To Wiling Conflators Of Susan Sontag And Jeremy Todd (one hundred and forty ninth letter)


Dear Friends,
I returned to Vancouver without joy and found not only the anticipated grimness, but a new trial. Again my lack of practical knowledge has subjected me to a genuine, almost defeating, ordeal. This last while has been vitally revealing in the same manner as all of my previous employment experiences. I have learned that I can’t endure white-collar work, and that I couldn’t count on being able to get along during and after university, reading, writing, pontificating and performing, etc., and certainly not with any job that might give me enough money to live without concern. I had also naively supposed it better to do something meaningless than something pseudo-intellectual, i.e., teaching – I didn’t realize how apathetic, drained one becomes by the activity within working hours. That eliminated half of my aspirations toward proletarian living. The present state of my physical/material existence has stripped off the other half of my illusion!
No matter. Morality informs experience, not the reverse. I am my history, yet in my moral desire to understand my past, to be fully self-conscious, I become precisely what my history demonstrates that I am not – free. My not sent letters serve this desire.
What makes prose “absolute” is often a kind of intellectual swiftness – but it must be borne very lightly, only emerging within concrete perceptions.
Prose everywhere.
Compact + expressive + swift – and to write you must also allow yourself to be the person you don’t want to be (all of the people you are).