Living grows round us like a skin to shut away the outer desolation. For if we clearly mark the furthest deep, we should be dead long years before the grave. But, turning around within the homely shell of worry, discontent, and narrow joy, we grow and flourish and rarely see the outside dark that would confound our eyes. Some break the shell. I think that there are those who push their fingers through the brittle walls and make a hole, and through this cruel slit, stare out across the cinders of the world with naked eyes. They look both out and in knowing themselves and the mechanics of everything they breath. Perhaps we all have our little slits in the wall that we peer through when we are lost and searching. And, maybe, this hole provides us with too much information. I have chipped away at the circumference of my knowledge, and I can finally slip through the hole. I can see two versions of this world: the dark and the light. The dark is just dark and if I stare at it for too long, I’ll go back in time and slip into a deep depression that has a way of taking over me. But, the light is a burning passion that comes to me like the rain to the trees. This is when I escape. This is when the dream becomes real. It’s lovely to run the meadows up and down. There’s this sense of immortality. You never grow weary, your breath stays consistent—your entire body working as it never had within the gates. I’ve made it to the sea where I believe few have run to discover. The sea breeze has always brought me clarity. It’s hard to get enough oxygen on land. It’s hard to breath.
When I come back, It’s hard to look you in the eye because of what I know. You have no idea how real it is. It prevents me from opening my mouth for fear of what you’ll say. Are you the angel of the dream or are you still consumed by the pressures of this world? Though, who am I kidding? I’ve never been one to look you in the eye, so maybe you don’t notice me. But, perhaps you’ve been discovered. And, maybe I’ve run your landscape a thousand times without you knowing.
I might be dying and falling in love at the same time. However, I’m unsure of how quickly I’m approaching my death, and how real this love is. What’s certain, though, is that I’m lost. But, as I always say, being lost is a free pass to explore. I’ve enjoyed going on walks by myself. There’s a chill in the air, which reminds me of when I would go for runs in the forest near home. The leaves painted the trails, and the birds took me places I couldn’t. The world would be so white without the colors, without nature and the cars. Maybe it’s because deep down I firmly believe that all of this will soon pass. I won’t be here forever, and if this were it, I suppose that would be enough. Eighteen years of education, most of which I facilitated. Four years and counting of health struggles. Currently, I’m doing all I can to survive. But, I don’t wish to be melancholy. I am so sure of some things. For example, I know for certain that I don’t wish to disappear. I’m also sure that I want to find her, marry her, and start a family. And, I know that I’m going to change. My own mind is going to change sooner or later. It’s already begun. But, each day, I feel myself getting further and further away from something and closer and closer to another. I saw her last night. She was different this time, cold and guilty, but I loved her nonetheless. It was as if half of me had fallen to the ground and gotten bruised, and the other half was watching unable to pick itself up out of the street. The clock said it was three in the morning, but I knew it was ten after, which is precisely when I realized I was dreaming. I woke to ponder all that I had merely imagined, and sadness filled me, for I felt as if this affectionate affair was only silence to be lost in the leaves. But, who decides what’s reality and what’s not? I do. I’ve decided that I’m dying and falling in love at the same time.
The important thing about tape is that it transforms something that existed in time, and therefore wasn’t durable, into something that exists in space and is durable, and is not only durable, but is malleable in lots of different ways. Once music is recorded on tape, it’s just ferrous oxide on plastic, and it can therefore be chopped about, switched around, put together in different orders, stretched, compressed, whatever. So, what tape did, and what recording did for music was turned a transient medium into a plastic medium, and it did something quite unique. We’re so used to recordings that we tend to forget what the world was like before they appeared. The endurable ones were what people knew about. Paintings and sculptures endured. Music didn’t endure. So, for anyone living a hundred years ago, their total knowledge of music was what they would actually hear performed. Now, that means that in one week of listening, I could hear more Beethoven, for instance, than even an avid Beethoven listener would hear in his or her entire lifetime.
Television has no future. It’s finished as a medium, really. That’s why youtube and people’s own personal approaches to making programs is so interesting. Television, essentially, murdered itself, and once it recovers from its suicide, there might be a renaissance of some kind. But, as of now, it doesn’t do anything interesting.
When I see all this glitz and these same formulas about how people look on television, what the lighting is like, how the sound is done, it becomes apparent to me that it’s just a whole received tradition based on absolutely nothing except convention. That’s how we’ve done it before. And, I just think it’s finished. It has no energy as a form anymore. The media has got to rethink their world.
My perception is that the most important thing that could happen on television in America is for it to slow down. It’s just so frantic, and there’s a kind of level of hysteria that we’ve maintained here giving rise to, what I call, a fire hose mentality. This simmering level of hysteria and hostility is maintained, and then, at the right time, the hose is pointed somewhere and suddenly everyone’s paranoia and attention focuses on this one spot. The argument that is always given is, “Well, that’s what the viewer wants,” but, of course, nobody really knows what the viewer wants. This is only what they’ve ever been given. They’ve never actually had an option to choose, or not a real one anyway. Obviously, it would take a while to acclimatize to something that didn’t offer a surprise every ten-seconds. And, the direction of music, for instance, is for one item to cancel out the one before, and for the news always to be wrapped up with some funny little “ha ha.”
I avoid telling you this face to face so as to avoid sounding contrived, but I know this to be true. I think people open up their hearts when you sit down with them. You look them in the eye and see them for who they are and who they want to be. You see their future, past, and present (in that order). You realize that the material separating you two is only temporary, and as you open your mouth, this barrier slowly fades like wind on water. What I love the most, though, is how musical your silence is. Without perfectly defined parts, the songs flow vividly, like we’re able to plug headphones into your head, and are somehow allowed to listen to the music inside. I hope to meet you with physicality one of these days because I know we’re meant to. I pray for you. I dream of you. I cry for you. I laugh with you. And, I admire you far too much to let you pass without a glance. We’ll stop in our tracks. Our eyes will smile at each other and do all the talking.
My heart has raced a lot lately. Sometimes in the car before I arrive, or on the floor of my room waiting for her response, I panic (not that I mind all that much). I feel like I’m actually doing something with the time I have.
I remember a complaint I had years ago. I was sitting on my couch catching the afternoon sun each time the garage door was swung open by my dad. I hated that I was inside. I couldn’t just go out. I mean, I could, but I couldn’t. I was tired, I was bored, I was lonely, I was paralyzed. I recollect wanting friends real bad, but I was much too shy to search for them. (Though, I’m not sure many kids were like me at that age.) These were days and days of endless pondering, wondering if my loneliness was my life. Looking back, I realize it kind of is. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I know it now, that this being alone, this having no burden but that of the eyes, is a sort of freedom.
I took a walk through downtown Tacoma last night. I was alone, it was late, and it was empty sans the melancholia, and it took me back to those timeless afternoons of first grade recess. I would lay on my side and stare at the grass, I would walk the perimeter of the playground not looking up once, and I would always watch the kids at play, smiling to myself. I used to make fun of them in my head. Their immaturity made me laugh (as I drank glue and sported my light-up power ranger sneakers). I’m still that person though. I’m still very much a little boy who is outside looking in, or perhaps in, looking out. But at this age, I have come to see it all as a blessing. I love what freedom I have. I love the little steps He’s put in my life—those tiny aids that help me grow so much, the people that I have miraculously crossed paths with, and those nights like the last that remind me how real He is.
Lately I’ve been thinking that being alone is a freedom as long as you’ve got truth to live by.