another stupid desperate morning of being out of money

Geoffrey Lewis
11 min readApr 21, 2020


🎨 Silvio Giannini, The Last Man

money is a site of fear; fear can be conquered through authenticity and surrender; now, if I had to turn from the philosophical/abstract to the practical, I would just tweet a lot: I would simply be desperate in public, knowing digital is the new real and real ends in digital, or being rich enough to ignore it, or being stony enough to occupy your meaning-making with possessions and the game of status in the cloud with other boring white men, some social order from the past which still does reign on earth — but the future I belong to belongs to the poets,

“the name of her home island”

when I get into the psychedelic state of seeing across and through discrete states, lately I think of sculpture, theater, baseball…forming and molding clay; maybe architecture which is of course the mother art, a house being a machine for living together;

life is triage of what is expiring, what is backed up and what is let to blow away, pass us by unsaved, unrecollected, unsorted, unfiled; how we are triage machines standing between the computer infrastructure and the onslaught of time / oh now I am old enough (33¾ as of today) to see how true the poet Rainer Maria Rilke

wow, so much interesting here

where i might go is always more interesting than where i’ve been; this makes editing the most difficult work there is, both to do and justify — doing it is easy-ish (if you know how to yield to fate and becoming) but finding/making the time to do it — to forego everything else, to do just rereading your own junk and deciding what meat is in there…that is the hardest time to find because it’s the most expensive, it’s the scariest investment: it requires belief in what only you can see; it makes you an alien to society; it’s seen as self-indulgent (it isn’t; it’s essential) and it proves the difference between you and the world: the glass is thick between the two ~ and of course this is the way to study what the number two means. No dictionary can tell you.

deleted title of this post: another stupid desperate morning of being out of money

of course you’re out of money…you’re out of believers! You’ve been writing instead of relating! Relating became difficult when I realized how much else could be said. Now there’s a line fit to print in The New York Times or The New Yorker; of course Rilke was right about how one should not try and interest magazine editors in your writings; they are no arbiter higher than you; self-satisfaction is the thing. Self-satisfaction is success; being successful in your mind is all that’s left — the public sphere is corrupted and too far away (but this is where good stuff happens, far from the literary traffic)

“There is no brass ring. There is no gold star. All the trappings of making it in the past are gone. Today, you make it in your own mind, and that’s all that counts. The scoreboard has been blown apart. And we don’t even pay attention to the same statistics. You’re charting your own course. If you’re in it for the glory, for the world domination, you’re delusional.”

this is really the only thing to reckon with: the aqueous space between self-consciousness and the supposedly external and common things: money, fame, names in lights, legislation…but it’s all documents which all anchor into someone’s private morality.

Socrates was so concerned with moral piety that he did not concern himself with politics. Politics is breath. Politics is argument. Politics is simply two questions: who gets what? Says who? They’re brutal questions and invite all our brutality to the surface. It’s humiliating how little we think of others.

Or maybe this is all just growing up, and writing this out is my contribution to helping the world become what it can be. Or it’s a delusion of grandeur. Or it’s both and you don’t exist, or I don’t exist, or these are just words and I am proving that old ways of seeing are not suitable for year 2020 and beyond.


Tue 4/21/20 just spent an hour in bed thinking. Anger, fear, shame: money, $300 left, pushing against, all faces summoned to mind, must talk way out of this and into something better. Tired of moving, of being behind the 8 ball, of having to build and sell and not being rescued; prostituting and prostrating, though maybe I don’t know those words’ meaning really, like I was misusing sociopath for a while (it’s a psychopath which I may be) but [and I can just keep connecting…and I fight so much in silence! And against what? Where is the chain to go break? Aren’t I tired of fighting into people’s minds? But what else would there be for me to do but get up and squint at the Word doc? Tell someone your problems? How can you solve them? Maybe the point is to learn why you can’t solve them, and then you discover the language of the world of others, that world which was always far away, that world you left of so many reasons why the thing you felt essential to do couldn’t be done — this is all the cost of being a person who does things that have never been done before and it cannot be made easier, and being right gets you nothing: you just have to hurt. Is there an end to the pain? No: you wake up and need, need, need, ask, ask, ask, want, want, want and be ignored by state and family and friends and anyone who will listen — they will listen and then walk away, because I am not part of their solution; and maybe there’s the ultimate shame: I’m useless. More likely I’m useful, it’s just that nobody has the guts, knowledge and vision to know what to do with me or where I could live in their life, when of course right now everyone is evaluating financially and getting up against the world and fighting for their safety, and again, I have nothing to do with their safety because I can’t help them get rich — so where do I live in their life, and why must I wake up in terror of not having found it? And do I need to publish another “a sales pitch, a flow” like I did last time, and maybe this time the reader will get the message to pay me and/or pay attention and unfollow some easy crap you watch on TV and instead start listening to the people in your society and play a role in making the world a humane place?

Venmo @Geoff-Lewis

if you looked at me closely, you’d know I’m worth funding, supporting…very hard for a creative man with originality and stubbornness to find a safe place hahahaha there is no safety there is only floating, painting, dancing, singing, writing, working, trying, relating, talking ~ endless ~ there is no end to me which makes me universal man, Olympian, spiritual…ha, this is autobiography / and now I’m connected permanently to the truth that autobiography and reporting from the inside of one’s internals is the only form of expression left ~ but we’re surrounded by medieval institutions and odd political and economic connections to strangers, this web of monthly rent and annual taxes, ha, hahahahahahahaha, I am not the only one who thinks America is ridiculous.

💸 money with wings 🦋

motivation is interesting — do I want to stay in my apartment in the city? It’s a 4BR in San Francisco’s Mission District, I’ve lived here for five years, August 2015 — Present (July 2020) proof of seriousness; “reinvent yourself every five years” the writer-turned-clown (not my words) James Altucher wrote once; now he’s just Man trapped in male Jewish body trying to be relevant during the pandemic and racial unrest…what will happen to the liberal educated elite who clung to universities and corporations for identity adornments for so long? are they doing OK? we are spiritual beings having a human experience

I have $300 in my account and $220 will be gone tomorrow and I need groceries. Isn’t this embarrassing? For whom? I owe $6,000 for rent in 15 days. I need that, too. Whose fault is it? Do I need to smash myself at the altar of reality every morning and thrash my head against a marble floor until I’m bleeding? Is this the world you’ve condoned? I’m looking for someone to take ownership and my data sets and computer habits are the mirror; I’m doing everything I can and it seems to be never enough and impossible. Maybe the American way is this: keep borrowing/creating money, signing your name saying you’ll pay it but knowing you will never pay it, and not only just let it not bother you, but embrace this duality: embrace the deceiving of the sensors knowing full-well you are not honest with it. Is that the American way? Am I not part of your society? Is this page of words not your very flesh? Read it again and see if it isn’t.


So you just published a Medium post about poverty. OK. Either be swallowed by the situation or use every word you’ve got against it and fight, even if you don’t stand a chance. It’s good to not feel OK; it’s not OK; your society and country are shit and you ignored it for too long; you left it up to someone else to solve and no one has. So, here you are in the role unplayed, the problem unsolved, fighting against all you are aware of, writing…and maybe it does nothing. Maybe there is no room for a reader, but maybe you were wrong: publication is different from communication; I don’t insist anybody read what I’m putting in the posts I point to in my Twitter and Instagram bio, my Facebook cover photo…of course anyone I text with sort of knows I have links to point to and I’m a desperate person — so there it is: this is the cost of being desperate: actually being it. And no one can tell me my being is wrong; and if people want to know the problems in society, they can read writers, or they can stay in their lane and watch their corner of the internet and get in stupid fights, but know the writers think you’re stupid, Bukowski was right, people focus too much on movies, money, fucking, little ego battles; people are eaten up by nothing, they take life and God and piss and shit it away, fucking idiots, and they’re the boring damned people propagating with each other and owning the houses and owning the companies, fascist idiots with no imagination, no vision, no sensibility of what is actually worth being. Am I just mad? Mad broke? Mad to be saved? Mad to shotgun blast our President myself? No one can care what I write, even if this is the last day in hell, I suppose I’m glad — ultimately I don’t need anyone else for conversation, it’s always a pleasant surprise when other people are real.

I could just…keep writing a page at a time and posting it in a feral state, then get up and sell it as a person in the culture…see, my analyzing gets you nothing; perhaps I need to hear and remember where you are. Luckily all novelists are boring and can’t tell me anything; I’d rather they just bleed in public than try to wrap it in some story…but I contradict myself; Miranda July wrote a novel so now I can’t hate it. She was spectacular and splendid last night on a livestream with Jenny Odell. Female authors of good ideas! I can’t hate the world anymore; now, how to be a public and raw male imagination? How to reveal behind the curtain what it’s like for every man to be himself? Is this what Philip Roth did in his book Everyman? Do we need a new one for this generation who doesn’t know or care who my greats are? Yes — the writer is a translator of culture, and…


I checked in on a chat with a creative entrepreneur launching something in the wishy-washy psychology and online content and community space. Actually I don’t know if he knows where he’s launching, let alone what — what do we really do on the internet all day?

He said he wanted to do Socratic dialogue for personal growth “and of course making money,” so I said,

The Socratic life is hard when there’s so much passion. Your not having read what I sent (and my not having written it in a palatable form) is the creative challenge of the fired-up person: where does all the passion go and how do you make it join the world, and does it pay you back. This is psychology 101, or at least the relevant connection between psychology and finance, and of course talking about it like this forges a bond, which means it’s related to community. Now we look out at the internet and America: a lot of hurting little pockets of people who don’t know how to talk to each other, financially illiterate, disadvantaged, and we hunger for good leadership but only find a group of college buddies (Washington and Wall Street) hanging on for dear life to their prestige and self-respect; it’s slipping quickly because we don’t need what they offer anymore. This is the culture war and it is not easy. I spent all morning laying in bed thinking about money, and then I wrote about it, and now I’m onto us, and I have to keep blazing ahead. I guess I’m not complaining. The volume is a testament to how much we want and how important it is. “Psychology” is a lot of “kinda” and wanting it all at once and not getting it and living in an imperfect world that’s hard to change and slightly easier to talk about and endure for another six minutes before I check the next thing on my phone, for either pleasure/relief/cultural awareness or money-making and political positioning. Sick sad game, but what else have we been playing all along? I now know how to be mad at the world, and what I have to do. As ever, today might be the last day alive, so we have to save ourselves and each other as best we can. Selah.

Now, who else to tell? I could drive myself mad telling every one of the 150 tribespeople I have; perhaps all day today I’ll be telling people things, and that’s the work, my job — everyone’s trying to do their job and get recognized. Everyone’s got so much EXTRA to deal with and try to get redeemed in others’ eyes. What happens when they’d rather read Instagram than redeem you? What if you, me and everyone is simply too much work? We write to no audience; I write endlessly here, yet unfortunately for you and me, there is an end, it is legible, I’m not crazy, this isn’t fiction. I’m just a powerful personalty, the crazy artist in the room…and after I burn maniacally for six minutes or two hours, my lenses are sharper than ever and, with eternity as my witness, I can see what we’ve got to do given where in the workflow we are right now.

Now: do I have the guts to write all this, file it away and say something else to you in the chat? Dare I admit to the reader of *this* that it’s offshoot? Do we really want to read each other’s thoughts? I think we do; we’re probably the ones leaching this desire for profit from the cultural bloodstream; we have all woken up in an awful quarantine day to look again at our bank accounts, the newspaper, the facts — and they’re awful, and Jesus ain’t coming to rescue us, so it’s up to us, and so all of what’s published has to change, everything must move ahead to reflect our newfound desperation.