"Reality is bending and warping all around us"
Chatting and bullshitting about precaution, VR, mindsets, magic, perception and more.
Some of the content of this newsletter was originally published at my Cyborg Memoirs Fan Club. Some of it is new, but the Fan Club heard it first. And at any rate, I do a LOT of freestyling in the audio that is not at all in the text. So feel free to enjoy the text if that’s your thing, but the audio is where it’s at this edition.
Tidying at the end of the year
Friends, I work in a boutique retail environment where I have become responsible for the time keeping of our communications and campaigns. I am into logistics. Usually my brain is full of the tasks I am fixing or going or about to do. It's not very fun sometimes, but it is my area of expertise.
In 2020 I left my job, and by that September I was back. At the start of 2020 I had been thinking to myself wow I'm going to be able to just not worry about shit for "holiday" this year. Now it's year 2 of—actually—"holiday" and I told myself, you know what, if I'm never gonna catch a break on that front, I'm gonna tell myself close this year out right, enjoy yourself, and celebrate. I'm gonna NOT DO SHIT extra. Or rather I'm simply gonna let my mentality rest, let it stop scanning and searching for what else, and return its attention to that which has happened, lived through, enjoyed, and accomplished. You're making it through another year.
[image: an altar to Santa Muerte set with dried flowers, water, a shot of alcohol, an apple, and other smaller items, on a white cloth]
Yes, this is usually a time of year when my experience of the world is hampered by a background running task list going on on my head. Zoom zoom. I work in timeliness and relevance, manufactured and reinforced. (It's for a boutique, so I am underpaid—but aren't we all?)
In early 2020 I had the time to begin listening to long and tedious astrology podcasts covering recently revived and translated texts and techniques of ancient Egypt and Greece, medieval, Vedic, and so on... Before this I was fond of buying a workbook around the phases of the moon.
((Oh I wish I could tell you so much more, but I don't have the strength in my tendons for it and these dictation setups I've tried so far have been very clunky))
I am fascinated by stargazing and time keeping, cycle plotting, pattern weaving, meaning making. It's been helpful to me over the years, and enjoyable too, to study (lightly) into Hellenistic astrology, and listen to astrologers forecast on the astroweather because it introduces measures, influences, and cycles of time that break me out of the imperial linear calendar—the mindset, the dread, the haste.
I was raised by a star gazer and also by a lover of the seasons, and during my saturn return around 30, I was compelled by despair to cultivate a deeper awareness and appreciation for the seasons according to the solstices and equinoxes, the angle of the sun in the sky, the appearance and position of planets. I stopped lamenting the cold months as winter, and began to think of spring as occurring earlier into the new year. Spring is cold when it starts, but it's still spring. And so on.
[image: a wooden desk by a window with a whole buncha shit on it, like books, pencils, tarot cards, candles, but there is a cleared spot in the center]
The winter solstice is this coming day, the shortest day of the year for some, and the start of the lengthening of day for some as well. For several years now, I wonder how the winter will pan out, and here we are again.
So I am telling myself to stop fretting about the world of plans and plan making, as if that can only be done frantically, manically even... I have been trying to get messy, less tidy, to have every notebook open and all the books im reading everywhere. strewn. i usually put my things up and away. i am trying to do things enjoyably, rather than by obligation. Writing this out confirms this is magic.
So that is a small message I wanted to send tonight. I am in the middle of H1 2022 Astrological Forecast with Austin Coppock, on Rune Soup, a podcast I don't really love for the lack of melanated people that appear on it. But I'm fascinated with Coppock's explications of the astroweather of next calendar year, along with whatshisface's goings on about significations in finance and geopolitical economic realms. I guess if you wanna know what I'm watching on youtube usually, it's drum n bass mixtapes and shit like this. As if we many didn't already see it happening all around us, the astroweather for the United States in particular in 2022 is concerning for it as a nation state or something. Bruh just watch the video and get into the vibe, I would tell you over a j but not here.
[image: the waxing moon as a watery indistinct disc through the window in the night sky]
1/1/2022 entry in my notebook
I started growing my hair out.
Today my nails are suddenly long, tinted orange from chopping turmeric when making something of a medicinal honey—one I first learned from a Black Haitian person on IG during the start of lockdown, one she said was a common remedy for colds and infections (ginger, turmeric, cloves, garlic, onion, chop it up & throw it in a jar, fill it with honey, then turn the thing around every day for a week or 3, take a spoonful a day, strain optional). I made it last year and began taking a spoonful of it daily—a practice my recently deceased father would push on me, showing up with mentholated honey and saying here mijita, take a spoonful every day. And make me take a giant spoonful right there in front of him so I knew how to do it. Oof. The habit now sticks.
Omicron is all around me, and people are reporting they're "fine" and I just keep thinking of long covid and my functioning and respiratory health in a city famous for its children having asthma. I revive the routines from 2020—mouthwash 30 seconds when coming back from an outing, drinking strong decoctions of my regular favorite herbs (licorice, nettles, elecampene, burdock, milky oats; marshmallow root & ground ivy for my air passages and ear canals, so prone to blockages already). I put the plastic face shield back on for being in stores, at work. I do believe we will all get covid, since it is in the family of viruses related to the common cold and flu, none of which have ever gone away. Strong and weak versions make the rounds, generation after generation.
I have faith. This is unrelated to my previous paragraph. It is something keeping me active, aware, childlike and Mercurial. Fancy. Whimsy. Laughter jester helpful demon. Reality is bending and warping all around us as the powers that be continue to play theater of the pious. Things no longer have the same meanings they once did. Do you know which things those are for you?
I am someone who knows change and soul crushing hurt. Aren't we all familiar? At this point in the pandemic I am transformed. The first stage is now being set.
I'm afraid, too, that over all these moments of silence, (when words have failed me and I've felt that the machinations of "social media" are unfriendly to deep communication), I have been more involved with the study of saints, cartomancy, magic, astrology, and I have rarely shared any of that here. It strikes me as a suitable progression after all the seasons I've spent researching scientific developments, reading history, analyzying, criticizing, and confessing the substance of my perception. "Sometimes technology fails you and magic is your only recourse." Let me gleefully become the magus of my friendly moniker (Magus Monk). I have been down on my talents and secretive of it for too long.
Part of this is that I've become more and more agitated by whats feel like the confines of academic thought on what was once my much LIVELIER style of expression. I wrote so much poetry and lyric and impulsive spells and shit... I want my life back. I want my power of words and image back. So I will have it.
I have this feeling that all the sexy VR promise and failed attempts at adoption back in the 90s is now primed and ready for its time. I think it's time all of us 90s and early 00s AOL and MSN messenger denizens reflect on what was happening to us in those times—to our experiences as what was known and possible with embodiment, personhood, imagined fantastic bodies.
People have a habit of believing my chronic and often enough debilitating ~chronic bilateral epicondylitis~ as JOINT PAIN, when the culprit is LIGAMENT INFLAMMATION. The keyboard, the FLATTTTT is an enemy to the comfort and care of my precious body. I am demoralized trying to hold this pen as firm as I once could and make it create the forms I desire. Disabled people, we'll join the ranks if we haven't already. Alice Sparkly Kat's 2022 horoscopes mention this sentiment.
IN OTHER NEWS
I left team Tidal for team Spotify and started dabling in making playlists for mine and your enjoyment.
CITY WALKER is all songs of what I call "fast walking" tempo, music I play to walk my ass around on errands and get a little blood pumping and like, have faith in living.
CHATROOM ATMOSPHERIC is all songs I truly used to bang back during my heaviest online days, 1997ish through 2003-04, I'd say. Musical accompaniment for long sessions in role playing chatrooms, for building your personal website, writing fanfic, and so on.
Then I'm working on one called RUNAWAY, so far it's 4 Rēs (reese) songs in a row.
UPDATES SINCE SEPTEMBER
I didn't get the Delany fellowship BIG SURPRISE THERE.
[click this twitter jawn for the whole thread]
Then I also didn't make it into an Odyssey special topics workshop that I applied to, which is what you're advised/encouraged to apply to when you get your rejection from their 6-week intensive. Wish you could see my face.
I HAVE SPENT MYSELF my time & energy FOR YEARS NOW TRYING TO SORT OUT "EXTRA" INCOME AND "ARTIST OPPORTUNITY"S AND CAN YOU IMAGINE IF I JUST HAD THE RESOURCES ALREADY? Or if I just had kept to myself and made what was on my mind/heart all this time instead of the constant hijacking of my potential and attention trying to for recognition and legitimacy from a too-far-removed status quo?? But can I blame the gatekeepers for why my book isn't done? Allll this has me looking back over the shit I was on back in 2013 when tumblr was at its peak and I wrote minor essays on whiteness, dystopia, class, and other transexual anime scifi topics damn near every other post. My ALL THAT'S LEFT zines were full of images from my tumblr and I had a damn audio cassette that went with them. And those stories were just a working bitch's cyborg hookup stories set in a vague climate-disaster'd dystopia. Now it's 57º outside and … yeah. Me and Ras Mashramani have had more than a few conversations on what it means that things from our stories come true before we've actually published them.
Anyway, here’s what I sent the fellowship for my lil statement jawn [I go in much more in detail in the audio]:
You are meeting someone sitting on a wooden bench in their neighborhood park, writing in a notebook, wearing a fabric face mask because the air pollution is too taxing lately. It’s that person Monk, who writes as M. Téllez. They look like a tattooed young man, or maybe a handsome woman—a white person that certain people clock for being mixed with something—and their chestnut hair is military short and being overtaken by silver. The card case in the waterproof tote bag beside them (holding three B5 notebooks, a planner, a steel water bottle, overstuffed pencil case, and pack of cube-shaped chewing gum) contains a drab green calling card that says “SCI-FI MAGIC SMUT SURVIVOR MEMOIR”. Behind that is another, older card proclaiming “METROPOLARITY MINISTER OF CROSSROADS”. They pull an herbal cigarette out from their Dickies pocket.
Monk looks worn out or in pain or both. They’re wearing stretched-out wristbands on their elbows and firmer straps around their wrists, and they hold the pen with a grip that has long been weakened by their workplace. When they return to their home computer, they check on the Discord server hosting their experimental fiction writing and storytelling workshop. They check if their grieving friend has eaten yet and do they want some food ordered to their house. On Twitter, someone has reposted their long thread analysis of 1995's Armitage III, a cyberpunk about gynoids and labor rights on Mars. An herbalist has emailed asking for the name of the story read around that bonfire last weekend.
Monk—a born-and-raised Philadelphian, child of Irish-Italian and Mexican Catholics, raised in a mostly Black, Caribbean, Korean and Southeast Asian, mixed race part of town, once homeless, less and less a working class brokeass—has written story after story about desire, hope, and despair in the flooded-out future. Their old zines-on-tape carried the tagline “post-binary cyborg smut”, but anymore they think of what they write as fantasy, because projecting a capitalist dystopia into the future has become irresponsible. They have an online following older than social media, and have an underground popularity among hobbled psychics, genderfuck cyborgs, city kids, anarchists who read sci-fi, and art world types who pay attention to their local scene. Early in Obama’s second term, they linked up with Ras Cutlass, Alex Smith, and Rasheedah Phillips, to form METROPOLARITY, a sci-fi collective that ripped open spacetime and ushering in a zeitgeist of BIPOC-centered queer trans poor and working sci-fi fantastic thought. Astoundingly, there was no #queerscifi tag before Metropolarity started wielding it, and even more astounding is that all four have had to self-publish their work for all these years. Monk lights the cigarette and keeps on writing.
Wowww what a freak!
Welp there ya have it. That’s all the text loaded on this edition. Enjoy the audio. Tell your friends to get you a Cyborg Memoirs Fan Club snail mail subscription, there’s zines back in print in my distro with new ones in the werx, annnd catch ya next time.