Continuous Diaspora,

April 3, 2008 at 6:43 pm | Posted in writing | 19 Comments
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Huh? Things either remain the same or they change, there is no inbetween. I got an email from my father today. I haven’t seen him for 26 years, since I was 18. He says he found me on myspace but that doesn’t explain how he got my private email address. I’m sure there’s some prosaic explanation. I got a new job today, too.

I could philosophise on waves of change, or quote Lao Tzu and Nietsche too. I must read King Lear again. I watched young aboriginal dancers in the City today at lunchtime telling stories preserved in movement for thousands of years. They are strong and graceful and will become leaders of their communities, that is their tradition. My maternal grandmother was the first person in her families history to marry a Gentile. My father was a submariner in World War 2. He never spoke about it at all, in fact I remember him as a kind of ghost, physically present but fundamentally absent. I can’t remember a conversation, not one. But memory is completely unreliable.

At university, after the raging protracted separation of my parents, I studied Philosophy and English Literature and became obsessed with the ontological status of fictional characters, the way in which a fictional character exists. The ways in which we are fictions written as a kind of collaboration between the world and ourselves. The connections between all these events are obvious in hindsight, I escaped by proving that I did not exist. I am not English as my parents were. Being an Australian means that you are either an Aborigine, the oldest living culture on earth, or that you are descended from immigrants, exiles, refugees, seekers of opportunity in a farflung corner of the planet.

I should answer my father’s email, I know next to nothing of my personal history, I have no continuity of self. In fact I am trying to publish a manuscript which is built around the dissolution of the self as a moment of connection with the atemporal divine and all the ways that idea is manifest, in love, in mindfulness meditations, epiphanies. I am happy not to know and I have said before that the complete unreliability of memory is a great comfort to me. The truth is, I still have no real desire to be a person,

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  1. To find our self, we have to loose ourself, so many problems are created by this ridiculous idea of tradition, nationality, family, none of it is us…and as you know, my dear sage, the more labels and ideas we have of our”selves’, the more of a self fullfilling prophesy they create.

  2. PS say hi to your dad for me.

  3. even when they remain the same –they change. hope it is for the better.

  4. wow, you went through the trouble of proving you don’t exist and I struggle to prove that I do. Interesting (or not)
    My father told me the other day that he missed me
    but his aim is improving.

  5. But did he teach you to hit the low cutter into the wind? Every man chooses who stands on the teebox with him, but while he’s there waiting for the ladies to clear the green, he might as well pick his partner’s brain… the day will come when you need to find a new fourth, and it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to learn.

  6. This is the most solid, concrete, straightforward thing I’ve ever written by you.

    I’m surprised how well you do it, admiring, and not a little frightened to hear you speak this way.

  7. *read not written

  8. Breathe friend breathe..sometimes time takes time.

  9. And here I was thinking that you were no more than 20-22 at most. Your book sounds like something I would definitely read.

    My 2-cents worth of advice: Yeah, fathers. Answer him, no matter what shitty things he did because there will come a time he will die and you will regret it. My parents divorced when I was a teen and the road was violently rocky with my own dad after that, and when he passed I just remembered the good, forgave the bad, what hit me the most is the opportunities I wasted in knowing more about this man who sired me when he tried to reach out and I only met that half-heartedly…blah blah blah…cheers.

  10. I have had mixed advice, mostly in agreement with you, Harmonie. I haven’t answered the letter yet, but that is more complacency and laziness. I don’t harbour any grudge or negative feeling toward him, just no feeling at all. If I do nothing gradually the thought will fade and everything will go back to the way it was,

  11. I have had mixed advice, mostly in agreement with you, Harmonie. I haven’t answered the letter yet, but that is more complacency and laziness. I don’t harbour any grudge or negative feeling toward him, just no feeling at all. If I do nothing gradually the thought will fade and everything will go back to the way it was,

  12. “I studied Philosophy and English Literature and became obsessed with the ontological status of fictional characters, the way in which a fictional character exists” . . .

    I know exactly what you mean. I remember an English class where I proposed a hypothetical American farmer for an argument, and throughout the whole semester the class kept referring to him during discussions until we finally gave him a name, a state, a personal history and a girl drew a picture of him which hung on the wall.

  13. I guess the question comes down to the type of ontological quality and force you prefer your father to have: as a fictional character, or a real person.

    I apologize, not my business to weigh in.

  14. Weigh away, your opinion is always appreciated, Peter and that’s a very interesting view, yes, has stopped the old train and started a new one, hmm,

  15. …write…cuz it’s what you do best…

  16. maybe try to cultivate some curiosity about the man, his life, the intersection of your lives? the opportunity may be weird, but it is also golden.

  17. meant to say also some curiosity about how it all might play out…

  18. […] true for fear of implicating the innocent since I was drunk a lot of the time, (insert link=”the complete unreliability of memory” and like any drunk include the sober) some balding man in rags, a woodgnome in a clearing […]

  19. You sound like an orphan Mr. Squires. Welcome to the orphanage. 🙂 The older we get the less we require the needs of youth. That nothing feeling you mentioned in one of the above comments, that is what you call growth, but I bet you knew that too.


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