"I don't know if I have it in me to not do that."-Jane
Sometimes double negatives are the most accurate way of exclaiming an affirmative, they accentuate instead of debilitate, i.e: there's no way I'm not going to see Pina at BAM; there's no chance in hell I'm not attending Michel's wedding; it is not possible for me to miss the band Polica if they come back into town, and so on and so forth. The latter example is perhaps my favorite, as it leans toward being a litotes, which is sort of the jocular double negative and which happens (for those who do and don't know—as not to under or overestimate, as not to question or chide) in the form of understatement; for instance, if you show a picture of an attractive friend to another friend and they say, "well, he's no Robert Redford," that's a litotes. Part of this current exploration is an extension of understanding jest but I'm even more interested to reflect upon the people, actions, and events behind the double negatives, the things that harvest the litotes, and what it means to have or want to go to something for reasons that aren’t all that clear.
Tonight I'm headed to see an old friend and somewhat-of-a-mentor-of-mine read what is considered hybrid work. He has written books of poems as well as fictional material and is thus keyed into the arena in which the two "forms" become interchangeable. Instead of trying to explain this further or delve into hybridity (there are many minds writing engagingly about this) I will just say that there's no way that I'm going to miss this reading. For one, I look forward to seeing my friend and even more so to seeing him read new work alongside two other writers I admire. When I heard about the event it locked into the small but significant calendar district of my head, which is composed of all those events you agree to go to, must not miss, or are those which have been encrusted as obligation. I couldn’t just ignore it.
Despite the fact that I'm not going to miss this I actually don't want to go, and this extends the double negative into a triumvirate: "I am not going to miss this but I don't want to go." To clarify, I don't want to go because it's an amazing and rare sunny weekend and I feel like saddling into one of those I'm-going-to-make-with-many-different-forms days—I purchased new paint and a role of old black and white film that I want to shoot yesterday; I finished reading a great book I want to write about; I'm editing my own creative writing; there are two unplayed records over to my right—all of these forms of making and maneuvering are swirling into one. Forget hybridity, I'm now thinking about crossing mediums altogether and how I do not see where these things cross, or I don’t want to call it crossing mediums. More like meshing.
Much of the dismay that comes from attempting or being involved in anything "creative" is that for those who consider themselves outside of being "creative" the belief, even instinct, is that there needs to be a definition of what it is, exactly (process and thought and all) we "creatives" do and thus what non-creatives cannot do. So, and even though the intention that comes in asking someone what they do, or what they'd call what they do, or what kind of fiction they write, might be one of both curiosity and grace, what is often misunderstood is that there is a whole division of creatives who simply cannot answer or even navigate that question; whether it's their inherent tap or chosen aesthetic it's a really difficult aspect of creating and making for some to define the make; or maybe even an altogether exterior aspect and thus irrelevant to process, for some.
I often get the urge to make something and cannot sort out which medium I’ll use to get that something made. This feeling is akin to searching Netflix for a drama or documentary and having a list of twelve things five minutes into the search, coupled with a slab of indecision of course. In order to not fail myself and sit there not creating anything I put all the mediums out in front of me and this is where they become one. This is also how I’m going to get myself to go to this reading tonight, with the knowledge that people too are mediums, at least conversationally, and that my attendance at the reading will open me up to how new people I might meet present more than their presence and, in settings like this, make themselves, each differently, and that since they are all there to see the same readers as I am there exists a form of undiscussed recognition, whether that be of a system or a space or a thread of artistic connectivity that is pooling in the same room for one night. Yes, this is how I will attend.
What does it feel like to miss something you’ve stated you simply cannot miss? Is it that such an event is what you perceive will be talked about by the scene in which you may or may not be a part? Is it that this event is taking place in a time where the people around it are pushing forward in a way that is inspiring and by not attending you might become just a tincture in the tailgate? Are rhetorical questions attempts to open up discussion or an indolent pestering of silence? Or neither? What I believe I might be getting at—and by all means please help me figure it out, if you can—is that when you miss something you aren’t partaking in it and thus you can’t make something within what is being made. If I stay home I will make many things but what I might be able to make by attending this reading may be the unknown artistic particle that allows for me to continue on making on my own, and to continue being able to say things like, "I simply cannot miss this event."
I realize that I’m theorizing at this point but I’m quite eager to hear how people choose and choose not to attend certain events. I also realize that a lot of answers will be along the lines of, “I’m going as a favor to a friend,” but let’s assume you have the capability of not attending these kinds of events that you really don’t want to go to, that you error ont he side of selfishness. Now, what are the things you simply cannot miss? What is it about them that you cannot say no to? I’m beginning to understand why I cannot miss certain things and also why it feels both good and essential to skip out on any event you feel just the slightest bit of hesitancy about. And I wouldn’t call this feeling emblematic of a failure to commit to something; on the contrary, it’s a commitment to instinct. And that’s not bad at all.