In a near-empty library, I sit at a computer and type away, smacking at the keyboard as though breaking a fast. I’m listening to an ambient music album recommended to me this morning by my brother, who now lives almost 11,000 kilometers away in an arboreal industrial city. The music has cracked something inside me. I feel re-energized, but also, importantly, depressurized; the urge to write is here again, but it hovers behind me gently, peacefully, uncritically, and I am able to write freely and shamelessly, without the need to compulsively self-edit at every turn.
Lately I’ve realized that all I want out of life is the ability to exercise flexibility in thought. That is, I want to observe with an eye that knows precision and humility, that can search for angles other than the one immediately presented. I want to speak with a mind that is malleable, soft, but diamond-tough. I want to comprehend the multitude and richness of what is possible without losing sight of specificity, locality, and exactitude. What I want, I fear, is not within my capacity: This is a statement made not out of self-deprecation nor self-loathing but intimate understanding.
If my desires had a physical manifestation, they would arrive into the world in the shape of a fat, bulbous virus. It would live inside my body and attach itself to the cells of my heart, lungs, and brain. It would play me like a virtuoso slaughters the piano. Meanwhile, I would write everything that has resided for years, like a sticky, ancient splatter on the stove, in my imagination. It would be ideal if I could channel this energy into an explosion of output but I find my motivation comes in irregular fits and bursts, while desire bubbles, a kettle brimming with blood, just underneath. The end result is like being submerged in a constantly mounting crisis; a wave that climbs into the air, higher and higher and higher, but never breaks onto the shore.
I walk outside to have something to do. I waste time so stupidly, so luxuriously. I get older. I become a vessel of constant, irrepressible sensation. I scroll through a newsfeed that will generate material forever, but bring me no closer to truth or absolution. I turn to another channel, or another YouTube video. I feel my attention span being drawn away and filled, until it is as distended and misshapen as a sponge dropped into water. The album my brother recommended continues to play in the background, with occasional silences punctuating the end of one song and the beginning of another.