Things I had to learn, and things I still need to learn

FRIDAY, 9 MAY 2008

Here are the notes I should have made on Friday, 10 February 2006:

Besides learning to make money from home, in my own time, and with work that I see fit, I set myself the following goals over the next two or three years:

1. I have to learn to fail utterly and completely, and then to start again the next day, and to fail utterly and completely again, and to start again the next day.

2. I have to learn to venture an opinion and make predictions, and to be totally wrong, and the next day to again venture opinions and make predictions, and to be totally wrong again, and then the next day to again risk an opinion and make predictions.

3. I have to learn to be patient. I have to learn to progress painfully slowly, even slipping back every few days almost to where I had started, and then to continue the following day.

Oh, and I have to learn all the above whilst someone whose respect I want to be worthy of witnesses each and every one of my failures, and knows of almost every single time I am and have been wrong.

MONDAY, 19 MAY 2008

If you stop breathing, you die. If you stop trying, you fail by default.


“One of four thousand,” dictates my mind while I am lying flat on my back.

One of four thousand writers now living, who write about life in a certain way. And because not all these writers are active – for a variety of reasons, it makes the work of the writers who do write so much more important.


Just over the bridge on the way to my usual dinner place yesterday, I thought of how many times I have boasted – not intentionally, but still – about great wealth the past two years, and how Natasja has listened to it all, how she has seen how little has materialised thus far, and how she still loves me.

By the time I parked my bike next to the lamppost, a thought had struck me right between the eyes. I shall illustrate it thus: Once a woman has decided to love a man – or when it happens in the mysterious way it does, the man on the receiving end can casually proceed straight to the nearest Daoist temple. On the way, he can pick up a kilogramme of joss sticks and once at the temple, light up one after the other while thanking, solemnly, and with tears welling up in his eyes, every single figure or statue that resembles any kind of deity for the good fortune that had befallen him.


(Part of a larger kitchen contemplation of Eros and Thanatos: the desire to live and the desire to die.)

I take good things for granted, dismiss them as insignificant, or even ignore them, while I consider unfavourable outcomes – even relatively trivial events – as incontrovertible evidence that “things are not right”, that I am busy “screwing up”, that “things are obviously not working out – and perhaps never will”.

By the way, who am I, and what am I doing with my life?