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Tao Lin TAO LIN (b. 1983) is the author of two poetry-collections, you are a little bit happier than i am and cognitive-behavioral therapy, a story-collection, Bed, a novella, Shoplifting from American Apparel, and two novels, Eeeee Eee Eeee and Richard Yates. He was born in Alexandria, VA and grew up in Orlando, FL and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. His family had two dogs in Orlando, FL, Binky and Tabby. He had a 10-gallon and later a 50-gallon fish tank as a child. His favorite foods include watermelon, pineapple, coffee, raw honey, red grapes, coconut water. He has a blog and a Twitter account.

Recent Work By Tao Lin

That night Haley Joel Osment was alone in the apartment talking to Julia on Gmail chat. Julia was 28 and married and lived in Georgia. She was friends with an editor of a magazine that had published Haley Joel Osment’s poetry. Haley Joel Osment’s cell phone vibrated. It was Dakota Fanning. Haley Joel Osment moved his cell phone to his ear. Dakota Fanning said her mother found out about him by reading a blog post’s comments section where he had said things about his first visit to New Jersey including when they screamed bad words across the Delaware River. “I think she knows you’ve stayed here overnight and that you’re 22,” said Dakota Fanning. “She already googled you a lot I think.”

In your view is Richard Yates about the internet’s effect on a generation?

No.

In interviews and other places they say I am prolific. I think why I wrote many things so far is because when I was depressed, lonely, in a situation of unrequited emotions, or had just been disappointed by a human being, I didn’t watch TV or call someone or drink alcohol. I wrote stories, poems, and novels.

Squid

I don’t watch TV because I don’t have one, but also because for some reason I prefer feeling existential despair and despair having to do with being emotional and melodramatic to feeling nothing (I don’t have strong urges to get painkillers or cough syrup or other things or drink alcohol) or feeling “vacuous” or “distracted” or whatever by a TV show, a video game, knitting, “small talk,” etc. For example if I already feel depressed and alone I will listen to music that is depressing and by a lonely person instead of other music. The same with movies. I sometimes have urges to do some of those “distracting” things but the urges are not very strong and most of the time if I am feeling severely depressed I will drink coffee and sit at the computer with intent to write a story or poem or edit or something.


Hamster


I didn’t talk to people mostly because I didn’t have people to talk to (when I wrote most of what I’ve written so far) but also because I feel very bad about misleading people or using people to relieve loneliness. If I wouldn’t talk to someone normally, when I am not depressed, I feel self-conscious talking to them when I am lonely, because I know some of it must be because I feel lonely. I feel bad when people around me are disappointed by relationships. If I start “hanging out” and being in social situations a lot and if there are two people who come to my reading for me I feel bad that I only talk to one of them or that I didn’t talk to both simultaneously the entire time. I don’t like when I’m talking to one person and there is another person standing there waiting for me. I would almost rather just not talk at all. If there are three people in a group and I am one of three I feel intense pressure to not talk too long to one person (or to just not talk at all) because the other person will feel “left out.” I had a reading and more than one person came and one brought me a flower and that night I lay in bed feeling really emotional about how the person who brought me a flower felt when I talked to the other person. Even if it’s someone I don’t know who comes to talk to me and someone else taps me and talks to me I feel really bad about the other person. I’m not being very articulate but I think you can understand me.

When I feel myself “using” someone to relieve loneliness I feel like a terrible asshole. I feel like I’m in a movie or sitcom. If there are two people who like me at the same time I feel very emotional thinking about the situation. I want them both to get what they want. Because I know how it feels to like someone who doesn’t like you back. I don’t know. If both people are very detached people it is better, I feel less emotional and more like it is a life-affirming situation, that there is just a lot of good feelings happening between human beings. I like people who I feel that no matter what terrible shit happens to them they will never feel complete despair but always be a little outside of their situation, viewing it with amusement and complete acceptance, and who accept death also. I am more able to think about those people without feeling emotional in a way that makes me not want to talk as much or have relationships or friends as much, meaning I understand that they will understand that if I do not like them as much as they like me that is something they can accept, and not feel complete despair about. I think I like when people treat me like that. But I am reluctant to treat someone like that, so directly, if I don’t know if they are very detached and able to accept things completely; though I think I learned to be very detached and to accept things completely in part because people have treated me in the way I described, which is directly and not in an all-or-nothing way, meaning that if I wanted to be in a relationship with them and they did not want it they would still talk to me, but just talk to me and do things for me in the exact amount they wanted to, always knowing that I wanted more.

Tao_lin_2

If more than one person likes me and wants to talk to me and hang out with me I feel a little “powerful” and “loved” but a lot “worried” and “sympathetic” and I get a concerned facial expression. If I like someone and they do not like me I feel “worried” and “sympathetic” also toward myself, as if I were someone else, but I also feel powerful, because I know that I am able to accept the situation, meaning I won’t kill myself or anything like that.

But I also want to type that I think if I viewed myself from another person’s perspective I would probably think that I was a person who used many people just to relieve loneliness. And from a certain perspective everyone is just using everyone for everything. I didn’t type about that in this post. This post is incomplete and from a certain perspective only.

There are many other reasons why I am “prolific” so far.

I enjoy being alone at a computer with coffee and listening to music and doing things on the internet.

I like drinking coffee and listening to music and editing a story.

There are other reasons also.

Thank you for reading my post about why I am “prolific” so far.

I have ideas to relieve boredom. I want to make videos of me laying on my bed, like my head hanging off the bed, on my back, eating cornbread staring blankly at the ceiling and sometimes at the bread occassionally getting up without changing my facial expression to do push-ups or sit-ups. That’s what I do sometimes. The videos will show me picking up Good Morning, Midnight or Like Life and reading a few pages and setting them down. The videos will show me eating cashews. The videos will show me cleaning the floor or windowsill with toilet paper. I will put these videos on Youtube. I want to make a series of videos showing me eating food or listening to music.

I have other ideas to relieve boredom. I can’t think of any right now.

I created a website that has a lot of my art on it and that relieved boredom.


Fish_one

I drank coconut water and that relieved boredom.


Fish_two

I have mostly constant philosophies that dictate my actions in concrete reality most of time and that relieves boredom.

For example that I only want to be published by independent publishers. I want to see how many people I can get to buy my books without being published by a publicly-owned company. This isn’t self-righteous, or moral (it is also moral, but as a means for something else, from my current perspective), it is a personal thing, like a personal game I play in my head. It relieves boredom.

Yes, it makes sense to do this and I can defend it morally, if I also define a context and a goal and the word “morals,” but I cannot defend it comprehensively, or non-sarcastically, because the universe doesn’t tell us what to do, it doesn’t know what to do (except continue to perpetuate physical laws, like gravity; if that is what the universe is “telling” us to do then it would mean people “should” stop their consciousness so that they can become something that does things based only on the physical laws of the universe). People have their contexts and their goals and their perspectives which dictate their morals. They get those contexts from other people, from books, from TV, from Noam Chomsky, Moby, or George W. Bush, who get them in turn from other people, etc., going back to the first conscious thing who got them from something no one knows anything about which is how that is defined, “something no one knows anything about.” There is always the knowledge, to me, that one has “made-up” their context, and therefore their morals, from nothing, their rules from nothing, from nothingness.

Sometimes I’ll get frustrated or angry with someone for things like hypocrisy or if they are being self-righteous or something. Or if their actions do not actualize what they talk about. But then I try to think about all this, what I typed here, and I don’t remain angry or frustrated, I don’t want to (I still do though sometimes). It would be like playing monopoly and getting angry at someone who is playing chess for not participating in your game of monopoly, like me taking a monopoly board and going everywhere forcing everyone to play. They are just two different games, chess and monopoly, created not by the universe but by other humans. Each has its own rules; each is equally “true.” But outside of those games is nothing, there are no rules, and a person can switch games and that is normal, I would be less comprehensive in my view of things if I got angry or frustrated about that.

Sarcasm or irony are the only tones I can process something with, knowing all this, having taken this context of including more than one game, of trying to be outside of all games, or as many games as possible. Then entering each game with the knowledge that all are equally “valid” from “where I was” which was “outside of all games.”

This is not “nihilistic.” My actions are not based on nothing, they are not arbitrary. A game must be played at all times. Killing a homeless person to relieve boredom, that is a game, it is the game of the context of your own body, of your brain wanting to relieve boredom, which is a goal, which is not arbitrary, it is based on brain chemicals. (Eating a hot dog fulfills something, breathing fulfills something, I don’t think “nihilism” is a word that can be applied to a human, unless maybe if that human is insane and messed-up to the point of not having urges to satisfy even physical urges.)

I play the game of wanting to have a more comprehensive context than most people, one that includes animals, people I can’t see, and future people not yet born. So I eat organic, vegan food; try to give little money to corporations or else exploit them more than I give them money; and want to only be published by an independent publisher. But I know I am playing a game. I think I am playing this particular game because to me, knowing what I know, it relieves boredom more (because my brain needs to think more, which distracts me from boredom; and because it lets me be around people who aren’t as “boring” to me, which relieves boredom relatively), and because I think it will make me live longer and enjoy things more, than if my choices were based on a smaller context, like if I only took into account myself in a time-frame of “right now” which would mean I would satisfy all physical urges immediately. And because of other reasons also.


Fish_three

One thing to complicate this is that if I want to play the game “even better” (to relieve boredom even more, and more effectively). If I want to have an even larger context, to include even more kinds of animals, and people even further in the future, I might need to disacknowledge all I’ve just typed, and try to forget all of it. Because maybe I will “try harder” (or else actualize my philosophy even more effectively in concrete reality) if I don’t feel sarcastic. For example more people might buy my books, and support independent publishing, if they don’t read that actually I’m just “playing a game” when I tell people to buy from Melville House and not Amazon. And in terms of boredom someone who does not feel sarcastic, for example an activist or senator or hardcore Christian, is even less bored. They are relieving boredom a lot, and probably almost never feel bored, because all their actions have non-sarcastic meaning. Based on this post maybe it is what I actually want, to not be sarcastic anymore but to be a hardcore Christian with no sarcasm. But I am not sure if it is possible for me to do that. But maybe it is possible. Sometimes I am doing something and I am very serious, I am not sarcastic. If I prolong those moments and focus on them more I can become a self-righteous politician probably. And I won’t be bored.

But for now it feels “bad” if I block out any knowledge I already know (does that mean my “ends” is not just “to relieve boredom?”). And I need to block out knowledge to become non-sarcastic, to do political things and think I am “right” and to call art “good” or “bad” without sarcasm and think I am “right.” That whatever work of art is actually “the best.” This is complicated. Have a nice day.

I like to type about things that I like. I like music.

I think I need to type 250 words before I can post a link. That is how this site works. I don’t know. I’ll type about food that I like. I like acorn squash. I like acorn squash in olive oil and sesame seed salt substitute. I like mallomars from Pure Food and Wine. I like coconut water. I like mashed potatos from Angelica Kitchen. I like the desserts at Angelica Kitchen. I like figs. I like bananas.

Here are some links to songs that I like. I like Blacktop Cadence. I like Defiance, Ohio. Blacktop Cadence to me is like an animal. Many animals are pretty. A fish is pretty. A bird is pretty. They are efficient. They seem clean. Blacktop Cadence to me seems beautiful and clean and efficient. The universe is like that. It is efficient and beautiful. Maybe not. I talk about being surrounded by endless shit a lot. I just like these songs.

Last Night… After I Bought The Wine by Blacktop Cadence

Oh, Susquehanna by Defiance, Ohio

Response to Griot by Defiance, Ohio

I want to try cocaine. It will never happen.

me: lets do cocaine

we can buy some

Mallory: okay

me: and do it together

just once

Mallory: its easy

okay

i think i would freak out

me: bring some when you come

we’ll do it at pure food and wine

Mallory: no i dont want the responsibility of buying it

what if it has like detergent in it

and i kill us

you buy it

me: im afraid, i dont know how

ill buy detergernt

Mallory: okay lets do detergent

me: will it hurt

we can’t get cocaine

Mallory: yes

cocaine

i know someone who does lots of cocaine

i hung out with him tonight

me: ask for some

Mallory: he would get it for us for cheap

me: do it

im bored

Mallory: we are drug addicts&nsbp;

Don’t comment saying you can get me cocaine. I don’t want to do cocaine. I like to gmail chat about wanting to do cocaine.

What else do I like? I don’t know. So far I like gmail chatting about wanting to do cocaine and I like music. I like those three songs.

I like this music video. It is Diagnosis by The Weakerthans.



I am bored. I like this poem by Ben Lerner. I like the way that I like it. I like it like I like eating food or being in sunlight after being in air-conditioning for a long time. Or drinking cold things when I feel hot or hearing someone say something playful and interesting and being playful with me in a way that is not boring to me.

I like boring people if they are nice. Boring people who are considerate. I like them. Boredom isn’t bad. Boring people aren’t boring to me. This makes sense to me. Big words make me feel sarcastic. If someone doesn’t talk I like them. I like people.

I drew this. I don’t know what they are. I like them.

Idontknowwhatthisis_2


Why are they blurry. I don’t like that.

This post took me twenty minutes or something to format. I got pissed at the computer and this site and typepad. I feel frustration. I am finished now. I navigated the tools and fixed on my problems. I like that.

I am going to do something else now.

I will list some comics that I like and then write descriptions of them in the style of 9th grade AP American History definition lists.

Clumsy by Jeffrey Brown – It is about a person in his second relationship of his life with another person, a girl. The person is in his mid-20s. It shows many scenes from their relationship, not in order. In the last scene the person is happy. In the second-to-last it shows the person crying on the phone and then it shows the person crying alone sitting on his bed. I cried a little standing in the subway station when I finished reading this.

I like all these bands. The Broadways are from Chicago. The two guitarists are now in The Honor System and The Lawrence Arms. The bassist is now in The Lawrence Arms and The Falcon. I think they were something like 19 or 20 years old in these videos. I think these videos of them are from 1998.

I like Mirah. One time I was listening to Mirah in the car with my mom and my mom said, “What is that noise?” It was Mirah’s fingers moving around on the guitar. My mom said it sounded like she recorded it in her room and I said she probably did. My mom laughed.

I like Defiance, Ohio. I was in my friend’s car and she put them on. I had not heard of them before. The first song she played was “Petty Problems.” I said, “That guy is screaming.” One guy was doing a raspy voice for harmony or for doubling the melody. I like when bands do that. No-Cash does that. Leftover Crack does that. Or maybe not (not doubling or for harmony) but they do do the raspy voice. The Arrogant Sons of Bitches do it for doubling the melody. Good Riddance does also on their CD Ballads from the Revolution.