Thursday, January 01, 2015

Getting Better in a Difficult World

Hello close and/or distant friends,

I am writing this note from grey Burlington, on the wind-swept shores of lake Ontario.

2014 came and went. A difficult year for a lot of us, yes? And by “a lot of us,” I am expanding the circle to include “residents of planet Earth.” I daresay 2014 was at least a little awful for the major part of the human species, what with the Crimean crisis, ISIS, Ebola, a slew of new homophobic laws, and the rhetoric of austerity rising to a shrill, fever pitch.

Within the narrower circle of my friends and acquaintances, I am aware of lost jobs/prospects, mental/physical illnesses, and mourning. There were also pleasant disturbances which, for all their pleasantness, are disturbances nonetheless: births and relocations. For the most part, my friends have again proven themselves to be extremely resilient, resourceful and compassionate. And so: congratulations! You played a very bad hand very well.

2014 is the year in which I recovered from mononucleosis. This might not sound like A Big Deal but Actually, It Kindof Is. To give you an idea: there were some days around February that if I dropped something on the floor, it did not get picked up for a few... weeks. Mononucleosis makes the Picking Up of Things highly improbable, and the Pulling Up by One’s Bootstraps effectively impossible. It affords unparalleled insight into human limitation, like a preview of life at 80. Do not catch it.

In 2014 I did not graduate from anything, but I did meet many new and important people, first and foremost the man from whose house I am currently writing this note. Stuff I tweeted (about Gamergate, of all stupid things) received the attention of comic-book legend Andy Khouri. A comment I left on YouTube (about Wittgenstein) was picked up by Idea Channel. I was invited onto a board of comic-book academics (I need to get a business card that says: “Etienne Domingue: Comic-Book Scholar and Master of the Dark Arts”).

I read -- not prodigiously, but attentively, laboriously -- the kind of reading which makes every subsequent attempt at writing superlatively daunting. Between panic attacks I was able to chart a course for future study, a detour which will take as long as it will take and which I will probably still be on well after my doctorate (that is, if I ever finish my doctorate, which is doubtful). 

In 2015, I have discovered misanthropy is not at all endearing to me, and neither is the belief in “success” as a rigid designator. Quoth Granny Hempstock: “You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

In 2015 I will probably fail to save the Faculté de théologie et d’études religieuses from becoming one of the first victims of nefarious occult influences. Hopefully I won’t let it get me down too much. I plan to make more loud music, and to keep drawing badly. In an ideal world, I would also like to get back into writing badly; academic writing doesn’t count, not because I do it well (I don’t) but because it doesn’t really matter as much as stories matter (to me). 

Also: Exercise? Maybe? Not making any promises there, to be honest.

I hope we make 2015 healthy, happy and fun -- and that if you’re struggling, you don’t struggle alone. The world needs more deep thoughts, good feelings, bad art, and silly noise; fewer entitled, curmudgeonly naysayers.

No comments

Post a Comment