“Wabi means that even in straitened circumstances no thought of hardship arises. Even amid insufficiency, one is moved by no feeling of want. Even when faced with failure, one does not brood over injustice. If you find being in straitened circumstances to be confining, if you lament insufficiency as privation, if you complain that things have been ill-disposed—this is not wabi.”

– The Zencharoku (Zen Tea Record, 1828)


Subterranean Homesick Blues

If you can’t dig deeper, build a nest and settle for shallower grounds.

Compromise is not submission.
Acceptance is not resignation.

Tag Team

The constant, instant shifting of moods, from cold to furious to hysterical to morose to indifferent to composed to frighteningly chipper. Silence, tears, shouts, angry trembling, Stepford smiles, quizzical eyebrow raises, laughter, all jumbled, mixed, in sequence, in reverse.

The only reasonable unreasonable explanation is that there’s a tag team made up of parts of myself with different temperaments. Detached yet inseparable. I do wonder, when one takes a hit, who gets hurt?

Burning, Burning, Yearning

A few months ago, a dear friend brought to mind an age-old question:
When we break up, where does the love go?


It’s fascinating how sadness and other forms of emotional distress are often accompanied by physical pain. The chest pain of sadness, the abdominal pain of anxiety, the headache of anger.

How are the physical and mental pain connected? Can one literally die of heartbreak or any other devastating loss? How does it all work?

Quote of the Day

“Let the credulous and the vulgar continue to believe that all mental woes can be cured by a daily application of old Greek myths to their private parts. I really do not care.”

– Nabokov on Freud.

“And I will be alone again tonight, my dear.”

Written by Love then-guitarist Bryan MacLean, this song has been perfectly described as ‘lushly beautiful, but also achingly sad’. Both the mariachi-flavoured, Arthur Lee-dominated Love version and the simpler MacLean solo version are beautiful in their own heartbreaking ways.

Love – Alone Again Or (mp3)

Bryan MacLean – Alone Again Or (mp3)

Yeah, said it’s all right
I won’t forget
All the times I’ve waited patiently for you
And you’ll do just what you choose to do
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Yeah, I heard a funny thing
Somebody said to me
You know that I could be in love with almost everyone
I think that people are
The greatest fun
And I will be alone again tonight my dear

Like Thomson and Thompson or Mac and Cheese

A: how is it that you keep going from one relationship to another?
A: and enduring the same kind of fights over and over again?
B: maybe I’m just stupid
A: or courageous
B: or a fucking idiot
A: or a fucking braveheart
B: well
B: it’s because of that high
A: what high?
B: that high feeling
B: being in love
A: ah
A: and the low feeling?
B: unfortunately, they go hand in hand

(…or Pinky and the Brain or Mulder and Scully or pre-divorce Sonny and Cher or Beavis and Butthead or or pre-Keene Act Rorschach and Nite Owl II* or pre-breakup/post-reunion Simon and Garfunkel or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde or Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde**)

*apparently Rorschach and Nite Owl II slash fictions exist in this world, to which I say, in the words of film-version Nite Owl II, “NOOOOOOOO!”

**awful 90s comedy home video that tainted my childhood innocence

Quote of the Day

“I wasn’t born this way. One creates oneself. I believe whatever I dream. Whatever I dream, I want to do.”

– (Ladies and gentlemen, Miss) Grace Jones.

What I Think About When I Think About Jumping

Last night I could not sleep well. Waking up every couple of hours, I was not fully conscious, not fully asleep. I had a few things in mind, and one particular thought constantly tormented me.

I thought of getting out of bed, opening the door to the balcony, and jumping off.

Worried, afraid, terrified, yet intrigued, I wanted to do it, but I didn’t want to do it. I could hear a click as I turned the key. I could feel the cold balcony railing with my hands. I could smell the faint scent of the grass below. I opened my eyes to find myself in the comfort of my bed, having been deceived by my senses. I stared at the door. Should I get out? Should I pull out the keys and swallow them?

It was not the first time this urge came to me. Once in a while it comes, with varying intensities. Sometimes it passes by, casually, like any other thought. Sometimes it stays for hours, haunting me, taunting me.

The urge to jump from high places, like many seemingly strange pathological behavior, is not uncommon. The French call it l’appel du vide, literally ‘the call of the void’. What a fascinating phrase, and how fitting! A seduction to emptiness, to nothingness, that I find so hard to resist. A temptation I try to resist in many similarly harmful situations.

I have often wondered about these destructive urges. Why do they come so often, in so many different forms? I don’t want to die, not yet, not of my own accord. I don’t feel suicidal. I don’t want to be harmed. Are they products of sheer curiosity? Simple ‘what if’ questions? But I don’t want answers, I don’t want to feel the consequences. Are they some kind of cathartic fantasy? But I don’t imagine myself feeling any relief or release. Why, then, do I fear the temptation of self-destruction?

I once pondered about Thanatos, the ‘death drive’ in Freudian thought. Is there really a primitive urge to harm oneself, to destroy, to take a step closer to death? If so, in order to survive, should one protect oneself not only against external forces but also against one’s own innate self-destructive nature?

Poe once wrote about what he named ‘the imp of the perverse’. The impulse to do the complete opposite of what is ‘right’, the temptation to do things one should not do. The desire, when standing upon the brink of a precipice, overcome with fear, to plunge and fall. “And this fall,” he wrote, “this rushing annihilation – for the very reason that it involves that one most ghastly and loathsome of all the most ghastly and loathsome images of death and suffering which have ever presented themselves to our imagination – for this very cause do we now the most vividly desire it.”

It would probably be easier and wiser to think of these urges as light symptoms of obsessive compulsive or some sort of anxiety disorder that may or may not be harmful. Accept them, dismiss them, or face them, with external help if necessary.

Sometimes I wonder though, might I give in? When the imp of the perverse on my side whispers in my ear, luring me, seducing me, might I answer the call of the void? Or would the void, the emptiness, the nothingness, remain a seductive, untouched mystery?



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • 29,069 visitors