From July 28 to August 3, 2018, Luis Neer’s liveblog of living while focused on reading Megan Boyle’s novel Liveblog (forthcoming September 25 from Tyrant Books) was published on his personal tumblr. Here the liveblog of Liveblog is presented in its entirety.
Starting today, Saturday, July 28, 2018, I’m going to be liveblogging my experience of reading Liveblog by Megan Boyle. Yesterday was my last day at a summer job where I worked 5 weeks, and I start my third year of college on August 11, so I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to devote most of, or at least a lot of, my attention to liveblogging Liveblog in the next 2 weeks.
I’m currently on page 110 of my review copy of Liveblog, which is 712 pages. I got a review copy because I had a conversation with Austin Islam where I said that my mom said she would preorder Liveblog for me if I mowed her lawn, but then when I mowed the lawn she gave me cash instead. (This was before I had a job so I didn’t have any money.) Austin said Gian DiTrapano (of Tyrant Books) would probably give me a review copy if I said I could review it for “a blog or something,” so I arranged to review it for Maudlin House and then I emailed Gian and he sent me Liveblog. I don’t remember why I thought this anecdote was important but I’ll leave it in, in case I remember, then I’ll elaborate.
I started slowly reading Liveblog, and then I started at my new job and mostly stopped reading except sometimes on weekends. While I was at my job I thought about reasons it would better to liveblog Liveblog and then “figure something out” re: Maudlin House review obligation, than to write a traditional review. Here are some reasons:
-I don’t trust myself to write a traditional book review. Or… I think I would write it, since I’d have a sense of obligation from requesting a review copy, which I’ve never done before, but I think it would be bad (my other 3 book reviews have seemed bad to me), and might be 500-800 words, and I wouldn’t know how to give Liveblog a thorough treatment in that kind of review, I would probably say basically “blah blah blah it’s good”
-I’m interested in using a review style that will bring me closer to the style of the book so I can be better at talking about it with people
-It seems like someone should do this, like it’s an idea someone cooler/more popular than me would think of and people would think it was funny, but since I thought of it, I might as well do it, since if no one does it then the opportunity will be gone forever. If anyone reading this is aware of other efforts to liveblog Liveblog please email me email@example.com
-This seems 1000x more interesting to me than a normal book review, like if someone else did it I would read it, which suggests to me maybe more people will read this review and be more interested in Liveblog/Megan Boyle/me than if I chose to do the other thing
-I have trouble writing about my life and I think writing about my life with a book-specific focus will help. I’ve kept a journal for the past 3 years, and I always like what I write in my journal, but I rarely like prose I write knowing that people will read it someday. This seems like a good middle ground, like it might give me a chance to overcome… something… inhibiting me as a prose writer.
-I hope writing for a blog every day will help me transition from being a “factory stooge” at my job, where I moved/packed/shipped boxes of coffee cups and glassware all day, to being a “creative, interesting super-brain” in my college town
-Probably other reasons
So far I’ve had a dramatic thought about Liveblog that it’s the closest I’ve felt to reading someone’s mind, or to reading a life experience almost in first person, like being a co-pilot in the cockpit of Megan Boyle’s head, between her eyeballs and her brain. Sometimes it’s scary… which somehow seems unexpected, maybe, like if I didn’t think about it I might think a hypothetical book about the infinitesimal details of someone’s ordinary life would be, like Megan warns on the first page, uninteresting:
“**THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE INTERESTING** **I AM NOT GOING TO TRY TO MAKE THIS SOUND INTERESTING OR TRY TO MAKE YOU LIKE ME OR THINK ABOUT IF YOU ARE READING THIS OR ENJOYING READING THIS, IT’S JUST GOING TO BE WHAT IT IS: A FUNCTIONAL THING THAT WILL HOPEFULLY HELP ME FEEL MORE LIKE IMPROVING MYSELF**”
But I kind of forget this thing about life, that it’s never normal, there is no normal reality. So… for the first ~60 pages of Liveblog, when Megan is mostly at her mom’s house, there are moments where she is interacting with her parents, or doing things that seem ordinary, and there are bizarre hallucinations mixed in with those things, like on page 51: “thought i saw man in blue shirt and khaki pants glide to center of room and vanish.” “saw gliding khaki man do the thing again.”
I hope I’ll be good at doing this… I debated if I should quote page numbers or dates/times. I decided to quote page numbers because… I’m focused on reviewing the book, not Megan’s life… I’m interested in exploring that dynamic, like how books are like lower-dimensional life but Liveblog is like a higher-dimensional novel… maybe… can a book be that?
1:50 PM Feel nervous after posting on twitter and instagram about this project, the only person who liked either post right away was Simon, I kind of know I’ll stop being nervous and care less about people’s perception of me re: doing this… but also I have these worries… one has something to do with a Star Wars-themed segment from a 1970s French TV show, where a person in a bad Darth Vader costume does some kind of dance with sparklers… the worry is that my Liveblog-liveblog will be analogous (?) to Liveblog, as the Darth Vader-with-sparklers is to Star Wars… feel like there are other Star Wars- and TV-related instances of this thing I’m thinking of, like something that happened in culture 50 years ago but doesn’t happen now, like a culture-reference comedy thing, a reference to a popular thing everyone likes, I don’t know what it means. The other worry is about finiding a balance between my focus on this being a liveblog and being a kind of review, but being something I don’t consciously think about the form of, I just live and blog about it but try to make my life focused on reading while I’m doing it.
Also… feel like this is maybe relevant… I just bought a lightly-used Macbook yesterday from my friend Zac, I’ve never had a Macbook/Apple device before, my previous computer was a Microsoft Surface. So this is my… in filmmaking it’s an “acquisition device,” like a camera, but it’s a computer… my vessel. For exploring the depths of Liveblog. And the keyboard is still weird for me.
I’m at my grandparents’ house right now. While I was typing this my grandfather asked me to “roll the cheese balls over” and I found the barrel of cheese balls, on the floor beside the couch where I’m sitting, and turned it on its side and rolled it across the floor to him. He’s watching the Weather Channel. I hear him chewing.
Around page 60 of Liveblog, Megan goes from her mom’s house to an apartment in Philadelphia where she stays with an ex-boyfriend, I don’t know where she is now, on page 110, like which apartment, but right before page 110 there was this funny thing where she had to do ~10 tasks before midnight or she would burn half an accident settlement and post pictures of her naked ass on the Liveblog, but she did all the stuff in time.
Laughed at this on page 110: “imagine people screaming things like ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’ or ‘I DON’t KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM ME’”
I realized she’s at the Philadelphia apartment because she’s laying with the cat who lives there. Wow, looking back in time… I could calculate exactly how many years, months, days, minutes ago this happened.
2:31PM Feeling depressed about a particular thing and also still anxious, like an “idk what to do” anxiety, looking at my phone lying screen-down on Liveblog on the couch arm. My grandfather changed the channel to PBS.
Want to try reading 20 pages and then writing, seeing if that feels sustainable, hoping 3 days from now I’ll know what I’m doing
3:07PM Haven’t started reading yet, I ate a bowl of ice cream, texted Paul Hanson Clark re: thing I’m depressed about, feeling worried that having a thing I don’t want to write about will inhibit my liveblog. I don’t know what to do about it, feel like my current course of action is “try not to think about the thing” which seems like it will feel worse and worse
I’m going to the gas station with my grandfather, hopefully I’ll be able to read when I get back
4:05PM Back from gas station. I’m sitting in the same place/position as before. I thought of a “contingency plan” for if I can’t satisfyingly complete this liveblog from focusing more on the thing making me depressed than on Liveblog, or from feeling the need to write about [depressing hard-to-talk-about thing] but feeling unable to:
If I can’t work my way into a sustainable-feeling, satisfying way of liveblogging by Monday, 3 days from now, I will commit liveblogicide: I’ll stop working on the liveblog, spend the rest of the summer (or as long as it takes to read the novel) writing about Liveblog in a liveblog-like way, in a private journal, then I’ll write a reflection about the botched liveblog of Liveblog and use the private journal writing to hopefully create a thorough review, then publish the reflection and the review on Maudlin House.
A part of [depressing hard-to-talk-about thing] I feel okay saying is that about a week ago I gave myself a concussion by hitting myself in the head during a panic attack, and my head still hurts/feels weird from it. I have a doctor appointment scheduled for… Monday? Same day I might commit liveblogicide? Someday.
Going to read 20 pages of Liveblog now, I already sense this isn’t how I’ll read/write about Liveblog in the future but it’ll at least be good for gaining “reading momentum” or something, putting Macbook in sleep mode, grandfather is watching a movie I thought was a future-themed Rolex commercial but is actually a future-themed movie with John Cusack or Clive Owen, I don’t know which person, don’t know movie title.
5:39PM Read to page 118, felt attention divided between book and the movie my grandfather’s watching, which seems strangely, synchronously relevant to things I’ve been thinking about today… in the movie everyone’s memories are stored as video files and are accessible to the person and other people, which feels like how everything is more accessible via the internet, like curated versions of other people’s lives, Liveblog when it was a blog, and this makes life more complicated somehow… I was thinking about this, something like this, plus other things, but it was more complicated… it had something to do with Terence Mckenna, his idea that history is leaving into the imagination, and stuff Tao Lin says about the imagination being higher-dimension to life as life is higher-dimensional to literature, plus things I’ve thought about the internet being overlayed on life as a kind of parallel reality, so seemingly the only way to use social media, etc. satisfyingly, in my experience, is to have a life that allows some kind of unity between real space and cyberspace. It doesn’t all connect but I was just swimming in these mysteries, with my concussed feeling head.
Pages 111-112 have an anecdote about when the brother of a person Megan dated was laying in bed with his ex-girlfriend and she (the ex-girlfriend) farted on his face, and he thought it was funny, but “after that, there was no mystery left.” (Megan doesn’t acknowledge that this is a Rilo Kiley lyric but I wonder if she thought about it then.) Then Megan writes:
“[person she dated] told me this story to stress wanting to keep ‘mystery’ in our relationship. think i don’t want ‘mystery,’ ever. feel like this liveblog has removed all possible ‘mystery’ about me. that’s not true. every moment can be mysterious, in its own way.”
My liveblog has mystery… because of my personal crisis that is “off limits,” but it feels bad that I have something painful that’s off limits. Feel like someone, a person in my brain, like an agent of my superego, will say… or is saying already… “If you’re not brave enough to ‘bare it all’ you shouldn’t write anything at all, you should just fuck off and die,” and I kind of agree, but also often feel like it’s ok, like I have shoulder angels who are other artists who are non-confessional, discrete, mysterious, but still cool, like David Lynch, other filmmakers, maybe I just wasn’t ready to do this project, but now that I’m doing it I feel locked in, at least until my liveblogicide deadline, using too many commas. It’s ok. Focus on being a “passive receptor” of Liveblog and life. I am a transparent eyeball. My grandparents and sister are doing things and talking while I’m depressedly typing this on the couch. My grandfather is watching the 6 o’clock news, the weirdest shit in the world, everyone on the news is probably watching themselves on the news at home feeling weird as fuck.
6:51PM I’m reading really slowly from being depressed. I knocked over my metal water bottle that was on the floor, which I’ve done 3-5 times in the past few hours, and I exasperatedly thought “I’m giving up, it’s not working.” I want to go to sleep now but I’m not tired, I just want to avoid life. From now to 3 days from now, if conditions stay bad, if I want to give up I will update this liveblog at least once an hour to say “I’m still giving up” until I reach my liveblogicide date or no longer want to give up, it seems like I won’t want to give up indefinitely, at least between now and my “okay to give up” date, I don’t want to keep saying “liveblogicide” but I feel locked in. Megan is watching King of the Hill on pages 118-119.
7:00PM Feel like if I were a dumbass I would be like, I mean the dumbass part of me thought earlier, “If I gave up it would be an ironically great review because it would be a testament to Megan Boyle’s guts/resolve/commitment, like that a ‘normal person’ like me is afraid to bare it all for their art, Megan Boyle is superhuman because she wrote this, my failure proves her success.” I don’t mean I disagree with this viewpoint… I do think Liveblog is an incredible feat, I feel mystified, or something, by it… but I just. idk. It would be a cop-out. I want to be a writer I like. Also I don’t think I’m a normal person, I don’t think anyone is normal, but it’s also not about that, I just never think of myself as normal, I never feel normal. If I’m doing something like “digging a hole” please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
7:13PM Checked twitter and instagram, on instagram I watched Shy Watson’s story, I laughed, I feel like if Shy were to read this liveblog she would think things directed at me like “calm down,” “no one thinks that much about your life.” Or maybe… idk what she’d think, that’s a part of people being different people. But like… if I could imagine what she would say I would use that viewpoint to feel better. But all my viewpoints only come from me, different parts of me… and can maybe come from things other people have actually said to me in real life, which is the case with both hypothetical Shy thoughts, she said them on the phone to me once… and maybe some thoughts come from God?
8:39PM Transitioned from grandparents’ house to my mom’s house. My mom and stepfather are gone because they’re at Pennsic, they’re setting up for Pennsic, I’m not going to explain what Pennsic is but you can learn about it here [link] and here [link]. Something our mom, stepfather, and younger siblings do. Isabella (my twin sister) and I both thought there would be dog pee on the floor, because no one has been home all day, but there wasn’t. My grandfather took Molly outside to pee. I made a pot of coffee. When my grandfather came back in we all went onto the back deck and sat in chairs. Isabella and my grandfather told me to smile and tricked me into smiling. I said, “I’ve had a pretty rough week, plus I still haven’t been to the doctor.” They both know I gave myself a concussion. I’ve been thinking recently about how Isabella seemingly has no darkness in her soul. I think this when I overhear her phone conversations with other people, or when she comforts me when I’m having a breakdown, or… one time when I read a page of her diary. There was no shit-talking, worrying, or struggle. I’m not saying that she has no struggle, or that she has no flaws, but just that… she isn’t evil. I’m the evil twin. The good Luis and the bad Isabella are in the Black Lodge.
My grandfather said “I want you to let stuff roll off your shoulders more. Like water off a duck. I want you to be happy-go-lucky, like you used to be. It’s not as easy now, maybe, now that you’ve got a taste of the real world.” (I think by “the real world” he meant having a job, but my packaging job felt like a VR video game, sometimes I wonder where “the real world” came from, earlier I was crossing the Ohio River in my grandfather’s truck and I looked at a mountain, where the highway cuts into it, and I thought, “this is our world, and we’re leaving it soon.”)
When I went inside to get coffee I was rinsing a coffee mug and I started crying, just out of view of my sister and grandfather, and cried for ~3 minutes and thought “I’m giving up.” When I went back outside Isabella kept saying semi-joking things and I kept responding by being grouchy, resolved to stop talking.
Our grandfather left and we both went into our room (we have a set of bunk beds in our parents’ guest room, “our room” when we’re home) and I laid in bed and cried for a long time, Isabella didn’t notice for a long time because she was looking at her phone and I wasn’t making noise. When she noticed she came over and gave me a tissue and asked what happened. I said “Nothing.” She said “If you want to talk about it let me know.” Now she’s singing and playing “Self Control” by Frank Ocean on acoustic guitar and I’m typing this.
9:10PM Looking at internet pointlessly, might try to transition to answering texts from Paul. I’m not “still giving up” on Liveblog, I’m just waiting for Isabella to stop using “the chair,” my reading chair that I found in the basement and cleaned and put in our room. A downside of Liveblog is it is difficult to read lying down, because it’s so big. This is a “con” for my multifaceted critique of Liveblog. You need a chair to read it. Tyrant Books should have published it as a box of ~500 chapbooks, like Float by Anne Carson but giant, like bookshelf-sized.
9:52PM I’m giving up
10:09PM Contemplating giving up
10:51PM Texted Paul and my friend Pauline about this liveblog and [depressing hard-to-write-about thing] (so far I’ve only talked to both friends about [depressing hard-to-write-about thing] abstractly, without getting into details) (so far I haven’t talked to anyone about [depressing hard-to-write-about thing] in explicit terms except sort of to Catch Business and Isabella, and Isabella seemingly underestimated the painfulness of the thing for me because today she asked what I was sad about like she didn’t know, while I was typing this just now she was pacing in our room and brushing her hair and singing the song “Gary Come Home” from Spongebob Squarepants.
Before I was typing this I walked into the main room of our house and my stepdad was home. He was playing Rocket League on the TV in the living room. Isabella asked me if I remembered 3 cats our great-aunt had when we were small children, Muffy, Toes, and Nomi. I said I did and I’d been thinking about them recently, trying to remember their names (I only remembered “Toes”). When I was walking back to the room I said it feels strange to remember animals from our childhood.
July 29, 2018
9:03AM Texted Paul re: talking on the phone sometime soon, texted Catch re: [thing] and to ask if she’d made it to Kansas. Texted Catch more about [thing] when I woke up this morning. Going to take Liveblog and Macbook with me to Morgantown today and maybe experiment with using my phone as a mobile hotspot, which I’ve never done before, and updating this liveblog from my grandfather’s truck. Just thought “NASA mission,” I’m going to imagine it’s a NASA mission. My grandfather, Zac, and I are going with Isabella to help her move back into her room, she’s living in the same room as last year (she’s an RA), her stuff has been piled up in her room. It seems like a relatively small pile of stuff. A few days ago while she was packing she said the phrase “light packer” a lot.
10:25AM In backseat of grandfather’s truck, sort of folded around my laptop, developed idea with Zac to go to Pittsburgh next weekend to go to bookstores. We have to wait to see if he can use one of his parents’ cars.
This morning… a lot of funny stuff happened… like I showed Zac my blue American Apparel underwear and my grandfather said “All my underwear are camo.” Isabella joked that she never sat in chairs, she only stood. I used “severe depression voice” to say “I only sit in bean bag chairs.” I had to say it 3 times because no one could understand what I was saying. I said it was “my alter ego, Bean Bag Bob.” Isabella said “Bean Bag Bob.” Then later my stepfather took a drink of my coffee and I said “You’re drinking my coffee” in a similar voice, but earnestly, and my stepfather and my mom laughed and said things about bean bags.
Listening to Lucinda Williams, my ankle itches, I’m not wearing shoes. Going to post this and switch to reading, try to. Do both things.
11:07AM Right after I posted last entry and closed my Macbook I noticed both my ankles have really aggressive, scary-seeming, blistering rashes, seems like they developed rapidly, I’m scared, I don’t know what it is, if it’s poison ivy I could have a delayed reaction that’s more severe… The back of my hand is itching now as if to say “Hahaha, this is just LIFE, you’re in the LIFE blog now kid, you thought you were feeling better about [thing] via focusing on your liveblog and texting Catch about the thing, but you wondered if you were ready to liveblog Liveblog, via having emotional turmoil, see how all these things weave together? Well now you have crazy rashes on both ankles and you’re going to worry about them all day while sitting in the cramped backseat of a Ford F-150, [wolf noises] [tentacle noises]”
Megan Boyle… if you’re reading this… I’m sorry I haven’t focused on your book since yesterday afternoon. After this post… I’m gonna try my best to “buckle up”… wrong expression… read a lot of Liveblog in the car before posting again… need to conserve phone battery re: using mobile hotspot… We’re about halfway to Morgantown. Galactic Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick, instant gratification, whatchamacallit. Pulling into McDonalds parking lot… This means I can use wi-fi, sick!!!
11:33AM Sitting in Washington, Pennsylvania McDonalds at table with Zac and Isabella, Zac saying things about Galactic Pot Healer by Philip K. Dick, which he just read and says must have been written in 3 sittings. He said something about “age of plastics” and something about Franklin Roosevelt. Isabella saying things tangentially related or not related, like that scientists found a microorganism that eats plastics. She made another Spongebob reference. Now she’s looking at a wildflower identification guide. Wow, this reads like a Mad Libs. Grandfather just brought food, looks insanely good.
Zac googled my ankle thing and says it’s most likely hives. Isabella also suggested it might be heat rash from wearing wool socks in bed. My hands sort of itch now too.
12:23PM Current hypothesis re: rash (which is on my wrists now and is maybe spreading up my right thigh) is that it’s a stress rash, Isabella suggested this in McDonalds, I’m in the passenger seat of the truck now, Isabella switched seats with me so I could be less claustrophobic, there’s a bag of sage hanging from a string affixed to the glove compartment, like the string is caught in the drawer. The string is green twine. Isabella grew the sage and is drying it.
Feel less like my stress rash is a bleak curse from the universe and more like it’s a good thing, like it’s my body wanting to embrace the pain I’m feeling emotionally so I can work on letting it go. We’re ~20 miles from Morgantown, we might stop in Bobtown, PA to see Bob and Jackie, my grandfather’s uncle and aunt, mine and Isabella’s great-granduncle and great-grandaunt (haha), they’re both around 70, my grandfather is 64. I know it’s crazy Bob lives in Bobtown.
12:34PM Read 2-3 pages of Liveblog, thing I’m supposed to be mostly doing, I read a sex thing on page 118 and thought… it was tender, like really personal and weird, something about time dilates, or something, when ur just laying in bed with someone, like how the ex-boyfriend incrementally “scooches” closer to the wall and Megan is wondering about it and ends the entry saying “okay. that’s all it’s ever going to be, that’s all it ever was, really, okay.” My Macbook screen has dust and sunlight on it and I think the rash is on my right big toe and maybe on my neck.
12:43PM We’re behind a truck that’s hauling a trailer with a carnival ride that’s the dragons that spin and you sit inside them, this is weird, see Instagram post
1:29PM In Morgantown, WV Target parking lot, my rash is mostly gone, explained to my grandfather what a blog is and what a liveblog is. He said Liveblog was like The Truman Show (via describing a movie to me… “What’s that movie where… there’s this guy, and they’re in a town, and no one can leave the town?” I said “The Town?” Then he said “Jim Carrey plays the kid… and it’s like, 24 hours, a TV show about his life?” I said, “Yeah, ‘life on display’.”)
Leaving parking lot now, it’s really hot. Isabella bought me itch relief cream but I don’t itch anymore except from needing to shower.
3:02PM In Bobtown at Bob and Jackie’s house, sitting on living room floor, their carpet is soft. Jackie gave me wi-fi password. Persistent weird feeling re: using “sick!!!” when I realized I could use McDonalds wi-fi, I would never say that in real life, it’s not really how I felt. I don’t know how I felt.
Took ~20 minutes to move Isabella’s stuff into her room, I got a cramp in my side while carrying something in, then I just dragged a suitcase on the second trip, I borrowed Isabella’s toothbrush to brush my teeth, said goodbye to Isabella.
Comforted by being around family members… they love me, they don’t even know I gave myself a concussion. My grandfather knows but he just worries for me, it’s good to have someone who worries, even if it feels bad to make someone worry… Thinking of a tweet by Catch, “my dna all around me tonight,” like that feeling, like DNA is a kind of stable, deep love… I want to not take my family for granted… my grandfather does a lot for me, he seems earnestly devoted to helping everyone in his family, feel like maybe this is a generational thing, or a generational thing in Appalachia maybe, I’m not sure. Bob brought me and Zac bowls of strawberries with ice cream.
3:30PM I think I’ve missed a few things… that are maybe unimportant, just… I forgot to brush my teeth this morning. Then at some point I looked in the mirror and my teeth looked bad and I was trying to clean them with my tongue, sort of, I didn’t want to use my hands because they were itching, but mostly I just felt hyperaware of my teeth looking shitty, then I used Isabella’s toothbrush.
7:13PM I feel like the stable, deep love is not exactly shared DNA but is also… people who knew you when you were a child, helped raise you somehow maybe, they love you beyond expectation that you should be cool or successful or somehow “correct”… I don’t know.
Things that happened in the past almost 4 hours:
-laid on my back in backseat of my grandfather’s truck, passively listened to conversation between my grandfather and Zac
-listened to 4 songs: “Visions of Gideon” by Sufjan Stevens, “Dream Baby Dream” by El Perro Del Mar, “Just Like Love” by Perfume Genius, “What You Gonna Do Now” by Carla dal Forno
-My rash came back on one foot and both wrists
-Looked at trees while laying down, weird angle to look at trees, don’t know how to explain, I took video, might post video to Youtube and link it here
-got home, took Benadryl (my mom suggested I should) showered, laid in bed in underwear, masturbated on floor on fold-out sleeping pad thing (bed makes too much noise when I move on it).
-looked at Twitter and Instagram feeling sinister, like I perceived I had a sinister facial expression
Feel drowsy, wonder if it’s from Benadryl, my mom said I’d feel drowsy, I don’t know if I’ve taken Benadryl before. Realized I’ve been re-reading my own liveblog more than Liveblog, if I make it a point to read Liveblog instead of this liveblog maybe that’ll work, like for making this a Liveblog liveblog again.
7:30PM Trees thing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLjzskEE0RI
July 30, 2018
10:05AM Fell asleep… very early… last night… maybe at like 10. I was wearing clothes. I changed to sweatpants after I showered so they seemed ok to fall asleep in maybe. Slept seemingly as an alternative to looking at social media. Woke once at 4… I woke at 4 last night, too, because my younger brother, Jackson, was playing Fortnite in the living room, and like, yelling into a headset, and Isabella got out of the top bunk and I heard her go into the living room and tell him to stop.
I dreamed I was somewhere… an imaginary place… at WVU, with Zac and Isabella and maybe other people. Some kids in a van, like, mainstream, rich, popular, impeccably attractive, cool-seeming college kids… pulled up and kind of menacingly asked us if we wanted to go somewhere with them. I heard Zac say “no,” seeming to be speaking collectively… like how everyone in my dreams is me, maybe… but then I considered it and said “yeah.” I got into the van… it was a party van… it had neon and seats like in a limo, the kind that go sideways… Then I woke up somewhere else, in the dream, and couldn’t remember what had happened. I kept asking people if they knew what had happened last night, and thinking, “I think I took molly,” “I think I blacked out on molly.” No one knew. Then I was at a music festival… I don’t know who was playing, but the angle I was looking at the stage from… it was like the angle I watched a band at Warped Tour in 2010, when I was 11, and there was a half-pipe on my left, kind of behind me, and people were skating on it.
This morning I have hives on my legs and arms. I no longer think it’s a stress rash but… I don’t know what it is… My doctor appointment is today at 2, planning to read Liveblog til then, I can do it, I have “the chair,” I was cleaning my room and stopped to write this and after I post it I will:
-finish cleaning my room
11:12AM Interacting with my mom re: my rash made me upset… my rash is really bad, it’s all over both legs, it’s really ugly… but still seems good… my body responding to infection by healing itself… but just… everything is so depressing… [stopping myself from complaining about my family]… someone convinces all the poor people in the world that it’s actually cool, “the real world,” rebellious to like, not care about nutrition, blindly trust doctors despite ineffective health insurance, because nutrition is for “hipsters,” hipsters are people on Geico commercials who like… wear suspenders… ride the bicycle with one big wheel… go antiquing… but like, I have to go to an appointment with a person who will like, punish my body by giving it some kind of medicine… thinking all this in the Michael Jackson voice from the episode of South Park where they’re communicating with Michael Jackson’s spirit… still feel bad about South Park from when I made Catch watch it with me, thinking it would be good, and it felt bad, I felt bad for aligning myself with it.
12:05PM The rash is on my right ass cheek I think. My mom’s friend who is an EMT or something says I proabbyl had an allergic reaction to something, my mom said this too, that maybe it’s from laundry detergent. Sitting in chair, I was looking at instagram on my phone, looking at Stella McCartney shoes that cost $500+ and “barefoot” shoes made from 17 water bottles… less expensive but mostly sold out… but still expensive… drowsy again from Benadryl, hoping rash doesn’t spread to genitals… I just checked. so far so good. it’s close though, reaching almost all the way up my thighs. It’s cold in my room, I ffeel robotic and vampiric.
12:25PM Megan mentions Jim Carrey on page 120 of Liveblog, like I did yesterday, synchronicity. Typing on toilet. Rash on legs seems less bad but still there, like big “blossoms,” continent-shaped, just not as inflamed as earlier, this is just on my upper thighs. Megan is on Xanax in Liveblog while I’m on Benadryl, I’ve never used Xanax, this morning I ate Fruity Pebbles.
Earlier this summer there were exciting things happening with my diet, I was learning more about nutrition, my diet was becoming mostly plant-based, then when I started my job I started eating very little, there was maybe one day I prepared a meal for myself, which might have been this one day, my “productive Saturday” which maybe immediately preceded the beginning of [painful thing], but mostly I didn’t eat a lot, then… you may have noticed I’ve been eating poorly in the past few days, not going to “defend it” like, “I’ll try to be better, I promise,” but yeah, it’ll change hopefully. Things that feel uncomfortable to talk about that I’ll definitely end up talking about: food, money, other things.
12:37PM Brother knocked loudly on bathroom door while I was zipping my pants, I was doing it with one hand, holding Macbook in the other hand, I ignored him, then ignored him more when he opened the door, I went to my room and set Macbook on stool beside chair then went back to wash my hands, he was peeing and said “hey, knock,” I ignored him. I act like this a lot with my brother… not sure if it’s the craziest thing I do but it’s up there… not sure how to assess this interaction, like my behavior, but didn’t want to omit it, feel like it matters in terms of readers profiling the ways I am fucked.
12:44PM This is an emerging thing with this liveblog, like not being able to write “objectively” about myself, not knowing how, feeling like I have to justify things by saying “I’m working on it” which is like… an abstract thing, “working on myself,” how do I overcome this.
1:10PM Went into main part of house, feeling futilely hungry, like I want food but know there’s nothing at home I want to eat, plus I don’t want to prepare anything, I don’t know what I want, I just don’t want leftover KFC. My brother was eating a chicken breast… He put it in the microwave so it had a strong smell… my stepsister who’s 16 was eating Fruity Pebbles on the couch, depressed-seeming, my mom was making eggs for herself, I have to leave soon, right now I’m laying on the sleeping pad thing on bedroom floor, drowsy and cold, Mom opened door and we had this interaction:
Mom: “Did you use different soap?”
Me: “I didn’t use different soap.”
“Because I bought different soap.”
“it’s not the soap.”
“Okay.” Then she left.
6:03PM Aggressive, or something, anxiety about going 4+ hours without updating liveblog, like I’m being dancing Darth Vader with sparklers, also anxiety about everything in my life being really un-sexy, like that I eat Mcdonalds and cereal, Here’s what happened in the past few hours:
-Went to doctor appointment, asked my mom if we could go to lunch after, she said “I don’t have a lot of money” and other things, I said “it’s ok, you can just say no.”
-Acted/felt nervous in waiting room and appointment, showed 2 nurse practitioners photos of my rash from this morning, talked about swollen lymph nodes (have I talked about these? I’ve had a line of bumps on the left side of my neck for roughly 2 weeks, think it’s my lymph nodes, nurses seemed to think so too), and giving myself a concussion. Nurse practitioner prescribed me an allergy pill, she offered to give me a shot of something she described as “really strong ibuprofen,” not morphine, I said no.
-Had 4 vials of blood taken so someone can investigate my lymph nodes thing, this is so funny, I have no clue how this stuff works. Person who took my blood seemed to think I was going to faint, even though she asked me if I had a thing with needles or blood and I said no, I was just shaking for maybe a combination of reasons, maybe including anticipation of getting blood drawn, but not because I was scared, I used to be scared of getting blood taken or getting vaccines, like the needle part, but I stopped being afraid of needles. After I had blood drawn I tried to get up and almost fell, I had to sit back down, nurses gave me a pack of four peanut butter crackers.
-Went to Mcdonalds after telling my mom I had money for fast food, ordered a cheeseburger, fries, and a mocha frappe. The person who took my order was being trained and worked slowly. I was still light-headed from getting blood drawn and I kept glancing at this booth to the right of the counter, sort of wanting to sit there… then eventually when I glanced over there was a Mcdonalds employee sitting there, I imagined going over and asking if I could sit in the booth with them, didn’t seem possible.
-Ate Mcdonalds in car while Mom entered pharmacy to get allergy medication, burger was really salty, sometimes McDonalds tastes good but nothing tasted good, felt aware I would waste some food, felt afraid of stomach ache in immediate future.
-When I got home I took my pants off to check my rash, there was no rash, I climbed into the top bunk (I stripped the bottom bunk earlier, when I was trying to clean my room while drowsy from Benadryl) and looked at social media and slept.
-Remembered Jim Carrey was in my dream: he was cast in this play or movie directed by my high school theatre director, Kelsey Hayward. I was auditioning to be in it. The audition was in this huge, beautiful library with a lot of rooms and tall ceilings, I spent time wandering around the rooms. For the audition everyone had to say this line in a high-pitched voice, like Jim Carrey’s Tony Clifton impression, everyone had to say the line, I wish I could remember what it was, something ridiculous… I said it wrong so I didn’t get cast… but I had this list, a sort of electronic paper, that listed everyone who “made the cut,” and I remember… Daniel Day-Lewis… other famous actors plus people I know, I imagined every person on the list saying the audition line. But the movie… it was supposed to be like Love by Gaspar Noe, like it was supposed to have real sex, but the big sex scene was with Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, someone else. I saw the sex scene in a sudden, brief vision… the composition and lighting were like some painter, it was bright, sort of pale colors, red/pink tones on the bodies.
Right now I’m sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee and typing this, my mom’s 3 sewing machines are on the table, my grandfather was here and just left, everyone else in my family (except Isabella) is on the back deck.
7:57PM Texted Catch at 7:11 and 7:19. Sat on bare mattress on bottom bunk feeling… discomfort of being alive… but also good, like a kind of knowledge that Earth loves me, Earth will make me ready for the future. Thought about my porn film idea (me laying in bed in underwear, listening to music on Macbook, no nudity). I want to work on it maybe tomorrow, pending what happens with my rash. Played guitar and sang a song I wrote recently, I don’t know when I started/finished writing it, songs take a long time for me. Ate Chinese food with family, said things about Sweeney Todd, 21 Jump Street, Disney child stars, Bella Thorne. Now am sitting on bare mattress again.
Going to message Mallory Whitten to see if she has copies of “Collected Poems and Stories,” which seems sold out everywhere, I’ve read her book God Box 3 times (noticing “3″ is a number that’s come up frequently in this blog???). If anyone reading this has it and can let me borrow it, email/message me, I’ll pay for shipping, feel like I can maybe ask Austin about this. I know I’m supposed to be reviewing a 700+ page novel, I am reviewing it, it’s good that I only read ~3 pages (!) today because I’ll be able to show how I read a little, then a little, then suddenly a lot and boom, I’m done, then I’ll read some fucked up Victorian epic written in wingdings, I’ll read Finnegan’s Wake upside down, or maybe just re-read my own poetry book, take that, people with 4000 books on their Goodreads.
8:34PM emailed Mallory Whitten + looked at twitter, using macbook just feels so good, I’m hunched on my knees and elbows on the bare mattress in the dark listening to the air conditioner.
9:55PM You know the feeling that’s like… There’s a spider in your room, you see it, then you work on making it more visible so you can either kill it or take it outside, then it vanishes… WELL I HAVE THIS FEELING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THE SITUATION I JUST DESCRIBED IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, TO ME, IN MY ROOM, WITH A SERIOUS-LOOKING BUT SMALL SPIDER, AND MY RASH HAS BEEN COMING BACK OVER THE PAST ~90 MINUTES SO I HAVE RANDOM TINGLES ALL OVER MY BODY, SPIDER-LIKE TINGLES, okay. If it gets me… I’ll just have a spider bite or I’ll die. I already have a rash so a spider bite would be… nothing… If I died, that would be… I wouldn’t suffer but other people would. But that’s life. You get bitten by a spider or you die, you have your cake and eat it too, you gotta risk it for the biscuit, I don’t talk like this, I’m channeling 5-or-something telemarketer-type characters from the unified field, there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
Going to try to: start a load of laundry (meant to this morning), shower, listen to ambient music, read Liveblog, write about Liveblog, work on drawing I’ve been working on. The in-progress drawing is called “Ants”
10:10PM Forgot to share my fortune cookie: “Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.” More on this after laundry/shower
11:02PM I had this experience with my friend Zach… not Zac… when he was in Morgantown, I think he lives in Boone County, WV and had been traveling in Morocco, we were sitting in the Grind (Morgantown cafe close to campus) and I asked him who were his favorite “thinkers”… because, the way he was talking, he was referencing different philosophers, not in a haughty way but like, seeming to just be hungry for knowledge… I love Zach a lot… he named some people… then he was talking about love and said he couldn’t think of any thinkers (not sure if he said “thinkers”) who said anything about love, or he said something like this… thinking of a tweet by Tao, something like, “I recommend recording yourself having a conversation, then writing about the conversation from memory, then listening to the recording to learn how bad your memory really is.” I started to remember this quote by Plato that was the epigraph for Louise Gluck’s book Ararat: (looking at Louise Gluck’s collected poems for the quote) “…human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.” Plato. This quote had been meaningful to me when I read ~40% of Louise Gluck’s collected poems, in my senior year of high school. When I read it to Zach… I had to find it with Google, I don’t know where I found it… he said “That means nothing to me.” I laughed and some other people laughed. It seemed… pretty but not, like, astonishing. This is re: the fortune cookie thing, I thought in Zach’s voice, “That means nothing to me.” Rash update: the rash is all over my ass
11:20PM I did the laundry thing and showered but… I feel sad, I miss all my loved ones who live in different cities, especially Catch, mostly her, but when I think of other friends’ faces I want to see them too, I don’t want to do anything, I texted Austin a little. The shirt I’m wearing is warm but not soft so when I laid on my side on the sleeping pad it made an imprint on my arm, overlayed with the rash. My rash is being sad with me. My balls are starting to itch
11:51PM Wrote love poem to write on underwear
July 31, 2018
12:09AM Transported laundry from washer to dryer, and brought some wet clothes to room to let air-dry, now there are clothes hanging all over the room. Worried that maybe I did develop an allergy to detergent, and everything I just did wrt laundry will make my rash worse via me just wearing clothes… I’ve been listening to the same ambient album for like 2 hours… It’s Lowlands by Taylor Deupree and Marcus Fischer, are they “mainstream” ambient, [pausing to shift some degree of focus to not caring if things are mainstream or not]
12:15AM Still sad, but not giving up, “it’’s gonna get worse before it gets better,” or something, like about everything happening rn, might prepare/eat toast.
1:06AM I did it, I made toast. I also made tea… I was excited to learn we still have some honey-chai-turmeric Yogi tea, I found a few bags hiding in a different box, I dipped my toast in that, now I’m going to drink it.
Tomorrow I’m going to… exercise in the morning… work on “Ants”… send Austin money to ship Mallory Whitten book… sit in the chair, read… hopefully find a way to effectively juggle reading and blogging… if I take Benadryl none of this will get done, I might smoke cannabis instead, maybe CBD would be good for my rash, then I might be more functional actually… yeah, smoke weed, do drugs in your liveblog!!
Keep thinking of a few things:
-Sophia Katz’ review-by-livetweet of the audiobook of Taipei, where she walked around Manhattan on LSD, I’ve read the article version of this twice, or maybe 3 times, seems like my memory of this article maybe partly inspired me to liveblog Liveblog, like because I wanted my review to be unique and involved… all of Sophia’s references to the audiobook are, like, fleeting, she’s not focused on it, she’s focused on… finding a phone charger in Trump Tower… pizza on the sidewalk… THE WORLD.
-David Lynch, “The Art Life,” this is one of my favorite movies, I re-watched it recently and… I love David’s voice, I love his mannerisms, but I’ve mostly thought about this movie for the opening shot of David sitting in a chair of his studio, this inspired me to find a chair in my parent’s basement and putting it in my room, I looked forward to utilizing the chair for this project, this chair thing from the documentary inspired me
-something else I’ll probably remember
1:23AM Have lyrics I wrote stuck in my head, they’re from the end of the song, I imagine them and then the end of the video for “When You Were Young” by The Killers, like the end part with no music. Going to sleep soon I think. I might as well, like, draw some ants… need Liveblog audiobook… I might not draw ants, fuck it, I want to sleep. Maybe it will reset my sadness. I’ll just wake up with no emotions, just rash… think my mom is onto something… about the laundry detergent. Because my bare feet touched my pants that are wet, they are air drying, and now the rash is on my feet. Rashblog.
11:26AM Dreamed I was… I don’t remember a lot of it… I was with these redneck guys who were driving me somewhere but they like, messed up and drove to my house. Something about the dream… had a kind of fearful undertone, seemed nightmarish to me, so I did this trick: if you want to wake yourself from a dream, you look for a clock or a mirror or a toilet, and if there’s something wrong with any of these things you know you’re dreaming. There was something wrong with the clock in my kitchen, one of the hands was broken in two pieces, so I started trying to wake myself up… this is the hard part because… this is what happened… I just entered another dream. I remember, like, running my hand along this soft, striped bedsheet. When I woke up I was looking at my blanket, this pink, fuzzy blanket, feeling comforted by it, it was crumpled around my shoulders and collarbone, sort of.
11:34AM I exercised and made the bed (bottom bunk I stripped yesterday) this morning. For the past few mornings I’ve tried to get my grandfather to take me to breakfast (forgot to document), probably won’t try again just because… don’t want to seem “obsessed” with breakfast… but I think… oh, I know. I’ll text Jordan. Jordan is my “big friend.” My big homie. When we go to Connie’s… which is this diner… he always gets “Bob’s Big Breakfast.”
We don’t have coffee at the house. I texted Jordan. Ok. Other things I did this morning… I looked at Shy’s instagram story which is Catch talking to cows, kind of a foggy, country morning with Catch standing by this electric fence.
I remember Jordan sleeps in because he works at night, so he might not be a good breakfast/lunch candidate… but that just… that leaves no one, Zac doesn’t have car access, I could maybe get someone to take me to Zac’s house in Chester, to stay there, and we could walk to this diner which… neither of us really likes… that might be the only move.
12:08PM I’m giving up!
12:49PM Feel bad I deleted what I wrote about KOMO… it seems like cheating, to delete something because I think it’s stupid/ugly/touches on difficult material… Feel like I’m losing my cool, but like it was never there. One of my grandparents will give me a ride to Zac’s house in maybe 40 minutes. I might not want to go to the diner, I might just… I don’t know… I stopped wanting to go to Zac’s house… I ate… avocado toast with turmeric… then a bowl of cereal… am boiling water for mint tea… am going to smoke weed, right after I post this, I often get “too high,” but sometimes it’s good, wish me luck.
1:12PM Actually… you know what… I’m not cheating at liveblog if I delete things, this is MY blog, I make the rules… Just imagined “the people’s blog…” when I delete something I’m giving it back to my unconscious, or something, yeah. Cannabis. just thought something that seemed… good… then my grandmother called and said ym grandfather’s coming to get me, I have to hurry to get ready, or seems that way.
1:52PM At Zac’s house, functional-comfortable high from 2 hits on small bowl, brain has that feeling, like a warm breathing. Zac just facetimed Jordan and Jordan said “Hello?” and Zac said “What’s up, Sasquatch?” and I laughed really loudly… Zac says “Krisha’s been listening to music since, like, 10:30.” He’s looking at Spotify… Talking about his Macbook Pro, the laptop he got partly with money from selling me his Macbook Air… he just played ~10 seconds from “I Thought About Killing You” by Kanye… Krisha is our friend from school who’s like, notoriously charismatic, beautiful, charming. Ending entry to focus on Zac.
2:20PM Time slowed down today… Or has in the past 40 minutes… I’ve been looking at my laptop, now drinking coffee, listening to 10-minute Mount Eerie song… might lay on couch and cuddle with Liveblog, that’s a part of this project, I cuddle with the book because I miss my best friend.
2:32PM Coffee with almond milk is.. bad news… bad decision… how many bad decisions have I made today… seems like… none… because every decsiion is an opportunity to learn.
2:46PM Seems like I haven’t looked away from laptop screen in the past hour… like I have, but… I just keep doing the same things… I feel like… I want to say “I always feel like,” but I just currently feel as if I always feel this way, I’m just gonna say it, I always feel like I just lost a boxing match by being punched in the head 30+ times.
3:16PM Going to diner with Zac and Jordan, this is called a “double whammy.” I read two pages in Liveblog, then realized I’d read both pages last night, like… maybe I normally take in 70% of information per page when I read, and I was taking in the opposite 70% of information, like [Venn diagram]… this is, wow… I’ll read more later. Good job Luis.
3:42PM Jordan entered Zac’s house and like… changed the energy a lot… I feel brain damaged… ok, bye.
7:12PM Went to Bob Evans in Calcutta, Ohio, not to Connie’s, for lunch. Jordan got chicken & waffles, it looked good. I got a cheeseburger, then we went to Brusters, which is this ice cream stand, and I got a milkshake. Then we went next to Brusters and walked around a used car lot where I think Jordan had tried to sell his truck, he has a decade-old Ford Ranger, I think. Something about this seemed interesting, magical. Maybe just walking on gravel in overcast weather, and drinking a milkshake, and trailing behind Zac and Jordan while they “inspected” each car, to a higher degree than me, I thought, because I don’t know how to drive, I didn’t have a horse in the race. Kept trying to photograph them together but Jordan seemed to be in constant motion, or just responded to being photographed by evading my phone camera. Molly does this, she seems to evade cameras. In the midst of the car lot there was a grassy area that sloped down into water coming out through a pipe that went underground, and there were bullfrogs in the water. I heard one jump from a shallow part to a deeper part and make a “ribbit” noise, but it was high, like a squeak, which I didn’t expect. There were also a lot of insects – butterflies, grasshoppers, other loud insects – and a lot of bright flowers. This kind of added to the weird beauty of the car lot, that there was a place inside it, kind of under it and within it, that was teeming with life. I know there’s a thing with used car lots, like an indie movie thing, so I feel like it might seem like the elusive beauty thing just “makes sense,” but… it doesn’t, it was uncanny, like being inside a three-dimensional, cinematic joke about beauty, or something… simultaneously thinking about “Blade Runner 2049″ and “Seinfeld”… this isn’t making sense, I’m grimacing. Zac is setting up his old Xbox.
In Jordan’s truck Jordan played songs by “crazy overdrive flow” rappers [struggling to talk about “crazy overdrive flow” rap music without shit-talking/being dismissive, like I don’t know a lot about how it fits into the wider spectrum of hip hop, there seems to be a deep pool of rappers who just rap really fast. This is what Jordan listens to in his car, this is partly why I end up feeling like I have brain damage when I hang out with Jordan, I can’t take the intensity, after 2 songs I get depressed], then at Zac’s house we watched compilation videos of Lebron James doing things, this was fun, then we watched a Vince Carter compilation and it was… his dunks were more intense, like he stuck his whole arm in the hoop, seemed crazy. Then after that we watched Youtube videos that seemed progressively overstimulating and brain damage-y, eventually I disengaged and plugged in headphones and started writing this. Jordan and Zac were playing Mortal Kombat, I was watching the intro videos, now they’re playing Halo 2, everything is better now, video games used to be partly fun, now they are evil. Evil! Jordan is saying egregiously mean, obscene things and Zac is saying that he feels emotional about playing Halo 2 for the first time in a long time.
7:28PM Enjoying being the friend who isn’t playing video games, listening to Julia Holter, I love having a Macbook.
7:46PM Took 2 normal-seeming hits of weed, walking to 7-Eleven to buy a root beer.
9:16PM Bought root beer, ice cream drumstick at 7-Eleven, unwrapped drumstick outside and started eating it, came back to Zac’s house, Jordan and Zac were playing “doorknobs,” where there are two tires on the ground that are filled with sand, and golf-like holes at the center, and you toss the doorknobs from each opposite tire, it’s like cornhole but… I never heard of it before this year, it’s just LIFE… how everything is arbitrarily configured in every moment, drawing from an infinite pool of information, chaos put into order, doorknobs, yeah. Of course.
Jordan said “You’re eating MORE ice cream?” and I remembered I had a milkshake earlier. I said, “Oh, wow, I forgot I had a milkshake earlier, that’s insane.” He and Zac both laughed… I assumed responding to me, but maybe about something else, everyone is immersed/lost in their own world, but it feels good when people focus on you, like keep track of what happened to you today, feels good to have people know you.
We left again to walk to Mcdonalds, I sat in the booth and looked at my phone, Jordan got a tropical slushie thing that was bright yellow, Zac pulled up an article about Lebron James’ new public school and we all read it and contemplated it… all expressing awe, it seemed, like it seemed extremely hopeful, I think Zac said “Makes you hopeful.”
Now we’re watching a tv show on History Channel called “Forged in Fire,” where 4 guys are competing at making knives, there’s some knife porn, ASMR-like stuff with people pouring hot steel into crucibles, Zac is rooting for the “old man” contestant, who’s 70+ maybe, Zac said “Old people are always… just more relatable, maybe,” I’m rooting for the “sad redneck” guy, Jordan is looking at Facebook… Zac just walked over and put a pretzel in Jordan’s mouth, kind of suggestively maybe.
Just thought that it would be possible for people to be “Zac and Jordan fans” via my poetry, since Zac and Jordan appeared in poems in two chapbooks by me, “Waves” and “Land of Water Eaters,” and my full-length book, Extinction, plus my Instagram and Twitter, and now this liveblog. I think I’ve sort of considered this before, but maybe in the sense that it was “obvious” people would notice they were characters in my poetry, it’s easy to forget things aren’t “obvious,” plus a pool of probably less than 100 people have read more than one poetry thing by me, everyone is immersed in their own world.
9:38PM “Old man” and “sad redneck guy” both had their blades break from the endurance tests, where the judges test the knives in various ways, then it cut to commercial before it showed the endurance test for “metrosexual guy,” it seems like his knife might break too. Watching “NOS” energy drink commercial.
9:51PM Metrosexual guy got sent home, now it’s between old man and sad redneck guy, seems like old man will definitely win.
9:59PM The old man… so like, there was the first round where the 4 guys made knives, then in the second round Old Man and Sad Redneck Guy had to make an “anthropomorphic Celtic sword,” this is the tangential history reference the show needs to have to be a “history show,” this is when it started to seem obvious Old Man would win… but then, they didn’t even test Sad Redneck Guy’s sword, Old Man won automatically because… the test was insane, one of the judges used the sword to cut an actual goat carcass, it was a ram, felt hesitant to say “ram” because “ram” doesn’t look like a word somehow, seems illegal that this was real. Old Man’s sword cut through the ram in two swings, then the judges didn’t even try Sad Redneck Guy’s sword because it was too heavy, and the host said “I’m going to have to ask you to leave the forge now.” This is very intimate for anyone reading this, I’m watching TV, I have TV brain, I won’t be able to use the words “extrapolate,” “rubric,” “commodify,” “metacognitive,” or “assess” until I detox from TV, spend more time reading and writing, and take time to sit in the chair contemplating something.
August 1, 2018
12:02PM Regret not making entry upon waking at ~9:30, I woke up to my grandfather calling, he invited me to breakfast and I went with him. Told myself I’d try to make an entry before noon, seeing I’d be home at about 11:40, but when I got home I saw Molly had peed on the floor and I cleaned where she peed, feeling anxious, having angry/helpless thoughts about my parents’ house and my family, authorizing myself to not work through these issues here. I’m going to take a break from liveblogging for probably most of today, to focus on being less anxious about my life and its relation to this liveblog, to prepare to make entries/read Liveblog more regularly, and… I actually don’t know what “focus on x” and “prepare for y and z” entail, seem abstract, I’ll probably just… sit in the chair, drink coffee, smoke cannabis, lay in bed… but… sounds good, yeah, sorry.
12:12PM Something you will learn about Liveblog by Megan Boyle is that… she is usually awake, she sleeps irregularly and infrequently, at least in the 124 pages I’ve read. Lately I’ve been sleeping regularly… falling asleep between 10:30PM and midnight and waking up between 8:30 and 10AM. This has almost never been true, for me, in the past 4 years, except when I lived in Denver and usually slept for normal hours, I’ve usually stayed up til 3-4AM and woken up at 6-11AM, depending on when I had classes or other obligations.
Not going to “take a break” from liveblog, liveblogging is actually easier than living, I just. I don’t know what to do. I love life enough to stay alive, I just don’t like being at home, I always feel… really, mostly always feel this way… like I need to scream, when I’m at home, because no one in my family communicates with each other, everyone is addicted to technology, everyone views cleaning as a chore. I’m… not going to talk about this, I can’t talk about it objectively. Going to clean and drink coffee and read.
12:32PM I actually probably could speak “objectively,” like half-objectively, where there’s a limit to objectivity but you just look at something for what it is, and look at how increasing layers of machinery, like social machinery, like how poverty/etc. is influencing the thing, I could do that, I have done that about my family, but I don’t want to “psychoanalyze” them because I think it would cause problems between us, like if my mom clicked on the link in my Instagram bio and read this, I don’t think I should portray anyone as inherently embarrassing or “in the wrong,” everyone is just human beings like me, probably no one knows how they “got here,” we just woke up one morning and we were in trouble, I have embarrassing shit about me, I actually don’t know what to do, is anyone even reading this, I think so, maybe 2-5 people.
12:37PM My throat is really swollen, it hurts, I think it’s my hiatal hernia, which is something that runs in my family, I don’t really know anything about it except that it once caused me to choke on a ham sandwich when I was at school, I had to be given the Heimlich maneuver, this was one of the most traumatic/embarrassing experience of my life I think, choking and vomiting and being given the Heimlich maneuver with everyone in the cafeteria looking at me. I was like… really calm, and when I could talk I made jokes, but my throat hurt then like it does now, it really hurts.
12:57PM Listening to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, love to not listen to this album for 12+ months and then listen to it again, it’s like some albums, when you re-introduce it to your ears they remember what it was like when you first heard it, but you hear new things too, it’s not nostalgia, sometimes you just hear things the right way.
1:44PM Cleaned my room, then smoked weed and watched porn and masturbated. Feel bad after watching porn, which I try to watch never but sometimes watch for some reason, like I think just watch it because I have in the past, or because my brain knows it exists, or something. I don’t know. Feel like the porn sounds are ringing in my ears.
1:57PM Sitting in bed having no thoughts, just a kind of half-stoned brain feeling, I feel bad, I feel like I’m doing a bad job at this, because I have… I think I have an impulse to defend things that embarrass me, or to justify existence of things by saying they embarrass me, feel like that makes me seem like a person who doesn’t try to solve problems but just lets things be shitty, and assumes they can’t do anything, which is like… terrible to me… I think this must be true about me, to some degree, because it’s something I consider terrible, like I accuse my family and other people of doing this, I wouldn’t care about it if I didn’t recognize it in myself.
Watching porn is easy to not do, that’s simple cognitive behavioral therapy… a cognitive impulse (wanting to masturbate, associating masturbating with watching porn, [something]) leads to a behavior (watching porn) that makes me feel bad (physically/sexually uncomfortable, overstimulated, vaguely “exploited” or something similar), so I won’t watch porn anymore. This is easy because I have been avoiding porn for several months, knowing I don’t really enjoy watching it.
Confronting my impulse to defend things is harder because… I don’t know what to stop doing, I guess to stop defending things, how do I do that. It’s like… what am I doing when I do that. Am I trying to convince myself something is ok? Am I trying to make myself seem normal? I don’t know what it is. I think my mom sort of does this, too, defends things she’s insecure about.
Liveblog is beside me, I’m going to get more coffee and feed Molly and Arthur, then I’ll read it, it’ll be ok, I’ll do the thing, I’ll be ok.
2:40PM Got food and water for animals, refilled coffee mug, then put on a new t-shirt (I got cum on the t-shirt I wore while masturbating, this has happened to me maybe 5 times in my life and it’s always like, oh no, after I orgasmed I had to run to the bathroom sink and scrub/rinse the spot where the cum went, then I put the shirt in my laundry basket, I just checked it, there’s no stain, good). Things I equally want to be doing right after I post this entry:
-laying in bed, listening to “Vesuvius” by Sufjan Stevens
-sitting in chair, reading Liveblog
Going to compromise by sitting in chair and listening to “Vesuvius,” then reading Liveblog, ok, starting now, go.
3:06PM I did something else, I started working on my laying-in-bed movie, I think I’ll be working on it til maybe 3:20. I’m not procrastinating, this is just me being alive.
4:17PM Done working on movie, waiting for it to export, now my Macbook is making a loud fan noise. i googled “macbook making loud fan noise” and it said to restart my computer, seems like not a real solution, not that this seems like a problem, I just feel bad, I don’t want my computer to be “overworked.” Imagining a caveman, or any person, worrying about a stick, or any tool, feeling overworked.
4:21PM But… It’s my stick. I paid my friend $750 for this stick, it’s the most valuable stick I own, I just got it last Friday. It feels warm on the bottom.
4:27PM My movie is called “Bed,” if you want to see it you can paypal me $1-10 and I’ll send you the file, or like I’ll find someway to share it, it’s 3.6 GB I think, it’s 15 minutes long. Restarting Macbook now.
4:57PM Listened to Paul Baribeau song Shy sent me in a Spotify link, I listened to it 2 times and texted back “i <3 paul baribeau,” looked at Instagram, watched parts of “Bed.” The video is pixel-y, my digital camera isn’t HD. going to transition to chair to start reading, I’m just gonna do it, ok, starting now.
5:28PM Liked this thing on page 124, where Megan, Zachary, Travis, and Kat are moving stuff out of Megan and Zachary’s apartment:
“as i was going inside, kat said something about ‘sensing raptors.’ i said ‘i can sense them too, since like, i was little.’ she said ‘me too, since i was little. you can feel it in your ears.’ we were smiling. i wasn’t sure what we were talking about but i wanted to say more.”
This is like… in film I think there’s often a kind of increasing abstract element, so there’ll be a moment, maybe, when you don’t know what you’re looking at, or just where it kind of touches the surreal… this is kind of that, maybe, but different, like it’s just a moment… I don’t really have a thought about it, I just, what are raptors? That’s like… I can imagine experiencing this, it’s the almost-first-person thing, I think I know what it’s like, standing outside, talking to someone, telepathy, yeah.
Page 126 has the sentence “Want to change channel kind of,” but the “D” in kind is like… a capital “D” but small, like equal height with the lowercase “n,” I wonder how that happened, seems purely… like some extremely complex causal system, like an 8-dimensional machine, I pictured an Easy Bake Oven sort of, floating 10 billion light years from Earth short-circuited and made the D in “kind” on page 126 of Liveblog be a miniature-capital D… This is good, I am reading. I took Molly outside to poop or pee but she just stood still and stared at a stray cat, so I half-pulled, half-pushed her back inside, now she’s pacing around, I can hear her toenails going click clack, she just sniffed my door, I’ll have to take her out again soon.
5:43PM While I was reading Liveblog my stepfather texted me “Yeah… Molly ate the bread.” I thought “???” then remembered, he texted me while I was working on my movie to ask if there was any food I “NEED,” I said “half & half I think” then “we don’t have milk or bread.” We have very little food… both my mom and my stepfather have a degenerative hatred of buying groceries, it’s at the point where they buy things on an item-to-item basis, like at Dollar General or wherever. I think I do “need” some other food items but… I think I’m going to stay at my grandparents’ house, they have food in their house, plus they have air conditioning, plus I’m helping my grandfather paint his basement tomorrow, this is something I forgot to write about, planning to help my grandfather paint his basement.
Walked around house reading Rachel Rabbit White article about “That Obscure Object of Desire,” my favorite movie maybe, sort of half-assedly looked for food, threw away butter wrapper sitting on counter, swept part of floor, came back into room, typed this, going to call my grandfather.
6:11PM Read mail from WVU saying I owe $71.46 to WVU Medical Labs, letter was my “final notice,” the due date is August 15, not sure what to do… seems manageable, like theoretically, but… wouldn’t they just take the money from my financial aid? Or does my mom/do I really have to pay $71.46 out of pocket? I don’t remember what this is for… maybe for a time I went to the Health Center to ask about a cough I had, that’s all I can think of, but that seems like… probably not it… [at this point my grandfather arrived to take me to his house, everything after this is written at his house, in the kitchen, it’s 6:41PM] seems like this is stressful for no reason, like the stress is pathological. But also… I feel like I could have a “nervous breakdown” (maybe an extended screaming fit where I yell at someone in my family, break something, or just, I don’t know, maybe I am having a nervous breakdown now, since I “always” feel like I’m screaming on the inside, lately, and I gave myself a concussion), like a screaming fit would be appropriate and likely if I weren’t subconsciously driven by… wanting to not disrupting reality, not “cause trouble,” something… is this stupid, Luis-hating person inside me is watching my liveblog in an auditiorium… my grandmother just banged a spoon against a plate or something, really loud, piercing… Luis-hating person in auditorium in my brain is texting their friend, like 8 seats over, “this is really bad,” “should we leave,” my grandmother does this thing where she talks to me while she’s doing things, with no regard for me doing things, I’m endeared to it, it’s just, she’s doing that now, she made french fries, my grandparents actually didn’t have a lot of food but, it’s just better to be at their house than at home, it’s a better place, Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh, my grandmother just put a plate with 2 grilled cheeses beside the plate with the french fries and said “that should fill the void.”
7:03PM Took generic allergy pill for my throat, my grandmother speculated it’s a sinus infection, it feels so awful, I think it’s felt like this before. Think I’m going to call my dad to complain re: health problems, being at home, other things… there’s sometimes a limit to how much I can complain to my dad, it depends on how much he is suffering himself, if he’s suffering a lot he is less sympathetic. if the throat issue is a hiatal hernia thing he’ll know what I’m talking about when I say my throat hurts, since he has a hiatal hernia, maybe he’ll know what to do. The $71.46 thing… it’s like arbitrary, just for my feeling of existential discomfort to be more refined, now I have a deadline approaching for a debt, [making myself stop complaining, I’ve been complaining nonstop for seemingly a long time]
7:49PM Sat on porch, on my grandparents’ glider swing, called my dad and talked for ~5 minutes, he was at work, said he’d call me back. Tweeted “after im done liveblogging liveblog im going offline and prescribing myself the rest cure,” then deleted it, “prescribing myself the rest cure” was like, it’s funny to me because I was sitting on the glider swing, imagined myself sitting on a glider swing at a mental hospital, a “sanitarium,” and being, like, prescribed “rest,” where I’m not allowed to write or read or make art for the rest of my life… but something, like the datedness of it maybe, made me think of when my drug friends at my old college would joke about “the gulag,” and stuff like that, so I deleted it. I think I thought “the gulag” was funny but, I don’t know, those were dark times. There was something good about them.
After I deleted the tweet and did other social media interactions I started trying to focus on nature more, there was a bird, sitting on a telephone wire, that seemed to be changing shape, like moving its wing to change its shape. I looked at and then walked over to a bush that seemed to have an animal in it, it had a bee and a bird in it and the bird was chasing the bee. I walked around my grandparents’ yard looking at the trees, plants, and grass, occasionally crouching down and looking for mushrooms. Was surprised at how easy it was to find tiny mushrooms nearly everywhere I crouched. Imagined asking my grandfather if he could learn to farm psilocybin mushrooms. Imagined him saying something about people jumping out of windows. One time he looked at a photo of psilocybin mushrooms and said he thought he saw some growing under the pine tree behind his house.
When I walked back to the porch, picked up my phone, walked back inside, I had the “walking in nature” calmness, walking around my grandparents’ yard is always like this, like a deeply effective meditation. This is an aspect of my liveblog, that I have access to nature. Going to sit outside more, then eat ice cream.
8:39PM Sitting on porch with ice cream and Macbook, can hear my aunt and one of my uncles talking in the house next door (my aunt and her husband lived in Oklahoma for ~10 years, now they live in my great-grandparents’ old house, where my aunt lived before, with her ex-husband, and now she and her husband and her ex-husband all live together), feeling like I’m wishing for a breaking point, or like I feel like I reached a breaking point but nothing happened, except maybe my rash, if it was a stress rash… if I reached a breaking point and then I was, like, good, and could “recover,” just recover from life, no one would care except me, but life is never like that anyway, because recovery has to do with disciplining yourself, like forming positive habits, having routines, whereas “spiraling” happens automatically, like you suffer for a long time and then you look everywhere for trouble and dive in and eventually you have no serotonin in your brain and you have to push yourself through, like, one really bad weekend. By “you” I mean me, I’ve done both of these things, I’m “wise high school upperclassman in bad coming of age movie,” I’m “nihilistic party girl with worrying drinking problem,” I feel like I’m missing the joke again. The sky just turned pink, like in an instant, life isn’t fair.
9:27PM Edited Bed more, created Vimeo account to privately upload Bed, Bed was too big to upload with a basic account so I deleted the account. Before that… I talked to my dad more, we talked about my rash, felt myself wanting to not talk about my rash, but not knowing how to talk about my “big misery,” Dad said he’d call back in a few minutes, could be any minute
9:45PM I’m aware Bed is a book by Tao, I just… It’s the natural thing to call a movie where I’m in bed, I thought about calling it “Underwear,” seemed like the underwear isn’t the focus, the bed isn’t the focus either but. The movie is a bed where I’m laying, I’m laying in bed and the viewer is with me, I just don’t know it… the viewer is me, I’m the only viewer, I’m with myself.
On page 127 Megan hears this song on the radio, a song I’ve heard, I don’t know whose song it is, it’s a band who toured with Conor Oberst, the line (as Megan quotes it) is “so pile on the mashed potatoes and another chicken wing, I’ll have a little bit of everything,” I also thought this was silly when I heard it, like its earnestness. Food in songs. A radio in a book, weird, radios are so strange.
10:27PM What I said earlier, about either spiraling and getting in trouble/depleting serotonin or recovering and forming healthy routines, is so stupid, like the stupidest thing I can imagine someone saying, that’s not what my life has been like, ever, this is why I sensed that I wasn’t getting the joke, I like, I don’t know what my life is like.
I’m giving myself an F in life… but I want to be better, I want to earn an A+ at liveblogging Liveblog, maybe that will help me bring up my grade in life, or, I don’t know. It only feels good to write variations of “I don’t know.” Feeling burned out.
11:02PM Might actually take a break from liveblogging tomorrow, to figure out what about it feels bad, and think about how to be better, plus it might be good to try to become focused on reading, since I’ve been reading 2-3 pages every day.
August 2, 2018
1:43PM Feeling good about neglecting liveblog, my throat is painfully swollen and my head feels like it’s going to explode, haven’t read anything yet, have been planning what clothes to buy when I deposit my last paycheck on Saturday. Didn’t realize it was Thursday, thought it was Wednesday.
10:27PM Read to page 143 of Liveblog. Keep thinking I don’t remember anything that happened today, except my grandparents saying things about my throat, I do remember things happening today but it just doesn’t seem that way. On page 139 an entry says “12AM-5PM: unmemorable mostly.”
Yawned. When I yawn there’s like, a first part of the yawn that doesn’t hurt, then a second part where the yawn-feeling, or something, focuses in on the part of my throat that’s swollen, it’s a gland or tonsil or something, and it’s like a sharp pain, it’s so painful. It just happened again.
10:40PM I do this thing with my private journal, when I write in it too much I get upset with it, like I’m bothered by its perspective on my life, like how I would get upset with my high school therapist for seeming entertained by my struggles, my dad just called, now I’m talking to him.
August 3, 2018
12:45PM Feel like there should be a penalty for if I make my first entry after noon… so I do my first post as soon as I wake up… did I fuck everything up by not posting yesterday… I started working on an entry on my phone at around 10, but there was too much stuff going on, [stopping to start writing actual entry, not going to penalize myself, being ridiculous]
Described dream in this tweet. When I woke up my throat hurt so much I couldn’t speak. My grandfather came in and asked if I wanted to go to breakfast. (I forgot to mention my grandfather goes to breakfast at Connie’s 3-4 times a week.) I tried to answer and let out a sort of squeak, then tried again and said “maybe,” but didn’t get out of bed. My back had sweat on it, my face and mouth felt gross. My grandfather left. After a while my grandmother came in and we had a similar exchange re: breakfast. Then she put her face close to my face and said something like, “You know if I could take away all your sickness and make myself sick instead, I’d do it,” with a lot of sincerity. Sometimes she says things like this, things that convey love and care, but also morbidness, like my grandmother’s morbidness, so I felt uncomfortable.
We went to my house so I could get my insurance card, I couldn’t find my insurance card but I grabbed the green sweater Catch got me for Christmas last year, my raincoat, half & half, coffee, and flouride-free toothpaste. It rained really hard while we were in the car going to breakfast. Kelsey, my high school theatre director who was in my dream 4 or 5 nights ago, was in Connie’s, I went to his table and sat with him, he asked about my life and riffed on my answers about life by reminiscing about things that happened during plays he directed, I felt that he was keeping me too long at his table but I felt glad that he was, because I’d been hoping to see him somewhere. At some point a group of teenagers loudly entered the restaurant, and one of the teenagers was a girl wearing a white t-shirt that got wet in the rain, I noticed Kelsey kept looking over, then in a low voice he said “I’m sorry, I can’t help it,” and something about a wet t-shirt contest.
Had more blood taken at urgent care clinic, nurse practitioners also pricked my finger and did a “throat swab” to test for mono and strep throat, tests “came back negative,” nurse practitioner I also saw on Monday said that I would be referred to see an allergist, probably in Morgantown. My grandmother was present throughout the appointment and talked a lot, referencing my childhood, my parents’ childhood, my current health problems, etc., I felt bothered by it, made mental note to tell my grandmother “no” in the future if she takes me to a medical appointment and asks to “go in” with me, this time she asked if she could go in with me and I said “if you want to.” I learned at the appointment that I gained 4 pounds this week, I went from 118 to 122 lbs.
Think I’ve past the threshold of having stayed with my grandparents long enough that they’ve started bothering me, like when I started writing this entry both my grandparents were talking to me about different things that seemed unnecessary to talk about, it felt like they were just talking to me and “picking on me” for made-up reasons, or just because I wasn’t talking a lot, like doing this thing where they talk about things that happened to them when they were my age, and I felt detached from them, now I feel grumpy and uninterested in writing this, so I feel like I’m “glazing over things” somewhat, like nothing from today seems interesting to me, except that I had sex with a demon in my dream and it felt like real sex. But not even this seems very interesting to me. Might be more motivated to write after drinking coffee.
1:23PM On page 146 an entry says “2:45pm: I’m a shitfuck.”
I have a few review-like thoughts about Liveblog that are… emerging, I think partly responding to the Publishers Weekly review, which I think sells Liveblog short:
“Over the six months chronicled, Boyle complicates things with her ex-boyfriend Zachary, moves to New York with her cats Alvie and Shirley, contemplates a “realistic course of action” to becoming an astronaut, has a Kafkaesque DMV experience (the only kind), and does enough Xanax, Adderall, morphine, crack cocaine, Vyvanse, noopept, heroin, nicotine, and Monster energy drink to give Hunter S. Thompson a run for his money. Indeed, calculating how many days Boyle has been awake, or wincing when she ingests more amphetamines at 3:03 a.m. and operates a motor vehicle, offers some of the book’s most page-turning thrills. Boyle’s story, of a 20-something trying to get her life together, is universal and relatable. Though not a narrative in any conventional sense, this is a riveting concept and a challenging volume.”
Or, I don’t know if it “sells it short”… It seems positive, like good that they didn’t just say “blah blah blah it’s good,” but I wonder if a lot of reviewers will focus on the liveblog “concept” and neglect to look at Megan’s writing itself, which is often amazing to me. Also wonder how much reviewers will focus on Megan’s drug use, it seems like reviewers did this a lot with Taipei, like focused on how many drugs Tao did. Maybe writing style is hard to write about. I’m still having trouble… focusing on writing, or focuisng on thinking… feel like I don’t want to “get into” anything, hope I can “get into things” later.