The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

September 24, 2013


all over hell and back the collapse-production
of the Centre Pompidu performance, I'm still
picking up the pieces reductio ad absurdam and
what appears in
is just about the quick fix to the platform,
mobius twists to the spheres, alterations
through 3d printer technology files, so that
the result is the presence of the American
government shutdown as fascist Republicans
stop the succeeding of our stalwart Blues to
have equality and justice for all, but never
fear, someone's marching to stop the madness,
oh those fierce Republicans with their guns in
their mouths, come to Chicago and New York and
Nairobi and see what they can do


My recent work has been lousy, repetitive, mediocre.
I go over the same grounds again and again as I attempt
to hold onto my sanity in a world of ultra-violence.
Any response I might have to this world is lost in the
symbolic, nothing is left, nothing left behind.
I see our move to Providence as exile from the edginess
of Brooklyn, for me the last locus of alternative
negation. I see myself going over the same musical
grounds, playing alone or with Azure, without the dark
energy of the dominant saxophone. And I see my own good
ideas already on the block and lost. I'm lousy with a
mind corrosive with self-pity, drive, obsession, and an
easy way out. I watch the body close down: carpal-
tunnel, stretched muscles, tinnitus, insomnia, sweat,
difficult breathing, clumsiness, stress, confusion:
what's left forms the few notes of the shakuhachi. I
take note of everything; I'm drowning in my own
mediocrity. My end-blow flute-playing is lousy, my
theory drags out thinkers from before the wars, my
virtual world work imitates itself and I'm lazy in
terms of new programming, my writing's pretty much
ignored for good reason, and I still write from the
outmoded positionings of the murmur and the scream. I'm
exhausted with theory, I haven't read nearly enough, I
take shortcuts, my lousy thinking infects everything,
turning to paranoia at the slightest provocation.
There - you see - "slightest provocation" - a lousy
trite phrase, because my thinking short-circuits
itself, comes up with nothing new but a fabricated
lousy honest that's close to unhinged. I wish for
something new, some catalyst - students perhaps or a
Festschrift (I dare dream!) - to bring me out of this
study in gray, but I've wished for such all my life,
and this kind of wish is never granted, or granted
at best in retrospect - and certainly not for the
kind of lousy work I do. I type and think through the
autonomous nervous system, as if my circuits were
jolted by some sort of external machinery from the
gods, content be damned. I write but it writes itself
and in this case, this writing, this thinking, these
virtual worlds, these video, these images, this music,
is lousy, lousy, lousy, lousy, lousy. An epitaph -
stupidly, in spite of himself, he kept trying. The
rest of us knew enough to ignore the results. He was
his own worst result. He was lousy.

He was lousy because he took the easy way out, as if
there were laurels to collect, choices made for him.
He went with whatever fell the fastest. He kept
waiting for his life and work to turn around, for
something to turn them around, for him. He thought
practice, not insight, makes perfect. His thought was
lousy too.

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