you read the internets to escape the solipsism. it makes sense in that way. all of your theories of yourself, who you are what you mean in the world, only exist inside your own head. it’s the same for all your theories of what the past meant, what will happen in the future and the plans/structures you overlay in order to keep things going. are you seeking to complicate or simplify? it doesn’t matter. only this makes sense: you’re in there, & you need to be comfortable. but you know, it can also feel isolating at times. the thoughts you think are the only things in the world. the idea of ‘getting outside of your own head’ (even though it’s impossible, really) has some validity & worth.

so you read things & you get a sense that there are actual other people in the world, & that they are not dissimilar to you. the specificity of their stories & words, this gives you a sense of generality (paradoxically, i know). these other actual people also have real lives they live out while suffering the menace of their own thoughts. other people have reassuringly specific ambitions, routines, sadnesses & loves. it changes nothing but it maybe helps you cope. we are all human beings doing things in the world. it is, at least, not nothing.

but when you go beyond this you run into problems. i’m talking about not just reading the internets, but seeking more. specifically seeking contact. in response to the material, the arrangements of words, the mood & tone: ‘are you ok?’

it’s become increasingly meaningless & the only response i’ll give you is ‘yes’. who cares if it’s true or not. i’m not going to go into it with you. i suspect everyone is both ok & not ok all the time. i try to convince myself the ‘ok’ outweighs the ‘not ok’, maybe in a 70-30 ratio. but who knows. anyhoo – ‘yes’ is all you’ll get even on a second or third insistence. ‘yes’. ‘yes’. ‘yes’. that’s all. i hope to put a stop now to the recent spate.

i’m not the author figure who will elaborate. it’s not quite correct to say i care little for your good intentions. but it’s also not quite incorrect. things can co-exist.

really, i only care for the very specific internet emails, subjectless & with the content limited to ‘hi :)’ – these are the gestures i keep stupidly anticipating. over-thinking it (of course) yields the idea that those particular missives span distance in a non-confrontational manner. it’s why i would always feel the corresponding physical smile on my lips. it was involuntary. such an email is like seeing someone special just a small distance away: she smiles ever-so-briefly, and waves.

you don’t need to know anything more.

i’ve written this at the end of so many of my students’ creative writing assignments: this ending feels artificially conclusive. perhaps something more open, more suggestive, would be more satisfying?

i write that so much i think it’s become my own peculiar cliché. but i can’t help it. i want students to think like i do. nothing ever really begins or ends. your task as a writer is to just complicate, or simplify. whatever you choose.

i guess it’s only september but this track will almost certainly form part of my top 10:

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