Scared Straight.

Posted: May 11th, 2012 | Uncategorized

In the last thirty seconds – while listening to “Daydreamin’, a song by Lupe Fiasco, I realized it is decent and okay to be terrified. Following that, I was given access to something that I actively deny, something that I do not ever feel comfortable looking in the eye.

I am afraid. I am very afraid. Every second, every day.

This could border on livejournal, so I won’t do it. Instead, the classic Alex Jarvis (r) response. I love these people. I love my life. And I am constantly, pleasantly, comfortably terrified.


Here.

Posted: April 23rd, 2012 | Non-Fiction

The words, as of late, have been uncomfortable and unwilling to commit themselves to the page. I’ve been too stuck in my head, too scar(r)ed to decide that it was time to write, now. There is a reason. There are always reasons. It’s a subtle acknowledgement of adulthood that there are always a litany of shameful reasons, and that they sometimes do not matter.

Memories are made in retrospect; important moments aren’t recorded until after-the-fact, when we sift them over and decide that they are worth keeping. Yesterday I smiled at a woman on the train. I had almost gotten up the courage to walk to her, say hello, do the dance of my people and so on and so on. She got off at Porter, and by the end of the week, I’ll forget that her hair was brown or that she was reading Ready Player One. This is good. It would be useless to remember her (silk?) dress with the patterned pineapples on them, or her hardly noticeable crooked smile. Those are dropped bits that should be committed to something else. And they will be, by the end of the week. Soon.

When a man hears the word ‘her’, there is no stopping his memory. Regretfully, painfully, like a limping dog his mind offers up the object of her, unstoppable and unrelenting her, the her that forever and always will be, the her that can not be forgotten, that can not be excised. Think of all of the her stories. Think of all of his, with (or dreadfully without) her.

I spent the year categorically and systematically removing hers from my life. This was not intentional, and it is not anyone’s fault (least of all hers). But at the end, now, in the present, I look at a word like her and my mind offers up nothing in response. Nothing physical has changed in the world, and yet her. Nil. Her. Nil. Her. Nil.

There are no more hers, and in the echo chamber of my skull I (superego) mirror the solitude of myself (body). There’s no one in there. There are no hers. There is no one left to pine for graciously, to smile and amuse myself of in the moments in between thoughts. I am rid of my horrible homunculi, and (should it catch me off guard), it hurts.


Forgive me, Pineapples. I promise, I will forget you soon. I do not presume this is a long-lasting problem, I do not fear the consequences or expect this to be eternity. But if I am to survive the night, Pineapples, I may require your assistance for a few days longer, with your brown hair, your funny book, and your eyes the color of…

 

 

 


SIGNAL, pt. I

Posted: March 30th, 2012 | Fiction

I am sorry, Gregory.

I’ll have to explain this to you as simply as I can – you’re just a child, I know that; I know. It’s not a good story, it’s not one we are proud of, but it’s one you should know. The impotence of an entire species, laid out bare, can not be a good story, no matter how well spun. I hope these letters find you in good health, and that you read them, perhaps again when you are older.

I will start with the very basics; Those things in the sky, the ones you had asked about in your previous letter. Those are called “Stars”.


Soothe our souls with fine cocaine

Posted: February 5th, 2012 | Uncategorized

In my mind, it went more like this:

We gather in a familiar establishment. Karaoke. We get as buzzed as two beers can manage, and begin laying into the old favorites. Benatar, Calloway, Mercury. Unabashed. I make friends with both the younger table in the corner (keeping my sideways eye on the second girl to the right) and also with the older, aged couple in the opposite corner. We order the pizza, which had once but all remarked was delicious. We step outside for smokes, and each of us says some variation of “It is cold.” We say it every time, for the entire night.

At a certain point, I step up to the mic with an unfamiliar tune. It’s Billy Joel, which is of no surprise, but it’s not one of his more notable tracks. It’s called ‘I’ve loved these days’, and I sing it not to the crowd, but directly into the people who kept me here for so long. At some point I do begin to tear, and it effects my singing. By this point, I have had 5 beers.

At the end of the night, we disperse to our cars. Without fanfare, I say “Bye, Guys” and leave. And the next day, I start my new life two hours north, a pitifully short commute that represents a vast and wide philosophical chasm between here-becoming-there and there-becoming-here. It’s a two hour drive that was cooked slowly on a low heat for three years. And now I am facing it. I am less than twenty four hours away from collapsing that into reality. There was no song.

I spent the previous evening in the company of people who make it very hard to do what I am doing on Sunday, February 4th, 2012. I am moving away from here. I am moving away. There was singing, but no Billy Joel. We spent it playing a game. We drank. We laughed. We made up words.

It’s time to leave here, though. I’ve spent 23 years within 10 miles of my birthplace, and that’s it, that’s it, I can not do it anymore. There is an opportunity to travel north – to live with glorious constraint, to force myself to be lean and frugal, to live in a city that reminds me that I am not yet done cooking and I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry. But as much as I love my friends, my family, it was time.

It is time.

So tomorrow I leave. I may never return, and I may return sooner than I think. I am going to step into the fresh air of Boston Massachusets (specifically, Medford) as a resident. This is something I am doing because it is time, because it was time, because I love my friends, because I need that city right now. I need that trellis, and more importantly – most importantly – I want to do this.

So here I go. No music. No pizza. Games and packing. No “I love these days”, though I have. Lord, I have.

Bye, guys.


Curriculum Vitae

Posted: February 3rd, 2012 | Uncategorized

I had avoided posting this for reasons, born out of a misplaced fear. Except, I am not afraid. Here it is. Here I am. 

Here I am. 

I finished a comic script today. A large part of the ethos of the story was the nature of story as story.

(I occasionally write a sentence that makes me want to kill myself. Moving on.)

It was a story about a story that I used to tell, one that I would hang on my shoulders as my *Curriculum Vitae*, my certificate of authenticity on – at – the world. It’s the story of my first kiss – which is remarkable in several ways, the vast majority of those intently personal. And, it’s about how that story is now. It’s a kanker. Its innocence is damning. Its context is sullied and black. Its a finely wrapped Christmas present in a house that burned down.

Things did not go well for me, circa june, 2007. But that, too, is a lie; things had not been going well for me for some time, and I, stubborn idiot, was too swept up by a particular feeling to be an adult. I was not an adult because I had a story; I had something to maintain. I had this collection of things that were going to die if I didn’t keep up the ghost.

I’m so terrified to get close to people. I think there’s a reason I’m the main character in my stories. Yes, this is overdramatic and nonsensical, but… there is nothing to say to that. You’re justified in thinking that.

In the most simple terms: My longstanding high school girlfriend and I broke up after a long while, whih included illness, infidelity, and lots of hurt feelings. After the breakup, she began saying awful things about me. To this day, I am haunted by an internet poltergeist who prefers to remain in the periphery with annoying (and annoyingly persistent) party tricks and cheap insults to remind me that they exist. There is almost no chance this is not my ex, or someone close to her. Her mother comes to mind.

But these stories, these little tiny narratives, I have been reminded of them with increasing detail. Why is that? The current hypothesis is that I am shedding my skin, cleaning my pores of my useless narratives. I’ve been finding them dead en masse. The women I’ve always wondered about are going away, in some cases in brutal and violent fashion. Those didn’t scare me as much as those that I shared a bed with. Nothing against them, as they are all lovely and intelligent and I respect them wholeheartedly. That does not change the dull pain of sharing that bed. That does not make me any less a coward. That does not change anything I’ve said, they’ve done, or she’s done to me. These are the facts, these are all that I have left, and I want to know, please, tell me;

Why do I still dream of her? Not in a longing, heartfelt, or perverse way. I do not want to reconcile. I do not want to make her smile. If I never heard her name again, it might be too soon. She has hurt me in unimaginable ways, and the best case scenario would be to never see her again. A second best scenaro would be a conversation, followed immediately by never seeing each other again. These dreams are not the dreams of a man who cares for someone, or their wretched opinion. They are an ache. They are the weakness in the old mans knee, which he rubs to remember that he is no longer a young man. They remind me of something, fill me with anxiety and fear, in a way that I’ve long since moved past.

It’s like, for a brief moment, she is relevant again, and I am forced to consider this. She, of course, is not relevant in the slightest, and, outside of the general cares that I wish upon every human (be safe and moderately happy), I don’t consider her at all. She is a vile creature, maybe. But I don’t wish her ill. I just wish her excised.

So I wrote a comic. And now it will live there, on the page. And then I’ve written this, and here it is, living on the page. And there’s nothing more to incant, and no ritual to save me from it. Time to rest.


A Very Abridged List of things I can not, and therefore do not try to, understand

Posted: January 15th, 2012 | Uncategorized

- The motivations of Serial Criminals
- Barre Chords
- Network Engineering
- Women
- Ice Fishing
- Men
- Sudden infant Death Syndrome
- Mirrors
- Money
- Time
- People I sleep next to
- Toy dogs (Those are dogs in the toy category, not toys *of* dogs)
- the mind of the common lawyer
- You. Above all else, you. I will never, ever understand you. Either way; make yourddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddcccccccccccccs


But I always secretly hope

Posted: December 31st, 2011 | Non-Fiction

The Semantic nature of the year changing is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s arbitrary, in that today is no different than tomorrow, save for the fact that tomorrow is a “New Year”, another digit higher on our calendars. It’s semantic, it’s meaningless, it’s arbitrary notches made in the passing of time.

If there has been any overriding thesis to my work, however, it is that the Semantic matters; that the meaningless things we do and inscribe on the world are all we have, and therefore, are the most meaningful of them all. In the scope of the cosmos (which has no reference for ‘day’ or ‘year’) this is a meaningless perioid of time, no different to the one that came before. But for the Apes of Earth, it’s the beginning of of a new year, and the end of an old.

And what a year.

It’s cynical of me that my benchmark for the passing of time – the one that comes most easily to me – is by women I’ve been fond of. I’m uncomfortable that my brain decides to use faces as mile markers. Not to sound like some ardent lover or serial monogamist; we are discussing a concussive series of… not failures, per se, but a cyclical pattern of edging ever closer to something I think (thought) that I might want. A Carousel, each rotation bringing me closer to the vaguely shaped notion that I’ve conjured, each time wearing a different name. Well, mostly.

If I should mark it by my accomplishments, which is at once more self-serving and less narcissistic, It’s a much more tumultuous year. I’ve taken no classes, though I am somewhat closer to my degree. I’ve been asked to speak at Yale, and I’ve produced something I am truly proud of. Several things.

(My mind immediately goes, “And yes, think of those who you have kissed!”, as if that were the only measure that mattered.)

I’ve produced a website that I am proud of. I’ve written somewhat consistently. I’ve become more familiar with the world of music (as the calloused fingers of my left hand can attest) and I have finally begun the process of leaving this place and exiting North.

It all feels… like the precursor. Is that my optimism? Is it saying that “all of this” (where the large part of it was actually pretty great) must have been leading to something? I certainly feel like the stew, to some extent. Much of what makes me proud to be a person came as a result of the past year.

I made a comic. I, Made, A Comic.

I have no resolutions, I have no pact I am going to make to usher in the brand new semantic. I do not care for or mind the espousing of a new year, nor will I avoid the party that will commence as the ball drops. I will not pretend I am a new person in the year of the Apocalypse. You will find me with my eyes closed – as they have been – my ears listening intently – as they have been – for the sound of the drum roll, wondering when the cymbals will crash, when the curtain will open, when the show will, finally, start.


Ethos

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Non-Fiction

I don’t write when I am happy. That’s the cliche, anyway. That’s the person I’ve wanted to be; the tired intellectual, dead and at the end of his life, alone and hungry and hovering over a piece that, at last, will be admired for its academic prowess. He will smile and reach for the phone, wondering where who he will call. More specifically, who there is left to call.

What a terrible thought.

Traditionally my writing has stopped when in th throes of romantic entanglement, but that too is a false start. Writing was a solution, and then a woman would come along, and she’d be the solution for a while. I am tired of looking for solutions that have anything to do with this. I wouldn’t mind a partner, but I really should write more.

In the last week, three people have called me a writer. One of these people, a long time friend. She writes, too. We both joke that we secretly hope no one reads our work, but I don’t think that’s exactly the case. It’s a little deeper than that.

You can have a thought that is hopeful. Maybe too hopeful. Maybe you think that something you’ve written is good. Maybe you think – despite her boyfriend – that the blonde at the party liked you. Maybe you have a singking feling that you got the job. The point is, at some level, you don’t trust yourself. I never want to be disparagingly hopeful. So when she calls you a writer in the same breath where she tells you you’re cute, you’re forced to suddenly realize (with joyful terror) not only that you are right, that you can be right, but that you have been right all along. Now, it’s your ball to drop. Now, you’re forced to admit you knew. You have to take yourself, at some level, much more seriously.

I love when people read my work. I am consistently shcoked when people do. I am scared when people say they like it. That’s the burden is taking yourself seriously.

Of course, the answer to this problem is one I’ve had for years, the primary driving ethos of my twenties. Write constantly and, when appropriate, try to kiss girls that flirt with me at parties.


White Noise

Posted: December 15th, 2011 | Uncategorized

My most chilling moments are those when I can not

 

 

                                                                                                                                            possibly

 

 

                                                            imagine

 
 

what to say.


A brief list of things that require more attention, IV

Posted: December 9th, 2011 | Non-Fiction

Someone called me sexy recently. That’s not entirely true, come to think of it – the called me “Sorta sexy, but confusing and adorable. And then, Weird, but not in a bad way.” This is precisely what I’ve been aiming for. I can not enunciate how strange it is to be seen for what I am.

I’ve been called adorable. Specifically, “To the ever-adorable Alex Jarvis.” In a fan letter. Lovely letter. I shouldn’t give out my address, for reasons that have nothing to do with that lovely letter.

Things have never looked quite so up.

My left hand is calloused and rough. I am not doing this to get laid. That said, I will enjoy it the first time a women puts her head in my chest and purrs, “I like it when you play guitar.” For at least one reason, that will be a long, long time away.

I’m significantly more pitiful than I seem.

Things are going to be good for me, and that’s okay. I can’t help but feel like I am not doing my diligence, that I am not making my bones, if things are not really hard. But things are going well. Maybe I am on a precipice.

I don’t hate it here. I wish I did.

My last post garnered a lot of emotions, and I am really happy with it. I called myself a writer for the first time, shortly after dropping a comic submission into the mail. My God. Imagine that. Imagine the glory and wonder of achieving that. What would I do? What would I become? Portland, Oregon.

I don’t hate it here. I wish I did.

I don’t hate it here. I wish I did.

I just don’t.