An elegant, if not elegiac, strip show. I had seen it before, but nearly 20 years ago. I was too enchanted to go on afterwards. I slipped out the back, but the French paparazzi was waiting for me. “This is not a matter to be taken lightly,” one of them said, stealing footage of my raw surprise. I replied, “I don’t take anything lightly. Everything I choose to endure is a cosmic elephant. Frivolity nauseates me. I mean, I’m not a homunculi, for Chrissakes. I was born for the screen. Look at my face. Look at my eyes. Just one eye. Can you honestly say that my frontal lobby indicates anything less than a healthy entitlement to shit on the entire universe at my leisure? It’s not as if I lack a traumatic kernel. No. My selfhood is empowered by the repressed memories of thousands of pulsing traumas. Yes. Invariably I experience a tension between a feeling of genuine happiness and the desire to destroy myself. I’ll tell you how it happens. I get to feeling really goddamn happy—and then I recognize it. What I’m feeling, I mean. Interpellation is the problem. My happiness calls out to me: “Hey, shiteater, you’re happy!” And I realize that I’m subject to a much grander and more devious systemic morass. Or I simply realize that I’m happy, too happy, and this sort of happiness doesn’t last, so I might as well put an end to the fucker now. Depression sets in. I don’t want to kill myself. I’ve never wanted that. I just want to be tolerated. I just want to exist. Somehow existence must be enough.”
Only two more stops on the Zero Degree of Meaning Tour: Barjac, France, and finally Prague, Former Czech Republik. I can’t say it’s been a good run. I’ve sold upwards of 800,000 books, but in my eyes book sales don’t constitute success. I make six figures teaching writing and literature to rednecks in Shitsville. I don’t need this shit. The book tour, that is. I need the writing. All of us writers need it. We do it because that’s what we do. The rest is just an excuse to get drunk.