Five years today since we lost Mark.
I got an email recently from someone asking if they could translate whatever I had to say for the occasion. But I hadn’t actually planned to write anything. I wondered if I should; I decided against it.
We had an event planned, not to mark five years since Mark’s death but five years since the publication of The Weird and the Eerie. Something related to that might still happen, but the Omicron variant has thrown all our plans up in the air in recent weeks.
We’re also recording the first episode of The K Files tonight, as we start our deep dive into Mark’s lesser-known works for the Zer0 Books YouTube channel. It wasn’t planned to fall on this date. In fact, I only just realised it. But that feels like a nice way to acknowledge the occasion all the same — reading some of Mark’s work with friends.
I’ve also been thinking about hauntology again recently. Capitalist Realism was a shift away from the mid-2000s blogosphere and its preoccupation with hauntology. Why go back there in 2014? I’ve been commissioned to write an essay on some of Mark’s work from that period, which is due later this year, and this is the question I hope to answer. I’m writing it alongside someone else who knew him well and whom I greatly admire. We had a chat before Christmas, as I felt there was potential that we might cover similar ground, and I wanted to exchange notes. But what was acknowledged in the end was a shared anxiety. Perhaps there’s just not much that we, who have written so much, have left to say.
That’s nothing to mourn. Mechanical remembrance and repetitive anecdotes don’t help keep his thought alive. It turns the acknowledgement into a stagnant habit, which does not change despite the fact that the world does. Better to let January 13th just pass us by.
Robin usually sends me a text every Friday the 13th — a date which functions as the sort of diachronic anniversary of Mark’s passing, and I like that more for its elliptical movement forwards. It doesn’t fall on the same day every year. Sometimes it happens more than once a year. Those are the days I usually think of Mark.
The point is that he’s still missed and still admired and his work still has a function. I feel that immensely on every other day of the year.
Today is when the world usually feels like it stops. Better not to let it.