July 18, 2009

a good story

a good story
by brandon valade

today i woke up smoked a cigarette played guitar went to the bookstore almost went for a walk swallowed my own phlegm and decided that i was jaded with writing about myself.

he was not a real doctor • no hours of sleep • how i discovered my veins

no content

July 16, 2009

the ruins of how

“I am going to die.”

“You are not going to die.”

“I am going to die and there’s nothing you or I or anyone else can do about it.”

“You’re being childish.”

I tell her I am going to die as am I laying on my back, limbs sprawled out on the floor of the kitchennette area of my apartment, as if I am going to make a snow angel there. Regina lights a cigarette and steps over me to get to the fridge.

“Could you not smoke in here? Smoking gives you cancer, I hear.”

“Hear from who? And what? You smoke all the time.”

“I probably have cancer. I am probably dying of cancer right now.”

“You’re not. I promise.”

“You don’t know.”

Regina takes another long drag of her cigarette and sighs smoke into the air.

“You’re not going to die,” she says finally.

“Everyone dies.”

“Okay then. You will die.”

She is right.


that is bad dialogue that i wrote, perhaps as a part to be of "The Ruins of How", which is the tentative title of the story that i have developing in my head and which i described to alec as "postmodernist fantasy centering around alienation, psychological detachment, and the feeling of the familiar becoming disturbingly unfamiliar", after which i winced, because of how pretentious it sounded even to me. i was scribbling out diagrams of important characters and concepts on the back of an apartment advert that i received from a man on the street outside the subway station, funnily enough while i was lost and looking for alec's apartment.

i stopped at an applebee's while i was lost and sat in a booth across from a man with a lazy eye and tourette's style anti-bush sentiments on his breath, things like "fuck... bush... and if you don't you're a fucking idiot... bush." i made the mistake of making eye contact with one of his eyes.


"those glasses perscription?" he asks me.

yes, i tell him, and look back out the window in an attempt to avoid any further conversation.

"they look like mine. they got stolen from my backpack."

he is wearing glasses. these glasses are mine, i tell him. i sincerely hope that this man doesn't think i stole his glasses.

i pay for my drink and hurry out. the man stands up and walks in front of me. he blocks my way.

"whadja get."

just the drink. he finds this funny, and as he yells for a waitress i duck under his arm and nearly run out of the restaurant. i walk fast the way i think the apartment is. i don't really care at this point.

(after i wrote this post i realized that i switched tenses, which made me feel embarrassed)


by now i've lost the paper that i wrote the diagrams on but they are probably obsolete by now, as i finetune the crux of my story. there was going to be a man named jean gerard blank, who describes the everyone theory to How, a theory that i "made up" after being exhausted in the city for too long. there was the faceless woman, met in a subway station, wiped clean and robotic after feeling too much (like the time i whited out). in my mind, these characters are pretty out there, or would be on the page, and i don't know if that's the direction i want to go in at this point. there is also Regina, How's tentative girlfriend, who maybe will play a part in his psychological fugue through the vehicle of some sort of traumatic event. it all sounds very trite as i write it, though.

my eyes don't want to focus on the screen. it looks too white for some reason.

i have a sore throat, a doctor's appointment tomorrow. i don't mind feeling sick at this point, especially because it is a familiar-feeling sickness (sore throat). i hope the doctor is able to tell me something encouraging.

i am nearly twenty. i felt as if someone is pushing me along, but as i am becoming more comfortable and happy with exactly myself (the events, or one could say the non-events of this summer have come together in such a grand way as to lead me to that) i am becoming more accustomed to that fact, that i am perfectly qualified to have lived twenty years, and that in fact i have done much in those twenty years and that every day i am able to do more. it is a great boost to my whatever. i'm sure many people have already arrived at that but for me, it is very new and just a little bit exciting.

July 15, 2009

i feel the ridges of myself and fear of them

i teared up when dumbledore died.

i teared up during the "where the wild things are" trailer too.

i feel silly but at the same time it is reassuring that i am able to feel that sort of emotion, though who am i kidding.

i remember the time that i bawled in front of the computer for an hour because my friend ben told me his grandiose plan for making the human race love each other, fully.

i nearly whited out the night of the midnight debates. listened to scott talk about how he was falling apart, how alienated he felt from not only everyone around him but his own self as well; overwhelming joy listening to anathallo's "italo" on repeat; despair thanks to cameron; something else thanks to a girl, then it happened.

i suppose most times i try to guard myself from it. other times i am oppressed, almost to the point where i cannot move or breathe.

i am probably just being melodramatic.

in other news i punched a lion in the face at a bar then fucked his girlfriend without a rubber.

July 14, 2009

meeting people is easy

i will think of something clever to title this after i write it.

today i arrived back home in sunny jacksonville. after a while of the city, i decided i preferred a quiet life, one that i was completely in charge of. now that i'm back, though, i do miss it.

i watched a documentary of the band called justice. theirs is probably a tiring life. in a bus all day; by night, loud music, flashing lights, screaming crowds. they are dicks, apparently.

this is turning out to be an incredibly unexciting journal entry.

something that both comforts me and scares me is that, apparently, my dad is as morbid as i am. i am learning new things about my dad every time i talk to him earnestly, and every time i learn a new thing about him it is usually something that applies to me. that is, we are very similar to one another. it's something i am thankful for. at times it is hard to talk to my dad because of our specific father/son dynamic but usually talking to him sheds some light on how i am feeling and why, though it doesn't necessarily make me feel any better. it seems like my dad and i though are going through the same sort of creative neurosis/malaise coupled with a fear of death–which is probably caused by an unfulfilled desire to create something lasting, be it music or writing or other. it's also pretty reassuring that alec is going through something similar to what i am, or at least i think he is, i don't know if i know him that well or not but it seems like he is hungry to prove himself as a writer and is impatient to do so already. i believe he can, just as i believe i can become a great musician and that my dad will become a great writer (i've read some of his early work, especially a piece called "Queen of the Hills" which is phenomenal, and apparently has brought several of its readers to tears at a certain revealing part of the story, though that may also be due to the readers).

yes, it has always been an ambition of mine to live off of my music, or at least, to be able to devote the bulk of my time and energy to creating music. i don't care what i do as far as a job goes as long as i'm able to do that (in other words, i want to be part of the new rich). it is, hopefully, an anchoring ambition, something that i see is starting to take root, my own musical voice or what have you, at least as far as guitar goes, which is an incredibly perfect instrument for me in its technicality and physicality and versitality, i really love my sleek black charlene. and i see myself getting better as i play, not only in my playing but in my musical ability, that is, my ability to make music, my own music, beautiful music (i think) from scratch, from nothing but my emotion, and my increasing ability to get the sounds that i want to appear (again, from nothing) is just amazing and exciting and i love the progress that i am making, even though i want it to be faster. as kateland said, though, "you're so young! you have all the time in the world!"

and she's right. at 19, nearly 20, i see young musicians already "out there" and it rips me to shreds sometimes. i think, i should be there. i'm 20, nearly an adult, i am an adult, i have played music since i was 11, or maybe 12, what do i have to show for it? shouldn't i have something to show for it by now? i am trying to train myself to be more patient. while in new york, i devoured murakami's "wind-up bird chronicles" and "norweigian wood", i mean really read them and got lost in them. murakami describes the mundane and everyday activities of his male protagonists in those two books in such loving detail that i begin to long to share them with him, to enjoy them as well. to sit in the garden and just think, or to sit on a bench all day solely for the purpose of watching human faces pass by, or to spend the day with nothing to do but laundry and ironing and lying down on the roof. in some ways i hated the tempo of new york (vivacissimo! vivacissemamente!), though it was a refreshing change from my routine and generally quiet life, i grew to miss it.

now, like toru from norweigian wood, i am listening to miles davis's "kind of blue". it is very good.

July 13, 2009

how come i feel like i am dying

i feel as if my throat is ripping itself apart, killing itself. i feel like it is disintegrating. i ask people sometimes about it. they say, "you just being paranoid. paranoid brandon. ha ha ha." or "you are a healthy young man, you are not dying."

the truth is, everyone is dying. dying is not something that exists on a plane opposite of life. in fact, death lies on the same plane as life, starting at birth and running inversely to life as time goes on. i read that in a book once.

i don't want to be so acutely aware of my progressive death, though. it, quite simply, puts a very large damper on everything i do. i am trying to come to grips with it, but the hard thing about feeling like one is living in nothing more than a countdown to death (that is, life 0 percent death 100 percent on the life/death plane) (people sometimes die on airplanes, isn't that a funny coincidence) (ha ha ha) is feeling like i have to prove myself while i am slowly losing that time.

if i don't think of it, does it go away? well, no of course. though i try to forget that my throat feels bad every day from the time i wake up...

never mind. this feels stupid. i need a drink of water.

July 11, 2009

my name is brandon pt. 1

today i spent the day listening to a large number of people being happy in just the next room, feeling slightly exhausted and bitter but ultimately too tired to care.

the city wears me out. it is overwhelming, overstimulating, terrifying. it is scary to be walking down a street you know and recognize and then the next step, the next second, you are lost. this sort of thing makes me run my tongue against my teeth.

i feel around my mouth for anything that feels different. there are spots in my teeth that feel sharp, like wolves teeth. there are places in my mouth that pinch out and become sore sometimes. my jaw hurts in two specific places, presumably as a result of doing this. my ear pops when i chew. the skin of my gums near my bottom and top two front teeth is raw. i am tired of feeling as if my mouth is foreign to me. it doesn't make any sense.

because of my paranoia, i notice things about myself that i never have before. i don't think dying in and of itself is a scary thing. i just want it to be on my terms.

i am sorry that i lied and said i got lost. i just didn't want to go.

writing this feels stupid. why does this feel so stupid?

right now it is raining. in the city. i wish i was less tired. i would like to be lost in the rain. but then again, i hate the feeling of feeling lost. i would only like to be a little lost, and i don't have any control over that.

here is something pretentious: walking around with alec on thursday, quietly, feeling like a third wheel (something that has happened a lot so far on this trip, though not necessarily a third wheel, just take the number of people in a place and call them wheels, add one unnecessary one, that is me) i decided to make the everyone theory, the theory that one's experience/consciousness/whatever other buzzword/et cetera cannot be limited to merely one's self, but is simultaneously spread out amongst and concentrated by the people that are experiencing the same things near and around you. it is kind of stupid. it doesn't even really make sense to me, yet, and i'm not sure if i'll ever really try to think it through to the end, it probably doesn't have a definitive end in any case and is probably just a stupid crackpot theory that is stereotypically, rightly so, assigned to tourette's havers and homeless people that have the time to devote to paranoid, irrational thought. in any case i will probably try to use it in my real book, provisionally titled The Ruins of How despite the fact that i haven't written a sentence of it yet.

also, i invented the olber's paradox or whatever.

all the lights are off. why are all the lights off?

here is something good: i am thinking more. thinking about lots of things, remembering things, imagining things that happened. i missed that. i find that i'm more steady when i do that, especially when i get to sleep. i've been dreaming too. good news.

tomorrow i will go into the city and buy many books, maybe a record. maybe i will go see mission to burma with alec. i am excited. hopefully i can sleep after sleeping all day and having coffee. i ate a cup full of vegetables. my stomach hurts all the time here. my ipod is charging.

today was a blank day.