Day 90

Written 18 June, 2020.


He wakes up, perfectly well. The love of my life wakes up as if nothing had happened.


There’s been a meme going around that K sent me, bless her.


“Your grandparents were called to fight in world wars. You’re being called to wash your hands and sit on the sofa.

Don’t fuck this up.”

And I think, on my death bed (lacy pillow slip, weeping family and family retainers, Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture” and Rembrandt lighting) ,  I’ll realise at last that we are called just to survive, love and be happy.

And it’s so simple, so easy,so appalling, to fuck this up.

I”ll think: Was all I had to do to be happy? In this beautiful world, was that really so hard?

Many people, most people, in this world are struggling day by day to survive. But for me, in a relatively well-run, relatively fair country, was it really so hard?













Was it really so hard?



Sophie Davis, is this what your Hoffemeyer meant?

5 Responses to Day 90

  1. i love this
    how it starts with love waking up and a meme to follow that we are called forth to stay home and open our perceptions. Why is it so hard to do is I suppose the root of our brains ever looking to go forward and stretch past wherever and whatever we are. What is the evolutionary use of dissatisfaction? Survival by moving away, moving on, but now we need the opposite and it is joy to embrace this eyes wide open stillness.

    ps I love the birds you posted. Please tell me their names,

  2. Hello Shelley,

    It does the heart such good, gazing at nature. I’m sure that’s why you walk in Central Park. The last bird is a kookaburra with its distinctive mocking laugh call which you’ll know but I’ll find a recording – oh, here it is:

    The one above it is a spoonbill.

  3. Hi Sue,

    You wake up, he loves you. Life is difficult and it can hurt us, but it is ours and it is yours. You wake up and it is all yours. How cool is that?

    You wake up and he is perfectly well. You wake up and you love, and you are perfectly happy.

    And on your death bed you know that you did not fuck this up, you did the complete opposite, you did the “not”.

    It is your choice. It has always been so.

    Only by differentiating what is, and what is “not”, do we realise our true agency. Suddenly, Sue, you have more than one world. Suddenly, you are not in pain, he is not in pain.

    The thin perimeter which traces around the subjects and backgrounds in your world are brimming with universes and options, this and that, not this and not that. Pain and no pain. Happy and not happy. Love and no love.

    Keep searching the “not”. For each time you imagine what it is, and each time you imagine where it is within a world of perceived nothingness, you are denying your denial and viola, you’ve just opened up a new world over flowing with more happiness, love, and joy than you could have thought possible.

    And all you had to do was choose. Because it’s all you, Sue! It’s always been just you. Sue with all the power, with all the options, Sue calling the shots.

    Sue wakes up, life is difficult and it can be painful, but it is Sue’s and it’s always belonged to Sue. Sue makes her choices and Sue lives her best life. Because it is all hers. It always was.

    How cool it that?

  4. Dear Sophie,

    It seems amazingly cool and I’ll muse on it for a long time. I came upon this philosophy years ago, although i don’t think I read your philosopher, and I remember feeling great glee. My dad, an uneducated urchin from the streets, taught me something like this. I owe him heaps. The “not” is like breaking out of prison. I want to hear more about how you actually go about changing your thinking like this on a daily basis – how you screech to a stop and do a u turn, a “not” – if you could bear to tell. Now the crisis is almost past in Australia, we no longer seem to be whispering our last thoughts before the grave- as I felt at first- so you might feel constrained. Or not

  5. Dear Sue,

    How brilliant it must’ve been to be taught such a liberating concept from someone you love so much, and a painter, too. What a truly terrific man.

    My ability to think about my thoughts, dream so vividly, constantly reflect inwards has for most part of my life been a burden. I was a scared child, my imagination taunted me, gave me nightmares and put monsters under my bed. I was my own harshest critic, as we all are, never good enough for those around me, not worthy of my parent’s love – something I think we all battle with (if you happen to be lucky enough to be raised by two parents). I’m not at all saying that I’m done with these hangups, I’m still taking it day by day and I remind myself that progress isn’t linear (a very wise friend said that to me a few years ago and it has stuck with me ever since). Only through writing and drawing and practicing self-compassion have I been able to dig myself out of my own grave… and I’m still only about half-way out.

    Personally, I think we were once all beautiful little babies, perfect and neutral; over time we chipped and we started to form cracks. Context and experiences within and out of our control cracked us further, some more than others. I think we have a choice – examine the cracks, shine a flashlight into these dark crevasses and painfully acknowledge them for what they are: trauma, hurt, shame, guilt, all of it. Or, we can chose a cheap glue gun from a $2 store and absentmindedly fill in the cracks. Smothering it all with mountains of glue, a job well done, for the time being.

    Over the past few years I’ve learnt the most important lesson of all – to open my mind. Writing does this, drawing does this, thinking does this. It’s painful and awful and exciting and terrifying. But I’ve come to accept that I don’t accept all that is in front of me. From a young age I realised that I never got a choice in the matter of life and death, society and culture, capitalism and communism. The binaries of the imagined orders which govern our existence create dichotomies, struggles, oppression, power corrupts and we live in a world of slaves and masters. And seemingly, we never had a choice, we just woke up one day and accepted that that was how things must be, because to our limited knowledge, that’s how they’ve always been!

    I’ve accepted not to accept anything unless I want to accept it. I’ve learned to question ‘why’. Why? To tell you the truth, I’ve thought about the word ‘why’ SO much that I now struggle to describe to you what it means, I mean, please, tell me what ‘why’ means, Sue. Do you know? We think we can get to the bottom of things if we simply ask one another ‘why?’. But I don’t know what it means at all, not really! How can we expect to know anything to its fullest extent if we don’t even know what it is that we are asking.

    To me, I use the “not” as a means to open my mind, to ask ‘why’, to question and to realise that things aren’t what they seem. Only by differentiating what is, and what is “not”, do I realise my true agency.
    The existence of options creates an abundance of possibilities and a ton of significance (maybe I’m not doomed to be shady nihilists with flat hair). Borrowing from Hoffmeyer, constantly, we are ALL having to sort information into categories and classifications (consciously and unconsciously), this is good, this is bad, that is a tree, and so on. To do this though, we must create a ‘gestalt’, for the coffee cup to be the coffee cup, the coffee cup must be the subject and everything else must be the background and therefore, everything is either the coffee cup or the background (Hoffmeyer calls this “digitization”). HOWEVER, think about this: Wilden takes it a step further, imagine a line tracing around the perimeter of the coffee cup, for it is the subject and everything else is the background. This line, this boundary is “not” the coffee cup and it is “not” the background either.

    Boom, just like that, another universe is hidden inside this tiny space. The very cool thing is this: we can’t see the boundary line, we can only imagine it in our minds. Basically, this space can’t exist unless I choose it to exist, unless I question it to exist, unless I open my mind. I’m surely not a philosopher, and I’m only scrapping the surface with this concept – but isn’t it remarkable to think that even that teeny tiny pin prick of thought contains infinite possibilities? I think that’s pretty cool.

    So I try my very hardest to think of my thoughts as a gift, not a burden. My nightmares as an expression of raw imagination. My expectations of myself as a commitment to my vocation. And my search for external love and approval, a reminder that it needs to come from within. My plan is to not accept anything unless I want to accept it and take back some control. We were born perfect and we were born neutral, and we were also born with a power to open our minds and question. So my plan is to keep doing that until I’m completely out of the grave.

    How about you, Sue, have you devised any ontological pearls of wisdom?

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