Thursday, December 10, 2020

An internal necropolis

I'm good at beginnings. I've had millions of them. Beginnings are easy. Practice makes perfect. 

And most of them have had endings. Endings are often brought about by circumstances outside of myself, so while I wouldn't say I have a knack for them particularly, I'm not unfamiliar with their workings. I can recognize their rhythm. I can dance in sync or in counterpoint with the looming end of a thing, apply a slight pressure to adjust the pace or direction in which it unfurls to ensure it's more comfortable for me.

It's middles I have trouble with. Too short, too long. Some blurry, some overexposed. I overthink them, or I don't think about them at all. Too often they are merely a bridge between the beginning and the end, rarely a thing in themselves. When does a beginning become a middle anyway? Is it one of those things you can see only once you've reached the end? Maybe there is no middle, maybe it's all beginning, until the end.

It's exactly this muddle of a thought I've been chewing on over the last couple weeks, as I'm again beginning something new. 

In pandemic times, time and space keep shifting beneath my feet. Beginnings and endings, of all sorts of things, have adapted their forms. Perhaps there is a lesson here for me about standing, or moving, in the here and now.

You are here: Not in Europe, not at the office, not in someone else's bed.

Anticipating the end of the novel I'm reading, I checked the stack by my bedside for what to read next. 

Empty Set, by Verónica Gerber Bicecci, arrived some weeks ago. I was indirectly led to it through Maria Gainza's Optic Nerve and the discussions that surrounded that challenging art novel. I expected visuals, graphs. But since receiving it, I don't recall having opened it. 

So I opened it.

The dossier on my love life is a collection of outsets. A definitively unfinished landscape that stretches over flooded excavations, bare foundations, and ruined structures; an internal necropolis that has been in the the early stages of construction for as long as my memory goes back. When you become a collector of beginnings, you can also corroborate, with almost scientific precision, how little variability there is in the endings. I seem to be condemned to renunciation. Although, in fact, there are only minor differences; all the stories end pretty much alike. The sets overlap in more or less the same way, and the only thing that changes is the point you happen to see them from: consensus is the least common option, renunciation is voluntary, but desertion is an imposition.

I have a talent for beginnings. I like that part. The emergency exit, however, is always at hand, so it's also relatively easy for me to leap into the void when something doesn't feel right. To take flight toward nothingness at the least provocation. 

I skimmed the first page, let the book fall from my hands, and ran from the room.

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