By Jack Lytle
It must have been dropped since the last rain since it has no water damage. Its cover is a grid of pink, green, yellow, and orange squares, all individually convex. They have been treated with a gloss, making 77 coloured reflections of yourself observe you with the same interest that you do them. It was supposed to rain later that day, so my archival instincts kicked in and I included it in my bag. I assumed there would be references within it that would allow me to detect the identity or location of its author, so I brought it home without any guilt.
It's crass. & in this moment it feels contrived. But with every passing pen stroke I narrow the canyon between me & the present moment. Running in time with colour. More focus on individual words than phrases. The slight intrusion in my mind of an idea, then a mosaic. Then, it's not true. Subtlety escaping my ears as hot gas leaving my jaw clenched and lip quivering. I return to the origin point. The warm quilt of comfort ability. It gets me high and stills my mind, caresses my flesh & ties bowling balls to my eyelids. I am a bag of flour. An arm attached to my body feeds me spoonfuls of flour by no will of my own. I resist it & my stomach expands. It gets me upset & all my eyelashes fall out, blinding me. I laugh at the irony & my body becomes a liquid, reducing my laptop to a hunk of earth. I spill over my mattress & soak into the hard wood. For an eternity I spread across the concrete of the basement floor in ecstasy. When I awake I am hair falling to the floor having just been clipped from a beast in a barber's chair. I bounce on the floor.
*This reality lasts only moments.
Evidence that the journal was free-written was riddled within the passage. The wanton rhythm seemed to be the result of a lack of a planned narrative. Instead, it used language to dance closer to absolute presence. The writer sometimes writes him or herself into a paradoxical loop.
But with every passing pen stroke I narrow the canyon between me & the present moment.
How can one possibly reach the present moment if they regard their progress whatsoever? Regardless, the passage was intoxicating. After reading, it felt as if magnets were in the couch, powerful enough to claw at the iron in my blood. I just wanted to relax my jaw and let my head fall back. The intensity was increasing exponentially. As the journal burned closer to the moment of presence, I would inhale deeply at its exhaust.
Hours passing without my knowledge like trying to hold sand in open hands.
The grease that coats my sin sinks me back into the now.
There is a sexuality to what I do. Not a perversion in any sense.
But the fragility in alignment with thoughtless concentration.
Action without deliberation.
Knelt with multicoloured wires weaving through my fingers, the legend tattooed to the inside of my eyelids, I raise my head to find complex sequential lights firing off.
The thing shudders.
I gave my skin to the journal. I allowed its imagery to pulse through my thoughts. The honesty in the poem stepped into my skin, and acted out moods and environments through empathetic puppetry. The sensation I got after reading a passage was satisfying enough to last an entire night, although it was impossible to stop anywhere specific.
Feeling lately that all outside of my mind is like a screen, video game, or computer program. An external, sterile, sometimes fleshy and textured collection of code & every single moment is
Right in the middle of a sentence? After all that connection, and it left me with an incomplete thought? I was jealous of the writer's distraction. This half-thought gave me the courage to close the journal. I lay in bed trying to imagine a suitable ending for the passage. I found it impossible to reverse the empathetic process, and puppet my thoughts through their voice. I considered that maybe my strong emotional response to the fragmented passage could be an indicator that it was an intentional cliffhanger.
I managed to go two days without reading further. I was proud, I was independent. I was a free man and no literature could tie me down! Except my ice-cream bucket was getting shallow. My desire for relationship thickened.
I decided I would give it another chance, although this time I would make clear to it that I couldn't date a journal who just cuts sentences in half. We had to hash these things out before I committed myself again. I blew off some human friends and resumed reading that night.
1. Thou shalt learn the conventional wisdom.
· Imitate before you create
· know what is expected
2. Thou shalt develop solid working habits
· A writer who waits for ideal conditions will die without ever putting work on paper
· Don't wait to be inspired
3. Thou shalt get better on thine instrument
· Provide yourself opportunity
· Write away from your instrument, (write in your mind rather than stepping into your comfort zone) 4.Thou shalt write from the specific to the universal
4.The details of your life ring authenticity
· Personal detail—pulling back to worldwide
· Rarely linear
5.Thou shalt write then thou shalt rewrite
· The first draft is shit
6. Thou shalt not engage the left side of the brain until the right is finished
· You can't write and edit at the same time
· When you hit a block your left brain is getting involved, walk away
7.Thou shalt nurture thy subconscious
· Broaden your horizon
· Music will come through the subconscious
I asked for complete information, and it was delivered. The desire to self-improve warmed my chest. Well, maybe that was the push-ups I was doing after I read the Seven Commandments. Consider though, that the inspiration for the push-ups came from the Seven Commandments. I just wanted to take all mouldable aspects of my routine and massage these nuggets of improvement into them. This passage corrected my posture. I was pleased with the journal, I really wanted it to know that it wasn't just any journal to me. It was the journal. ‘Til bookworms do us part.
Man bites dog
Tango in Paris
Beyond lies the words
Piper in the woods
Breaking the vows
The five obstructions
Wings of desire
The journal and I finally committed to sexual connection through a mutual understanding of imperfection. The journal massaged the prostate on my brain that deals with association. I felt my voice shining between certain syllables. I was so influenced by previous readings that I had been complemented by the journal's soul. This perception graft could predict the intended mood swings of the next lines of the poem. Reading felt interactive. While I read, I was participating in a three-legged experience. Together, the journal and I harmonized to each other's brainwaves in a way that could only be categorized as sexual.
Dazed & Awake – Aerial M
Out of breath and grinning a little, the journal put a song on. Well, I did physically, but it was its choice of song. A couple of down-tempo guitars joined us in our mind. They were respectful of our experiences and did not try to compete with our connection. Or I just didn't like the song. I didn't read again until the next afternoon.
Obviously a little upset at my silence after sex, the journal was being a little choppy. I understood, but tried to explain that I had educational obligations that were more important than reading a journal I found on the ground.
1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31
I kill all my house plants
I was surprised that the journal would so boldly threaten to become one consisting of only numerical pass-codes and pessimistic quips. I realized I was being a total jerk, giving some other stupid assignment my primary attention. I apologized. Seventy-seven rainbow Jacks looked back at me and told me with their 154 eyes that I was to be forgiven.
Vision is the least satisfying of the senses
There can be no relationship between the
Content & the perceiver
But it's hypnotic
Attentiveness to relativity (size) &
Attributes brings me into a trance
It doesn't take thought form/definition
Magnification happens instinctively. This phenomenon is unique to this sense
The journal relays the passage I would have read if I were more receptive after sex. A clear and concise explanation of the trivialities of sight. An odd choice of subject for something bound without eyes of its own. I found a passage in the back of the book that had been ripped out. One that was annoyingly human.
I want to write an album. My attention span is incredibly weak since coming to Ottawa. I haven't written one full song. My goal in coming here was to become hyper & instead I'm met by a cobweb version of myself. I want to write an album. I want to start now, ( November 15th) and have it mixed in January/February. I can't stop feeling like I need more intake I.E more information before starting. I know that the more I write & calibrate my problems the better I'll get. I get frustrated when I don't meet my standards off the bat. Harold Budd is phenom. I'll set very low expectations. Something ambient, slow, chord heavy, sad, rhythmic or atmospheric textural experiments. Impressionism met by surrealism. Surrealism as impressionism. Lianne. It'll be happy. I have a Lianne. Avalon sutra. Gas. Fingertips. Cold water. Comfortably not numbness. Meditation into thoughtless laughter
Finding out there was someone else to absorb the information was difficult. I wanted the journal to be happy, sure. I just wish I could have been the one to inspire the journal to continue. I want to feed my meat into the journal's intellectual grinder and have my name pumped into the passages like a sausage. I don't have the confidence though. I would have to locate the original writer, and influence them enough that they would journal about me. I'm not interested in the dangerous and shifting emotions of a human. I wish I, too, could be scripture.
Jack is a professional writer in training, but already is a seasoned unprofessional cook. He enjoys both activities equally, though one satisfies his soul, the other his stomach.