Just because it's fake doesn't mean it won't work
|Alex Verman||Jan 7|
“You had to hope for something in the first place in order to have those hopes dashed.” — Torrey Peters, Detransition, Baby
“Do nothing without intention.” — Solange Knowles, “Nothing Without Intention (Interlude)”
“There is a phallic column, a list of all the men watching at the time. Their sleazy login names. It is retracting. Shrinking. Very quickly. I am realizing what is fake and what is real.” — Nina Arsenault, The Silicone Diaries
“And there’s joy for us in this simplistic mode of taking care. It insists that we strip away complex understandings of the body and mind—and, yes, even our society—and find peace in basic terms: a crystal amulet shaped like an eye, oil in water, a prayer repeated like a chant.” — Erica Lenti, “I Believe in the Evil Eye — And You Should Too”
Happy New Year,
I’ve mentioned this before, I don’t really put much stock in the Gregorian calendar. Part of this is due to the simple truth that January 1 is a remarkably inopportune time to begin the year. Look around you: what is reliably different about early January from late December? It doesn’t even line up with the winter equinox (which I think would also be a bad time to start the year, but is at least a sensible decision). It feels incredibly procedural to start the year like this, which is maybe why so few cultural calendars do it this way. The Lunar New Year coincides with the arrival of spring in East and Southeast Asia; Nowruz aligns with the vernal equinox; various Indian regions celebrate new years during the first month of spring; Diwali and Rosh Hashanah, in their respectively Hindu and Jewish calendars, occur in the fall; Neyrouz and Enkutatash are both autumnal celebrations; the Serer new year and the Dogon new year both occur in late spring; and so on. These are times of death and rebirth, where the world around us is noticeably changing — an itch that January 1 is just not able to scratch.
Another part of my hostility towards the Gregorian new year is due to my own aggressive commitment to the bit of my Jewishness. Our new year is in the autumn, at the beginning of what would traditionally be harvest time, a much more sensible place to start the year, and so that is what I celebrate; anything else runs the risk of idol worship. I’ve long held this belief semi-ironically, but this past December 31, I finally looked it up. Apparently, the January 1 new year comes from the Roman Empire’s bureaucratic procedures, as they would measure the date in reference to specific Roman consuls’ terms, which officially started on January 1. The date also, conveniently, lines up with Jesus’ brit milah, eight days after his birthday on December 25. It turns out I was right on both counts: January 1 is both procedural and goyische.
So I don’t really care about the new year. I do, however, care about resolutions. Goal-setting is just about the only non-medical thing I can do to keep my brain from spiralling off-track. My to-do list is my life. And I love setting intentions, making promises, creating obligations; as well as necessary structure, they gift me the opportunity to both exceed and rebuke expectations, to say Yes or No and have it mean something, to free my mind from worrying about details and instead, condense my hopes and anxieties into containers that can either be held close, or floated down the river.
In that spirit, I want to share a resolution with you, and some of its fruits. I’ve been working on a bigger project, something long-form and long-term. And I’ve taken some steps towards it — 13,346 steps, to be exact, a sample chapter, for what I hope may one day become a book. Everything is in early stages, still a bundle of cells, early enough that it is irresponsible to talk about it, tempting fate, god forbid. But I am excited, and more importantly, I want to bring my readers in on the process. I want to offer a window to my work and my goals, hoping that you can enjoy it along the way.
I’ll be posting excerpts of this project to my Patreon. The first excerpt will be visible to the public for the next two days. On Saturday, it (and all subsequent excerpts) will be visible only to patrons. If you wanna read more, please subscribe — seriously, it’s only $7 but Patreon pays for my groceries for a month, and it means a lot to me.
The post is now live — go read it, subscribe to read the rest, and thank you so much for being part of this.