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Labyrinths in Bluenotebook
I stole some bluenotebook from the bookstore across the street, along with this pen and three books—Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, and The Hour of the Star by Clarice Lispector—because I am way too introverted to make it as a director.
I am eating french toast and drinking coffee at a diner. I have not slept.
As far back as I can remember I wanted to be a director. At some point I made a compromise with myself that I could be just the screenwriter instead, or even just the editor, but I am a recluse. I am a dictator. The work must all be mine. No, it has to be literature now. I need to limit the amount of people I can come in contact with as much as possible for any chance of creative achievement, or at least to maintain what’s left of my sanity.
The waitress refills my coffee; it feels like a vacation as Monday bleeds into Tuesday. I should be in class, but I am not.
I can't stop thinking of how to adapt my life to film
of which angle
would best capture me
if maybe — Woody Allen's tainted every jazz song I want
playing behind my VO
or if — they will make me change race?
please, not —
can my alter ego be —
another — color?
I think I could work with that
I walk from breakfast to madness, from bookstore to bookstore, from shelf to corner, sliding books inside my jacket—The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton were too thick to pocket, so I walked out the bookstore with the poems in my hand.
This is quite the education. To write, I must read. Buy what I want, steal what I want. College was a waste. But alone in my room, chasing down whatever stray artist I glimpse, that’s where I belong.
Well, now that I think about it, I remember telling two teachers at the end of eighth grade that I wanted to be a computer programmer, maybe a video game developer. They gave me a look, and then a laugh. None may teach me — Any — I think now in hindsight, maybe I thought something like that then, discouraged and yet curious: I spent that summer searching for something, a purpose, a medium, I don't know.
I tried drawing, but it terrified me. I tried writing rap lyrics, but my mom found them under my bed and tore them up.
I started watching movies, good movies, bad movies, collecting DVDs with some seriousness to it, pulling titles out of the air as if they had always been there, parodies in cartoons, posters on the walls of my brother's room, HBO at midnight, at two, at four.
My 14th birthday: my parents bought me the largest TV (remember the three-dimensional square ones) we could carry up the stairs and into my room.
At Christmas: a home theater system.
Tenth grade: my mom let me sign up for Netflix (back when it was a DVD mail rental service) and I flew through the careers of my favorite directors (Kubrick, Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Herrán) as fast as I could get them in the mail.
Next summer: the internet got good enough that I could torrent movies faster than I could watch them; it was a golden age.
I spent it in black and white streets, alleys in shadow, admiring beautiful silhouettes through frosted glass, pitying men who were condemned before the first scene cut to black.
Back even then, I loved wallowing in misery, knew there was a cure in recognition, in seeing the world as it really is, in saying: Yes! Things really are that bad. People are untrustworthy. Fate is cruel. America is choking on your leg—the city beats with your blood.