Contact

I can be reached at abenemon@gmail.com, or PM me on Twitter @bookappreciator.

If you intend to offer me employment (and please do), you should know up-front that I am one of the damned. No, not the band The Damned. Nor am I, an atheist, speaking of heaven and hell—we are too miserly and too generous to the present world when we banish its goodness and its malice to other ones. What it means to me to be one of the damned is to be someone who does not get on with the world. The world continuously, unrelentingly demands that I be X, Y, and Z, and I equally as stubbornly insist upon being 1, 2, and 3—and that difference in disposition can simply never be forgiven, never accepted, and therefore I’m damned. I’m damned because there’s no Disney-esque story to tell about me; they would have to censor significant aspects of my life in the TV adaptation (which, I should add, would never get made) out of fear that viewers would extract the wrong morals. I’m damned because I’ve extracted those wrong morals. I’m damned because I merit nothing according to the predominating conceptions of what merit is. I’m damned because I don’t necessarily know what the right conceptions are for what merit is. I’m damned because I don’t value at the right level the things that you value at a certain level. I’m damned because I value some things that many people place no value on at all. I’m damned because I’m too abnormal for some people, and not original enough for other people, and entirely lacking in the external markers of greatness that would be impressive to either group of people. I’m damned because while my mind is indefatiguable, my body feels like death. I’m damned because feeling near-death has made me coarse and unhumorable. I find myself not giving a damn what people think, which ironically brings me closer to death as those same people deprive me of health insurance and other requisites of surviving this infernal condition. I’m damned because I’m pretty sure I’m not a hero in all this, but somehow I still want to think I’m some sort of hero in all this, which demonstrates my vulnerability to the masculine enculturation of the society I grew up in. I’m damned because my weaknesses make me a villain in context of the masculine enculturation of the society I grew up in. I’m damned because I grew up in ideal circumstances, but I was unideally formed to take advantage of them. I’m damned because I may still be unideally formed to take advantage of them, and it hurts for someone so ambitious to admit he has limits. I’m damned because I abhor your limits, and have always lived in defiance of them, and I’m damned because my defiance is catching up to me, and the more examples of defiance I see in the world the more it dawns on me that the will to not be what you are may be stupid, and yet what’s equally stupid is believing other people when they try to tell you you are what you’re not, and I’m damned because I’ve never found a mutually acceptable answer in this dispute. I’m damned because I’ve always felt my own fate to be something worthy of being disputed, and I know how disagreeable it can be when I fail to drop off the face of the earth and leave you to your peaceful simplicity. I’m damned because I have the temerity to treat your simplicity as farcical, which if you are like most people offends you on multiple levels: if you are religious, because it’s not that, and if you are a Stoic (or secularly religious), because it’s not that either (assuming we are using religious here to mean “consoled by a story.”) I’m damned because I’ve never felt fortunate enough to feel completely consoled by any story. I’m damned because I think there’s immense destructive power hidden away in stories. What is a mass shooting but the demented outcome of some nutjob’s story, his murderous telos as it were? I’m damned because I think you can be totally in touch with yourself, and totally out of touch with everything around you, and maybe when the two halves of your experience meet they spontaneously set off an explosion. I’m damned because an explosion is much more immediately exciting than what I am. I’m damned because an uninteresting thing you know is a lot more interesting to you than an interesting thing you don’t know, because your already knowing a thing is what makes it interesting to you. I’m damned because you’ll never know me the way you know your interesting thing, but I feel deficient when your interesting thing is not known to me.

I’m damned because I wasn’t intentionally imitating Samuel Beckett just now, and what I do without intention makes me feel naive [begins riff on his naivete].