EmptyThreads featuring Artwork by Enmempin N. Midelobo
Looking at the threads that make up stories, both the explicitly made-up kind and the kind we make up to give our lives and our worlds a sense of substance, I find them empty. Of course I’m somewhat inspired by Buddhism’s concept of ‘emptiness.’ And as one wise man kept saying, “emptiness is always the emptiness of something.” In the case if those stories, it’s not so much empty of meaning or use or potential. But empty of reality in any solid, ultimate, and reliable way.
Funny enough, the overtly made up kind of stories, be they told in words or images, or some other way, that make up the bulk of EmptyThreads, actually appear to be more reliably real than the ones we like to think of as real. Once written, once painted, once printed in some way, they don’t tend to change as much as the ones we keep re-telling in our heads and conversations about ourselves and our worlds.
The whole world is a stage, or something to that effect, another wise man once said. And of course all the plays we stage, both in what we believe in as real and in what we know not to be, make up our worlds. And all of it is made of empty threads.
(Not going into the play on words, right here, right now. You may consider that at your leisure any time. And maybe there’s another empty thread, right there.)
About Enmempin N. Midelobo, Y.T., I.M.
Enmempin is the guest artist of this show. Think of him as the web-equivalent of a ventriloquist’s dummy. But let’s hear it from himself.
“When I was young I used to be an imaginary friend,” says Enmempin N. Midelobo, “Nowadays I’m imaginary, period. Or was that imaginative? Something like that.”
Enmempin is hard to pin down, despite his name. He creates art, sometimes obsessively, and not always in ways that would lend themselves to sharing or publishing. But he keeps at it, anyway, saying, “if I don’t create, I don’t exist. And who would want to risk that?”
When he’s not pushing pixels or surfing the webs for, ah, inspiration, he’s often quite busy daydreaming. “If you grow up as an imaginary friend,” he says and smiles wistfully, “you have kind of an obligation there, you know?”
The only difference between a good story and our lives is that the story is edited to make some sort of sense. To wit: Any well-crafted biography is at least as much a story as your favorite novel or movie. The question how much of either is ‘real’ doesn’t really matter. On a certain level we make up our lives as we go along just as a writer makes up their story.
I’ve been living in stories and creating stories for as long as I can remember. None of the early stuff has survived as far as I’m aware, and I’m not too unhappy about that. My current stuff often feels embarrassing enough, especially when its fresh and raw. And on this site ‘fresh and raw’ is the order of the day.
Enmempin, our imaginary guest artist, is another example for a story. I loosely write bits and pieces of that particular story, too, on some days. Glimpses of that in the form of his art are all over this site already.
But I digress, this was supposed to be about me. Hmmm.
I’ve been writing since before I could spell properly. My earliest story (not surviving) was a tale about my pet rabbit, dictated to my mum, while I was running around the house, probably half naked and probably grubby.
I’ve gotten better at spelling, in part thanks to the miracle of error-correcting word processors, and I’m doing my own writing these days, but I’ve kept at it over the years, doing more and more of it the closer we come to the present moment. There may or may not be some sort of fiction singularity looming around the bend.
Ah, yes, I used to sing a lot. Even took formal lessons for a few years with Quy Duong, a famous singer and singing teacher in Hanoi, who passed away a few years ago and whom I still miss dearly and remember fondly. There is a recording I made of that somewhere but not quite here on the site yet. Maybe later.
Lastly, maybe a couple biographical tidbits. Stuffed in at the bottom for those who had the patience to read through all the rest.
was born and raised in Berlin, Europe. I know there’s a whole country I’m leaving out, but we can dream, no? I don’t quite dare say, Berlin, Planet Earth. Anywho. Growing up at the west pole was nice. As long as it lasted. But that’s something for some other time, maybe. For the 15 years or so between 2003 and 2018 I’ve lived in Asia. Mainly Vietnam, both north and south. Partly in Thailand, and more recently, Nepal. I did visit family in Berlin once a year, but what I missed about Europe was Italy. Make of that what you will. Or of the fact that I’m writing English (thinking and dreaming, too, but of course you can’t know that).
At the end of 2018 my Vietnamese wife and I moved to Berlin, and that’s where we’re at, even more so since the more interesting times in C Major started at the end of 2019.
Enough already. I hope you enjoy some of what I publish here. Drop me a line if you like, over at Contact or by sending email to email@example.com. And if you really enjoy something here, consider showing your appreciation more tangibly over at Appreciation.