without preamble

So banal, this desire for a sense of ourselves as fully known, wholly inhabited. Such a cliche, this obsession with the ones who remind us of the adults we hoped we’d become.

All this falling down, and becoming caught in, all these webby rabbit holes; youtube; ‘personal’ blogs (if such things are possible); fansites; commercial websites on which it is possible to buy replicas of the artist’s favourite earrings, on which are printed tiny copies of her most well-known self-portrait in which can be discerned (just), dangling from her tiny earlobes, tiny bead-like shapes, which we are to take as the earrings themselves, each bearing an almost imperceptible swirling brushstroke at its centre (we are to take these as further female faces, and to imagine the earrings that must hang, invisible, by either side of that sharp little chin); the comments – that dread land beneath.

Looking elsewhere for the self. Nothing ethereal about it. Models and mirrors and not measuring up. Believing there are other people we could be, if only we weren’t stuck being these ones.

Inspirational quotations make us shudder. They remind us too much how jealous we are of those who have found a way to revel in their own misery, how easy it is to convince ourselves the sacrifices these others have made are more noble than our own.

And yet, here I am, writing about myself as a way of justifying having googled away the afternoon in search of these imaginary kin. Paraphrasing them. Putting one foot in front of the other on the path towards peace/death (Quentin Crisp). Always remaining the same age inside (Gertrude Stein). Living life backwards (Alan Cumming). Finding myself incapable of saying simple things simply (Marcel Proust). Imagining them all, existing bizarre and flawed in these same (beautiful, terrible) ways (Frida Kahlo).

Avoiding certain pronouns. Forgetting. Continuing.

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