[NetBehaviour] My Sixty-Five Failures

Alan Sondheim sondheim at panix.com
Sun Jul 31 16:07:10 CEST 2005

My Sixty-Five Failures

I dread this.

My first failure is an inability to sleep through the night, no matter
what; insomnia and nightmares occur constantly.

My second failure is a failure to relax, to take time out and enjoy
things, to not see the world through pessimistic eyes.

My third failure is never to feel at home, anywhere, to remain nomadic no
matter what, to be unable to inhabit a place.

My fourth failure is an inability to make money, to have a stable income,
to stop this constant scrambling after decades of making-do.

My fifth failure is my real lack of university affiliation, to play the
penniless scholar for the rest of my life.

My sixth failure is not to be accepted as a serious scholar, however that
be defined.

My seventh failure is a lack of books of mine and others bringing together
the theoretical work I do, as if my career is based on diary, anecdote,
hypersexuality, obsessiveness, neurosis.

My eighth failure is an inability to feel at home on the net, to have my
processes accepted as somehow fit.

My ninth failure is the lack of a conference circuit due to poverty, which
tends towards a lack of face-to-face meetings.

My tenth failure is an inability to program well, and to remain in one
mental space long enough to learn a language, both natural and computer.

My eleventh failure has been a miserable personal life in the past, and a
real difficulty in seeing the external existence of others outside my
narcissistic circuitry.

My twelfth failure is a lack of high mathematical skills.

My thirteenth failure is an inability to produce anything beyond dribble-
works, small fragments in lieu of the masterpiece which would temporarily
ensure my place in the cultural cosmos.

My fourteenth failure is a lack of critical attention given to my work,
which appears increasingly to exist in a vacuum of my own making.

My fifteenth failure is to slow down, to stop producing an obscene
quantity of materials, largely of interest to myself.

My sixteenth failure is that of controlling my sexual desires which tend
towards annihilations and collapse, towards exhibitionism and uneasy

My seventeenth failure is that of lowering my stress so that constant
anxiety won't kill me at a relatively young age.

My eighteenth failure is a lack of a PhD. or other intellectual
legitimation which might have gone a long way towards stability.

My nineteenth failure is that of devouring others, as if they were on the
planet only for my benefit.

My nineteenth failure is an inability to relieve the almost constant
depression that accompanies me everywhere, and is itself accompanied by
weight gain, nervousness, occasional crying jags, anxiety attacks.

My twentieth failure is to develop musical skills to the extent of reading
music and playing compositions with others.

My twenty-first failure is not responding to others demands at a
sufficiently fast rate.

My twenty-second failure is an inability to get beyond recognizing myself
as a fraud, and understand that perhaps I am not.

My twenty-third failure is constantly being unable to exist independently
of my family and their concerns, and to stand up to them in a reasonable

My twenty-fourth failure is to have a satisfactory appearance, at least to
the extent of being able to look into a mirror.

My twenty-fifth failure is an inability to face the current political
crisis without suffering an emotional collapse.

My twenty-sixth failure is putting my partner through one terrible
depressive situation after another.

My twenty-seventh failure is not being able to take more time out with my
partner, working more around the house, even cooking for myself on a
regular basis.

My twenty-eighth failure is being unable to cope with my Judaism and being
far too paranoid about anti-semitism.

My twenty-ninth failure is not being a mathematician or physicist.

My thirtieth failure is not exercising enough, and not being good at any

My thirty-first failure is feeling uncomfortable around people and crowds
and being unable to enjoy myself at a party.

My thirty-second failure is being far too loud and defensive, talking far
too much about sexuality, and not taking my own work seriously in public.

My thirty-third failure is being unable to deal with authority, and to
exercise authority, without appearing overly neurotic or belligerent.

My thirty-fourth failure is being unable to avoid getting angry in
situations where I should be more laid back.

My thirty-fifth failure is to avoid thinking about death, which is
constantly on my mind, and to avoid a constant fear of death as well.

My thirty-sixth failure is an intolerance of organized religion.

My thirty-seventh failure is the inability to feel anything but regret in
relation to the life I have led.

My thirty-eighth failure is an inability to see a way out of the trap I
have set for myself as a failure.

My thirty-ninth failure is an inability to leave things well enough alone.

My fortieth failure is to stop being a nuisance in situations where I am
ill at ease.

My forty-first failure is not to have had the funding to go to China and
Japan for a reasonable period of time.

My forty-second failure is somewhat of an inability to express my love.

My forty-third failure is an inability to stop crying, literally, when
confronted by a wounded bird, or insect, or mammal.

My forty-fourth failure is a deep-rooted inability to love humanity.

My forty-fifth failure is to stop thinking about money all the time, and
accept my situation in life.

My forty-sixth failure is to stop attacking myself and secretly agreeing
with others when they attack as well.

My forty-seventh failure is to find my successes almost non-existent, and
recognize them only through muted consciousness.

My forty-eighth failure is a lack of grounding in traditional philosophy,
for example reading the longer canonic texts all the way through.

My forty-ninth failure is dropping names as a means of justification.

My fiftieth failure is a feeling I've accomplished nothing of substance
that has made my poverty and dependencies at least equitable.

My fifty-first failure is an inability to feel comfortable around drugs or

My fifty-second failure is not having been able to perform well enough on
stage, as to occasion a career.

My fifty-third failure is not being accepted by either the net art world
or the art world, or for that matter, the worlds of poetry, film, video,
soundwork, theory, experimental writing, and performance.

My fifty-fourth failure is an inability to stop whining.

My fifty-fifth failure is an inability to be classified or accepted as an
'artist' in any category.

My fifty-sixth failure is an inability to slow up and work on my failures
and regrets through self-administered therapy.

My fifty-seventh failure is a complete suspicion of authority and an
inability to give myself over to a therapist, guru, or other mentor.

My fifty-eighth failure is poor health, poor hearing, poor eyesight, and
thus always feeling at a distance with others.

My fifty-ninth failure is an inability to thereby feel comfortable at the
beach or poolside, or any other situation where my body appears.

My sixtieth failure is not having hiked across the country, not having
mountain-climbed, not really having lost the fear of the dark.

My sixty-first failure is not having real savings, and not being able to
provide well enough for my partner.

My sixty-second failure is being far too ambitious and unable ever to
satisfy myself.

My sixty-third failure is being unable to sleep if I have not worked at
least some, every day of my life.

My sixty-fourth failure is always having to keep what I see as my
addictive personality, under control.

My sixty-fifth failure is an inability on every level to stop the self-
hatred from overwhelming me.

My sixty-sixth failure is the lack of a book of mine which would explain
'everything,' and bring both theoretical and personal coherence to my

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