the (almost) daily appreciator

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

otherwise published (by me): The Importance of Being Pretentious

well, that´s not exactly correct, unless one counts publication on the message boards of a creative writing website. alas, here goes something i wrote, using a character created by someone else.
it caused quite a controversy in creative writing class. it has even been called pornographic - whatever...
what it is is masturbatory. one fellow student even ventured the idea that the whole peace seems to be a masturbation fantasy. it wasn´t intended as such, but he has a point.
whatever anyone thinks of it, i had fun writing it:-))
here goes a critique bei christian - in german. since i want reviews/critiques of texts on this site, and not just texts or links, and i didn´t want to review my own text, i asked if he would be so kind - and he was:-) :

Ich habe es damals abgelehnt, den Text auf meiner Seite zu veröffentlichen, weil er mir dafür zu explizit war. Angesichts der Tatsache, dass ich auch minderjährige Schüler und etwas zugeknöpfte Erwachsene zu den Besuchern zählen musste, schienen mir Kamerafahrten vom Schritt einer Frau durch ihre Titten zum Gesicht gepaart Masturbation usw. nicht unbedingt adäquate Bilder zu zeichnen. Das soll aber nichts über die eigentliche Qualität des Textes aussagen. Man könnte ihn nämlich auch anders als "anstößig" beschreiben: "Brachial offen" ist das erste, was mir dann in den Sinn kommt. Dabei ist mit brachial nicht plump gemeint, denn die Offenheit kommt durchaus nicht unkompliziert daher. Da ist dieser Großkotz, für den der Schein mehr als das Sein zählt, der seinen nicht unerheblichen Intellekt in jeder Sekunde manipulativ einsetzt, um letzten Endes mit einer völlig generischen Frau die schnelle Nummer zu schieben. So weit so einfach - wir lassen uns ein wenig beeindrucken von seiner aufgesetzten Art und vergnügen uns ein wenig damit, über ihn zu urteilen. Bloß ausgerechnet vor dem Hintergrund seiner anfänglichen Motive erreicht er über den Sex eine geradezu buddhistische Erleuchtung. Wir wollen uns davon mitziehen lassen, aber der weitere Verlauf lässt uns mit voller Absicht auflaufen. Die Erkenntnis, das Aufgehen in sich selber zerplatzt in dem Erwachen aus dieser, wie wir nun erfahren, Masturbationsphantasie. Die Realität enttäuscht. Und weil gerade erst auf den Zug mitaufgesprungen waren, erwischt uns das Gefühl gleich mit. Nicht dass wir über den Text enttäuscht wären, sondern wir fühlen uns in unserer eigenen Realität ein bisschen wie der vermeintliche Großkotz: jämmerlich. Wir hoffen darauf, uns ein wenig darin suhlen zu können, aber das Ende hat erneut anderes und macht aus der Gesamterfahrung eine Inspirationsquelle in der sich alles großartig anfühlt. Gemeinheit! ;o)
Interessant wäre es jetzt zu sehen, was gefühlstechnisch nach dem Auf und Ab bei den einzelnen Lesern hängen bleibt - mir ist es eine düstere Form der Einsamkeit, die sie aber gar nicht sein müsste, wie ich annehme. Vielleicht ist auch die vage Vermutung, dass aus allem etwas wachsen kann, was vorher nicht da war - vielleicht auch einfach nur, dass nichts echt ist.
Man muss das nicht mögen, aber mir persönlich gefällt's.
Dabei will ich nicht verschweigen, dass mir drei Kleinigkeiten nicht so hunderprotzentig gefallen:
Zunächst einmal der Umgang mit ein paar Namen. Klar, der entsteht aus der Umgebung durch die anderen Geschichten des Creative Writing Kurses, die allesamt das gleiche Grundsetting benutzen und somit eine Anthologie erzeugen. Aber ich kenne die anderen Geschichten nicht und daher habe ich das Gefühl, dass hier und da ein paar Namen auftauchen, die an anderer Stelle (also in einer anderen Geschichte) erläutert werden. Es irritiert außerhalb des Zusammenhangs beispielsweise, dass wir uns ausgerechnet in einem russischen Dorf befinden.
Das zweite wären die appendix guys: Im Prinzip sind sie ja ganz witzig angelegt und sreicheln natürlich wunderbar das Überlegenheitsgefühl des Protagonisten, aber meiner Meinung nach wurde bei Ihnen ein wenig zu dick aufgetragen. Eigentlich sind sie ja nur stupide Beinicker, doch dafür ist ihr Wortanteil fast ein bisschen zu groß. Wenn es heißt: "Jesus, if this guy were a Times New Roman Word-file he´d be in size 18, fat print, underlined – saying: I DON´T UNDERSTAND A WORD YOU´RE SAYING!!!", dann wirkt das fast wie eine Leseanleitung, dabei ist ja völlig klar, dass der Protagonist ein Gehirnbomber ist, der ein paar Hohlfrüchten gegenüber steht.
Der dritte Punkt wäre das Ende oder besser gesagt die Formulierung am Ende: "I jump onto the window sill of my open window and greet the morning – which has sprinkled the horizon with a blazing inferno of clouds – in the most gloriously sublime way possible." - das mutet mir doch etwas kitschiger an als es müsste.
Aber sei's drum, das ist alles nicht tragisch und beeinflusst nicht das wesentliche...
Nebenbei bemerkt, nach Deinem Kommentar zu "Von Kopf bis Fuß" und meinem abermaligen Lesen dieser Geschichte fühle ich mich meinerseits tatsächlich thematisch an deinen alten Text: "Der Geschichtenerzähler" erinnert. Der Geschichtenerzähler baut sich ja ebenfalls eine Art Fassade auf und landet darüber in einer unangenehmen Leere - nur dass ihm der manipulative Charakter fehlt, wenn ich mich richtig erinnere, und es für ihn nach der Leere nicht den mentalen Sonnenaufgang gibt...


The Importance of Being Pretentious
by Thomas Hemsley

Damn it´s hard to look as if you didn´t give a damn about how you look.
I could always really not give a damn, of course – but then I´d look like a bum. No, No – I want to make some kind of impression without seeming as if I´d spent hours in front of a mirror.
Let´s see: I´ve taken a shower, washed and combed my hair, shaven my face a bit (just so much as to not look too clean shaven), put on my coolest shabby-looking clothes, sprayed a bit of deodorant around in the bathroom (so a few particles could hang on to my clothes – if I had sprayed myself I´d smell to artificial) – something is missing… Of course – my hair looks as if I had gelled it back – disgusting. I best bang my head a bit. Combing half-long hair while they´re wet and then shaking and banging around will make it all look uncombed and wild but not unkempt and without form.


Standing in a corner at a vernissage – or any other kind of standing-conversations-party for that matter – and reading a book is definite to draw some eyes on you. Although the posture shouldn´t give the impression that I´m too cool for this crowd. And seemig too concentrated will make the others think I´m bored and don´t want to talk to anyone – if that were the case, then I would ostentatiously “read” something very boring like some economic textbook, or something equally sleep-inducing.
Although: I have once read something economy-related about this formula of marketing: AIDA. This formula can be applied to other fields of human interaction, as well; for example to rituals of dating and mating.
A for Attention: I´m standing as casual as possible beneath this picture of the fountain in front of Kolja´s bookstore “The Fountain Pen” standing somewhere on Zekavar´s scrapyard. Brian has shot a few pictures of our town with double exposure, and now he´s exhibiting them under the motto “Topography of Janus” – whatever…
The title of my backdrop – so to speak – is “Alpha and Omega”. You just have to love Brian.
-Hi! Whatcha readin´?
I for Interest: the object of my desire has finally decided to substitute eye contact with verbal contact.
-Roman Jakobson. “Poetics”.
-Aah…and that is?
-A linguist – or, more precisely, a semioticist.
-A semi-what?
-Semioticist. An analyst of signs.
-Uhhh…huh!?
I don´t know why, but suddenly a few other people gather around me. Someone should try to analyse movements of conversational groups at these kind of occasions. There are always the “monolithic groups” that stay together the whole evening, then there are the “grouphoppers”, usually individuals wandering from group to group – the hosts for example. Brian is one of my new listeners together with one of those “appendix-guys” that always follow someone. They usually don´t contribute anything, they just nod all the time – which is the surest sign that they don´t have the slightest clue of what the conversationalists are talking about.
This party is definitely picking up. I better shift into a higher gear.
-We´re surrounded by signs, day in day out: language is a sign system. Logos of products are signs. Works of art are signs. The Sign is everywhere. The signals we send out – verbally or nonverbally. The signs o`the times…
-Exactly, man.
I forgot: appendix-guys do contribute something to conversations: confirmation of what the speakers say in form of the aforementioned nodding and its verbal counterpart.
-The core of semiotics is linguistics – or maybe it´s the other way around. Whichever – linguistics is all about language. What is language? What is communication? And if you throw in a bit of anthropology, or sociology, or psychology, then, of course, there are the questions of what the individual speech pattern says about a person and whether certain types of people have significant ways of speaking. For example: Some people seem to utter only adverbs without the accompanying verb of which the adverb is supposed to be the adjunct.
-Exactly, man. Absolutely exactly.
Says he, while nodding – accompanyingly. Jesus, if this guy were a Times New Roman Word-file he´d be in size 18, fat print, underlined – saying:
I DON´T UNDERSTAND A WORD YOU´RE SAYING!!!
-Mmh…but aren´t all those “signs” surrounding us just outward appearances?
Finally, the host decided to interact.
-Of course they are, but…
-Then, isn´t semiotics a bit superficial?
-Like I said: It doesn´t just deal with the way people speak, for example, but what this way says about the individual, the language of his community and the whole society, basically. Take this picture over there, with our bridge standing upside down on top of the old church on the hill – a semioticist wouldn´t just say: “The way the photographer uses light and shadow is quite interesting, indeed. And just take a look at the utter graininess of the black in the upper left corner” or some such nonsense. No, he would ask himself what a bridge usually signifies and what the church stands for and what kind of meaning the combination might convey. You´re right that a sign is an outward appearance – but not just that. Actually, the form´d be a non-entity if there were no concept behind it.
-Yeah…man, it´s like art imitating life imitating art…and, uuh, the subtext, no, I mean metalevel of it all, it´s just…like…that that is is, man.
-Exactly, man. I can see you understand what I´m driving at.
-Totally, dude.
God, I love the appendix-guy. This calls for a reward: before he gets lost on his metalevel while the others tread through the muddy waters of subtext, I´d better roll a joint for my audience. It´s always hard standing empty-handed – or, rather, bookholding – in front of a crowd while telling them where it´s at. And the art, no, science of rolling it up is just the best way of keeping my hands busy while keeping their ears and brains occupied.
-I´ll give you an example: You all know the “Blue Danuble” hotel, yes? Ever wondered, why the hell it´s called “Blue Danubllll” instead of “Blue Ujzek” or “Blue Danube”, for that matter? Or why, for heaven´s sake, does it have an English name? I´ll tell you why: Back in the old days of the Socialist regime the founder of the hotel dreamt of the Free World. And the Danube, reaching as far into the west as it does, was kind of a symbol for him of travelling from east to west, even of linking both. And as the language of the free west and of internationality was, and still is, English – hence the English name. But since he wasn´t so firm in the imperialistic language, he mispronounced it. Of course, one could ask: Has he never stumbled upon the true pronunciation, and if so, why didn´t he change it, or why wasn´t he corrected by his successors. A true semioticist would certainly try to find answers to these questions – if, say, Umberto Eco were to pass through town and ´stumble` upon the ´Blue Danuble`, he would definitely sleep there and try to find out why that is it´s name – and then he´d write an essay, maybe contemplating the hopes and dreams of oppressed people – and maybe he´d come up with an association to Columbus, who, I believe, always thought that he had landed on an Indian island, not on an island of the new continent? But I divert. My point is: the true semioticist is a universal scholar – a Renaissance man. Jakobson, Barthes, Eco – they think and write about everything. Not just language and literature. But also: art – high and low brow-, sociology, history, psychology, philosophy – everything. I´m goin`out on a limb here in saying: semiotics is the basic science – not mathematics or philosophy. Hell, math is nothing but a sign system. Plato, one of the most important philosophers writes about ideas, eternal concepts behind this world of physical signs. And Aristotle – Poetics and scientific terminology, anyone? I´m telling you: that that is isn´t just that, man! Appearance equals existence! Art equals life! Metalevel equals subtext! Form equals substance! Signifier equals signified!
Short dramatic pause.
-Et voila! I rolled it up for the host to light it up and us all to smoke it up!
-Right on, man.
There is nothing better than intellectual masturbation – well, ok, there is something at least as good; and given the right occasion, the right surroundings, the right crowd – the one might just lead to the other. The other being the D of the formula: Desire.


The later the evening the more scattered the groups. A lot of people have already left – in pairs or alone, and most groups have diminished into pairs – or loners. One of the pairs that have left are my object of desire and me.
I´ve taken her to one of my favourite places in town – the old graveyard behind the newer one. This is the place where I like to wander about at night to regroup and think and write. I like graveyards at night in general – but this old, long unused graveyard has something very special.
-What is this?
-A pagoda. Asian architecture. The most interesting thing about it is the story behind it. You want to hear it?
-Definitely.
-About 200 years ago the pagoda had been part of the will of Helena Talviecze, owner of the fortune of an obscenely wealthy family, whose members mostly spent their time with a glamorous lifestyle and the anticipation of Helena’s death. Accordingly as soon as Helena became ill they had planned a pompous burial and an expensive monstrosity of a family mausoleum that would tell everybody how little they cared about her. When finally her will was read it revealed a clause that shook the greedy conventionalism of her heirs. No statues, no tombstones or crypts should ever be engraved with the name of one of the family. Instead a pagoda would have to be build on the ground by the cemetery, surrounded by a Chinese garden. All family members would have to be cremated and their ashes scattered over the place while the pagoda and garden had to stay well kept, otherwise the whole fortune would fall to the church. This family is now extinguished, and no one uses this graveyard anymore. – This pagoda is maybe some sort of empty sign, if you will. The original meaning has since vanished – it just makes no sense anymore, it basically never did – on some weird level it was meant to be meaningless. Maybe that´s why I like it so much – the backstory is intriguing, but, overall, there is nothing that can interfere with my own thoughts and ideas…
Then, suddenly, without any kind of ´warning` she comes to the final A of the formula: Action - she just sucks me into her. She might not be talkative – but she sure does know how not to render her tongue completely useless. No more talking, no smooching around, no hanky panky – she plunges right into oral combat.
And, as sudden as the kissing started, she undresses – and seeing her in all her glory…her tits, breasts, boobs, thingies – there is just no sound image that can do the mere concept of them any justice – let alone the physical realization of that concept. I just have to touch…and…they feel just as they look.
As if by magic, I also get undressed and we lie down. On the naked floor I celebrate her perfection with my lips and tongue.
Whatever literature has to offer on the subject of eating pussy – whether it´s the nitty-gritty realistic, pornographic kind what with the smell and taste, the pubic hair in the mouth, the warmth, the wetness – or the erotic kind what with the flowery metaphors and what not – it´s all true, but it´s still just a grain of the truth. At this very moment there is more at stake for me. Very briefly, I remember all the pussies I have eaten right down to the first – at the age of six. Of course it was no eating, just tender kissing and probing.
As an adult one always talks about these things as if they were mere games – and that they were, but children tend to take their games very serious – and despite the innocence and playfulness there was no naivete involved – on a very basic level we knew exactly what we were doing – we hadn´t had sex education yet, or had caught our parents in the act, or had seen sex scenes on TV – or, at least, we didn´t need all that to know that the male thingie belonged into the female thingie, and that it was a matter of the highest intimacy and importance. And the innocence involved was merely the effect of not having to worry about the right pretext and context (chatting up, my place or your place, romantic music…), the right size of it, contraception, finding this certain spot, penis failing to erect and the aftermath of it all – and that innocence was what I got back in this very moment.
I look up, and past the belly and the tits our eyes met – this is definitely one of my favorite points of view. I don´t know if it is her look or her hands in my hair – but something pulls me back up to her, and we kiss – this time with more tenderness than at the beginning. As we kiss she pushes me on my back and sits on top of me. She looks down at me with that look, that women always have when they´re on top – that look saying “You´re mine!” but without the condescension and possessiveness of those words. Entangled in that look, I at first don´t notice her slipping it in. But as it is wholly enveloped by her a warm tremor of realization washes through my body forcing my head to fall back, my eyes to close, my hands to wander rather aimlessly around her body and my loins to attune to her rhythm. And as friction and moisture seem to dissolve our genitals into one warm unity, all my bodily fluids concentrate at this very point, and our bodies, the floor, the pagoda, the graveyard, nature, the world, the whole of the cosmos bleed into one…

…all becomes one…

…all is one…

…all one…

…alone…

…that´s what you are. Not alfuckingone, but afuckinglone. You jerk-off. Absofuckinglutely pathetic. You had it all going for yourself. You could have had her, but no, you have to ruin it all, you have to talk all the time…oh dammit, now my thinking even pollutes my fantasies. Look at this, there it shrinks away and on top of that the pressure of the other fluid comes.
While I stand there pissing, I suddenly have an idea. As if the pressure on the bladder somehow has a firm grip on the brain, and releasing the bladder also lets the synapses connect and the stream of ideas flow.
I sit down and start writing:

A Parody of the wright as a young guy by Mercusz Kerl

“ ´…washes through my body forcing my head to fall back, my eyes to close, my hands to wander rather aimlessly around her body and my loins to attune to her rhythm. Inside my whole self an orchestra consisting of Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, the Supremes, John Lee Hooker, BB King and the London Symphony Orchestra interpreting Beethoven´s 9th symphonie – not the phony Gospel-like English translation, but true to Schiller´s orgasmic poetry about ecstasy, paradise and God as unifying spirit of the cosmos. As I hear this my body, our surroundings, nature, the world and the whole of the cosmos become one. All is one. I am in the truest sense of the word: alone…`

My teacher once told me I should beware of taking narcissistic pleasure in my imagination. But isn´t the imagination there to take pleasure in? And isn´t the pleasure of the imagination always narcissistic. All art, all writing, youth, life, imagination are nothing if not masturbatory. We shouldn´t beware of that, we should delve into it, revel in it, wallow in it…”

As these words flow onto a piece of paper, my blood starts to flow into it. Rather than subliming the libido through creativity, the release of creativity seems to set free certain urges. This Creatus Interruptus must be rectified. I jump onto the window sill of my open window and greet the morning – which has sprinkled the horizon with a blazing inferno of clouds – in the most gloriously sublime way possible.

3 Comments:

Blogger Senksis said...

Ich erinnere mich daran, dass Du das Buch tatsächlich gelesen hast, um noch einmal die persönlichen Bezüge einer Geschichte aufzuwerfen - ich kann mir nicht helfen und frage mich wie schon beim ersten Lesen der Geschichte, an welchen Stellen noch etwas "Thomas" durchscheint... Mal abgesehen davon, wie wäre es damit, wieder etwas zu schreiben? Schließlich zeigt das hier doch eindeutig, dass Du eben nicht nur der Kommentator bist, wie Du gerne manchmal gerne behauptest... ;o)

7:42 AM  
Blogger Senksis said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:24 AM  
Blogger tomdwayne said...

"der geschichtenerzähler" - hmh...fast schon vergessen - kannst du mir den auch noch zuschicken,am besten auch gleich mit kritik - find den gerade nicht.
kannst auch gerne andere texte, die nicht von dir sind kritisieren:-))))

6:43 PM  

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