Destroying Myself

Guillermo Fadanelli, one of our favorite Mexican writers, is best buddies with Miguel Calderon, one of our favorite Mexican artists. Here, Fadanelli introduces some of the notebook scribblings that Calderón has made during their epic debaucheries.

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Jun 1 2008, 12:00am


Image from Minimalista por falta de tiempo by Miguel Calderon, to be published by Aguila and A&R Press this June in Mexico City.


Guillermo Fadanelli, one of our favorite Mexican writers, is best buddies with Miguel Calderón, one of our favorite Mexican artists. Here, Fadanelli introduces some of the notebook scribblings that Calderón has made during their epic debaucheries.

I don’t remember the moment when I started to think of my life as a disease that not even the possibility of suicide could alleviate. Nevertheless, I didn’t become bitter, and I tried to get a little knowledge and pleasure from my disease. When I’m asked what I do, I answer that I slowly destroy myself; with this I mean that I take the disease’s side, the side of life, of nothing. During those long nights when I try to drink until I’m laid out on the floor, there’s always something left in my memory (half-assed drinking seems like a waste to me, a luxury I can’t allow myself). I’d like to have a notebook to write down some of what is said in that delirium, but I don’t have any patience, and the times I’ve tried it I end up losing what I wrote.

Miguel Calderón is the best joke the devil has played on me, and his company is like a drug that always sets me on the right path. He likes to destroy himself too, I think because disquiet has taken over his spirit, or maybe it’s anxiety, or maybe he simply does it spurred on by an impulse he can’t control (in this respect, all explanations become naive, not to say idiotic). Also, we both have a solitary aspect, in spite of being surrounded by people all the time; almost everyone around us is part of a bad stage set we try to alter every chance we get. However, Oscar Wilde realized he was wrong every time someone agreed with him. There’s no fun in agreeing with anyone on questions of art, pleasure, or knowledge; in every case it’s better to go against the grain, to go in through the door where truth doesn’t exist and show that everything could have been just this other way. In sum: We inhabit a mistake that gets more complicated every day, but at least for me that has a meaning.

I’ve seen Miguel suddenly take from his pants pocket an Ideal-brand notebook to scrawl a sentence or make a drawing. The notebook is so mistreated it looks like he snatched it out of a dog’s mouth. The turn of phrase that seems brilliant when we’re drunk can wake up dead the next day, but we take the risk. I guess that’s what nocturnal writing is, to be ephemeral, to kill yourself before you come across a moral truth or a memorable sentence. Nevertheless, it’s possible that in our zeal for destruction we might suddenly find a real poison, and then things would become less stupid.

In some of Fernando Pessoa’s notes that were found after his death is this phrase: “Since intelligence has existed every life is impossible.” I guess for the Portuguese writer, as for other artists, intelligence is an obstacle to a joining with primitive or essential life, but that’s not so; the most exciting life (at least, the only one that interests me) is the one where intelligence launches a struggle against itself, a battle that is lost before it starts. I think that Miguel would more or less agree with me, although you never know. He complains that I want to turn him into an intellectual, even though he always does exactly what he feels like. Among the artists I know, he is one of the few who read good books, a fact that makes him more mischievous, or more perceptive, if you like. You have to be alert at all times, and never drink half-assed.


Images from Minimalista por falta de tiempo by Miguel Calderon, to be published by Aguila and A&R Press this June in Mexico City.
 

                                                                     

GUILLERMO FADANELLI, TRANSLATED BY MEGAN MCDOWELL

 

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