From: randofo1@aol.com
To: jfbarber@vancouver.wsu.edu
Subject: Visionary Landscapes Submission
Date: Thu, 4 Oct 2007 13:30:01 -0800


Dear Dr. John,

I must be mellowing in my old age because three years ago I would have already insulted you twice and then have outright demanded that you include "Randy Writes Letters" (randywritesletters.com) in your media arts show. Then again, one doesn't really age much in three years. Honestly, my tame behavior is probably due to the fact that for the past two months I've been inexplicably sick. It started with eye pain which quickly devolved into a crushing headache. After about a week I started getting dizzy and seeing double. My vision has since improved, but I tremble constantly, can't concentrate and my perception of the world can only be described as "off." Actually, that's not true. It can be described in a number of different ways. I'll try to describe it. What I mean by "off," is that, I currently see the world as though I am a camera that is both dollying-in and zooming-out at the same time like during that scene at the end of "Goodfellas" where Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro meet in the diner. Seeing the world like this is very distracting and kind of disconcerting. The worst part is that I'm not even really sure why the world around me is constantly shifting, but the doctors have concluded that it's not lead poisoning, lyme disease, mono, MS, lupus, HIV, syphilis, ankylosis spondylitis, a bladder infection, hepatitis B, a brain tumor, ebola, postpartum depression or testicular cancer. The only thing they have left to test me for is mercury poisoning. I will be highly upset if I have mercury poisoning because I don't feel that since I've gotten sick I have become any more interesting. After all, when I think of mercury poisoning I think of interesting people like the Mad Hatter or my mother's friend's father who had once owned a thermometer factory and sat around all day smiling and talking nonsensically to anyone who visited him. Even Marco, who once had a minor bout of mercury poisoning, seems a tad bit touched. That was actually kind of surprising to learn about because I always thought his kookiness was on account of him being Dutch, but it turns out, no, he had mercury poisoning once. Although, I haven't completely ruled out the Dutch theory yet. The point being that all of these people got mercury poisoning and became more interesting. I will be highly upset if I get Mercury poisoning and all it does is lay me up in bed all day and hamper my ability to write snarky letters. Or worse, I may not even have mercury poisoning at all. I get the sneaking suspicion that if I don't have mercury poisoning, at this point, the doctors are just going to give up on me. I suspect they are running out of things to test me for. They're already suggesting to me that all of my symptoms are on account of stress. This stresses me out because I know I'm not stressed. At this rate I'll end up in therapy twice a week being told that the reason I started seeing double and tremble constantly is because my passive-aggressive mother never properly activated the healing mechanism in my amygdala. Then I'm sure, with intensive hypnotherapy, and enough depakote to placate the most imbalanced of elephants, they will get me back up and running; in tip-top shape. Or at least, they will make me so mentally and emotionally confused that I won't even realize that I'm physically sick. Come to think of it, maybe that won't be so bad. Arthur Rimbaud wrote in altered states of consciousness and he's considered, amongst literary circles, a genius. Lesser writers even say the same of Jack Kerouac. Maybe large doses of unnecessary psychiatric drugs may help my writing and analytical reasoning ability. After all, you can't be shaking if you don't believe that you are shaking. I can speculate about it all day, but the truth of the matter is just that modern medicine is a mysterious thing; kind of like Mark Amerika. I saw him speak once. He was invited to talk at my school by Christiane Paul. He went on and on. I thought his work was stupid and got kind of bored. When the talk ended I met up with Evelyn in the elevator. She asked me what I thought and I tried to make excuses for him. She told me she thought his work was boring, and realizing we were on the same page, I decided to agree. The reason I wasn't completely honest at first was because I had thought she enjoyed the lecture and at the time I was trying to sleep with her. You see, I found her very attractive at the time because she was female, of interminable ethnicity and willing to talk to me. Those three factors I find to be of the utmost importance when selecting a partner. If you don't believe me, look at my current girlfriend, she fits that profile too. In case you were wondering, I like females of interminable ethnicity because it's very postmodern and I am a strong proponent of living by one's own philosophical beliefs. In my own way, I'm almost an ethical being. Anyhow, who am I to criticize Mark Amerika? He is a pioneer of New Media art and he has had work in the Whitney. He was invited both to the Whitney and to talk at my school by Christiane Paul. That is more than I can really say for myself. I'm never invited anywhere. The last place I was invited to was a karaoke party at some bar in Chinatown. That was months ago. People generally only call me up when they need something, like someone to spend an afternoon hanging flat screen monitors without pay. That happened one afternoon in some gallery in Chelsea. The room was empty except for me and Christiane Paul. I was hanging flat-screen monitors without the benefit of the special mounting brackets. Zhang Ga was too cheap or poor to afford them. I never decided which; I was too busy improvising a solution. She sat, very out of place, on a box in the middle of the room. She was wearing a miniskirt, plunging blouse and towering high heels. She was holding a hammer. Every once in a while she would walk over to me as I struggled to mount the monitor on the wall with my absurd improvised rig. Holding the hammer and leaning over my struggling form a little too closely, she would offer me help. I didn't suppose she would be of much help in those shoes and with that hammer, so I would decline. In retrospect, I think she may have been trying to hit on me in weird motherly sort of way. The type of motherly sort of affection one would normally reserve for a puppy that didn't actually belong to you; or maybe a small dog, like a chihuahua. Even amongst the art-world characters I've accidentally met, she is an odd one. Come to think of it, I think she might be Dutch.Then again, maybe she just once had a minor bout of mercury poisoning. Maybe that's why she invited Mark Amerika to come talk. Not that they both had mercury poisoning; that is ridiculous. Judging from his work, I would venture to say he has been poisoned by something else. Now, I fully understand that continually insulting the event's keynote speaker is mostly likely not going to help my chances of having my work included in the show. However, I've never really been one to mince words and I'm not about to start now. As I've already mentioned, it's important to live by one's own personal philosophy. For instance, I personally believe that my work should be judged primarily on its own merit and not the fact that I continually make digs at the work of Mark Amerika or name drop people I barely know. Unless, of course the merit of my work is to make senseless attacks upon Mark Amerika and drop a bunch of names of people I barely know in the process. If that were the case, then the merit of my work is precisely the aspect of it that I don't want it to be judged upon and hence, that is precisely what should be judged. In that sense, I've just double-negated my work into a postmodern masterpiece of interminable ethnicity. It's important to live by one's own philosophy. Jean Baudrillard, if he were not dead, would be proud to hear. Maybe we can tell Slavoj Zizek about it instead. Or then again, he's probably busy. Maybe we could just assume he would be proud. And if Zizek would approve, why Dr. John, shouldn't you? Any which way, the site that I'm submitting, again, is called "Randy Writes Letters" (randywritesletters.com). You can see my artistic bio and resume at (randysarafan.com/CV.pdf).

Best of Wishes,
Randy Sarafan
Writer of Letters