I adopt limitation with excitement.

These days I get caught in a fantasy-hallucination wherein the mouth that I'm kissing decomposes, teeth loosening from their sockets, tongue slumped into pulp, the amputation of life into smooth, inhuman bone.

Spinning things out to their ends, however inevitable, is a disconnection from experience that I want to stop. If I could just quiet that part of myself, the part floating in neuronal hyperspace outside physical space or time, what could I be? A hot little animal, always reacting, never thinking. And why not?

I recognize that I'm saying the same thing over and over. How am I conflicted about consciousness? Let me count the ways...

As much as I'm alarmed by the continual disappearance of the past, I'm satisfied—delighted—with the neverending comfort of the present moment.

I'm nervous that I've devoted myself to not-trying, or maybe better put: that I've confused thinking with trying. My brain could loop forever on any topic that happens to be to hand. Think, think, think. I can (and do) sit still for hours doing nothing, but this is *not* mindfulness in the zen sense. Brainfulness?

Maybe this isn't a problem; I just don't care that much about goals. I prefer random action (exciting!) informed by iterative consideration (fulfilling!). I often decide it's better to do a few things well than many things poorly, especially given my inability to avoid falling head over heels into whatever I happen to be doing. I really, truly enjoy hand-washing my clothes and watching them dry, which could be the definition of boringness except that, since I truly care about it, it's very much not.
I often think of the element of loss in the photographic process in terms of a gamble—the thrill of uncertainty—but perhaps it could be framed also as sacrifice? Intentional giving-up of beauty and potential. There's a holiness in intentionality, a ritual quality that separates sacrifice from mere haphazard accident. I'm coming around to behavior's potential to transform into meaningful ritual, it's a way for me to connect biological reality to deeper meaning. I suspect the two are inseparable on any count, one side of reality's coin leading back always to the other.

Funny how "are you okay?" can sound just like "what's wrong with you?"

I've got to learn to believe that other people want the best for me, that ninety-nine times out of a hundred they're not headed in for the attack. This evening, after much digging, I finally got to the bottom of my unread emails dating back to 2011. As it turned out, the nest of vipers I held at arm's length for so long, afraid to touch—scared even to approach—was... mostly offers of help and expressions of concern for my well-being. So many people had reached out to me over the years and I was too afraid to even open the page. Sure, between the nice ones there were plenty of unpleasant reminders of various failures... I guess I needed six years to dull that sting? I've spent so, so long living in fear... not fear for my physical self, which I understand is hard to fathom for you more logical types, but fear of anger and judgment, fear of hate. It's taken me all the years I've been writing here to reach near-functionality when it comes to other people.

I suppose what I'm saying is: stick your hand into those snakes, it's the only way through.

I've heard I'm too serious and take things heavily. I guess I feel that everything is important, so even my enjoyment gets a little heavy. Knowing this, I'm frustrated with all my attempts to numb myself, my tendency to drift outside the present. Then again, I enjoy the sweep and rush of a plan, the tender push of analysis... the brain is also an organ, hooked up with all the rest.


It can be both things.

Fall 2014


It's a fatal desire, the exploration of your own composition.

Any attempt at understanding love is at its heart an effort to dig up the self.

James River, RVA

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