As Grad School Begins

we’ll work with this.  We’ll lay out some text.  We’ll spray out some latex.  There’s a set of eyes in the in of my head that get too hypersensitive, my monitor.  So I start thinking about writing, thinking about creating more than I actually do.  I create an audience of critical observers out of the casual pedestrian, cashier, and classmate.  This is a test. this is only another test.   Time to bump the buffer between my ideas and my expressions.  can’t fret, can’t wait, can’t relate.  I feel less articulate than I have in a terribly long time.  Tunnel vision.  What about finding meaning?  What about myth and ritual? What about wake up and spank the monkey, lift the cereal spoon, stretch the hamstrings, brush the teeth, and get going.  Stay going.  I write so seldom.  I write so little.  So I remedy it.  So I blaspheme the spirit.  Warm up fess up play dead and change lead to gold.  I’m alchemy.  I’m a valkyrie.  God damn it, Wagner!  The text in me needs exercise.  Exorcism.  Catechism.  I have a new friend named Jackie her real name is zinna but we are Jackie.  That came naturally.  That is lucky.  I am fascinated by digital culture.  I’m fascinated by debating the meaning of culture.  I think technology is a magnificent human development, as elementary as being able to read.  So there’s literacy.  Media literacy.  Cultural literacy.  I want to learn about literacy.  How do we navigate meanings?  How do you find examples, Suhail?  Practice makes perfect and practice has only just begun.  Take a green orange, for example.  What do you mean? they don’t exist.

Just pick one early.  What did you do that for?

You TOLD me to!


I am going to study myths.  Fundamental elements, motives, and images that human experience centers around.  Sacrifice, ritual, dance, eating.  Balancing a checkbook is a ritual.  I’m not talking about illusory notions of outdated superstitious acts of nonsense that we have evolved beyond.  Ritual is anything but gone.  It is integral.  We answer the phone ritually.


Hi, it’s Suhail.

Hey, how’s it going?

I’m fine.

A long time ago the rainbow was explained as a symbol of the pact between man and god affirming god’s promise that he would never flood the world again.  [eric drooker drew a flood epic novel.  Use that later]  when I was a little squid, learning that for the first time filled me with a resonant sense of awe.  I just learned the reason for a wondrous phenomenon.  I know why it’s there and it is there for us.  Arachne became the spider weaving webs because her weaving was even better than Athena’s, that proud mortal.  It doesn’t matter if that actually happened.  It is soul food and that makes it true.  And now I click and blink through arachne’s digital www, dodging ad banners and reading email.  I want to trace the resonance we feel at a story told perfectly, the resonance we feel when an explanation of our universe fits into our hearts like a missing jigsaw puzzle piece that curious george finally expectorated.  Because seeing light through a prism and learning that drops of water in the air are millions of prisms making a rainbow is just as gorgeous, makes my heart feel just as full as god’s promise to Noah once did.  And they aren’t even mutually exclusive.  What a wonderful world.


Technology is so amazing to me because it is our magic.  We are becoming the wizards in the flowing robes with pointy hats, bushy eyebrows, and grey beards that can look into crystal balls and see things across the world as they happen; but we have jeans and haircuts and only a little fuzz on our chins [if we’re men].  Heck, that’s child’s play.  We don’t even have the grey beards yet.  And WHOO-WHEE when that time comes……. I’m watching the future happen.  I want to learn the architecture of this new literacy.  Because it is just as instrumental, will be just as necessary, just as elementary, as reading words on paper is now.  But chances are you’re reading this on a screen.  Plastic boxes full of harmless toxins.  I’m lonely lately.  I would like to find myself sharing a sofa with a woman that wants to watch a movie while we play with each other’s hair, while we gently jostle our erotic impulses and imagine each other in various stages of undress.  I want a friend that I love.  A woman that is my friend that I love.  We could share afternoons reading, or building a kite, or at work thinking about seeing each other that evening, or cooking.  You get it.  And there is a concern that my loneliness will motivate me more than the charms of the woman.  That would be unfair to her.  What a stupid thing to say, Suhail.  How can you pretend to know the difference? I feel yearning in my arms like goosebumps preparing to pounce at the thought of being touched in that subtle, delicate, and wholly unmistakable way that means ‘I want you.’


There was a lot more intimacy and community in my life such a short while ago.  This solitary time – is this what modernity is?  Is this what growing up is?  Alone in a crowd?  Consequences of the efficiency of compartmentalization?  We are an industrial society.  But I feel us turning back towards our hearts.  But of course, watch a couple hours of TV and you might laugh at me with disdain.  Oh ye of little faith.  Har har. Hare do you do? Dew drop flip phlop bandwidth mosaic.


Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex and we didn’t listen.  How many people warned us about the corporate-media complex and have we listened?  How can we listen?  Maybe we did listen.  Well here come the corporate city-states, the corporate fiefdoms.  Privately owned land inside of a free country is whatever the owner wants to do and fuck the middleman.  If you don’t like Disneytown, go live in the MSN Village.  I was born in Ohio.  Where’s that?  It’s in the Rust Belt where the Proctor and Gamble Sovereign Region is now.  Are you in PaGSoR?  Well, I’m still waiting for them to process my passport application.


About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
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