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2019-10-27 12:39:29 (UTC)

Just Thinkin' on some Dostoevsky

"Not - Edit" by Big Thief

Not the meat of your thigh
Nor your spine tattoo
Nor your shimmery eye
Nor the wet of the dew
It's not the warm illusion
Nor the crack in the plate
Nor the breath of confusion
Nor the starkness of slate

October 27, 2019 Sunday 12:41 PM

[WARNING: some spoilers for The Idiot by Dostoevsky, so I mean... if u wanna read that blind... go away.]

I have to leave in about 5 minutes, but I wanted to make some updates, of the good kind: which is that the Monday after my last entry I was suddenly CURED. I'm not kidding either, I felt kind of good even as I was going to bed, and by the time I woke up all the bad had evaporated. But, you know. Where the Sad Stuff grows and subsides, the Happy decays as soon as I see it. I am not... afraid that my happiness will go away, necessarily; but I am observant of the fact that it fades daily. It started somewhere, at a high, and then the anxiety seeps back in.

Hey, now it's 12:56 PM and where I was at home before, now I am at WBRU waiting for the director's meeting to begin. I'm the first to arrive. It was raining lightly outside and I was thinking about Nastasya Fillipovna from Dostoevsky's The Idiot. I'm writing some kind of lyrical essay on the book (probably focusing on Ippolit, because I'm interested in his weird suicide note). I got there by thinking about Diego, and how he gave me a flower yesterday at the beginning of our shift at work, and I acted a bit callous, which was both horrible and fun to do. First, he said, "I have something to give you," with his hands behind his back, and I backed away as if in suspicion, and he got mildly offended (but only on the level of amusement) and finally gave in to showing me the "present" without getting close. It was a dandelion with all the fluff still on it. Intact. I said, "Oh. Where'd you find this?"

And he said it was for me, and I said it was full, and he said, "Now, make a wish," and I said, "It's going to be harder because it has all its fluff... and my breath is not that strong.." and he said again, "Make a wish," and I said, "Nah, it'll get all over the floor," knowing full well it didn't really matter. He said, "We're going to sweep later anyways," and I said, "But these are hard to sweep up because they're so light," and I put it in a cup, where I promptly forgot about it until sometime later when I was at home and I thought, "ope!" But just as well, I mean— so he doesn't get any ~ideas.~ I'm not even sure he has a crush on me still—or if he ever did. But I don't want another situation in which a guy likes me and gets confused by signals they perceive as vague.

Anyway, that thought reminded me of Nastasya Fillipovna, and her alternating between abusing and... like... enticing??... potential lovers, like Ganya and Rogozhin. I was thinking, that it must've been kind of fun for her, in a sick way—to know she had that sort of power over another. But then at once it must've fed her guilt, her self-hatred, since she knew she was just playing a game of sorts, seeing how far she could take it before someone, finally, gave her the punishment she deserved. This is not really my situation, but it made me think.

And then it made me think about Stephanie, too, and Totsky. But they are different. When I'm angry, I don't want to figure out Stephanie's mindset. I don't generally think about her, but right now I just feel sort of sorry for her; as someone who was just doing what was done to her; instead of being like Totsky, a perpetuation of some male privilege, she was just the victim of it. And in the end, like Totsky, she got away with it, with virtually no consequences except a bit of social tension that everyone is in the process of forgetting about anyways. Stephanie just wanted a family; to be in control of her own future. I wonder if her kid is okay; I wonder if she feels empty. It's people like her and Totsky, that live happy because they have no self-awareness, they don't recognize their past in a significant way, they just kind of keep going. She lied because it wasn't supposed to be a big deal; and if she acted guilty now, it might ruin things for her, you know? Her whole idea of the Family(TM) that she wanted and all that. The people who end up fucked up are the ones who fuckin' feel the guilt, whether or not it's supposed to be there.

I think Nastasya didn't really know what she wanted; I think she wanted someone to tell her she was good and innocent, just so that she could believe them for a split second and argue against it the next; and then she'd try to prove it to them, in desperation, a test, to see if they truly believed in her, and to see if they could save her, and if they couldn't just as well—her whole life was an experiment in punishment and forgiveness. I think even when she laid down to sleep for the last time and Rogozhin plunged a knife a half an inch into her heart—no more than a tablespoon of blood—she must've writhed, she must've rebelled against the closing moment—until everything got quiet in her, still pulled between the choice to fight for herself, or to let herself be carried away; dying on the question of whether she was even dying.

I mean, we only see her after, but this is what I imagine. I think of all those Holbein' paintings—if only there was a similar style, to that painting "Judith Slaying Holofernes"; not the Caravaggio, but the one by the woman Artemisia Gentileschi, capturing that intensity in the expression, you know? Only instead it's a macabre image of Nastasya Fillipovna's last moments, the way she might've gripped the sheets. I dunno, maybe an almost sexual ecstasy, or an epileptic one, something kind of sublime; because she can't understand what is happening, she is just overtaken by it, all of her self contracted to the point of the wound. It would, uh. Be very good.

I can't imagine her just laying there, taking it. She wasn't like that. She was like Myshkin in that she couldn't make a decision.

Anyway, I really like Dostoevsky's writing, clearly... I didn't even get to read The Idiot very thoroughly. I hope I'll have a chance later in life to look at it again, but now we've started reading Andrei Bely's Petersburg, which is a pretty difficult novel, so. I might try my best to continue reading House of Leaves alongside Petersburg, because I know Petersburg has some funny formatting and is OBSESSED with the idea of space—which is very similar to one of House of Leaves' central fascinations. Ohhhh it's gonna be good :) reading is so fun.

See, this is what I mean? I've been so happy lately. It's always a direct switch, from self-obsessed thoughts to passive considerations of books I've read, stories I want to write, people I like, things I'm interested in, images I want to create or see elsewhere. I love this kind of state of being.

Anyway I think I should go now so I can read some of Petersburg. And maybe plan the next Video meeting. The last Video meeting actually went really well; I felt genuinely good about teaching videography. I do wonder about access; because it's so hard to get into editing and filming without also having money. It's a stupid expensive hobby. It's like if you do it, it has to be a career. Or you have to be rich. Anyway, yeah. That's what's been going on. Hopefully I can write more soon, because stuff has just been :) really good.

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