Secret Architecture: Notebooks, 2001

BY AARON KUNIN

for David Scher
"Building complicated machines to confirm your prejudices"

The sentences collected in Secret Architecture were originally written in three small notebooks, spontaneously and in the order in which they appear, over a period of several months in 2001. They are presented here with few interventions apart from deletions.

"I used to be different. Now I’m the same."

The first word is "although."

Not a strong enough advocate of your desire?

I think there’s some value to taking everything personally.

I want to hurt you; it hurts me that you’re not hurt.
—It hurts me that you’re hurt; I didn’t intend that.
It hurts me that you didn’t intend to hurt me.

For spite, I’ll never stop loving you.
As an act of pure meanness, I’ll never stop loving you.
Just to be selfish, I’ll never stop loving you.
Just to be sick, I’ll never recover.

The hum of the fish tank kept him awake, so he got up in the middle of the night to turn it off.
The glow of the fish tank, placed directly behind the sofa, made it impossible to sleep, so he reached out pettishly in a fit of half-sleep and turned it off.
The fish boiled in their tank; someone having (maliciously or accidentally?) turned the temperature dial as high as it would go during the night.

Headline: still waiting for an apology.
—Who isn’t waiting for an apology? I’m waiting for several apologies…
—I stopped waiting for an apology long ago.

He would tell you himself if you talked to him for as long as fifteen minutes; you wouldn’t have to ask directly…

You don’t deserve a better notebook if you’re only going to contaminate it with that deplorable handwriting.

Weak tea, strong opinions; and the reverse. Matching tea with opinions.

"For sheer spite, I’m giving up looking after my career." "Out of generosity, I’m looking after my own interests."

"Turns out to be," as though surprise was still possible. "Turns out to be," as though it was not a foregone conclusion?

"You’re a very capable person" (capable of what?).

She removes something from his pocket and shows it to him. "What’s this?"

Leaning against the wall justifying his actions.
Unable to sleep until he had accounted for his actions (to himself).

Forceful. Discovering what you want to say through force.

Why do you remind me that I’m doing you a favor?
To substitute for a power you can’t give (the power to be hurt)?
("A very capable person": capable of inflicting pain? Capable of suffering?)

When they use the same expressions, you remember that they had once been friends; you wonder if one of them had originated it.

What do you keep in there? What do you keep in that big head?

Indiscriminate killing. Indiscriminate reading.

He noted the danger but did not avoid it.
He noted the danger and then ceased to think about it.

I’m glad for you, I’m glass for you.

Couldn’t think of anything to say that would not extend the conversation. His silence extended the conversation.

She prefers to separate the parts of her life. In anyone else it would be the sign of a moral lapse, duplicity (what does she think they might learn from one another if she brought them together, or if they fell into one another’s company by chance?); for her, it’s an ethics.

Turning over and rolling out the same ball of dough all afternoon.

Graphological portrait.
The shameful mass of your handwriting.
Confronted by your shameful handwriting.
Lines of your handwriting closing on themselves.
An eye turned inward (the shameful mass behind the eyes).

Very infrequent occasions on which you see that it would be possible to carry yourself differently. "Maybe it would be easier if I believed this; maybe it would be easier to appreciate this than to dislike it; maybe it would be easier to maintain the opposite, etc." Glimpse of an alternate carriage means that you can’t have it. If you could have it, you wouldn’t notice.

And I didn’t want to write to you because everything I had to say would have been this. . .

Finding something to be enjoyed in the interior of the body.

I said it and immediately felt that someone in the room disagreed with me (but could not pinpoint the location of the disagreement).

The gods, incapable of action because bound to honor their ancient contracts, create human agents to fulfill their obligations and to be free of them; the human surrogates swiftly render themselves incapable of action by creating new contracts and binding themselves to them.

Forced himself to eat, after his lunch, a carrot; ate too quickly, started to choke.

Trying not to alter the essential character of the place.
I was never here.

"I’m glad you got what you wanted"; "I can see why you would like that."

"You’re different from me, and you’re predictable."

Take what you need (but try not to take more than you need).

"Simply being human isn’t enough." You get very little credit for that.

I devised this episode to improve the writing in your notebook.

"Anyone who wrote such a weird letter would have been trying to communicate something!"

Why does it seem degrading to take the chemical in its pure form rather than drowning it in a medium?

Resolution that persons from different parts of her life should be kept apart.
Discovery that they could not be separated fully, even in herself: one could not be used as a refuge from the other, or to counteract the other.
Further discovery that mixing them did not increase the pleasure they afforded individually; but only heightened the discomfort and pain they were capable of inflicting.
Any burden imposed by one made the other seem equally demanding; it became necessary to escape from both.

Headshake. Handshake.
Head and hand combinations.
The end of his sleeve caught in the handshake.

An odd series of manual accidents hindered and deformed the shape of that word.

Graphological portrait.
As a result of conscious effort over several months I now automatically make an f whose shape pleases me. But it may not be easier to identify than the old one; it sometimes has the disadvantage of being indistinguishable from t.

"What is unforgivable is having the power to forgive and not forgiving."

The brightness of your answer is an insult. Your answer is an insult because it doesn’t remember that we’ve been through this before; because it doesn’t remember that this would have been our third attempt, not our second; because it remembers the cancelled meeting and forgets the meeting that took place.

The cheerfulness of your answer is an insult.
Because a test means something different when the person being tested has already failed.

To pretend not to know something that I’ve told you is an insult. It is an insult to go on ignoring it after I’ve given you permission not to ignore it.

an insult

A crime demands forgiveness; to demand forgiveness is a crime.

It is an insult to forgive me when I’ve done nothing wrong. To forgive a person who has no need for forgiveness is an insult. Those who claim the power of forgiveness (to claim that power and not to exercise it is an insult; exercising it may also be an insult).

You forgive me to remind me that I haven’t apologized. "Forgive them, for they know not what they do; do not forgive them for not knowing.
The demand for forgiveness diminishes the power to forgive; the demand for an apology diminishes the force of the apology.

"Could have slept with anyone there."
—Did you make this announcement hoping to have a similar effect on me? (Enjoying the "could have" more than the "slept with.")
"But I don’t want to sleep with anyone."
"And I chose this one."
"You’ve become the only person in the world I don’t want to have sex with."

Tolerance/irritation, confidence: aesthetic principles.

Process laid bare.

"I almost lost a year!"
"Maybe the only way to benefit from that year was to lose it."

"I was afraid of that," which means I wanted it.