Dilemma resolved.


I’m not even telling you who made this.

This is the problem with blogs. The problem with blogs is you scribble out these inchoate ideas and toss them out into the world and expect people to intuit what you mean. Then they don’t and you’re frustrated. At yourself; at them; at the very nature of the blog format and the universe at large. I’ve only read one blog in my life and that was in the autumn of 2000 and it was my ex’s. He started writing it before we broke up and asked that I not read it. I respected his privacy until we broke up then said fuck it, I’m reading the fucking thing. Then I started getting high and then he started writing about me getting high. I have no idea how he knew but the day after I shot up for the first time, there he was writing about it. We don’t really speak now – his choice – and the one time I asked him how he knew this he demurred. I didn’t pursue it. What’s the point really. What was interesting was that I was reading his writing about me shooting up while I was shooting up. I still like it. Narrative-fucking-gold.

So as for the rest of you who have been reading blogs for years while I was getting high and going to prison, I have no fucking idea what a fucking blog is and what you should and shouldn’t put in it. So let me try this one more time.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time and the question so seriously and I really appreciate your comments. Second, I know I framed the question as a blog-narrative issue which was only partly true but wasn’t and isn’t the real issue. The real issue is a moral one. Should I take advantage of special privilege because I can call certain people who will make things happen or should I work within the system like everyone else. I’m going to choose the later not because I have some martyr complex but because I believe in the system and I think it’s the right thing to do. I’m not better than anyone else here and if they can handle this than so can I. I thought I wouldn’t make it though prison. Scott started Bill In Exile™ because I was going to kill myself and he thought he could prevent it by giving me something creative to do. I made it though prison and came out infinitely better than I went in. This is not to imply prison has some sort of redemptive power. Quite the opposite. Everything is designed to remove your humanity and ensure you are reminded daily that your life is not your own.

But I learned to stop fighting. I’d been fighting my whole life. I fought my father, I fought New York, I fought the art world. And, metaphorically speaking, I fought prison. They could restrain my body but they couldn’t restrain my mind. So I read. History (Tony Judt’s “Post War” was a stand out), philosophy (Negri & Hardt, Plato, Spinoza, Emerson, Foucault, Derrida, Chomsky, Said), politics (Machiavelli, Sun Tzu) and literature. A lot of literature. Laurence Sterne, Trollope, Goethe, Cervantes, Voltaire, Shakespeare and Dante. Blake, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Dickens and Woolf. William Vollmann and Walt Whitman who are equals in so many ways.

And I learned what was the right thing. The right thing is to be honest, stick with your crew and don’t be greedy. Believe in the group. If you take care of them, they will take care of you. I witnessed such acts of caring and kindness it took my breath away. Men caring for each other. I don’t need special privilege. I will find a place to live when it’s time for me to have a place to live. Meanwhile, there are people who are ahead of me and I learned in prison you don’t cut the line. Not because you’ll get your ass kicked but because you’re not a man if you do. Today I’m a man. I’ll wait my turn.

Plus, there’s shit I only found out about today that you don’t know about yet.


21 thoughts on “Dilemma resolved.

  1. Brion

    I applaud your decision! You da man!! What is this shit to which you allude but to us remains unknown?

    1. williamcullum Post author

      Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. But everyone seems excited that the HRA psychiatrist diagnosed my bipolar disorder. Wild predictions are being tossed about. I think we need to cool our jets until more is known.

    1. williamcullum Post author

      Thanks, Bob. I want to be clear that I don’t think anyone is wrong here. It just took me a bit to know what the issue was and what I was comfortable with. You all were very helpful. And I am happy. I have this weird, irrational faith in doing the right thing. If I can determine it, then do it, things will work out as they need to. I don’t need the Grand Palais. Nor the Petit. Just a room to sleep, cook, and work.

      1. Bob

        Note from Bill: I like Bob. That’s why I let this video stand. But if you’re going to post videos in my house, please try for something a little less jejune. Anybody got a bootleg copy of one of the Cremaster abortions? Post that and we can make fun of it.

  2. steve

    Seems like you are achieving more than you set out to with the blog. Did you imagine when you started that the words you put out here would get people interested and caring enough to offer their thoughts back and so help you focus on what’s important and help you answer it?

    And, while I respect your decision, leave yourself some slack: in the end you are more important than NYC’s housing process.

  3. williamcullum Post author

    Thanks, Steve. To be absolutely honest I didn’t really think about whether people would be engaged by the blog. I’m thrilled that you folks are interested but, like my paintings and the book I’m writing, the blog is for me. The point is to document the process. And also, it turns out, to be about what pictures I want to remember. I’m surprised to learn I quite like doing it. I’m also surprised how few people have written to say it’s boring. The statistics are interesting to me. When Scott mentions me there’s a big spike that tapers off after a few days. There have been a couple of art world mentions that have seen similar spikes. And with every spike a few stick around. But let me be clear. I have no ambition for this. I probably won’t stop when I find a home and it will turn into a work blog. I will never have Andrew Sullivan traffic and I’m good with that.

  4. Bob

    Note from Bob — anyone who thought I was not attempting to be droll, if not harsh, by posting Julie may be in the wrong place. I will have to ask Scott for a copy of NastyPigmalion next time.

  5. williamcullum Post author

    Oh, Bob. Did your feelings get hurt? I’m sorry. But as I always tell Tim, the guy who saved me from the halfway house and let me live on his daybed for two years, you can tell it’s a joke because people are laughing. No one laughing means it’s not funny. Xoxo, Bill

    1. Bob

      No, of course not — I feared anyone might think I posted that treacle for a reason other that poking at you. I had no idea it would post so fucking huge.

    1. Bob

      Good afternoon from rather depressing Portberg, home of the folks who look wierd but have no capacity for anything but agreement

  6. Steve

    That’s by William Blake. He used to see angels sitting in the tress of Peckham Rye Common. He also wrote Jerusalem, my old school song. About the apt, take whatever help you can get. Everyone works the system. It’s an essential part of NYC life. In a sense by not taking advantage of connections you are not observing the process. Good luck.


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