Muumuu House (est. 2008) is a publisher of poetry, fiction, Twitter selections, Gmail chats online and in print.

On December 13, 2011, I received an email from Daniel Cooper that began:

Would you be interested in doing a piece for HTMLGiant on helping ‘Daniel Cooper’ become a Muumuu minimalist?  I’m new to the ‘scene’ but have years of experience in ‘being depressed’ and writing. I also have a new sense of being ‘ironically detached’ from my ’emotional vulnerability’ and a ‘real’ desire to make friends with people with ‘similar interests.’

He went on to explain why he chose to email me as opposed to other Muumuu House affiliates, a general idea for how he would begin to create his internet presence, and other things.

I responded:

Daniel,

I don’t feel interested in doing this, sorry.

My advice in terms of writing or [anything] is to ‘simply’ do you.

I don’t think there’s a ‘formula’ to becoming friends with [any Muumuu house affiliated author you mentioned].

I’m glad you’ve enjoyed reading my things and things by other Muumuu House bros.

Good luck,

– Jordan

 

He sent another email, then I sent another email, then he sent an email asking me if I’d consider writing the piece for $25.

I said yes.

This is what I wrote to him:

Dear Daniel,

Life is different than a math equation because in life there isn’t a specific, consistent method of achieving an answer or desired outcome to a perceived problem. One wakes up, does whatever s/he does, then sleeps, usually convincing him/herself that there’s an inherent reason for it all.

There isn’t.

Life is similar to a math equation – can literally be viewed as a math equation from a certain perspective – because a math equation is ‘simply’ a math equation. A math equation isn’t sad, happy, boring, fun, or [anything except a math equation]. Some people enjoy trying to answer a math equation. Some people don’t. Some people don’t care. But no matter how one may or may not view math equations, a math equation is still ‘simply’ a math equation. Life is ‘simply’ life.

That’s it.

People say things like ‘Life is what you make it’ but that’s not what I mean either. Life isn’t what you make it because you don’t ‘make’ anything. Even the contexts of your ever-changing, inconsistent perceptions and actions have been created by everything that’s happened before that moment.

Anything anyone ever does is a result of everything everyone’s done beforehand.

Forever.

The moment a child is born s/he is filled with ‘input’ and his/her ‘output’ for the rest of his/her life can only consist of variations of what has already been or is being ‘input’ into him/her. The important thing to recognize is that the ‘input’ isn’t up to you so your thoughts/emotions/actions can never technically be ‘up to you’ (though understanding certain ‘input’ in the context of other ‘input’ can and will create different thought processes, etc).

But no matter what, the input still can’t care about you. It created you; is constantly creating you.

With this understanding – that your existence has very little to do with anything in general and that Oh Well you can’t control it anyway – the next step could be to accept your existence as a human being, then do what you want to do while you’re alive, if you want to be alive. Everything except for you and what you choose to care about doesn’t really matter that much because, as we’ve already established, your life is only a small piece of something gigantic and unforgiving that literally can’t know how to care about anything. Life and Input can’t think.

The universe doesn’t care about you or me or anyone because the universe can’t care.

In emails we exchanged, I recommended that you ‘do you,’ to which you said:

Re: ‘doing me’ I usually can only write — or want to write — out of a place that is very upset and angry and I usually use that negativity to justify writing mean, or upsetting, or manipulative, or jerkish stuff.  I’m actually ‘also’ working on writing ‘not me.’  Actually the advice you gave, and I guess I’m doing it.

If you only want to write ‘out of a place that is very upset and angry,’ I would recommend ‘simply’ writing ‘from that place’ or realizing that you don’t actually want to write out of that place, but from another place, then do what [you] need to do to get to/write from that place.

‘Doing you’ (being a person, enduring life) means thinking about what you want or don’t want then getting it or ridding yourself of it.

To me, that is the common thread among writers like Tao Lin, Noah Cicero, Sam Pink, Brandon Scott Gorrell, Megan Boyle, Mallory Whitten, etc. We’re not all the same and we don’t all write in the same ‘minimalist’ style all the time. I think we all ‘do [us]’ or are striving to ‘do [us],’ even if we don’t understand what ‘[us]’ is.

That might be the reason why I started writing in the first place – to explore Input and Output and to fill life with something that feels like something other than that.

I don’t know.

– Jordan

The email I’ve been waiting for didn’t come again. Darn. This is getting to be a big disappointment. I have checked both my email accounts every 10 minutes for the last two years and in all those thousands of times it hasn’t come.

You might ask what the heck am I waiting for.

I asked myself that after the first year.

To tell you the truth, I don’t know what it is. But I know what it isn’t.

It’s not a Groupon for an eyebrow threading and additional facial area special, though throwing in that additional facial area is pretty doggone tempting.

It’s not a plea for me to sign a petition, although that can make a difference in the world.

It’s not a deserving charity begging me for funds now that it’s been decimated by budget cuts.

But I know I’ll know it when I see it.

It’ll be an opportunity that is going to CHANGE MY LIFE!

Nah, not the person I never heard of who’s requesting to Friend me on Facebook.

Not the millions of dollars registered in my name in Nigeria.

And I know it won’t be the publisher accepting my manuscript, because an editor once told me, We only email bad news. Good news, we pick up the phone. We want to hear your excitement. We want someone to be happy to hear from us.

The email I’m waiting for is something SO INCREDIBLY SPECIAL I can’t afford to wait more than a few minutes to see if it’s arrived.

What if I missed it?

Or came upon it too late?

I’d just die.

It’s not that I’m addicted to checking my email. Everyone I know is the same way so it can’t be a problem. It’s not as if we all have a carefully conditioned Pavlovian reflex that starts us fidgeting and salivating and wondering every few minutes if we’re going to get our reward. When I say every few minutes, that’s give or take after all. Of course there are some addicts like the guy in the row in front of me at the movie theater who’s checking email on his blackberry. But personally, I don’t worry a speck about my ability to concentrate or that my brain is actually changing its configurations by constant shots of dopamine and subsequent plunges.

Ping! That could be it! Hold on just a second, I’ll be right back.

Shoot. It’s not the colonic special for $15.00.

Have I made a terrible mistake? Could it possibly come on Twitter?

Ten Minutes

By Shya Scanlon

The Feed

I check my email roughly every ten minutes. This is true even when I’m reading, and I have recently begun to check my email while watching movies. When I leave my apartment to either walk the dog, or run an errand, I now leave my iPhone at home, and it is the only time of the day during which I have any peace of mind.

The other day I was walking down Market Street, enjoying a rare day of calm winds and clear, sunny skies, when a stranger approached me. His hair was brown and coarse, like horsehair, which he clearly hadn’t washed in weeks. Maybe months. He was short and swarthy and wore a thick, bushy moustache and a black trench coat that was too big for him. I tried to walk around him, delete him from my life, but he swerved to intercept me. This is what always happens. You can’t get away from these guys.