a matter of infinite hope

A 3L stumbling into adulthood. Delights in hot tea, books of all shapes and sizes, film photography, oil paintings, and the kindness of strangers.

The top image is (c) me, taken in Grand Teton, Wyoming.

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Being in love was like a heightened state of being. The highs were higher, the lows crashed down beneath the floor. 

Sometimes, I think I miss it. Everything feels like a flattened state of consciousness right now. 

Sometimes, I’m glad. I can do without all those sleepless nights. (I lose enough sleep as it is.) I can do without all that crying. 

But still. 

Manhattan is right at that crossroads. You are pure potential in Manhattan, limitless, you are making yourself every day.

Reminding myself to keep moving forward. Always look ahead. If you stop, you’re lost. 

It’s been a while since I sat down and wrote. It’s been a while since I let myself sit here, middle of the night, moody music playing, and think about how I’m doing. And yes, there are my responsibilities, but it’s almost 2 AM and everything and everyone else is far away, and this is where I need to be right now.

I keep repeating that to myself. This is where I need to be right now. It feels like I’m actually going crazy. It feels like I’m wound too tight, trying to sort through all the pressures of my life, and I didn’t realize it, but that’s what I loved about being in love - it slowed the world down. It made me find little eternities in the most fleeting of hours. Yes, things were crazy and spinning much too fast, but then I’d have someone at the end of the day who held me and laughed at me and made my worries seem very, very far away.

And that’s what I’m missing right now, I think. I feel like I’m going crazy, and it’s winding up inside of me, and I’m getting so full I could burst, only I have to keep it together keep it together keep it together for the next 6 hours, next 6 days, next 6 weeks, on and on and on and maybe I actually am crazy now and maybe what I really need is to sleep and sleep and sleep, but they’re at the door, demanding answers, and I don’t have any right now.

You know what’s crazy? All I want right now is to wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone breathing beside me. All I want is to know that when it’s dark, there’s someone beside me. 

But mostly it’s just me, and my own breathing, and the alarm that always rings too soon, and it’s time for me to wake up and do it all over again. 

I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside of me there will always be the person I am tonight.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
What did my fingers do before they held him?
Sylvia Plath
In Eliot’s essay on Hamlet in which he coins the phrase “objective correlative,” he writes, “Hamlet (the man) is dominated by an emotion which is inexpressible, because it is in excess of the facts as they appear.” His theories of depersonalization form the foundation of the theoretical school called New Criticism, still the fundamental ideology governing how we read and talk about writing. One cannot portray emotions in EXCESS (in literature or in life). This is a judgment not only of a work of literature but also of propriety, how one should behave. One must discipline one’s text, one’s self.
Kate Zambreno, Heroines

"Above (or beneath) it all, they are little. Eggers writes of his former critical self, "I was a complete, weaselly little prick." He asks: "What kind of small-hearted person wants an artist to adhere to a set of rules, to stay forever within a narrow envelope which we’ve created for them?" He answers, and answers, and answers: "the lazy and small … small and embittered … narrow-hearted … the tiny voices of tiny people."

The actual answer, and his actual fear—the fear that keeps the smarmers tossing on their bullshit-stuffed mattresses on the beds of bullshit they would have us all sleep in—is this: We are exactly the same size as you are. Everybody is.”

Thinking about smarm & sincerity and snark & viciousness and tone policing and engaging in substantive discussions and crying foul and seeing straight and all sorts of other things instead of the work I’m actually supposed to be working on this Sunday afternoon. 

"Do all the other things, the ambitious things — travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop) – but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality — your soul, if you will — is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Teresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.

And someday, in 80 years, when you’re 100, and I’m 134, and we’re both so kind and loving we’re nearly unbearable, drop me a line, let me know how your life has been. I hope you will say: It has been so wonderful.”

Don’t be afraid to be confused. Try to remain permanently confused. Anything is possible. Stay open, forever, so open it hurts, and then open up some more, until the day you die, world without end, amen.
George Saunders