Writing on My Hand
Sitting in a theater, waiting for the show to start, my mouth tastes slightly of pipe tobacco and my mind pounds, attempting to circumference the world.
I grapple with ideas most easily, I think, by talking. It's really the most instantaneous way to measure them. Talking will tell you if it sounds right. I hear the words, adjust them, try them again. Talking—this sort of spontaneous consideration of everything that arises—will show how something sits with the rest of the world. You can't do these things in your own head. It just doesn't seem to work that way.
Working over a concept of the way narratives typically attempt the epic and miss the details, I want someone to talk to but, being alone, write notes on my hand instead. It looks a little creepy, notes about epic details crawling over my hand.
The problem with talking is the words get lost. To really accumulate, to build on the last thing you talked about, you need the cohesion of talking to a single person. This is hard to do when life is scattered between two states and everybody's transient, mostly me but everybody else too. It’d be nice if there were one person to talk to and we’d have the cohesion of the conversation between us.
But that’s not happening, which means I discard cohesion and run half a dozen conversations simultaneously. In my head. Some of this is good because these half a dozen different friends have different bodies of knowledge to contribute. It'd be better if it were all one conversation—maybe with my friends all each-others friends, sitting around talking. As it is I typically bring bits of one conversation to another, either giving a lengthy introduction or just kidnapping the last conversation to perform in this one. I mentally collect all the conversations together, trying to make them dance in my one-ring circus.
All of the discourses are accumulating, growing my understanding of the world while I try to synthesize them into a single world. And I try to keep from becoming six different people. That may be the point of all the attempts at bringing it together, Sartre’s idea of self being manifest against others and the unity of self needs the consuming one-to-one relationship to manifest in wholeness. Which is just to say that I am really trying for cohesion here.
Which means I sometimes write on my hand. This, as I add another line to my palm about the artistry of the Modernists in Europe, is the overflow of my mind attempting to crest in a single dance.
The blog is like that. It’s like writing on my hand.