Monuments exist, perhaps, to enable modern day pilgrims. Their attempts to live – to make real – the dreams of books and films and images. There’s a power to that. To the smiles and emotional work of a thousand people beneath a giant iron colossus made real. Arrived, in a sense, at the end of journeys planned, saved for, and with varying difficulty realised.
From what remained of the dream in the morning, I can recall only that it was a beetle of some kind. Painlessly living in my finger somewhere, and vibrating a lot. Or shuffling unsettlingly and drawing attention away from more important things, like rest, and calm, and life. Opinion, unsurprisingly, differs on what an insect in a dream means.
These too, are words I wrote before. But I can sadly write no better, and am so very far away. So as a promise to the day I can leave a copy with my own hands, here they stand.
But before we worded them, we had ideas. Before the scripture of ancient men or the academia of modern ones grew an elegant forest, there was a feeling. A ghost of the thing that animates the human machine, and stalks between the trees in the deep places. The dark-made-fluid places.
“So that the generation to come might know, the children, yet to be born, that they too may rise and declare to their children.”
- Psalm 78:6
Sometimes I return to writing out of inspiration, sometimes out of need, and sometimes through an indirect kick in the pants. Despite my dereliction, I had a post half-written in a journal somewhere, because I love how writing by hand slows the process of thinking about structure and cadence. Enough to make writing so much smoother. But that post is still mostly crap. And so you get this.
There was a blog once, that I used to follow (and still occasionally return to, hoping for an update), written by the first person I’d ever really encountered who had decided to live a life that meant something beyond accumulation. The first real, actual human being who asked the two questions “what do I believe” and “how do I live those beliefs”, and properly dedicated her life to bringing them together in an ever-imperfect, but ever-better dance.
The metaphors of light and dark are wrong. So blissfully, but deceptively wrong. Light must always win. Its advance can only ever be so. Can only, can always be met with dark’s retreat. Night’s dissolution. It is where there was none. Presence into absence. The conquering flood of what is into the space of what wasn’t.
It’s a horrible feeling when whatever ghost it is that animates writing takes leave of you for a spell. Leaves you numb, technical and without the sublime experience of an animated mind. Structure becomes the lifeless gatekeeper of the words I want to write, rather than their subtle and committed support.
Rap music in a Gottingen Subways outlet. The old kind of rap. The kind to stir a heart into resolute anger at the world and its injustices. At the institutions that deny liberty and call the result Normal. Fair. The kind of rap that no Subways would have dared to play in the 90′s, but can laugh at now. Humiliate through tinny takeaway speakers. Like the immigration official that’s taken a liking to Bob Marley, or the corporate cat who enjoys Alanis Morisette and Shirley Manson.