In the morning I woke up and looked at tweets on my phone while lying in bed. One tweet I looked at was by Tao Lin, who was in Australia for the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne Writer’s Festivals. Tao Lin’s tweet said, does anyone in Brisbane have marijuana firstname.lastname@example.org. I copied the email address email@example.com and wrote Tao Lin an email.
The subject of the email was, Re: your most recent tweet about your currents needs in Brisbane. Then I said if you need/want the same thing when you’re in Melbourne send me an email.
I got out of bed, put a towel around my waist and walked towards the shower. My housemate was having a shower. I had breakfast instead. For breakfast I had one slice of toast with vegemite and cheese on it and a cup of coffee. My housemate finished showering. I got into the shower. In the shower I thought about the email I just sent to Tao Lin. I also thought about Allen Ginsberg’s mother, who was schizophrenic.
I got out of the shower. Tao Lin replied to my email. Tao said, I will likely want some of it, thank you, talk to you soon probably. I left my apartment and walked to work. I felt more excited than usual.
While walking to work I was thinking about how much I had left of the stuff that Tao Lin wanted/needed. I was also thinking that maybe my housemate – who I shared the stuff Tao Lin wanted with – would get annoyed at me for giving it to Tao Lin instead of keeping it for us. I thought, maybe my housemate wants/needs it more then Tao Lin. But then I thought, Tao Lin will be a visitor in this country and it is right to treat visitors well. My housemate would agree with that point, I thought.
I was still walking to work when a stranger walking next to me said, sniffer dogs, and I felt paranoid. But shortly after I felt better because I decided that I would write about the experience of giving Tao Lin what he wanted/needed. This made me feel better because it set a future goal, and in order to achieve that goal I would have to make a plan and then execute the stages of that plan toward the goal.
At work, I was looking at my computer. On my computer there was an article called Ten Best Bits of Melbourne Writers Festival, by young Australian writer and editor Sam Cooney. Sam Cooney included Tao Lin as one of the Ten Best Bits of the Melbourne Writers Festival. In the article Sam said, Tao Lin is Totally Going To Ask You For Drugs If You Try To Be His Friend.
I wrote Tao Lin an email. In the email I said, I want to go to one of your sessions at Melbourne Writers Festival but it is sold out. I can give you what you need/want re:Brisbane tweet in exchange for a ticket. If this is impossible then I can still get you what you need/want re:Brisbane tweet. Just thought I’d check to see if this is possible. If it isn’t, no worries at all.
Around three hours after I sent this email, I left work. I had pizza and salad for dinner with friends. The pizzas were not good. We got them from a restaurant owned by the boss of one of my friends. The pizzas were also expensive. My friend made us all guess how much we thought his boss made selling pizzas. One friend said $80,000. Another friend said $200,000. I didn’t say anything. $200,000 was the correct answer. I told my friend who guessed $200,000 that it was a very good guess. She said she already knew the answer. Then we discussed whether that was a lot of money for selling pizzas. We all agreed that it was. Then I told my friends that I emailed Tao Lin telling him that I have what he wants/needs. One of my friends asked, who is Tao Lin? I said, he is a writer of literary fiction.
I went home and fell asleep. I woke up and checked my email. There was no reply from Tao Lin. I made myself porridge with bananas and honey and ate it while also drinking two cups of coffee. While I was eating and drinking I was thinking about making an excel spreadsheet of all the online publications that I send my writing to, and under each publication name keep a record of everything I send to them and whether it is accepted and how much they have paid me, if anything. The task seemed boring but I knew that if I did it vigilantly for around 4 months then the list itself would be valuable and not just a means to an ends, the ends being an organised account of my pending publications. I could pass the list on to other writers and help them with their publications and then the list would become something I made that people used in a concretely productive way.
My housemate came home 3 minutes after I opened an excel spreadsheet on my computer. He was carrying a box of apples and was angry because the apples were not as good as he wanted them to be. He said, I will have to make compote out of these apples.
I told him about the emails I had been sending to Tao Lin. He asked, who is Tao Lin. I said, he is a writer of literary fiction. My housemate asked if I was implicating him in anything. I said no. I told my housemate that I asked for a ticket to Tao Lin’s talk at the Melbourne Writers Festival in return for giving him what he wanted/needed. My housemate told me I was stupid. I asked him why. He said, you should’ve waited until Tao Lin came to Melbourne. Then you could give him what he wanted/needed, then you could ask him for a ticket, and Tao Lin, being pleased for having received what he wanted/needed, would’ve have been more likely to give you a ticket to his slot at the Melbourne Writers Festival. I should consult my housemate before doing more transactions in the future, I thought to myself.
I left my apartment and walked to work. I read an email from Tao Lin on my computer. It said, Hey I will ask if I can get any +1s, I’m 95% sure I can. If I can I will put your name on the list. I would like what I wanted in my Brisbane tweet. I’m in Brisbane, and would highly enjoy getting it today
I replied, that’s good news re: +1’s and my name on the list. Thanks. My housemate is from Brisbane. I will ask him if he knows anyone who can get what you want/need in Brisbane.
Tao replied, thank you.
I wrote my housemate a text message. My housemate wrote back almost instantly. He said, I don’t know because I didn’t need those things when I lived in Brisbane. I wrote Tao Lin an email. It said, my housemate from Brisbane said he doesn’t know because he didn’t want/need those things when he lived in Brisbane. Sorry. Can’t help. Tao Lin replied, That’s ok.
3 days happened. I worked and spent time with friends and did yoga twice. Then I got an email from Tao Lin. He said, hey I’d like weed today, any time after 3pm, if possible. They didn’t respond on a guest list but I’m 98% sure if you come I’ll just say you’re with me and can get you in.
I replied, I have work until 5pm but then I come. Where are you?
I’ll be at Sofitel at 25 Collins street. Between 5pm – 7pm would be ideal. Thanks for this. Also I think I’m going to cook it, so I don’t need too much, if that’s okay. Just like $25 worth, or whatever it rounds to conveniently. Then Tao Lin said, Here’s 2 free tickets to each of my events. Tao Lin had attached two tickets to each of his Melbourne Writers Festival events.
After work it was raining. I walked home in the rain and picked up what Tao Lin wanted/needed and drove to the Sofitel. There was traffic and I was running late. There was a place to park right outside the Sofitel. I parked in it. I walked into the Sofitel. I saw Tao Lin standing just inside the entrance to the Sofitel. I walked in the direction of Tao Lin and Tao Lin started walking away from me, not knowing who I was. I quietly said, Tao Lin. Tao Lin turned around. We introduced ourselves quickly.
I took a jar of what Tao Lin wanted/needed out of my backpack and handed it to him. What is this, he asked. It is a jar with what you need/want in it, I said. Ok, Tao said and then opened the jar and looked inside. Whoa it is so much, he said softly. Then we walked without direction in the hotel lobby while Tao Lin looked inside the jar and smiled at what he wanted/needed.
I told Tao that I got what he wanted/needed from a guy who lives in Byron Bay and has written a book about growing things that people want/need. I want to read that book. I hope I read that book, Tao said.
Tao said he needed a pipe to smoke what he wanted/needed and that he would buy a pipe in the pharmacy across the road from the Sofitel. I said that pharmacies in Australia don’t sell pipes and that we needed rolling paper, which we could get from a 7/11.
We walked in the rain while looking for a 7/11. It is so quiet here, Tao said. The traffic doesn’t make any noise here, he said.
Tao asked if I had any other drugs. I asked him what type of drugs. He said, you don’t have Adderall here, in a way that made me unsure of whether Tao was asking a question or making a statement, causing me to look at Tao’s facial expression for a clue as to whether he wanted me to answer. I said, no. I try not to use those types of drugs. Tao asked why. I said, because they make me function better and I don’t want to take things that make me function better. I only want to take things that make me function worse, like the stuff in the jar. Tao nodded and said that the stuff in the jar makes you function better too but in different ways. I said, yes. Tao said, in what ways. I said, what? Tao said, in what ways does weed make you function better? I said it makes me more sensitive. Tao nodded. I said it makes me more judgmental. Tao nodded. I said sensitive and judgmental is a good mix. Tao said, wait where are we walking? And I said, I don’t know where is a 7/11 and Tao said I saw one next to the Sofitel.
We walked back to the Sofitel. There was a 7/11 next to the Sofitel. Tao said, that’s the 7/11 I saw. We walked into the 7/11. I stood near the entrance of the 7/11. Tao approached the man working at the 7/11 and said, can I have some wrapping paper? Wrapping paper? the man said back. Tao Lin stared at him. I said, rolling paper and Tao Lin said, rolling paper and then the man said, rolling paper and sold Tao Lin a packet of rolling paper called Tally Ho that is red and white.
We left the 7/11. It was still raining. It is raining a lot, I said. This is good, Tao Lin said. I have to be somewhere in 40 minutes, I said. Do you want to do something for 40 minutes? Tao Lin said. We can smoke at my apartment. I live 15 minutes away in my car, I said. Tao Lin nodded very fast and repeatedly while looking at me and not smiling.
We walked through the hotel lobby to my car. Tao Lin tried to get into the driver’s seat because Tao Lin is from America, where the driver’s seat is on the opposite side to the driver’s seat in Australia.
I said, that’s the driver’s seat. Tao laughed.
There was traffic on the drive from the Sofitel to my apartment. Tao asked me about my work. I told Tao Lin about my work. That’s funny work, he said. That seems like good work. Tao Lin told me that he needed to be back at the Sofitel by 7.15pm. It was 6.35pm. I said we had enough time because I lived close by.
We arrived at my apartment at 6.43pm. Tao Lin said the steps up to my apartment seemed too big and then when we were in my apartment Tao Lin said around 4 times, it’s so spacious; it seems like this shouldn’t exist.
I told Tao Lin he could sit at a table next to the kitchen and I gave him a glass of water. He said thank you.
Tao Lin asked about a Greek newspaper that was on the table. I told him that it belonged to one of my housemates. She is half Greek, I said. I also told Tao that the suburb that my apartment is in, which is called Fitzroy – had a large population of Greek immigrants. Tao Lin said the word suburb but I ignored it because I didn’t know what he meant by it.
I told Tao Lin that I wrote a paper at university about a Greek poet called TT.O. (pronounced Pi O) who lived in Fitzroy and wrote poems about it. Tao Lin said, I met TT.O. in Queensland. He seemed good. I said, I like him. Tao Lin said, how old is he? I said, he came to Australia at a very young age in 1953. Tao asked, how many books has TT.O written? I walked to my room. Tao Lin followed me. I took two TT.O. books off my bookshelf: one book called Big Numbers and another book called 24 hours. I handed them to Tao Lin and Tao Lin said, wow this one is so thick, in reference to 24 hours. I nodded a few times and felt excited that Tao Lin was holding TT.O.’s books.
TT.O. reminds me of Steve Roggenbuck, I said. Yes, Tao Lin said, TT.O. is like Steve Roggenbuck before the internet. Tao Lin was flipping through TT.O’s book 24 hours. He stopped on a page that had a picture of stars on it with some text too. Tao Lin said, image macro, and I agreed. Tao Lin said, you should send Steve Roggenbuck some pictures of TT.O’s poetry. I agreed, and around 4 days later I sent Steve Roggenbuck some pictures of TT.O’s poetry. He never replied.
Tao Lin asked me to roll a joint. I am really bad at it, he said. I said, ok, and took Tao Lin’s rolling paper and jar. One of my housemates came and sat at the table with Tao Lin and I while I rolled a joint. Tao Lin and my housemate spoke for around half a minute while I rolled a joint. Then they stood up and walked around the kitchen talking about the blender a lot. I didn’t pay attention. My housemate later told me that Tao Lin was very impressed with our blender. Tao Lin came and sat down at the table again. I was taking a long time to roll the joint and I apologised. Tao Lin did not say anything.
My housemate’s boyfriend walked towards us from the other side of the apartment. Tao Lin and the boyfriend introduced each other quickly. Then the boyfriend walked into the kitchen and took a large eggplant from a plastic bag. Tao Lin said, that is big. The boyfriend nodded. What are you going to do with that? Tao Lin asked. Eat it, the boyfriend said. How? Tao Lin said. In pasta. Do you want? Then a very small period of time occurred after which Tao Lin said, no thanks. I have free dinner.
I finished rolling the joint and passed it to Tao Lin. Tao Lin lit it and inhaled very hard causing him to cough. I think he only had one drag and then he passed it to me causing me to think that Tao Lin hadn’t smoked many joints and was accustomed to smoking from a pipe. For around the next 10 minutes Tao Lin and I passed the joint to each other until it was finished. When it was finished I said, we should go. Tao Lin agreed and stood up and then went to the bathroom. When Tao Lin returned I asked Tao Lin if he wanted to stay to eat eggplant pasta. He said, I should go. I said ok.
While we were walking downstairs to my car Tao Lin asked me if I was the biggest TT.O. fan in the world. I said probably. Tao Lin said, I can’t believe I met the biggest TT.O. fan in the world.
In my car driving towards the Sofitel Tao Lin asked, how long have you been living in that apartment. I said, since March, actually since January. Tao Lin asked how much longer I would live there. I said, until March 2014. Tao Lin asked why. I said, because my housemate’s dad owns the property and wants to redevelop it. Tao Lin said that was bad. I agreed. Tao Lin asked if we had tried to convince my housemate’s dad not to redevelop. I said, no because he will make a lot of money doing it. Tao Lin suggested that we should all try to change my housemate’s dad’s entire worldview so that we could continue living in that apartment.
We arrived at the hotel at 7.16pm and I was aware that we were 1 minute late and I wondered whether it was a problem for Tao Lin. Tao Lin did not mention that we were late and while getting out of my car said thank you more than once. Tao Lin closed my car door and then quickly opened it. He told me he forgot a bottle of wine in my car. He retrieved the bottle of wine and closed my car door.
The next day Tao Lin read from his novel Taipei at one of the venues of the Melbourne Writers Festival. During question time someone asked Tao Lin if he knew any Australian writers. Tao Lin said, TT.O.
That night my girlfriend Jess arrived home from overseas and I picked her up form the airport. Her plane was delayed by 15 minutes. While I was waiting I read an article about consciousness. The article said, consciousness is just a model of awareness and awareness is just a model of attention and attention is just the way our brain stops itself from being overloaded with information.
Jess walked out of the customs gate. We hugged for a while. I drove Jess home. We had sex for the first time in six weeks. I asked her if she wanted to come see Tao Lin talk at the Melbourne Writers Festival at 1pm the next day. She said, I have lots of things to do because I just arrived home from overseas. Then she said, who is Tao Lin? Tao Lin is a writer of literary fiction, I said, while lying very close to Jess at the centre of her bed, thinking about Jess being home, how I would go to sleep and then wake up next to her for the first time in 6 weeks, suddenly less concerned about anything else, suddenly unsure whether I would go to see Tao Lin at the Melbourne Writers Festival if Jess didn’t want to – even though going to see Tao Lin had been a goal I had set for myself around one week earlier – and that during that week I had executed a number of actions towards the completion of that goal.
In the morning Jess said, I will come to see Tao Lin speak. It made me happy. I printed off the tickets Tao Lin sent me as an attachment in the email and we went.
The event at which Tao Lin was speaking was hosted by a man with a beard and straight hair and featured a lady with blonde hair. The man with the beard and straight hair addressed all of his questions to Tao Lin and when he did look at the blonde lady he looked in a slightly antagonistic yet detached and perhaps arrogant way. Everyone at the reading kept saying, voice of a generation. And then Tao Lin said, saying the words voice of a generation together and in that order says more about the person who says them than whom those words are said about, if that makes sense, while pausing briefly between words to consider his answer. Jess leaned against my arm and said, everyone has to stop saying voice of a generation so much. I felt happy Jess was home.
The man with the beard and straight hair asked Tao Lin, are you a shameless self-promoter? Tao Lin said he didn’t like the words shameless and self-promoter being used in that order because it implied that there was something to be ashamed about. Either post a link to your work and don’t be ashamed or don’t post a link, Tao Lin said.
The event ended. I wanted to leave straight away. Jess said I should talk to Tao Lin. I walked in the direction of Tao Lin and waved. Tao Lin said, hi. And then Tao Lin said, the weed is very good. I said, that’s good. I left and found Jess, who had been waiting at the front of the building at which the event was held. Did you think that was good? I asked Jess. Not really, Jess said. I want to read Tao Lin’s books more than I did before the event though, Jess said. Also that blonde lady seemed like she memorised some of her answers, Jess said.
Jess and I did other things during the day. That night, we went to a big party. At some point during the party I was on the toilet and looking at Twitter. Tao Lin wrote on Twitter, thought my reflection in mirror was someone else for maybe ~1.5 seconds while very stoned in a Japanese restaurant alone. I smiled at my phone and held it with both hands as electronic music vibrated inside the dimly lit walls and mirrors of the toilet.