2019-07-28

I’ll have a Blue Christmas without you, running through my head this morning. 

I woke thinking about the holidays. Why? 

Still so far from any sort of clarity on the form of this book. One wonders: When and under what circumstances should a book (a poem, a project, an idea) be abandoned? 

Bhanu Kapil: “I threw the book into the dark garden.”

Still, a preoccupation with failures. As if documenting the failure itself could elevate the attempt. 

This is not what I set out to write. 

Yesterday, a letter sent that I later regretted. All day, turning a line or two over in my mind. Should I have said it another way? Should I have remained silent? 

In silence, a clarity of its own. 

At night we walked along the river as night descended and I thought we could be somewhere else. Both in the sense of it’s possible to leave this place for another. And also this might be anywhere, with a river and a pathway to walk along it, in the world. 

Under what circumstances should a place be abandoned? 

In one form of accounting, today is the sixth day. There are of course, many ways to keep count. 

I made a list of the years to come. How I imagined my life might unfold in them. An audacious, impractical way to mark time. Rare moments of boldness: By this time, I will have done these things. A practice I have maintained for long enough to go back, compare the imagined to the real. It is never that far off, but my imagination, to date, has been limited. 

Bhanu Kapil: “I dreamed of a tree uprooted by the river and instinctively, I climbed up.”

Thinking of density as a way to characterize time. The density of this day or another. The month ahead will be densely packed with reading, planning, revisions. Contemplating new work. Characterizing, re-contextualizing, for the benefit of others, the work already done. 

Along the river, contemplating what’s possible. As if in response we reach a dead end. The path still being built. We must turn around, go the way we came. A nearly immaterial thing, except for the moment, it briefly takes on metaphorical weight. We give it shape, speak it aloud, but then shake it off. It is easy, at a certain age, to see everything as a reminder of mortality. 

When, and under what circumstances, might ambition be abandoned?

Here I am, attempting to make peace with the noise in my own head. Here, trying to embrace the lessons of the past. Here, remaining for as long as possible in the present moment, the ongoing now, the pleasure of a walk along the river as night descends, of the cool, sweet breeze that urges us on, across the bridge to the other side. 

I made a list of the years to come. I folded my wishes and fears into paper, then put them aside. 

Approached the bridge, re-traced my steps for a while.