Moments of Sunfusion.

My professor started screaming. 20 of us sat still, stared in confusion, and waited for her to finish.


There was nothing there. Well, besides, a chalkboard. Time slowed as we collectively tried to figure out what was going on. Our eyes widened, we thought if we tried to absorb as much as possible things would start to make sense. But, they didn’t. Confusion is like slow motion and you know if things would just speed up some type of conclusion would be reached, some explanation would be found. Every second drips down like a leaking faucet and all that piles up is blank, somber faces and a pool full of meaningless seconds ticking past, leading no where. Which could be beautiful, let’s face it; however, in this instance, all I could conclude was that the world had ended and we were breaking into millions of little pieces. Casual.


In my mind I jumped out of my chair. Knocking it over, kicking the two-person table aside, I bolted forward (the mere 3 or so feet) to look, touch, taste, feel, hear, watch the board. Looking, I saw only bits of chalk. Sharp and jagged, cutting the board–was there a tear in the board? Were we looking into another possible world? As I tasted the board I realized, thankfully, David Lewis wasn’t lurking behind me–my tongue learned of linear algebra, the furthest cosmos, lines from Finnegans Wake, the greek alphabet–and my spine seemed to straighten out as the last bouts of goosebumps settled from off my skin. Dancing around, quaking (or honking) . . . what does the goose say? . . . I understood that something was in the air.


There were massive amounts of glitter falling from the sky. As if we were in some 60’s discotheque in Paris, I looked down and only found leather. Chains and chaps and whips and all of a sudden I woke up in “A Room of My Own” to find briefcases. Briefcases, in this moment, of snow of light of waves of winter.


No. Breasts weren’t all angular on the board. There were no bombs. No urinals. Not even some smudged version of a sunset seen at a distance of 3 kilometres. There were no men, no Mary. Not even a signature. My eyes were not burning nor seething. The obscenity she saw lurked behind a cover? a wall? the air? a question?


And everyone’s shut but mine.

The sun–a traveller with a case of wanderlust mixed with ennui–moves about and rarely even shows up. Hiding behind layers of wool, since is freezing this time of year, the sun wallows; the artic blast/vortex/shenanigans is worse in space, ‘tis eternal. So when the sun shows up to the party, I celebrate. I’ll let you all fade away into the walls and the sun and I can have the dance floor. Now that’s art.

Some sunlight strewn across the blackboard? Naw, not art–just a little glimpse of happiness, a moment of being, in between the silences of dull seconds piling up in the  clogged drain of yesterday.

Winter 2014: the semester I read so much my eyes fell out.

After entering recluse-mode for many an hour, I have finished my first book of the semester! The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf.

the voyage out 1

*takes breath*

Assigned for my Virginia Woolf class (whodathunkit?), the novel was a quick head on collision to what would be in store for me this semester: a whole lot of reading and a whole lot of feelings. The combination of reading and feelings often leaves me home alone, on my couch without pants, ignoring ambient/electronic beats wafting into the air like my incense, and staring into the massive void that is the winter in Ann Arbor because it never stops snowing.

While it was by no means Woolf’s best work, The Voyage Out is “a beginning” of sorts. Although not her earliest diary nor letters, this first novel stands as a type of fluid production from one of the most brilliant writers of the 20th century. I can see question and figure out what it means to write a novel as she pieces together allusions–from Conrad to Milton to Bronte to Austen to Plato. She tropes Victorian themes (the dying heroine) and twists them into a new modern sensibility as she meditates on deathly illness rather than the sentimental last breath of life. Unlike her other “more modernist” novels, however, there is a clear plot. WOAH. Step back.

Rachel goes to South America, falls in love, and dies. OR A bougie woman travels to a middle class wet dream of what the exotic other-as-land would be and becomes a body with out organs and disintegrates from life. OR Woolf’s creative idea of her dead sister, Stella, comes of age (whatever this means) in a post-Victorian world, and dies. The dying part is pretty consistent, but the other elements of the novel, well, including the death, too, are wildly complex. Meditating on the inability for anyone to really know anyone else, the downfalls of language, the ways humans feel, the ways human name their feelings as emotions, the ways men and women interact, the ways classes interact, what colonialism does to a collective consciousness, how patriarchy fucks over all women (and men), what death and life and love seem to be, etc., etc., . . . *this is a fragment I’m trying to save* . . . the Voyage Out covers a lot of territory that will reappear in the later fiction of Woolf.

the voyage out 2

Not only has Woolf impressed me but she has made me rethink what it means to be a reader in the 21st century.

As an English/Philosophy lover/snob/being, I enjoy a good book. To me, “good” refers to something along the lines of: published out of one’s century (unless your name is Toni Morrison) that either invests too much in the world, consciousness, and humankind or is entirely skeptic of everything including the very page it is written on. Whether Naguib Mahfouz, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, James Joyce, or Audre Lorde, Elizabeth Bishop, or Sylvia Plath, or Michel Foucault, Frank B. Wilderson III, Gilles Deleuze–I have a lot of opinions on what is “good.”

However, as a bibliophile that is moving closer and closer from the hallowed halls of libraries (let’s be real, libraries here means hipster/queer coffee houses) into the real world where the library is anything I can fit on a shelf in my hypothetical apartment in an imaginary Washington D.C. (my future plans), I realize that “good” means more than just “good.”

In reading Virginia Woolf’s first novel I have a newfound respect and curiosity for new authors. This–the ability to read for pleasure and explore new authors–is a epiphany that is oh-too-recent. I have always despised new books because nothing can replace what has already been written. But this despair, I’ve learned, is stupid. Just as I think I have merit and worth in the realm of scholarly writing (HAHAHAHA MY THESIS WHAT), others, too, have merit writing in the scope of fiction. I should honor their creativity.

the voyage out 3

Although new writers can be sloppy, can have an fluctuating style, can be apprehensive, they can also be full of new insights to my queer world–filled with new relations to humans, technologies, and myself, new relations to others, new relations to the environment, and so on. The world is not static, and, I guess what I’m trying to say is, neither should my bookshelf.

Thanks, V.

2014 Will Be “Epic”

Stop trying to make “epic” a thing, everyone. Epic came and went like “fetch” sadly never has. BUT. While I’m opposed to “epic,” “Epic” (capital E) is entirely different.

                             epic fetch

It’s a genre. And with that,  all of you click away from this blog because: duh.

Every January 1st, or around this time, facebook/news-outlets/twitter/tumblr/friends/real-life/etc. all start to either embrace, really or ironically, or denounce, the “new year resolution” way of being.

1) Goal: Fit hegemonic beauty standards for white, cis men. (Every year I’ve made this goal and oops! Always a fail. Sixpacks are like the elusivity of Mew, or so I’ve been told.)
2) Goal: Stop doing (x) “bad” habit: binge drinking, smoking, doing tons of drugs, having “meaningless” sex, procrastinating, hating myself, never leaving my bed . . . . (I’m stubborn, so my bad habits, some/most/none/whatever, usually do end when I tell them to. However, not all of them. Bad habits are like dark chocolate, “healthy” if you do them a little bit at a time.)

Don’t get me wrong. I love goals. I love planning. I love aims. My friends constantly remind me about how obsessed I am with the future and how I want to get things just right. With this in mind, however, most new year resolutions, on a global (everyone) and local (me), level tend to miserably fail on one if not ALL of these goals. But its not so tragic, rather it’s a comedy of errors. All of us fail every year, right when we want a fresh start.

{Busting your ass at the gym EVERY day all day long for a week so that by the time you quit working out you’ve done your body more harm than good, you’ve exhausted yourself and made yourself sick, and now you feel even worse.}


                                        For the strong of heart: treadmill fails.  

{You tell yourself you want to be more (a)social so you’re either overwhelmed and crying in public or underwhelmed crying at home. And for us intro/extrovert mixes whose lives a constant balancing act of ways we get recharged, we’re left crying everywhere always.}

{Trying to fix your life by yourself  rather than seeking help from friends, family, your community, or from other “professional” people always ends badly. Not only do you fail yourself but then you lose any hope of doing anything alone. AND in this individualistic, capitalistic society,  personal failure isn’t bad it’s evil. So now you’re Satan, surprise!}

Instead of making “goals” this new year, I’ve decided to make changes. I refuse to have a life that maps too well onto a comedy of errors and not, instead, onto an Epic. Changes lead to goals, but I don’t want to pretend to myself that I know where I want my life to go in a year from now. I don’t even know where I’ll be, let alone who I’ll be, in a year from now. 2015 is just as opaque as 2013, so I will stick to the present.

Some of my changes include:
1) “Evaluate life more often.”
2) “Love more freely and deeply.”

I’m just going to leave those here.

My main plans for this new year is to embrace change. I will be turning in my thesis in 3 months. I will be graduating in 5. I will be travelling to Europe in 6. I will be taking the GRE in 8. I will be *hopefully* moving in 9. “3-6-9 you drink wine, monkey on your back you feel just fine.” I’m out of wine, I hate monkey massages, but Cat Power still gets me.

By making these changes–big and small alike–my life really can’t fail. This is the main thing I hate about New Years resolutions. All goals cannot be met or else the world would be a different place. Failure is imminent and I will either queerly embrace this art or thrive in redefining what success/failure/change/goals mean to me insofar as I can change my life one way. Change it back. Change it differently. So for me I resolve to make changes and that way I either change or stay the same. I cannot fail.

Thus, there’s really nothing that can go TOO wrong. Somedays I’ll be seduced by Calypso, others I’ll have to battle “the Citizen,” but I’ll learn something from each interaction, each movement, each path I take. And that, my friends, will be my Epic new year. Always learning, always growing, always reflecting. So when I get to 2015, I’ll have my adventures mapped out, the places I’ve seen remembered, the people I’ve loved etched into my heart, and my existence will transform into a 800 page novel with many more volumes to come.

odyssey                          Ulysses

The Art of Getting Through

Art has a “so-what” element to it. Does it make me feel special? Does it make me feel alive? Do I learn something? Does it give me a different perspective? Does it make me question hidden assumptions about the world?

OR. Does it surprise me?

My life is currently dominated by a couple things: a horrendous cough, my thesis, and extreme amounts of existential dread.

Every life is art, though–the best ones are. Mine is like Guernica. Mine is like being in Fight Club and not having any idea what’s going on. Mine is like Azealia Banks chanting that she’s going to ruin me. Terrifying. Surprising. Wonderful?

What is the “so-what” element to things these days? My self-esteem was squashed about 3 months ago when my advisor asked me where my thesis’s argument is and 3 months later . . . my argument is like the groundhog hiding from its shadow. Now I am the groundhog and my thesis is the sun. I’m hiding.

Rather, not hiding but just avoiding–my cold let’s me do this. Napping, chewing raw ginger, swallowing a pharmacy of vitamins and medicine, sitting 5 inches away from my humidifier. My thesis is over there while I’m over here.

But I guess this is a new way of life? I know I will reach my DEADlines but getting there is the struggle? The goal?

My thesis has shown me how something, one thing that will hopefully get me into grad school, put a foot in some academic door somewhere somehow, can take over your life entirely. Giving yourself over to something you (used) to love, ha, still do, is beautiful? Surprising? Terrifying?

“Oh my gosh, Taylor, this week has been so awful, what am I supposed to do?”
“Well Toni Morrison has an answer. Its in the Consolata section of Paradise, let me flip to the page.”

“TAYLOR, I was staring at old photographs of my ex and they seemed to shift? change?”
“STAHP, that’s just like the ending of Beloved where I still have no idea what’s going on even though its in my thesis . . . wait. Is Morrison talking through you? Are you a Morrison oracle?”

There is an extreme irony about tracing Morrison’s theory of healing when I need to heal from the thesis process.

I walk down the road looking at the city of Ann Arbor imagining it is the City Morrison describes in Jazz. I look in the mirror and see Beloved’s face. I go to a friends house and imagine it to be Paradise’s convent pre-raid and pre-slaughter.

For now I have to give into the delusions/hallucinations/reality of certain books projecting so far into my life that I have become my own character. My agency is just the narrator of myself scripting myself and positioning myself in the world.


The art of getting through is perserverence. It’s taking naps when I’m tired. It’s eating throughout the entire day. It’s only listening to Le1f. It’s hanging out with friends for brief snippets everyday. It’s making angsty and somewhat frightening facebook statuses so you can tell the world that you are on the edge (of glory).

I hope when my thesis is turned in, when I get my degree, and when I’m months out from undergrad, I can say that things were surprising. Things made me question my hidden assumptions. Things made me reevaluate the world.

I am the art, for now. And give me a few months where I can become my own audience. I can’t see the “so-what” now, but I will. I will.

“Say make me, remake me.”


Look Towards The Light

It’s about that time of the year, or, perhaps, way past that moment when Fall darkness sets in. I get home from class and work in the dark, I study and write in the dark, I socialize in the dark, and during the day (which is usually dark because Michigan) I’m kept inside tiny rooms within more rooms within more rooms. Life in winter is kafkaesque. Work seems to pile up around me and I’m overwhelmed. But there is something else going on entirely under my skin.

I used to romanticize the winter melancholia that would set in every year. I would feel terrible and love it. Wear moody clothing, quote Kierkegaard and Sartre about existential dread, and drink pots and pots of coffee so I could be not only be sad but also be ecstatically sad, performatively sad. My grades always seemed to suffer only a bit near the end of Fall semesters, which I attributed to the end of term finish line haze of terror; I usually ended up not exactly in fights but friendships always had more tension; and I would leave most social events angry. And then I’d be alone. And then angrier. I would look at my work and realize that I had no motivation to muster and that motivation seemed to exist only outside, in the leaves freshly fallen, decaying.

Last weekend, in particular, I felt I had to internalize “I had fun” so that when people asked me “How was your weekend?” I wouldn’t reply “real shitty.” People respond poorly to negative things, or I find that people build on the negativity, and I didn’t need more bad reactions. Little things got in the way, moments that were unexpected set me off into a chain of dizzying apathy, I began to really sink into the sadness and “thrive” there (aka more of me convincing that I’m fine). And then after watching Scandal on Saturday (which is a whole other thing that needs to be unpacked) I realized that I was NOT okay.

Now I had been to CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) before. After two semi-failed attempts at having therapy sessions, “Why do you feel this way?” “Well Heidegger in Being and Time  says this . . . and then Nietzsche really compliments this by . . . and the existential void, no? THE VOID.” In the end all of my problems seemed to come up philosophy (which is partially beautiful I have to say). But another factor that cropped up was the time of the year. Fall-into-Winter and Winter were dreadful to live through and then Spring and Summer were pretty much fantastic.

Adventuring to CAPS for different reasons also helped me be aware of the Wellness Zone, which, I have to say, is currently saving my happiness.

SUN SQUARES. These (roughly) two feet by two feet fluorescent-but-not faux sunlight containers that flood your body and eyes with an impenetrable light seem a bit terrifying. The Wellness Zone, in general, has soft mood lighting that is pretty much stomped out by this (amazing) light box. I feel like I’m a flower, or some weird vegetation, or some creature of the future.


I have heard of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) before this moment, but I was not only angered at the passive aggressiveness of the name, “oh you’re sad, aw it’s the season *pinches cheek and shines a flashlight on you*.” And I have an aversion to a lot of mental health diagnoses that is due to, in part, the medical-industrial complex, corporatization and pathologization of health, etc. So, while I may not technically be diagnosed with anything, these sun boxes are extinguishing my autumntime/wintertime/no-sunlight-time overwhelming, life crippling, perpetual state of mourning.

But I wouldn’t be a humanities senior if I didn’t stare into, or just slightly off of, these boxes without imagining them framed in a museum, or put in hallways, or dorms, or classrooms. All of health I have problems with, especially mental health, because most services or areas of help are tucked away (3rd floor union, Wellness Zone in the back) out of reach/sight and they aren’t often advertised (well or enough). What if we could hang these modern art pieces, because to me that’s partially what they are, all around campus during the winter and flood everyone (albeit this is problematic) with artificial sunlight. A bit much, no? maybe not?

What does it mean for a square of designed stuff to cause happiness? Or destroy sadness? I mean, I partially don’t believe it still– but it works. So what’s to say? “Well this artwork affects me so much that I just have an overwhelming sense of OK.” If I were an artist, this would be my art.

When talking with friends, however, when they ask me how I’m doing this week, I’ve replied, “THESE SUNLIGHT BOXES OF JOY.” It gets people thinking and many have reached out for more information. When I feel this way its a problem, but when all of my friends act this way and try to unpack their feelings, its overwhelming, problematic, and we need the sun to come back.
This experience for me has been life-changing. Every morning I go to CAPS on the third floor of the union, next to where I work (Spectrum Center), and read or write (like now) in front of a light box. Everyday I leave a bit giggly (sunlight always makes me WAY happy) to live my life.

It’s important to talk about success. It’s important to share success.

And my success is feeling amazing.


Music . . . wait for it . . . that makes me *gyrate*

So: I’m a hot mess.

Over the past 4 years I’ve been that gay boy who prides himself for wearing the “legalize gay” t-shirt, who loves gay marriage like its creme brulee that people are giving out for free when you’ve run out of money for the week, and I’ve projected myself to mature in a suburban wet dream of picket upon picket fences. HOWEVER, no more. My queerness, thankfully, disrupts these dreadful past faults of mine. I’m wary of all institutions (particularly marriage), I hate the normalization of my sexuality and how its being co-opted into moderate liberal agendas, but I still love creme brulee. That thick, hard, sugary crust of joy on top of the most deliciously creamy and sensuous tasty yum-yum is something I dream about.

Or listen to.Recently released, new music has really made me feel like I become a creme brulee.

Two cd’s, in particular, have really got me moving. I listen to both of them every day: when I wake up, at the gym, on my way to class, on my way home from class, when I study, cook, eat–they are on almost 24/7.

(Shamefully:) Lady Gaga’s Artpop;

and (Pridefully:) M.I.A.’s Matangi.

I admit. Gaga is someone I have grown to hate, to love, to hate again, and (shhhh) love again. I saw one of her earliest mainstream performances on the TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance,” where I was solidly NOT a fan–this was 2008. Her album, The Fame appeared, I resisted. She got more famous, I resisted. And then one moment later I was doing the full choreography from “Bad Romance” at my High School Prom (#dark). When Gaga traps you, you find yourself in an unavoidable love game. Years went by and I fought for Gaga, even through that bullshit song, “Born this Way.” EVEN THROUGH THAT. But then when she (or someone) leaked “Aura” and I found her all over tumblr traipsing around the world in a burqa (for fashion) I almost lit all of my Gaga things on fire. I was offended and outraged and so confused. And then Artpop came out.

There is something so brilliant about this album–it’s so weird. I am and am in the process of becoming more and more eccentric everyday and so this space-sounding, electro heavy, sexual album of glory speaks to my soul. “G.U.Y.” is not only catchy but fucks with gender insofar as she reverses the gender of her and her male partner while affirming certain aspects of her identity: “I (Gaga) wanna be your ‘Guy’/’G. U. Y.’” includes her being both a guy and being a “girl under you” while, at other points of the song, she calls her partner a “G. I. R. L.” Now, there is nothing too exciting about this as a concept but that gender confusion, mistaking, crossing, etc., happening in this song is so refreshing. (Or acts a justification for me to like it, whatever . . . ) Similarly, “Sexxx Dreams” (the current song I wake up to) is talking about Gaga more or less seducing the girlfriend of some guy. I love that Gaga talks about her sexuality and her attraction to women in a sexual way (rather than some oblique reference). “Donatella” makes me want to dance on a table while champagne/sweat/glitter is pouring from a disco ball. Yes.

And then there is M.I.A. I first did not like or understand M.I.A. “Paper Planes” came out in 2007 when I was a sophomore in high school. But as I got older I rediscovered her and heavily listened to her Maya album. M.I.A. fully entered my life (she’s here to stay), again, this past July. A friend offered to drive me, and some friends, to the M.I.A. concert in Royal Oak and I thought, “yeah, should be fun.” When I left the concert I couldn’t because I was a pile of love, feelings, and desire for M.I.A. and her music to never stop.

M. M. M. I. I. A.

When Matangi came out I was instantly hooked. Every song is perfect. “Y.A.L.A.” and the line, “bombs go off when I enter the building,” is what I listen to on repeat when I do interval sprints at the gym. “Double Bubble Trouble” is my everything song. “Bad Girls” and “Bring The Noize” will be my anthems for years to come. Every song pushes the boundary of what music is supposed to do and so I don’t see her music ever going out of “style/fashion.” At least not for me.

But not only is M.I.A. aesthetic perfection embodied. She is spot on with her politics, in my opinion, about life, which can be summed up in this beautiful article ( She is ironic, she is direct, she is everything she needs to be about discussing the global south, western hegemony, feminism, etc.

Now, while Gaga’s album might be good for those stereotypical “rage” nights, parties, even days, M.I.A.’s album clearly wins and has me dancing as I party, burn structures of oppression, fight for liberation, write my thesis, and forge a future for myself and others outside of the void of undergrad life.