of each station. They also try to complete every single long-distance train route on Amtrak. 

C) Runaways, drug dealers, women trying to escape a violent relationship, or those trying to escape something in general. There are those who are trying to start a new life. 

Which category do I belong in? Maybe C. But I wasn't trying to escape the past. In a way, I was trying to do the opposite: I was trying to run towards the past. Did I find it? I can't say I did. The past was dead and gone. My attempt at time travel ended in failure.

16.jpg
12.jpg

11. I met one of the most interesting people in the world while hanging out at the lounge car at 2 in the morning. He was dressed like a 1960s Parisian writer. He described himself as a woman who metamorphosed into a man, a scoundrel, a vagabond, a lover, a world traveler who had just concluded three years of globetrotting. He asked me what I did for a living and I told him that I was a private detective. This made him more animated than he already was. He asked me why I was taking the train from Los Angeles to Houston, and why I wasn't out catching bad guys. I joked that I wanted to experience a real-life Murder on the Orient Express. We then thought of various whodunnit scenarios on the train. Each person who entered the lounge car was a suspect to us.

He told me that he was a writer and that launched a conversation about the literary craft (listen to a snippet of our conversation below). He told me that he'd give me some clementines the next time we chatted. 

13.jpg

12. There isn't anything new under the sun, but there are a lot of things left to discover hidden in the shadows.

16c.jpg

13. I realized now that she loved me very much and I wish I had appreciated her love before she left my world. 

17.jpg

14. Another morning, another day, another revolution, another war, another lover, another death, another heartbreak, another moment of joy, another coup d'état, another conception, another bankruptcy, another divorce, another dollar made, another story finished, another story begun. 

14.jpg

15. Hello, world. How will you destroy every fiber of my being today? Please reconstruct me as a cloud, so that I may experience everything you have to offer, from floating above the Serengeti to raining down on Tokyo.  

18.jpg
18b.jpg

16. Daphne mentioned Before Sunrise because I was on a train. Would I meet my Celine? I told her I already met her. 

Then we somehow threw in all of the movies that involve train scenes, like Train to Busan and 500 Days of Summer, and I just mashed it all up.

20b.png
20c.png
20.jpg

17. My friend actually gave me that clementine. Thank you. May you write the greatest novel of all time. I'll be the first one at the bookshop to steal your book and then PayPal you the cost so that your greedy, soulless Manhattan publisher doesn't get a percentage. 

21.jpg

18. I met a British solo-backpacker who was in San Diego the same time I was. He stayed at a hostel near Point Loma. It's weird I never saw him at the Old Town station or at Union. I guess I was not very observant during this trip. Anyway, we smoked cigarettes during our longer-than-usual stop in Alpine. I told him about Marfa and Big Bend National Park, trying to be a good Texan and do my part to boost tourism in the state. 

He let me take some hits from his marijuana vape, which was nice of him. He told me that he was a screenwriter. I told him that he was the second writer I met on the train. When he found out that I also did filmmaking, we launched into a discussion about the process and our ideas and the films we've made thus far. He invited me to join him in the lounge car to discuss our screenplays more, but the weed was too strong and, mixed with exhaustion, I fell asleep in my seat when I got back on board. Sorry, mate. Good luck on your year-long journey and on the script.

19. I've had many adventures in my short life thus far, but nothing will ever be as great as the time in high school when I walked home from the motel extremely high & drunk, and actually got food from Whataburger by walking through the drive-thru, and ending up in bed safe & sound asleep. 

27.jpg
Screenshot_20180401-084336.png

20. I will always love America as a landmass, as a concept, as a collection of wonderful people, but I will never understand its politics and history of violence and hatred. I truly am proud and humbled to have lived in this great piece of land. America has shaped me more than the Philippines and any other nation or culture I'll adopt as my next home. America, I'm glad I had the chance to witness your splendor and experience your love. 

23.jpg

The Railway Notebook: Motion Parallax

Video haikus of my train journey from Houston to Los Angeles. 


Notes: The second video, titled Arizona Sunset, was recorded in the lounge car of the train. It reminded me of a scene in 500 Days of Summer, where Tom and Summer bumped into each other on the train after they had broken up. So, in post-production, I added the same track that was used in the scene of that film. 

The Railway Notebook: Houston to Los Angeles

1. Smoking a cigarette outside the Houston station, underneath canopies of freeways, the mighty skyscrapers of downtown remind me of mountain ranges. They loom over me like the ghosts of ancestors seeing me off on my sojourn. 

IMG_20180326_180935.jpg

2. Leaving means forgetting (or at least temporary memory loss).

IMG_20180326_181405.jpg

3. I wonder if some of our atoms stay in the places we've been.

4. Love is more palpable when there is a longing for someone. When you're in the presence of that person, you're simply in that state of being. When they are away, you truly learn what love is. Love lives in absence. 

IMG_20180326_183811~2.jpg

5. Staying in motion is easier than staying still.

IMG_20180326_183412~2.jpg

6. There was a time when I never left my room. I would just lock myself up in the "dungeon" and create things (e.g. writings, paintings, music, experimental self-portraiture, etc.). Now that I'm older and a bit (keyword: "bit") wiser, I know that you have to go out into the world and collect stimuli. You can't just create experiences in your internal world; you have to absorb the eclectic range of environments around you. 

IMG_20180326_190012.jpg

7. There are so many mysteries hiding in the crevices, nooks & crannies in every inch of Earth that I hyperventilate knowing I'll never discover all of it. The best thing I can do is walk aimlessly and stumble upon these secrets and revelations. 

IMG_20180327_085233.jpg
IMG_20180327_111557.jpg

8. The further I am from my comfort zone, the closer I get to touching the truths in this world. 

IMG_20180327_110243.jpg
IMG_20180327_110258.jpg

9. I love pressure, tension, and do-or-die situations. Some of the greatest overachievers in history created their masterpieces or were at the peak of their potential during tumultuous times in their lives: Picasso lived in Nazi-occupied Paris and was trying to maintain a failing marriage (mostly due to his own demons); Einstein dealt with a bitter divorce, chaotic affairs with multiple women, and a mentally ill son; Muhammad Ali faced imprisonment for fighting against the draft, was politically active in a time when politics was an extreme sport even compared to today's climate, and was busy surviving punches from George Foreman; Jesus, the Buddha, Prophet Muhammad and Che Guevara all launched and spearheaded their own respective revolutions, which is about as high-pressure, burdensome and nervewracking as any sentient being can experience in this universe. 

IMG_20180331_084500.jpg

10. I get sick of myself every other day. Sometimes I just want to escape this body, this brain, and start over from scratch with a new shell and new soul. I'm disgusted by who I am and what I've done so far with my life. This is what I thought about as I drank beer in the empty lounge car at 2 in the morning, my reflection flashing on the window every now and then. 

11. Three-hour layover in San Antonio from 11 PM to 2 AM. I met this dude at the Houston station. He was headed home to New Mexico, but is planning to move to Baytown where his parents now live. One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. It's funny because we looked like Mexican gangbangers with all our tattoos, but we were the chillest people on the train. It was his first time in San Antonio, so we walked around and I showed him the Riverwalk. We found a bar halfway down the street from the Amtrak station and got some drinks to kill time. While smoking cigarettes out on the front porch of the bar, this funny ass dude just joined us. It was like drinking with the kuyas (Tagalog word for "older brother") . I don't know what we talked about because I got drunk, but I do remember that it was the funniest and most insightful conversation I've had in a while.

12. At the El Paso station, there's a Mexican lady at the front of the door of the back entry who sells amazing homemade burritos for $2. She's a legend among passengers. 

5.jpg

13. Solitude is a necessary part of survival in this day & age.

3.jpg
9.jpg

14. Arizona sunsets are one of the most beautiful things you could possibly witness on this planet.

IMG_20180331_055232.jpg
IMG_20180331_055709.jpg

15. The world looks dreamier the faster you go.

7.jpg

16. On a train, especially during a long journey, you get back to a rhythm of life we lost in the 21st century. There are times and places when you have no cellular signal or internet connection, and you remember how good it feels to bond with people you've never met before and will never see again. You remember what it's like to be a human being. You mark the passage of time with each sunrise and sunset instead of deadlines and schedules. 

8.jpg

17. I arrived in Los Angeles an hour before sunrise. I had been on the phone with Daphne in the lounge car as the train entered the city. Sometimes my life feels like a novel or indie film.

9.jpg

18. One day, I will still my mind and relax my body. Today is not that day. 

10..jpg
10b.jpg
10c.jpg
10d.jpg

Project Notes: In Memoriam

I will be on a train to California for the next twenty-plus hours, so I'll have plenty of time to read books and work on writing projects. One of the medium-scale projects for this year is an epistolary novella called In Memoriam, which is essentially the story of a man's life told through logs in a funeral/wake guestbook. Each character or guest will write different notes on the pages, such as memories, innuendos, and clues that paint a pointillist portrait of the deceased. It will start off seemingly normal and mundane (i.e. "He was a hardworking farmer and I'll miss having coffee and chats with him in the morning."), but with each entry you will see that this simple man was actually anything but. 

IMG_20180321_173919.jpg

I customized and bought an actual funeral guestbook from a shop, and when my mom saw it on the kitchen table, she asked, "Who died?" I explained to her the concept of the book and she actually thought it was clever. That is a first. She usually thinks I'm just a weirdo with crazy ideas (which is true), or is totally oblivious to my literary work. 

I will write each entry using different ink types and colors in various handwriting styles. The second phase will be to scan each page to produce high-resolution JPEG images. The actual finished product will essentially be a picture book of these images. 

This will be one of the main projects I'll be working on during my week-long journey. The first phase is to write an in-depth profile of the main character, then create an outline of his life and death, and then create profiles for each character/guest and how they related to him. This will be fun.

With Your Feet in the Air and Your Head on the Ground

If we were tectonic plates, you and I would be two major plates inching towards a complete superimposition, rubbing against each other. What are we doing? I don't know, but it feels good to be a part of something larger than myself. 

I remember being quite infatuated with a woman I knew from California. I don't know how many times we imagined fucking near the edge of a canyon, the stars witnessing our transformation under a moonless night, or penetrating her vagina with my tongue while adrift on a tiny boat in Lake Tahoe. That was our plan: to fuck in every destination of our cross-country trip. Sex and geography and the logistics of travel and body movements all became elements of a mathematical formula we invented. We never had the chance to realize that plan, but she's still out there driving across the rugged landscape of my mind.

Before she told me about what happened to her as a child, I didn't think it was possible for me to feel helpless. I wanted to murder the people that violated her innocence. I imagined doing horrible violent things to them and juggling that with thoughts of embracing her until we became pure angelic light. But I couldn't do anything. What happened was ancient history--history that haunts her like war memorials--and it wasn't possible for me to fight specters. 

2016-12-06 06.33.56 1.jpg

How is it possible that we share the same land and yet be complete strangers? The muddy soil my sneakers depress is connected to the warm sand you bury your feet in when looking at the ocean. The distance between us doesn't matter. We are connected by the earth we stand on. Tap morse code on the ground and I'll press my ear to the sidewalk to receive your message. I'll always listen to your stories. 

2016-12-06 06.34.26 1.jpg

You were just swinging like a dime. Posing with no reason and no rhyme. Did you help me find the long way home? Sing me songs that I did not know? I'd been waking up for quite some time.

Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. Concentrate. 

Wake up.

Who is Michael Raqim Mira?

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


My birthday is just around the corner and I realized I'm only two years away from college. Two more years until I go into an empty future. Where I'll end up in 6 years, I'm not so sure. After the arrests and school detentions where will I be? Where? All I have is my mind and my heart. Where will they take me? I look back on the life I've led so far and see a barren landscape. People are wondering, "Yo, why's he like that?", "Why's that dude always sullen and shit?" Like my homeboy JR said, "You don't even know half of my life." Word up, J. And no one knows a fourth of mine.


I'm gonna go eat some cake.

- Xanga
 

love and hate.gif
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
5.jpg
;alksdnf.JPG

One Day, You Won't Even Remember Who You Once Were

I can go from elation to deflation within 3 ½ minutes. I am losing a fraction of my mind with each passing day, and I'm excited at the thought of complete madness. Perhaps I was programmed like this. Maybe "madness" is just another term for a new state of being. Whenever we change, the person we were in the previous phase looks ridiculous. How is it possible that someone like that had existed? That surely couldn't have been me, you think to yourself.

2017-09-20 07.05.13 1~2.jpg
2017-09-20 07.26.20 1.jpg

One day, I will be far removed from the person I am now. One day, you will pass me on the street and not even recognize me. Almost everything I do is strategic, and I have plans for a metamorphosis. 

I realized early on in my teenage years that I was born to be a ball of chaos. I can never be just one thing. I am a reflection of the universe and its violence and magic. Like water, I can be rain, ice, mist, snow, clouds or vapor. I can be a glass of undisturbed water or a raging river; a tsunami that drowns the world or a well that keeps a man lost in the desert alive. Why be one thing when you can be everything?  

IMG_20161221_154723_648.jpg

Love Letters

Audrey, good luck on your performance tonight. I know the premise of your monologue is that it's a love letter to me, but since I helped you edit it heavily and practically re-wrote the whole thing, it's essentially a love letter to myself. Nonetheless, I can't wait to see a video of you performing it.

Here is the text of her monologue:

Audrey 1.JPG
Audrey 2.JPG
Audrey 3.JPG

Now, a love letter of my own:

Screenshot_20180216-213120~2.png
Screenshot_20180226-235736.png
Screenshot_20180226-235712.png
Screenshot_20180226-235727.png
Screenshot_20180226-235742.png

The Crying of Lot 49

I finally created a website for my private detective agency, Lot 49. All of the photos on the website were taken by me. No stock photography needed. I figured I can advertise my photography career on there subtly.

"I can photograph your cheating spouse or do wedding photography when you marry your new spouse."

LOT49.gif

These Fantasies Are Detrimental to Your Mental Health

“Sitting there on the heather, on our planetary grain, I shrank from the abysses that opened up on every side, and in the future. The silent darkness, the featureless unknown, were more dread than all the terrors that imagination had mustered. Peering, the mind could see nothing sure, nothing in all human experience to be grasped as certain, except uncertainty itself; nothing but obscurity gendered by a thick haze of theories. Man's science was a mere mist of numbers; his philosophy but a fog of words. His very perception of this rocky grain and all its wonders was but a shifting and a lying apparition. Even oneself, that seeming-central fact, was a mere phantom, so deceptive, that the most honest of men must question his own honesty, so insubstantial that he must even doubt his very existence.” 

― Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker

 

I saw an old manuscript under my bed earlier. I never finished it. It was about a young man who dreaded going to an event he had to go to the next day, so he just sleeps it off and hoped that everything would be all right in the morning. Each chapter was supposed to be a different segment in his dream reel.

It’s not too far from who I was, or how I was, at that time in my life. I was a loner. I never went anywhere except to the library. I used to always watch Naruto and anime films and conspiracy theory shit on the History Channel. I was perpetually listening to music. I also slept a lot. I think I was lost. I was confused. This was during that transition period between adolescence and adulthood, and I didn’t want to be a part of the latter.

11.jpg
12.jpg

I used to love watching the shadow of leaves on my wall as the sun was setting. I would open my windows, put the fan on full-blast, and just lie on my bed with my hoodie and headphones on until my body became numb. Sometimes thoughts floated around in my head. Sometimes it was completely blank. Lying on that bed, I grasped the concept of zero. Zero feels neutral. It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel bad. It’s just—nil. Then I would fall asleep.

15.jpg

From time to time, I do wish I could just go to sleep and never wake up…just dream a beautiful never-ending dream.

20.jpg

"Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor..."

It's amusing to read my blogs every now and then. You can clearly see my cyclothymia (a form of bipolar disorder). One day, I'm taking on a dozen projects or rapidly talking about my latest idea, and then the next week I'm talking about heartbreak in poetic prose. It's fascinating to examine yourself through your journals, but not in a self-absorbed kind of way, but in the way a child might be fascinated by a dead bird on the ground. There's a sense of detachment, yet an overwhelming sense of curiosity. 

I've had more hypomania phases than melancholia so far this year. Yes, I know it's only February, but I've shifted gears frequently the past two months--more so than previous years. To be honest, the few melancholic episodes I've had since Christmas were probably influenced more by the terrible weather up in New York than by the usual neurological abnormalities caused by the disorder. When I was manic, I was productive, arrogant and aggressive, which is the usual for me. I felt godly and untouchable, and it helped me push through the winter gray days. 

Right now, I believe I'm in a neutral (a.k.a. "normal") mode. I hope I get into a hypomania phase again by the time Spring comes. Maybe a bit of melancholia will put some interesting and beautifully dark thoughts into my head, such as a new piano composition or painting. Mostly, I simply like that depression forces me to stay inside my room, cut off communication with everyone (not including close family and specific friends), and just zone in to whatever project I'm working on. 

I believe I was supposed to write about a completely different topic, but whatever, I don't give a fuck right now. I'm sure recording my thoughts on my mental status is more important.

Never Let Me Go

I began learning the art of letting go at an early age. When my parents divorced as soon as I was born, I learned to let go of my father. When my grandmother died of a stroke next to me in bed, I learned to let her go into the afterlife. I've learned to let go countless friends whom I've bonded and had numerous memories with, friends who I saw damn-near everyday, friends who, at the time, I could never imagine not being a part of my daily experience. I've learned to end those chapters, close those books, and archive them on my bookshelves. I've learned to let women I've fallen in love with go: anatomies learned through touch; names and phone numbers memorized; food preferences; songs we claimed as ours; places we used to go to; thousands of hours of voice conversations and words written/unsent. All of that data--stored and out of sight. I've learned to let them go, one by one, and each one was a painstaking and excruciating process. After a while, you stop thinking about all of these people.

Perhaps I'll look at this one day and think that this letter was just another reaction to letting someone go, but this feels different. Maybe it's because our dynamic is unique. I'm going to miss you so much. I'm not afraid of the decades we're going to waste in silence. I'm not afraid of the part in which I'll miss you. What I'm scared of is that I will learn to let you go as well. Once I've mastered this art form, the methodology became easy. I don't want it to be easy with you. I want to sit down on the other side and watch this bridge between us burn slowly. I want my arson to feel like heartburn this time, so that letting you go means branding you inside my body, so that letting you go means that I secretly never actually let you go.