All posts by William Lim

Prose Compilation: “Fragmented Existential Self-Portrait”

“A Fragmented Portrait of My Existence”
A compilation of personal writings and observations.

I.

Sometimes, you think about the end of the world. How do we go out? Is there a bang? Whimper? Perhaps it’s like that old shtick about the deer and headlights and no one will quite expect it. But I doubt that there will be violins, whispering mournful melodies for our end. God will not be available to deliver our epitaph. Nick Woods says he’ll go out to a bar, “get plastered one more time” and yell at the top of his lungs “congrats, we made it to the end.” I think we give ourselves a little too much credit. Perhaps we’re not important, just an evolutionary tree branch that grew to a size that the tree itself could not support. In the end, the branch will be too heavy, and snap under its own weight. Perhaps when we’re finally too much for the world, something will happen, and we won’t be anymore.

II.

At some point in the 20th century, it became apparent to Albert Camus that the happenings of the world were no less than consecutive occurrences culminating from the factors of everything involved, intentional or otherwise. Suddenly, life became an equation of variables, incorporating more pronumeral representations than any number of linguistic symbols could facilitate. In spite of the Xs and Ys, however, Camus decided that he would be in control of his own life, as much as possible. He decided that whatever factors the most random of intervening forces should throw at anyone, perseverance was still worth the effort.

And then he died. For more terms than a million men could contemplate in a million years, the outcome was always the same: death. But, given the constant of death, the outcome is probably not that which existence concerns itself with. Now, rearrange the equation and solve for X.

III.

A clock: the very same clock since the beginning of the year, greeting me every Tuesday morning with its mocking expression of an hour at which I only desire to sleep. It is a fairly mundane clock, with a blandly coloured, modern design like that you could almost assuredly expect to see in the generic setting of a dentist waiting room: cylindrical, decidedly utilizing only white and metallic grey and numbered in a most uninspired font. From my current position I would appraise its value at a maximum of twenty dollars, due to the obvious suggestions made by its faux-metallic outer shell and display covering of plastic imitation glass, curved as if casted from one side of a ball. Two metal sticks make periodic but subtle changes, and a furious, thin rod spins unrestrainedly. Numbers and countless little dashes encircle the three hands in a repeating dance. They turn, and turn, and turn, and meet each other at the twelve before turning again.

That damn clock: forever a testament to the cyclical nature of this life. You’ll get up at the same time every day, and that damn clock with be staring back at you with that same, mocking face. Darby Crash used to say that everything works in circles. Sometimes you’ll do something and you’ll find yourself at that same place again. “So circle one is what we’re doing right now. Someday we’ll probably do circle two.” Someday just keeps getting further away.

Review: Waxahatchee – “American Weekend” (2012)

American Weekend by Katie Crutchfield is the saddest record I’ve ever heard. This is a record to approach with caution. This is the ultimate soundtrack to every moment you spent alone; the ultimate soundtrack to a heart breaking or a soul tearing itself apart. This is the kind of record that can find your heart in the pitch black when you’re at your furthest away from anyone and extract your poisons. Conversely, it can take you to the lowest depths of your existential foundations. It’s a dark room at 1AM in a haze of alcohol and words of catharsis that you could say a million times over in your head but will flee the moment you face your demons. It comes from an acoustic guitar in crackling lo-fi and a beautiful 22-year-old woman who’s telling you that “I don’t care if I’m too young to be unhappy”. But in the end, Crutchfield could be saying anything she wants or nothing at all, and the sound would cut you all the same. To tell you the truth, after two years of on-and-off listening, I know little more than a few lines of lyrics off American Weekend. I’ve only ever heard sound in this record and it is already so overwhelming. In fact, I’ve never been able to handle this record in more than occasional doses, because I haven’t gotten that low in years. But sometimes, in the words of a man named Gareth Campesinos who has nothing to do with anything, “the low is what I came for”.

I’ve come to a crossroads in my life in which I have to decide whether I want to allow a future to accumulate in my lap on its own or work for the things that I want, and it’s only fitting that American Weekend–a record I know nothing about but feels like a knife carving away at my insides–is there for me. It’s because I believe in getting to the very bottom and having nowhere to go but up. I believe in redemption. I believe that sometimes, to face your demons, you’ve got to be brought to your knees, weeping and pathetic and ready to die so that you can’t fight or take the easy way out. Lately, American Weekend has revealed its ability to channel that in me. There’s something about those sounds: even the least gut-wrenching, soul-destroying songs like “Be Good” play like happy memories on a black-and-white projector screen from a time that deteriorates more and more in your mind as the days keep slipping away. I suppose what this record is to me is an appeal for change. I took a look at the very last four lyrics to this album and they read as follows: “You’re in the Carolinas and I’m going to New York / and I’ll be much better there / or that’s what I’m hoping for / and we will never speak again”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ZMsO-iJXo&list=PL4ba-X-3ezbvH0L6_i0QayZ3flDzwbEda