Backward (as Oppose to Forward), the Artist Looks Back, in a Nutshell, Expanded and Divided, Just Before the Night.

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Sometimes I over-think.  But I can’t quite figure out when that happens (and I am not going to think about when I over-think). Unfortunately, the following text is an example of it, as I was ambushed by my own words.

This text here, locate at the very end of the project, originally I wanted to write it with a tone of conclusion, but not to summarize.  It would have the quietness (awkwardness) of a guest kneeing down and putting on shoes near the entrance before he stands up to say goodbye.  But I aimed for much higher than just to say goodbye; perhaps to my own fault, I aimed too high.  My writing skill couldn’t have matched my ambition. After the disappointing fall, I woke up in a local dive bar, nursing a mixed cocktail of over-thinking, feeling of failure, and last-call sentimentality, a drink made famous by lamented lovers who had to have the last words.

I believe the failure comes from the fact that I couldn’t work this text into the rest of the project.  These are the things I want to say at the end, the last words, but beyond that I couldn’t give it a position or validation for its existence here.  So I could not help but to ask myself, “what is this text?” over and over.

Is this the (meta) caption to the whole project? Or is this some kind of indexical text which points back at the project?

Also I asked myself about my desire to include this text.  Why here? What would be the purpose? Am I too afraid to let it stand by itself, speak for itself? Is my desire to write the result of over-protection? Are my worries “motherly”? What have became of my words?

Thus, my Doubt, my Anxiety, and my Vanity all comes to the bar, pushing me to share with the rest of the world.  Come on, put your doubts into sentences, you will write your way out of it!  Really? What evidence do you have? Having trusted all of them, I gave it a shot.  I put it into words.  I tried to give it a voice.  The right voice, but I can’t hold my position. The voice came out confused, unsure, a pushover.

But the pushover did not succumb so easily to its own weight, still able to ask me the tough question: say, if this text is suppose to supplement the project, like how an short caption for an image, or a small illustration for a body text, then, with the tone of failing and feebleness, say about the overall project?

Yes, I wanted this Is What project be an experiment, an exercise, an out-loud sketch of some conflicts I have about using text and images together.  It might be seen as a very simple concept, but in my mind, I want to know where the illustrative power comes from: an image or words.  Whatever this thing we call “art”, in the very deep end of our minds, is it a visual thing? Or a visual thing constructed by strings of sentence, or vice versa?  In the end I am not sure I ever find out what the answer is.  Or did I?! Maybe this is it (!): questions in my head as typography, then inspired forms and object, then inspired narratives and stories, then inspired actions and doings of body, so on and so forth. (“Inspired”, really? Is that the best word here?) Okay maybe that’s not really “it”.  My excitement is often short lived.

In this learning journey I did end up with lots of tiny voices inside my head.  They are kinda like friends now.  We could always use more friends, right?

The bar is almost empty now.  Ms Anxiety and Mr. Self-Pity-Wound-Licking-Dog had gone home together, despite everyone’s objection.  Mr. Worrisome, Mr. Failure, Ms Over-Thinking and others have left for another bar across town.  Lonesome, and narrowness sets in.  I picked up my pen and papers, calling it a night.  I fell asleep before I knew.

There is a wise old man voice inside my head.  It narrates inside my head as I watch and experience the world.  I believe it has to do with my eerie fantasy of been old.  Perhaps it is the authoritative voice that I desire and crave. If I would to visualize him, he would probably be wearing a gentleman’s hat. Maybe a beard. Nothing extraordinary. The voice though, the voice full of wisdom and knowledge, composed of lexicon of been right.  It sounds right, to me.

True, I want to be right.  I want to be right for a long time.  And for that to happen more people have to wrong. Do the math. At the moment, I don’t feel I am part of the group, the group of right.  I am outside the membership.  Also I haven’t live long enough to be “right for a long time.”

I am feeling anxious.  The endless question of very fundamental questions.  I search through my notes try to find answers. I search endlessly. See if I had written them somewhere.  I thought I did, but I could be wrong. I could have been wrong for a long time.

“For a long time”, which includes past and possible futures.  But the present is holding me.  It is invading the privacy of the past and all possible futures.  I am feeling “everything” all the time right now.  The present feels ultimately, long.

But this “long”ness cannot be translated to the “for a long time” because it has no validation in the external world, no calendar to mark, no days to count.  This “long” inhabits in the present, in the “presentation”, in front of you, standing, no less.  What I am showing you now, is now.

It holds me close.  It is holds me at present.  I am always anxious of the present. I try to draw diagrams, charts, and maps to clarify things.  But they are too small. The scale is unrealistic at best.  I am making a point which needs to be clarified;
In a more visual presentation of the present it looks like: present + present + present. When one step outside the frames of the presentness, many times outside, one can see an overlay of the present.  There one sees change, growth, decay, and transformation (a romantic thought).

If one decides to now take a step closer, one sees the slope of approximation between all the frames.  There lies the mystery of the unknown, the unnamable.  I try to address it formally, but ended up in rejection.  A witness of my own experience, I gather facts of pity, self-loathing, and anger.  I try to protect it, but realize it is time to let go.  Letting is an act.

For once, wanting to be taller.  Standing tall.  What are my options in front of such intangible?  I count them with my fingers (while the other hand reach down my left pocket for my preferred choice of metaphor)

The ambivalent you, the ghost audience, the “for a long time”, are costing my patience.  There, over time, one sees the lamenting lover’s impatience for the endless process, which eventually becomes dirty logic.  The impatience of the languages.  The impatience for reality.  My emphasis attempted at punctuating the text. 

Once again the wise old man whispers between my ears.  I was instructed to demand more.  Therefore I am demanding more of you, the ambivalent you. This text, I aim to be motivated, to be pronounced.  In a new narrative, I shall be right, for a long time to come. I learn to proclaim in the last draw of  daylight.

With it, my eyes are shut, exclusively, yet hoping to reach membership of us, we.  Darkness climbed out from underneath, a new dwelling has emerged.

Before the night is whole, two voices have surfaced.  One welcomes it by closing its eyes.  The other simply went to sleep.  The previous proclaiming, complaining, writing, pointing, illustrating, all came to a halt.  Because such are not for the night.  Day is for counting. Night is for... Now, the familiar:  dot, dot, dot, the sound of the nightscape.  To the next, a dream, no, we start from the device that induce a sleep.  Another state of the mind.  Oh night, a circular room.