Kinda going for it. Letting barriers melt is easier under sweltering rays. Choosing new outlooks, choosing activity over passivity, choosing: the space between a breath that lets go of the concerns of the mind and the nod, the shrug, and the sitting up of engagement. Themes for the new season.
I don’t know how to outlive memory. That is never more obvious than when still in a space of mostly myself in a new place that offers to absorb the ways I let what is ever undone stack up like old newspapers in my head and heart. Time to take all of that out to the curb.
Maybe the freshness of reinvention was only ever possible in the early pages of books like In Dubious Battle, and opening that has stuck with me ever since I read it a good 17 years ago in the summer offices above a university that I struggled to ever connect with. It’s what you might call classic American, classic noir, classic drifter – an empty hotel room, a man with the clothes he’s wearing, a paper bag with modest toiletries. He shaves, I remember. He pats his skin dry and sets off. There is dry light, a suspicious and righteous landlady, eyeing him for potential communist tendencies. Spoiler alert.
It’s a scene that is very Bogart, in a way. Mythical in its emptiness, which is where we draw our notion of possibility from. But there is always someone there before us. Nothing new under the sun – all is known under the sun. Has been since time immemorial, simply not to us. We are the destination and the departure, filling ourselves on the images we pluck from the places we walk, where we rest and sup and speak, arranging our newness from what was heretofore alien. But it is we who are alien, emptied in leaving what was so unavoidable as to be un-ignorable; filled in arriving to reality which extinguishes imagination. We are filled, and thus our potential is realized at the same time it is defeated. One cannot combat the physical world. One cannot believe the white house on the corner is not there, or else is empty for us when it is lived in; we cannot imagine coldness where there is warmth in a greeting; we cannot imagine a riverbed full of mountain runoff to be toxic when it is not.
I start a new job in an industry that because mine by accident, or by chance at least. The fish in a barrel sort. I reached in and plucked up one that was bicycles, selling and servicing. A welcome simplicity. One that makes me wonder why I ever thought in my earlier years that something intellectual and hifalutin would be my environs. But it is a pattern: working in a bronze foundry after school; working with hands on rice for almost five years; now back to the hands again, having still felt the exhaustion in whatever lure I once felt to teaching. But also, there is still a longing in it: something directionless. But isn’t that what emptiness is, is being drawn into an unmade space, like the tension on the surface of the water looking to spill outward from its whole-drop-self: melting those walls.
So too is practice in those separate spaces: studying now for a master’s in library science. Makes sense. I befriended books before I knew what a friend really was, and it’s easy to absorb that into your early emptiness, seeing yourself in the characters because there is nothing that pre-exists them. You are an unpainted space filled only with all that is necessary to make real of something so purely ephemeral as the words on a page, the perfect practice of never-crossing-the-same-river zen, or Xeno, or whomever one points to for illustrating something that is so simple it essentially cannot be misstated.
More to come. Mostly unstructured.