Posts
by nick splendorr
May 13, 2022

fiction

from PROMETHEA, pictures I took in 2014:

one of our most precious gifts is how we perceive. when everything feels sharp, it makes perfect sense to pull away, to seek shelter. looking back over my photos, I can see a progression just over the last ten years away from beauty, wonder, amusement, and love. I can tell my mind has become a less hospitable place for lighthearted and profound feelings.

there are infinite “reasons” for that. the world i inhabit became much, much more overtly cruel and difficult in that interval. several pillars of emotional and material support collapsed. and most pressingly, I can just see the gradual erosion of my well-being as years of financial hardship wore on, despite my best efforts. it’s been hard to live in this world, which made it harder and harder to live in this mind. I can’t overstate how important this awareness is, and how it should guide the way we treat people collectively. we have to create as much space for calm, pleasure, and safe reflection as we can.

I’m trying, and sometimes succeeding, to cultivate more of that space for myself. I feel unspeakable anguish over what I’ve lost, most acutely when viewing evidence of simple times that I used to enjoy so much. sitting at the Heirloom counter for a couple hours on a Sunday morning, back when I could afford that one treat and I reveled in it, when it was safe and comfortable to simply be among people in a small room, when the ideas flowing through me from books were alive and colorful and beautiful. when certain love was easy, before whatever happens to make it brittle.

I can see it fade and leave. some things will never come back. my losses are deeply personal, and also not the worst that can happen to a person. and even though it’s become so much harder, I maintain a capacity to laugh, play, explore, and seek beauty of all kinds. I don’t feel it as often. it’s excruciating to be aware of how I’ve changed that way.

but what we see can change. not only for the worse. how we see. it’s not a fixed point. it really can feel that way, especially during the worst times!!!

but I’m trying to remind and be reminded that things will change, and that I’m allowed to put a hand on the rudder.

May 13, 2022

“““Windows”””

Just thinking in the middle of the night

May 12, 2022

"a flicker of desire, and a memory of youth"

Five Iron Frenzy — Blizzards and Bygones

I absolutely love the instrumentation on this song. Shuddering drums; icicle-glittering guitars; the brass and vocal wind blowing frozen through the trees. Describing the difficulty, and trying to summon up the courage to continue.

Back when the angels of heaven would sing
Days when I still made you feel something

Blizzards and bygones, all frost and no thaw
Airways constricting, and vessels withdrawn
And you look around but find yourself all alone
And you hunker down but the cold's already in your bones

There's a flicker of desire, and a memory of youth
A faintly glowing fire

Can you stand the weather if winter lasts forever?

May 11, 2022

"tyrants all cowered behind white lies"

Five Iron Frenzy — Tyrannis

Never mind who's hands plowed your ground
While you long for yesterday
Stars and Bars for empty pride still flying
The same flag as the KKK

Tyrants all cowered beneath white lies
Murderers memorialized
All your world was wrought in violence
Traitors training fellow tyrants

Your generals are dead and buried
Lost to time, the cause they carried
The statues that they never earned
We'll bulldoze as your flags are burned

May 10, 2022

excerpts from Ken Baumann's "Living Past the Last of What Exactly"

Full text here.

I wake up the same body, but the familiar options—those enliveners of fantasy and nightmare—remain: walk out of my life; dissolve into poverty; quit; do as little as possible; stop taking the medication; act and spend erratically; take the ones I love along with me into some supposedly ennobling venture; die, or whatever. I wake up and take the orange pill and blink until those options feel ridiculous. I eat food and the options fade away. I'm "back in my body", "right with the world", "able to handle it".

you have to spit on the meaning, rub its wet grit into your thumb, to see its color.

The jobs are bad because they're killing us. The idea is that they're supposed to keep us alive, but they don't. We keep ourselves alive; the jobs do not.

The jobs are a narrow gate through which human desire must pass. We built the gate and made it small. People know this. People want to break the gate. Practically, this means that people want to not work. If taken seriously, that desire will carry us into a future that prioritizes life over death, heaven over hell, earth over ideas.

I am incapable of understanding the degree to which my body has been damaged by more than two years of rarely leaving my dwelling. I can sense how I'm dumber: the words come slow or not at all; my memory's shot; the prospect of working on anything for more than an hour at a time seems impossible, like climbing a mountain with broken ankles. There are parts of me, parts private to my mind, that seem to have been cut out of me. There are days in which blinking feels a chore. Where drinking water seems to be the only comprehensible activity. All this, and I haven't even had COVID, a disease whose longterm symptoms can just wreck a life.

So the price of living has been to collect a bunch of wounds. I dream of being rewarded for my diligence, my patience. For example: if health insurance were freely available to me, I'd weep with joy for days. And this is proof of how the wounded are made to stop dreaming.

We pay and protect six men and three women to decree what ninety or so million women can or can't do when they're pregnant (this being just one matter we celebrate those nine for discerning). Their decision—like all decisions of the powerful—affects how people structure their lives. This decision deletes futures, captures minds, erases already-unsteady feelings of charity and love, prevents the woman from saying something, prevents the woman from saying what they want, prevents women from living safely and peaceably with themselves among others. One decision, one judgement; we let the six men and three women do this ruling for the rest of their lives.

We do this because we collectively treat four pages signed by thirty-nine men as a sacred text by which the lives and dignities of our neighbors may and must be assessed. Of course twelve of the men who signed this holy document enslaved (or: tortured, as a matter of course) people.

I'll say it simply: we're fools.

The field has no doors. But we do know it, too. It's the place described by the freaks who beg peace, by those who die unthinkingly into love. Part of why we kill those people is so that they stop describing the field.

Because once you taste the air of the field, you recognize that there aren't actually any other places to be. That the others are not in rooms, but are clumped together in the field, communally hallucinating their doors and walls. And of course once you know this you have to say it, because the truth has a way of being good to say.

Full text here.

May 08, 2022

care

two thoughts in my head right now:

  1. i am struck, repeatedly and violently, by the observation that most american parents fail in the basic test: you should show more care than derision for your children

  2. people sure do give me a hard time for not meeting their expectations, when it’s pretty painfully obvious that whatever it is i am requires a great deal of care in handling. and that i maintained a surprising amount of my good nature into my 30s, despite having been repeatedly mishandled, and then blamed for being fragile

anyway, we’re going on 6 years since my mother revealed the depths of her nastiness, and broke my heart clean open with the revelation that the sweet person who read to me every night (and hit me somewhat less frequently than that) had been fully subsumed by trumpist propaganda. there’s a big hole in my heart where the love for my parents used to live. luckily for me, the roaring wind of affection decompression as my love poured out into the void has now more or less reduced to a trickling whisper.

doesn’t stop me from dreaming about them sometimes, and quite a few times this week. but in my dreams, they are always haranguing me.

and i think it might have permanently damaged my ability to feel love deeply and truly, but who knows which indignity is really responsible for that

anyway, i just think that if you want your kids to put up with you into old age, you should try your best to be tolerable, to not insult them and their life circumstances constantly, to avoid using homophobic and ablist slurs on your sensitive children in order to scare them into conformity, and so on. just don’t be a fucken asshole. happy mother’s day to those rare few who somehow manage not to abuse the role

also fuck the supreme court and all instruments of bodily oppression. a lot fewer people should have to be parents, and that should be the easier of the options!

May 05, 2022

insidious revulsion

i just want to note something that I don't like at all, but which I've observed change in myself over the last few years. in the face of feeling utterly lost, being broke for long stretches, etc etc, it's become very difficult for me to feel anything positive about someone else's success. I just caught myself, having been directed to a blog, seeing that this person I've never heard of has published a book, recently moved to a country they like, and made note of the love they feel for their child and fiancee. All I felt was an immediate revulsion, jealousy mixed with self-loathing. "Must be fucken nice," I thought, "to have the feeling that you're in charge of your life and that you like where you are."

I feel this repeatedly, throughout my days now. I really wish I didn't. I'm trying to catch and redirect that feeling.

Even worse (maybe), is that I can't also recognize my "successes" as such. I say this is because the aggregate feeling of my life is still one of disappointment and despair. I've held in my hands, at various times, the sensations of creative fulfillment, strong relationships, love for a place, and aspiration for the future. I don't have access to any of those things most of the time now.

So experiencing the disgust I feel for myself, my life, and my circumstances (even as, perhaps, they begin to improve in a long-term view), it feels very difficult to admire or appreciate someone else's success. I do manage it. But it usually has to pass through a valley of self-loathing first.

SO THAT'S FUN

May 02, 2022

for as much livin as we have to do

i just think a great deal more of it should be chill and or cool. you know?

I continue to have just a heck of a time keeping my mood “up” for longer than a day or three. just being in my apartment, going for a walk or a jog, maybe going to sit at a nearby cafe for an hour to read. a person comes over for a little bit every now and then. I’m reading more, playing more long ass video games, hell I even watched all seven paranormal activity movies a couple weeks ago (the first and seventh movies are the best, though there are real high points in 3 and 5)!!! I mean what the hell am I even doing, ya know?

work’s fine. even good! but I’m mostly paying off debts, paying rent, what have you. it’s very weird to have steady, good-paying work. sure do wonder how I would have turned out if this had happened any time prior to 35 god darn years old.

man I dunno. I’ve had some good days recently! fun times with friends. but the days are many and long, you know? and I do not wish to be the person I am. I keep trying to tell myself I can be somebody different. And I am changing. but it’s hard to feel like it’s for the better most of the time.

if you don’t mind the way you look, or you enjoy your own company in your mind, or you’ve had any level of financial stability as an adult… I’m just reminding you to count your lil blessings. I’m trying to count mine!! I know I put ‘em around here somewhere

May 02, 2022

i used to take pictures of flowers and birds

April 21, 2022

“a god damned hurricane”

DNA Lounge reluctantly stops checking vaccination status, not because it’s safe, but because nobody else is doing it.

There are lots of things that we could be doing to bring this pandemic to an end, but we as a society are simply not doing most of them.

We can all look forward to years of people telling us, "It's just a cold, everybody gets it twice a year, whatever." And your personal experience may support that in the short term, because with vaccinations, probably very few people you know will be hospitalized. But Long COVID is a god damned hurricane of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, weird clots, loss of lung capacity, brain damage, and inexplicable neurological conditions, and it's coming right at us.

And in this hurricane, instead of building levees and storm drains, the government is telling us, "everybody should take personal responsibility for deciding what level of moistness they are comfortable with".

And in this hurricane, as it uproots trees and batters your storm windows, your friend rolls their eyes and asks, "Are you just going to stay home forever?"