When I was in Paris in 1995, I walked around the city. I shot each day for a week. I came upon this window and inside the store were these elements: Mirror, antique statue, bedpost, etc. and behind me was a building and a bike on the street. It spoke of the medium given my being upside down in the mirror. The black and white spoke of timelessness. The age and articulation of Europe as the origins of my soul, that I could apprehend catharsis itself in an image meant that I could stop. I have never shot a better image than this. It represents me, my eye, and aesthetic capacity. I hope to continue this journey when I eventually get to London, another city with windows in an urban environment.
Nicole hands the portable computer to her friends and they laugh at Frank. It’s still too early for them to sense the sadness, but Nicole tells them it has been going on for days. “Watch this,” she says, “how I write a single word and he comes back with a myriad of interpretations, camouflaging his desire. Luckily, he hasn’t gone there saying something about roses. Yes, this whole thing is a fetish. He is probably home in a dark room just waiting for me, and I ignore him.”
“Alex says a man’s fetish begins at a moment of conjoined anxiety and stimulation when, for some reason, the man is made to feel that if he expresses his sexuality at that precise moment, he will be breaking some rule and love will be withheld from him.” – Perlman
“I know he is there, I can feel him,” Nicole says, “Can’t you? Don’t you know men like this?”
“There was a scientist,” Frank sends to Nicole, “Edward T. Hall, who described a box of rats. There were two alpha rats that would mate with all the female rats and the female rats would coyly wait for them or follow them around. There was another hierarchy of male rats that would try to mate with one or two of the females, but they were not usually welcome. So, these second-tiered male rats took their shots when the alpha males weren’t looking. There was another tier of male rats that cowered in the corners. They were quiet, almost invisible and completely ignored.
“On occasion,” Frank continued, “the female rats would find themselves ignored too or bashed by the other females or left brokenhearted by the alpha males, and as they felt sorry for themselves the cowering males saw opportunity. Each time as a charity intercourse or to cause jealousy, the females would allow themselves to be played with, touched, and penetrated by the lesser males. It never ended well for them. The ostracization always began immediately as the female rat saw her mistake.
“Weakness and isolation were not good signs for the health of the brood,” Frank continued as if Nicole were listening in her house in her room. “If the alpha males knew of the weakness they would have ripped the outcast apart, except that even alpha males need their sleep. The conniving rat saw his chance and took it hoping that the uniqueness of his circumstances would allow him what he wanted more than anything, but of course these things never really happened unless they are rape or charity. Rejection always follows this and honesty is the only way out.
“So, in this case,” Frank said, “I told you every stop and reminded you often what my intentions were and you saw it for the joke it was, a novelette, more like a novelty. I wrote instead of lived. You told your friends, thinking for a moment, what was wrong. I even had the audacity to tell you that my friend had said that our maturation levels were almost too far apart. We both know my maturation is childlike. I just couldn’t embrace the truth that you would never allow this chronological breach and even if you did, society would not allow it. If we appeared in public, it would be as father and daughter. Otherwise, it was the indication of something horribly wrong.
“I waited and wondered,” Frank said, “and she cringed from what she had started.”
Having misunderstood the submission process for music, I received a letter from the copyright office threatening to change the date of receipt of my work given a payment shortfall.
I was immediately shocked. Having noted that the work was received by the copyright office, I went ahead and assumed it was protected. A friend wanted to play an aspect of one of my musical pieces on the radio, which he did, but it turns out I may not have been protected by the copyright office.
Furthermore, I have been sending my last collection of songs to various individuals, like the agent for Michael Tilson Thomas, who, in effect, could conceivably have had the work before the copyright office acknowledged its receipt.
Talk about casting a chill over my creative heart. So, I am currently waiting to hear from the copyright office to see how they side:
“You might get the original date or the date when we received the your complete payment. It will be up to the examiner to determination which date they will use.” This according to Felicia Dozier, Accounting Technician, Copyright Accounts Section.
Why would such a decision be up to an examiner? An individual?
The purpose of the Copyright Office is “To promote creativity by administering and sustaining an effective national copyright system.”
I realize that not making full payment and also getting protection may play into others having no impetus to complete their payments if copyright protection is assured. But, a person wanting to protect their creation(s) really has, at least as far as I can imagine, no interest in undermining their protection. Why would this be assumed? Why would mistakes be punished? I am not sure I understand the psychology or the intelligence of such a decision.
Then I come upon “The Final Rule Regarding Group Registration for Unpublished Works,” where “After soliciting comments, the U.S. Copyright Office adopted a final rule creating a group registration option for unpublished works, allowing registration of up to ten unpublished works for a single fee.” (See: https://www.copyright.gov/rulemaking/group-unpublished/). Who writes this stuff? Who comes up with these decisions?
Apparently, the rationale is “The rule offers a number of benefits over current practices: it will allow the Office to more easily examine each work for copyrightable authorship, create a more robust record of the claim, and improve the overall efficiency of the registration process.”
The problem is copyright protection shouldn’t be about the office or the officers. Submissions by creators, for example, is done with the intention that whatever was sent is contained on or as the medium submitted and does not need to be examined until a breach of copyright is found or a copyright needs protection. We don’t need “more robust records of the claim,” and the efficiency should simply be a receipt, cataloging, and enforcement of the rights of the owners of copyrights. A system should not send shivers down the spines of the creatives nor act to disenfranchise them. To limit my submissions to ten unpublished works for a single fee effectively cuts me out of the process altogether. I cannot afford to protect hundreds of musical works at $85 per 10 a pop. I sometimes write 10 compositions a day. As it stands, 350 works is nearly $3000, which is effectively beyond my ability to pay.
Who uses such phrases as “Final Rule.” Is this the end, the final say? How absurd and ridiculous!
I believe the Copyright Office may have written itself out of existence, undermined its mission.
Either the rules change to benefit the creators or there is no purpose for it, at least as far as I am concerned. It is certainly not serving The People, and for that reason it simply may not act in this way. As a governmental agency, it needs to be reined in and/or repopulated.
He imagined eating tarts as she so snidely stated. He wanted all of her, her fragility, her cockiness, her shyness, her discovery after being seduced and the loneliness she would feel. But, he also knew he was deluding himself. He wasn’t in control, she was. She clearly wasn’t interested in him and that’s where he lost his control. He could be as honest and forth-coming as he wanted, but he could not persuade her.
No, Nicole was not held in those circumstances. She was merely talking to Frank as if in a “chatroom” and she could easily dismiss him with the push of a button.
Frank deluded himself into thinking that he could keep the conversation going if he just continued to be honest and tried not to wield power over her. She was smarter than he was. His desires were blatant and visible. She knew what he wanted.
Perhaps Frank was willing to destroy his own power and freedom to be with her. Is that how powerful her beauty was? In reality, Frank deluded himself into believing that they were both seeking acceptance and love. The author, Elliot Perlman, he remembered reading in thebook Seven Types of Ambiguity, called it the long journey to love: “He says fetishes are about the search of love.” How better to find it, Frank thought, in putting themselves out there and being treated well?
No matter their age difference, Frank thought Nicole was perfect and Frank meant something to her — a rite of passage into her own feminine power?
Frank’s condo was white and spare. Merely a chair sat in his living room, a white one from Ikea that they advertised in a Skinnerian box that gets pushed like a mechanical dildo over and over. A desk, otherwise, was in the room. There were two tall and thin speakers, two bookshelves, his mothers’ silver, and a table he made, white, organic-shaped, and the Ikea twin mattress on the floor with an unheard of thread count white-cotton sheets and a pillow. By the time he saw her, the condo was finally clean of everything except the essentials. Frank was only interested in experiencing this and writing about it. He wanted intimacy and true friendship and most of all he wanted to know what she thought and why, but he was lost.
Frank imagined that they would lie together on a bed talking for hours and they would touch each other. This would send electrical charges to his brain, but he would not do what he did not feel was welcome.
Frank imagined further that they would lay on the bed like two self-administering psychological patients. His resisting and her being open was their friendship and only in this trust and discipline could they be together, or else any wrong move or word would send them spiraling out of control in protective positions. He remembered this from many one-night stands. A relationship, he thought, is only what it is. The truth is always there waiting, watching, and wondering when one or both of them got tired of lying. Even as he said this, he felt the truth had been answered.
Frank came to an understanding of why he was so interested in her despite the obvious attraction. When he was ten, he moved to Honolulu after his father died. It was just he, his mother, and sister, who at four years younger, he could not relate to. He had at least two sexual meetings, one with a baby sitter, who was eighteen, gorgeous, who had spread her legs for him and he wanted to play doctor, and the other, a neighbor, spread her legs in an ivy cave in a lot at the end of the block. That all evaporated with his father’s death and his confidence was suffocated like a candle.
“Father Figure Seeks Daddy’s Little Girl” to be loved by someone beautiful and innocent since there is innocence in the attraction that always remains veiled.”
Frank thought of this for a Craigslist ad if his conversation with Nicole got no further.
Frank told himself that the most important thing to learn from their cyber conversation was that she lived in a different world. You’ve done things too, he thought with her in mind, “Accidents,” we call them, where “spontaneous” means, “accidentally” and for her “unique” meant that she was hoping you didn’t take her mistake as an invite because she was clear that she said she had a boyfriend.
Infatuation and dreams are like this, Frank kept thinking. They do not live in reality. She wants nothing to do with you. Her brevity, although pithy, proves that. She comes to your long, drawn out responses not to spend much time, but also not to reveal your pathetic, hopeless attempts at seduction. Everyone can see your veiled prose and intellectualization for what it is. Sometimes it feels like forever when she writes again, and you apologize, but it has become creepy as if it wasn’t before. Your drip of desperation…you are a sewage pipe full of seeping longing. Her half-smile has become a cautionary silence, a joke that reveals your ailment.
In 2012 from among 24 hours of music I composed via Garage Band on my computer, here is one from among a few that turned out pretty well. It does well in projecting my impression of space and time, a light observational perspective. Enjoy.
Frank responded to her: “I assume this is an answer to the questions about what you tell your boyfriend, mother, father, and friends. I read an article yesterday about how a man making time on the Internet was trying to pick up an underage girl and the police were contacted. He said something lewd and he was drawn in and arrested. Any parent or boyfriend wouldn’t want their loved one predated. I question my own motives, thinking of Wilhelm Stekel’s Sexual Aberrations: ‘He is a Don Juan without having to commit sin. The female appears to him devoid of any fascination because the seductive qualities have been violently passed on to a smaller object, the rose. It is no sin to kiss roses. Nor can the rose put his potency to the test.’”
Frank had been touched by her response. It made him warm inside and hopeful. Maybe Nicole was interested in the sexual play that he was inclined to want and she seemed so aware, playful, sarcastic, and therefore it reminded him of the fact that IQ was present early and awareness of ulterior motives could be felt and understood certainly by nineteen, which is what Nicole was, but now he saw another side of her. She was even brighter than he imagined and she was clearly in control.
“You would tell the family and your boyfriend to eat pickles and tarts,” Frank said. “Intelligence is apparent very early. If you are as you say you are (nineteen), then your brain is where it will be. This does not explain your motivations, your intent, your experience. I told an editor-friend about you and he drew his hands in the air comparing maturation levels. He assumes we’ll have nothing to talk about. We live in different worlds. I agree with him in the sense your intentions are not mine. This is just a game for you: The batting about of an indefensible mouse by a cat. For me, it is the churning of emotions and desires, hopes and dreams, and perhaps a death march. ‘In the very middle of the court was a table, with a large dish of tarts upon it: they looked so good, that it made Alice quite hungry to look at them — “I wish they’d get the trial done,” she thought, “and hand round the refreshments!” There seemed to be no chance of this, so she began looking at everything about her, to pass away the time.’”
“When my friend spread his hands,” Frank said, “I wanted to hug him. I exploded with compliments. It reminded me of why we were friends. He is brilliant, nonjudgmental, and so many other people I have known are negative and whiny. I knew the lack of commonality would be a problem. What would we talk about except the truth, which would be both linguistic and visceral? Any relationship is about the truth whether expressed openly or condemned to silent, nonverbal remarks. I refused to be miserable in this. I would tell her everything and I had hoped she would do the same. Why else would two people be so engaged?”
The question remained, Frank thought, why was she in on this? Was it an experiment? Was I a potential sugar daddy? Was she real, was she interested in what I had to say? Was she just interested in this man, who clearly was interested in someone much younger, at least on paper?”
The conversation would go on, it seemed, just as they all had until the truth was known. Her lines were so short as to be without the trace of gender or investment, that soon enough if she didn’t bite, he would cut it and that would be the story. After all, the reader wants the truth. Yet they might also hope that this led to something.
Nicole was quiet on the other end. He could only imagine what she must be doing or thinking.