Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Before you became who you are

Here’s the thing: Words arrive rowdily, with all their luggage and definitions. Words that are both what they say they are, and how they say it. Words always arrive a little too late, off to the side, but they hope that what they contain will eventually show up. That it is buried somewhere in the jumble of their word-suitcases. 

— from I Say 'Stone' or 'Flower' – Reflections on a Practice, by Morten Søndergaard.

About a year and half ago, someone came into the office to talk about a game they were developing. While most of the talk covered the technical aspects of photogrammetry, I couldn't help but be charmed by the stop-motion animation, the care with which every element was hand-crafted. What clinched my interest was that the concept development included the collaboration of a poet. At heart, Vokabulantis is about words — their necessity and inadequacy. I'm so happy to see this project moving forward (support the Kickstarter campaign).

The poet involved in the project is Morten Søndergaard, and that one lunchtime session had sent me down a rabbit hole of word games and philosophical inquiry and self-reflection. I asked a colleague to pick up a copy of his A Step in the Right Direction for me when in Copenhagen. It wasn't available it turned out, but it strengthened my resolve to undertake my own walking project, or rather refine a concept that was already in the making.

Rediscovering this game this week has meant turning over all these stones to see what I'd crushed beneath them, or what hid there when I wasn't looking. 

I've started walking again, in earnest. But it's miles before I sleep, and time isn't bending the right way.

One evening I picnicked with a friend and we speculated about the time capsule buried on top of the mountain. Later that night I watched a movie about a woman who gets phonecalls from twenty years ago, but the conversation informs the past, thereby changing the woman’s present. The next day I walked up the mountain, and for a good portion of the way, I inadvertently shadowed a woman who looked like a younger me; we would pass each other, and our paths would diverge, only to cross again ten minutes later. I passed her last at the edge of the cemetery, engaged in conversation — she appeared to be on a date. The time capsule is slotted for opening in 2142.

The destructive force of anti-curfew protests saddens me. 

I can't stop crying today. Hormones, I think. Tired, too. I thought once that I might walk through this pandemic.

It's been 405 days of German lessons, and I still can't say anything meaningful. It's been 50 odd years of English, and same.

I am just a couple hundred pieces away from completing the 4000-piece puzzle I ordered a year ago, a and it feels urgent now, like it's up to me: when I finish, it will all be over.

I am flitting through many books, restlessly. I am reading Red Pill, by Hari Kunzru, and enjoying it. 

You tell yourself you're getting on fine without them, these men who used to be your friends, and you are — until you need someone to talk to, someone who knows you, who knows who you used to be before you became who you are.

1 comment:

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