17.04, Monday 18 Feb 2008

Getting older. From this to that and now here, I'm 30. In addition, my lightcone is two weeks away from Gamma Pavonis and some weeks ago enveloped its 45th star, Kappa-1 Ceti. Down to the forest where I grew up to celebrate, knotting off loop after loop.

You don't talk about the ingredients getting old when you make soup, you wait for the complexity to emerge. Two ingredient combine, and then there are three flavours. And they themselves recombine in all permutations and you have six plus three is nine flavours. And then they combine, and so on. Not getting older but simmering. Thirty years cooked.

What have I learned? That I get a long way by assuming the other person is right and knows more than I do, and that I should always try to understand--I too often don't listen well enough. That everyone has something fascinating about them, and I'll never be bored so long as I'm trying to find the stories. But that some people are idiots; that took a lot of time to figure out. Always create. How I learn--that was a big one, and it's opened many doors. That hard work with my body is fun just like hard work with my head, and that both are better in combination. I wish I'd worked that out sooner. How to not be precious about what I write and how to collaborate.

And then there are general, often contradictory life principles I've run on for years, and they're doing me very well thank you: be less tolerant; care more; care less; speak and do without thinking first, but consider afterwards; do what I want and if it's toxic, move on; don't avoid being wrong or foolish, and it's possible to be wilfully obscure, absurd and fib while simultaneously meaning every single word; everything is interesting.

The first chapter of Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus is Rhizome [pdf], and it includes this advice:

Where are you going? Where are you coming from? What are you heading for? These are totally useless questions. Making a clean slate, starting or beginning again from ground zero, seeking a beginning or a foundation-all imply a false conception of voyage and movement (a conception that is methodical, pedagogical, initiatory, symbolic...). ... move between things, establish a logic of the AND, overthrow ontology, do away with foundations, nullify endings and beginnings. ... The middle is by no means an average; on the contrary, it is where things pick up speed. Between things does not designate a localizable relation going from one thing to the other and back again, but a perpendicular direction, a transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away, a stream without beginning or end that undermines its banks and picks up speed in the middle.

Write to the nth power, the n - 1 power, write with slogans: Make rhizomes, not roots, never plant! Don't sow, grow offshoots! Don't be one or multiple, be multiplicities! Run lines, never plot a point! Speed turns the point into a line! Be quick, even when standing still! Line of chance, line of hips, line of flight. Don't bring out the General in you! Don't have just ideas, just have an idea (Godard). Have short-term ideas. Make maps, not photos or drawings. Be the Pink Panther and your loves will be like the wasp and the orchid, the cat and the baboon. As they say about old man river:

He don't plant 'tatos/ Don't plant cotton/ Them that plants them is soon forgotten/ But old man river he just keeps rollin' along