In Nov 2017, Su and I recorded a screen in which we used a mozilla pad to "converse" with each other. It lasted for almost 20 minutes.
I also captured footage of us typing (back to back, in a shared studio).
Now I would like to complete this project.
Su and I have not talked since our parting in 2017.
When I said I wanted to make something out of the footage, she said I needed to decide what it was about.
It was an example of letting the narrative (or idea) emerge after the making, I suppose.
I will email Su and ask her if she would like to type with me again. I am in Rotterdam now. Is she still in Seoul?
I haven't emailed Su.
Staring into the balcony and thinking about an installation of the typing setup. It's poetic.
I haven't emailed Su.
I have taken on so much at school. So much is exciting. So much doesn't make sense. All does not require explanation.
I have come to detest premature intellectualization.
Su introduced me to Certain Fragaments by Tim Etchells. She said she would buy the book twice if she could.
I haven't emailed Su.
Su seems to be a code name now.
It's her name, but I have lost its meaning from time to time.
This week has been horrible in many ways.
I don't know if I'd tell Su about it should we write to each other.
She often used the word absence.
I haven't emailed Su.
It seems she's the only one to whom I can say this:
something happened today, and I feel guilty about it.
(But I do know this page is open should one seeks it.)
Su would probably laugh and tell me, "I am not a Father and cannot forgive your sin."
I would probably say, "no one could, actually."
We would discuss morality.
"It's rather somber," I'd think in the moment.
"I placed too much weight on one action," I'd tell her days later.
At some point she would say,
"I don't really care about understanding or being understood. In fact, I quite like misunderstanding and mistakes."
That was something she did say about her work, which I found strange and beautiful.
How are you?
I mentioned your name today in front of 150 people.
I said you recommended me a book that continued to influence me today.
I was almost reading from my speech, and only looked up a few times.
I was a bit choked up during part of it (not the part about you but something about the difficulties in my continuing travels), but I decided to manage my temper.
A few people told me they liked my story.
One person said that because she was close to me she could see I was nervous at some point.
"You did well. You were very... peaceful... is not the word. You were calm."
I wonder if this calmness, so it was perceived, correlates to your comment that time.
You said, "you observe."
I haven't written the email to Su.
I haven't written any email to Jeff.
I brought you up today.
It's a funny phrase, bring up;
You were brought up in Seoul.
I mentioned you today, I guess, that should be clearer.
I don't know who you'd become.
And I am not so sure about who I am becoming.
A friend laughed when I said I cried while watching Widows. She was next to me.
I was surprised that she did not.
"When she made a sound and he said... yes. There was no line. It was perfect."
I cry more at movies now.
I am at Brussels-Noord. It smells of piss. There is trash all over the benches. People are shouting. I read a reddit article. Flixbus drivers say passengers are robbed or have their bags stolen. Oops. I am sitting next to a group of young people who communicate in sign language. An old man who seems to have no jaw talks to someone he knows -- covered in a black hood and watching youtube clips -- I do not see his face. I tried to get on an early bus, but the driver told me it was full. I changed the ticket to a later one in case my budget flight was delayed; it was not. The couple next to me on the flight were very loud and oblivious. The woman ordered a bottle of white wine and the man, two whiskeys with a pepsi. He got another whiskey shortly after. I tried to finish my reading.
I hope I will make it to Rotterdam in one piece. Besides these, Christmas has been great. I saw Fontana di Trevi and even filled my water bottle there (from a side fountain, not from the pool, thankgoodness.) Are you enjoying the holidays? Not sure if Christmas is a big deal where you are...
I am alive, Su.
Somehow I want to live very, very quietly for a bit.
I am tired of noises and worries.
It's a new year that feels old.
Someone called me an "old friend" today.
Would I call you that one day too?
So much stays.
So much escapes.
Do you ever feel that way?
I used to, perhaps still am, obsessed with the precision of words.
If someone misuses a word, I get annoyed. You can count that as a fact.
But then, when it comes to an idea, I am the opposite of precise.
I become very vague.
Is that how I seek refuge?
My distrust towards the world.
But how can I move the world if I cannot trust it?
This is my dilemma.
I did not know who she was.
She told me she was a photographer.
I did not remember how to pronounce her name, even.
She told me she was moving to Idaho.
"What made you choose to move there?"
I wanted to ask what her name was again, but it seemed we would remain friendly strangers.
I have kept my own name from people in the past, I am now reminded.
I told her about the film I was — am still — have just started — making.
"It's about the loss of home," I told her. I told her other things.
I wonder how much older she was. She didn't seem that much older, but she said,
"when I had an exhibition in Shanghai, a long time ago..."
Su, do you feel at home?
We drank tea with cranberries, and I told them the snapshot of my years.
I wrote to Nuri.
I still need to write to Mirla.
I have written to you, Su, I suppose.
I imagine giving you a book one day.
And in return, you show me what you have done with the dedication pages to Mike.
Have you written in the notebook I gave you?
I want to tell you something and you might laugh at me.
Today I went to the parking lot and discovered some tiny houses.
I shared this newly found treasure with someone I wanted to share it with.
He found the fire extinguisher funny, too. I was glad.
But before we could finish our goodbyes, he ran to catch the tram, and I was left, a bit empty.
I sat in the space that they made to imitate a living room at central station. I waited for my appointment. I picked up some sushi and ate them without the condiments. They didn't taste much without soy sauce and wasabi.
The living room I saw was beautiful, fake antique trimmings on the ceiling and all.
The beds were crisply made like they would be in a soulless hotel.
"The walls are thin," one said and knocked on it, "but we never hear anything from each other."
It was true: they did a test by watching Netflix at the highest volume in the two rooms, simultaneously, and heard nothing from the other.
There was the statue of a buddha on one of the window sills, the kind you could buy at a trade store with flashy fabrics and aggressive incense. The room did smell like that, a fragrance so artificial that I was all but reminded of the phrase, sickeningly sweet.
I had finished my tea; water was boiling, but nothing suggested a refill.
When I gave them a hug to say goodbye, one of them said, "oh the American way" almost with disdain.
You never liked the hugs. No, that's not right. You never liked goodbyes.
I am notating, writing, discussing, organizing, editing, shooting, baking:
feminist film theory, my own position against (or within) it, my discomfort (but also disdain, rather haphazardly), an event of a collective in formation/meetings with people I want to make into moving image, footage of someone else, my own footage, bread.
I keep telling myself to keep calm and give myself the permission to pause. So far it seems to work — as long as I am not overworked — I feel okay. But perhaps I am turning one obsessiveness into another, which is now more obviously work, a durational performance that is too coded for others and not that transparent to myself.
How do you answer that question now — what do you do?
What was the last time you miscommunicated because you did not know exactly what you want from the other person?
In today's already tense conversation, I caught myself giving three different explanations for the same thing, which raised familiar flags. It was easy to be trapped in being logical because we never found a way to directly and kindly address our needs, so instead we went around giving hints (even righteous ones) that something was needed without realizing it.
I am missing a party because my body aches and my mind cannot race tonight. I had lost track of weekdays or weekends, but recently they've come back to me. (The neighbors are having their own party with dub steps. It was a 20-degree day after all.) My colleague said she hadn't been to a movie for a long time because she felt tired everyday. She has a toothache and ankle pain this week, so she skipped pilates on Wednesday (the only fitness-like thing she does because she needs to maintain a strong core for her unbalanced back.) Yet she still works 10 hours a day, standing, lifting 25-kilo bags, shuffling steel trays in the oven. I walked like a zombie toward the finishing hour, carrying a bucket of water. I could not feel my calves much, and at the same time, I felt my forearms swelling.My name was shouted as I realized I was spilling it.
"You were somewhere else," she said.
Did you say that you'd had enough of the darkness? You were somewhere else, too. You are somewhere else, now.
PS. I learned that my umbrella had been thrown away during a clean-up. "It's just an object," I said, before I thought of all the distance it traveled with me, all the boxes it was in... I was sad, because its absence reminded me of that of the place that is no longer mine.
I am writing to you a lot.
I have not laughed, or giggled (!?) so much in a long time.
I have not felt exhilarated like this in a long time.
It almost feels strange.
I am tired from not enough sleep and way too many thoughts.
Changes induce thoughts, I suppose.
The past few Aprils have been, to different degrees, difficult. What about this one?
It started out with a coffee in the sun, followed by a coffee near the water. The barista asked me if I knew Devotion. I said yes, I have been there, they have good interior. "They took the branches of coffee plant from Ethiopia and planted them in Columbia," the barista told me. It sounded Brooklyn to me.
I wrote to Manny the other day asking about the bike. I don't remember what came over me. "The silver bike was stolen shortly after I left," I wrote. In return he told me he had enjoyed the rides and had been taking care of it. It did bring me some solace, although I miss the long descend from the bridge on a sunny day. I miss many things, and because I am making a film with this feeling, I have started to talk about it with more people.
It's a sort of mediated vulnerability.
The magnolia trees are already leafing. Too fast.
What's your spring like?
The whril. wind. whirlwind.
Thought of you on the way here (to the studio, which is now a mess with no working locker. Alas, the door was not locked.)
Thought of talking to you. Writing. What's the difference?
Writing to you now.
Felt drained. Feeling drained. The tire eats me up from the inside. The layer of abdomen -- what's the name of the muscle --
Feeble. I have not mentioned the word for a long time.
Things are happening but not together.
Relationships break. Float around in bits and pieces. Cast hope.
The conundrum of fear -- of losing someone, something. Of not having what was once there.
Youth wonders about no future.
I drank at the beach last week. I could not drink much, but people kept passing the wine. I skipped a few rounds. I was too full, the sun was too bright. I had said that this spring thing came too fast, too strong. It's a sign of demise, I kept saying, we are all doomed. But it was taken as a snarky joke. I did not want to have to justify my seriousness anymore. Take it or go for a swim.
It reminded me of Fort -- I cannot remember the name now, how odd, the beach I biked to, the hipster, topless beach with old bunkers looking over a jungle of forgetfulness. I went there with a tent once and did not use it, thinking no harm would be done, and ending up with large swaths of poison ivy marks. On my leg, on my arm. I went because I wanted to prove to C that I did not care. In the end I met two Spaniards and one person named Valerie (I think).
The sea was nothing short of a miracle, but it did not feel special. I was too angry to enjoy anything, but I thought I was having fun. 'Independent, strong woman in her twentities defines fun' should be a type.
I wore a windbreaker this whole time. I dipped bread in salad. Later at dinner, I watched two seagulls flying over my head across the large, cloudless sky bordered by the shingled roofs of The Hague.
I did not remember much of the conversations. Someone made an electronic cello, someone was making a cake. High-pitched laughs here and there, a drawl in speech from a certain part of England. Nothing sank in.
All stayed near the surface. I started to think if I was no longer fit for parties.
I have been having a sort of blackout from the long days at the bakery.
Today feels like ages from the day at beach. It was three days ago, but felt like a distance memory, as distant as the poison ivies.
I started repeating the phrase inexplicable sadness again. I caught myself, nothing is inexplicable, nothing needs to be a myth.
Once I was on a rowing boat from one island to another.
Once I ran towards the arctic sea.
It suddenly stops, the stream of remembering. Presently I sit in front of the screen. The computer has internet. I have no internet at home. No desk, either. There's enough light and wind. And I talk incessantly. Sometimes I wish there was rain. I have been taking a lot of public transportation. My bike, in fact, is broken. Big bang, as the bike shop owner categorized it. The spellcheck tells me categorize is wrong and categorise is correct.
I refused to take 50 euros today.
That was not the point.
I left with a loaf of bread and a block of butter. That felt more right.
I arrived at the phone shop one minute before its opening. The staff looked at me when I walked in as the day's first customer.
"Morge," one of them might have said as the other one remained silent.
I looked into her eyes and said, "I have a question. Could you help me?"
By then the tears that made my eyes swell had gone back.
The sky was grey. Now it is blue.
What's the weather in Soeul?
I am going to write someone this week who might show me a coffee place near the train station there.
Things are coming back and forth and up and down from all sides.
Su, when I write your name it does not feel like your name anymore.
Today was incredible, in an amusing sense. Funny only because I am still writing.
This is something I want to tell you in person one day, Su.
I will begin and say, "there was that day..."
And perhaps when I tell you that I would laugh. Or cry. Or both.
And you would look at me all confused and say, "I don't have to understand."
I have woken up without an alarm, but it's too early for anything.
Except if I had a plane to catch.
Which I do not.
I watch the car from across the street backing out of its spot, listen
to the wheels going across the bridge, a clicking sound.
Something checking in and out. Or passing. More like passing.
The trees have grown taller than the roofs. The oldest neighborhood
not according to the tourist guide.
Today is a day I feel you are far.
am i the opposite
or exactly the same
I don't remember the rule of haikus. Bear with this in-between, almost-there, born-or-bury child.
I almost forgot that you read The Rule of Novels. Tom wrote NICE as a comment that time. Remember Tom? Sometimes I am surprised by my memories. I found the footage of the cooking show a few of us tried to make. I thought of making it as an anniversary thing last year. Conmenmoration is important to me, so important thay it becomes private, and, ha, ha, forgotten.
(Did I ever tell you anything about Tom M? I read his blog a few times a year.)
It carried so much meaning, this date. The date with the same pronunciation as i love you.
Not that it has been said to me by any person whom I thought those words would fall out of their mouth one day.
Secrets are ending, or becoming a bright truth. Sort of thing.
I am making a loop. Loops are nice, timeless things. I don't know what you think of them. I still remember your performance, at least the documentation of it. Or the pieces written about the bird. I remember the bird and the window and the lamp.
They filled my eyes with sorrow.
I wondered if the wind and salt had dulled them, stripped away their judgement.
Politeness is, it is none of my business, we have the rules, if it does not say so on the rules, sorry, I cannot help you.
In this way, they are not different from the bored, pained and numbed bureaucrats.
I hope you are with me on this. But I can already sense a bit of ambivalence.
This morning I said, I can't believe it's June.
How are you?
It's easy to forget.
I have been meaning to...
(What a phrase.)
I did not respond Hank.
I have not written the tinyletter.
I do not pick up my phone and send a message to those I call friends in Amsterdam.
I continue a life among strangers (despite the people I know).
I can't quite say what I want to say, is the problem? inspiration? circulation of doubt...?
Perhaps I should write that tinyletter now.
Rain drops. Home drinking wine.
Dear... I don't really think I am addressing to you anymore.
Are you becoming a prompt?
Talked to Lara the other day. She called me and I said, no one calls anyone these days, even with my mom I message her before I call. (I mean, there's the time difference.) I ended up very angry with myself (it was a bad editing day), but she accepted all of it -- me, the day, the fact she called me on a highway driving to a friend's wedding. In fact, she asked me if I'd like to attend hers, to which I said, send me the pdf, and to which she said, yeah, email will be better (than message), I will try to do it in the morning.
Talked to mom. Talked about this feeling deep down since I'd left NY. It's never gonna end isn't it. Make do with what I have. As usual the call lasted a couple of hours, interrupted by god knows what internet has become.
Duration: 18:17 - Duration: 00:31 - Duration: 143:06 - Connection error - Duration: 09:12
There is dust in her balcony, she said, the neighbors sold their house and the new owners seem to be oblivious.
The balcony she could see on the other side of the artificial lake. It's indeed a nursery, she said, I wish I'd gone to agricultural school.
I said, every society has a mechanism of shaming. If you grow up in Irish Catholic, you'd confess because you'd sinned - were born a sinner. You try to redeem yourself, that's what life is about. If you grow up Chinese, you'd be pious to your parents so that no matter how unreasonable your family was, is, will be, you'd be part of it.
I said, take care of yourself, that's the most important thing, love thyself and then you shall love others. Doesn't mean you have to be selfish, just make sure you feel fine, truly. That's one good thing individualism taught me.
I am missing the moments where I'd say something untrue about myself and you, a friend, would say, "that's non-sense. That's not even important."
I am digging through some old photos.
"The cell service will discontinue. The Internet will be spotty. Babies will cry, inevitably. The timid tourists, gossiping in their dialect the glories of being rich, will be confident again, back to a place whose language they excel, where they exclaim to their relatives, in that language, I have been to America, here is your Marlboro. I will stand next to them. I, the silent visitor who speaks deliberately, trying to blend in despite our same-colored passports. I, who sometimes wish to let time do its job, and wash away the feeling that I was once narrow and naive, too. I have been through times where all I want to do is to shake everyone, look them in the eye and say, wake up, wake up. But I cannot possibly change them. They will say, you are free. The act of contemplation itself is privilege. I try to tell them my freedom is conditional, but they roll their eyes. On my way to the airport the driver asked me where I lived in that country. I said, oh, I don't live there anymore. I said it without much thought. It was a given. Just as the time the other driver asked if I'd live in that warm beach city, and I said, no actually, I prefer the north."
That was one caption. The image did not matter.
It seems secrecy is both the breeding ground for poetry and for misery. Summer has been incredibly healing, and not in the hippy sense of the word. I met new people, had great conversations, traveled to far places, overcame difficult weather. I was confronted with an inkling of what, in the past, would seem like romance — but this time I was only confused for a short while and let it go. It was a sense of outliving something that haunted me, of claiming agency, of knowing myself better, of trusting myself. I can feel the transformation in my heart. It would be an unfathomable feeling when I talked to you two years ago at the dinner table.
I wrote to a lot of people. I spent hours composing first a letter to someone of importance in my past, then a tinyletter to the group of friends and acquaintances. Then I spent days reading the responses, corresponding, reaching out again, responding again. I asked about a friend's 1-or-2-year-old daughter and another's soon-to-be-born child. I skyped with a friend and took her on a tour of my flat. I booked my tickets to see people in San Francisco. It's quite far and not a place I loved. But somehow with friends, a love can be cultivated. When someone talked about love as a practice, it resonated with me.
I think I am ready to write to you now.
Today did not begin as it progressed to be, which was, a sudden spasm of sadness. (Literally, it was a jump in my diaphragm.) It started with a lot of confusion and searching answers on the internet. It started as a wish: can some dreams stay as dreams? Ever. There was a moment when I found myself saying something I'd said before and did not wish to repeat. It felt like the crusting of wounds, over and over and never-ending. Ever. It felt futile, like my world, or I, shrank and fell. And the ground was wet. I wanted quietness, but instead was met with enthusiasm in the kitchen. I used to be the enthusiast myself, but I have gone quiet.
The yoga teacher said, "be there." And there, and then, my eyes swelled of tears. The silver handlebar appeared. The seat post. The brakes. The small, black bell. It's no longer mine. It's lost. I lost it.
First I carried it, then it carried me.
Funny is what I say when I don't know how to summarize my feelings.
I don't suppose you'd understand this one. I think I am intentionally forgetting the details.
It's quite an odd time to be writing.
But perhaps it's the perfect time to be writing.
It was a few days of: tire, annoyance (turned into anger), anger and disgust (unasked for)
I did not have the best time coping.
I talked to people and they tried to sympathize.
I don't want to revert back to small talk. Please. Don't. Do. That. To. Me.
It's a room full of people and it's a room full of empty.
It's been a while. I have been writing to other people, in other places.
I had conversations yesterday and today where my eyes filled with tears.
It's funny, this tearful self is my true self. I was just too far from it to see.
When was the last time you felt able to wipe away the moisture gathering near your eyes in front of someone — with no contempt, no dread, but a sheer sense of openness?
I don't mind being fluffy these days.
I want to tell you about my spiritual animal because I haven't found anyone else proper enough to tell,
It is a woman who posted a personal ad on the New York Review. She wrote (I had it as a photo on a social media app I no longer use. Thank goodness?):
IMPERFECT WOMAN, 70's, lively, warm, literate seeks compatible human being who is no longer concerned with the surface but tries to live deeply and simply, sees the beauty in people and the world, enjoys both companionship and solitude, and values laughter, courage, and being oneself. NYC and environs. NYR Box 66505
Are you becoming a repository as I wait for another to open?
I wonder why I wait. I wait because I don't want to assert. But by not asserting I assume there is a space for politeness. Berger says, between the moment and the meaning there is an abyss. Between my decision to wait and the end of it, there is one, too.
Why do I make that decision -- CUT TO --
An article on burning out at 29 in silicone valley. An article about sober house in Florida.
Addiction and users mentioned in both. America is a weird place.
-- CUT TO --
Withholding, because it feels so much in front of a perceived space.
"I don't know what I want..." so began the sentence.
"I don't know what I want..." so repeated one.
"I didn't think I would..." so began the sentence.
I didn't ask more questions because I am afraid of the answers.
And I am afraid of more "I don't know".
Now these questions are walling up the distance.
Distance is a thing that grows out of uncertainty.
I put a brick to it by each silence I choose to hold.
I come to you for this.
I do realize the irony.
Resolution comes, as it does.
I wonder why the Buddha seems to have heavy eyelids.
He probably cried a lot.
Understood a lot.
Extended his hand.
Cut off his arm (that bit is extreme, but I see his point.)
Has it already been so many days.
It has already been so many days.
It's hard to realize sometimes until it happens.
I have come back from a dream. I have taken a piece of music with me.
I am almost moved to tears.
Because it is part of my life now.
I have not been addressing you as you truly existed.
I am moved by you, says one.
I am endlessly fascinated by you, says another.
There's some dignity in these words.
That's what I will take to heart.
Isn't this phrase peculiar: take something to heart?
What space is the heart?
I must write your name again to remind myself of outside lives.
You are bridging me and the world — in this regard.
There was a weight where my heart was for a few days. Then I had a good night of sleep. The dam collapsed, the river was full and rapid again.
The past is a strange thing. It comes back quite often. If I hold past in my present, it becomes a moment of now. It's not so much about reliving. A moment of stillness infused with something that happened constitutes now.
I don't always like abstract thinking about time. But today I read again that "always" even is an abstraction of time. Ha.
I think sometimes the term "you" is more abstract than "time."
I heard from Pan out of the blue the other day. The subject of her email was: how are you?
So I told her — there is telepathy in the universe. I wrote about the time we saw Pan's performance in the woods.
Now that I think about it telepathy is not quite the right word. For me, you have been an ongoing thought. And the memory I wrote about, well, that is a memory. I have given it much weight as it has worked its way into my narrative.
I have been talking in a way I have not allowed myself in the past. I've always wanted to express this way. I had the content, but I didn't have the courage. Or I had some courage, but only enough for one narrative that I had planned — I couldn't open myself up for the unknown.
This is perhaps the most important development in my recent life. I am still living it, and hopefully will live it from now on.
P.S. Have you ever heard these words uttered to you: let me love you? Or, more concretely, let me love you the way you want to be loved... Remind me of the love story of the bird.
Today I read back on some words I have written to you. It's strange to see them. I think I have changed — I start to truly say the things that mean the same thing to everyone. I start to see others as they are before they see me as I am.
Yesterday I sang all the way on my bike ride home. It was raining. I was feeling a bit sad. I saw that sadness and turned it into a tune. It dissipated as I crossed the bridge.
Somehow I see my sadness clearly — nothing is unsalvageable anymore. Everywhere there is hope.
How have I measured time? It feels still and grand. Nothing needs to be immediate... Everything grows and evolves.
I said goodbye to someone today.
It has been a longer goodbye than usual, and went through a sort of drama that I did not anticipate.
But perhaps without a jolt of necessity I would still be too attached to the wrong view — that I could be infinitely understanding and compassionate, that I could help someone in need. But I came to realize one-sided understanding could only be called a study. It was not an exchange. There was no flow of mutuality. Everyone suffers in that sort of understanding. It has lost its meaning and starts to burden all bodies and minds involved.
I am thankful for the opportunity to let go.
I felt a few things and woke up in the middle of the night. They, too, shall pass.
I am coming back home.