Tuesday, February 24, 2015

five million discarded revisions

Introduction post and a Grandpa Story



My name is Helénē Schouten. I'm a trans lady. I like to ride bicycles until my body aches and I'm too far from home. I'm a harm reduction advocate and I sometimes eat a fungus for entheogenic purposes. I'm a weird kind of Discordian and I prefer Alan Watts to Robert Anton Wilson as the point of origin to run away from as quickly as possible. I am a feminist and I enjoy run-on paragraphs about what that means.

A few years ago I was none of those things.

On average, I start a blog/writing project every two years. I always abandon them after cranking out things that apparently have lasting appeal but which I hate within three months. This is the latest installment of that endeavor.

The last two such blogs all had the Important Essay You Should Read tone, and I can only very rarely make that work. This one will just be whatever, and in two years we will all look back on it and wonder who exactly this strange woman was.

Structure will probably barely exist in these posts, but they will possibly tend towards a subject in the end. 

Now I will, of course, talk about my grandfather.


My grandfather was born in 1918. By the time he was 93, he had been given his last rites three times (one of which I got to see). All three of these were pre-emptive. When he did die, he went in the way old people are allowed to go when their work is Done, and there was no time to have a member of the dwindling Dutch clergy do their thing.

He was an engineer, and his mandatory service in the Dutch Army was spent in the Engineer Corps. While this gave him the chance to do all of the things he found interesting and get paid for it, the environment in which it had to happen was not to his liking. His attitude towards the military appeared to be that it was fine that it had the day-to-day routine it had, and that he had to do the things he had to do; but this was all made intolerable by people among him who had the incredibly strange thought that they were vested with Authority, and that the military had let them indulge in this fantasy with such devices as "chain of command" and "promotions". What I will next tell you is one of the stories that require trust between us: that I am not polishing them up or making my grandfather cooler than he is. These are things that happened. If this trust exists, I need you to understand that my grandfather was at least 195 centimeters tall. For Americans, I will create understanding by saying that this puts him in the upper pecentile of basketball players.

A man higher in rank than my grandfather had become drunk and rowdy. If you followed along, you'll know that this situation became unacceptable to him once this guy started hollering about how No One Can Touch Him.

My grandfather knocked him over the head with the butt of a rifle.

He then left notice that A Higher Authority must come around to the camp holding cells, where he had locked himself in with the unconsious guy.

The story is said to end with my grandfather's freedom and an uncertain fate for the officer in question. I believe this because I believe men who come all the way from 1918 without turning into pieces of shit.

This is your Helénē's Grandpa story for the day. Tomorrow there might be a thing about being an angry lady, or about wrestling. If they are the same post, they won't be related (because wrestling is fine right now, qualitatively speaking).

I do tweets at @_scaryh, and you can make the decision to put those in your timeline.