Over Seven Hundred

Screenshot 2020-03-30 07.05.51

  1. This dance of social distancing echoes attending a silent meditation retreat.

    The social contract (and explicit contract, written on a small broadsheet of blue paper handed to you along with a map leading to your room, the only words you are given to read for eleven days) extended to all forms of non-verbal communication. Avoiding all eye contact. It’s a more extreme experience here and now on the pathways and sidewalks for exercise, and less binary than out in the high mountain trail below the meditation hall. But similar. Giving a wide berth, without communication. Sometimes afraid to look or speak, judging their internal states of being, yet grateful they are here, a reminder to keep going.

    While here and now we don’t have to keep a vow of silence, in some respects I think it would make the distancing easier to abide.

  2. There are two effects — valances, signatures, footprints — of the virus: how it attacks the individual, and then how the collective built up of those individuals responds to those attacks. They are both symptoms. A scarcity of air begetting a scarcity of everything. Maybe the second is something different. There’s probably an epidemiological word for it. Maybe that is the word, the pandemic.
  3.  The virus, as I understand it, travels as a short strand of RNA surrounded by a layer of fat (and a few other atoms and molecules) — not really alive, like a bacteria or other nefarious microbe, bound to consumption. Nor is it inert and stable.  The small focused set of chemical instructions striving to replicate itself before blipping back out of existence.

    But I don’t really understand it.

  4. Information is alive insofar as it also wants to self-replicate.
  5. Not all information is beneficial, in its creative destruction.
  6. There is some aspect of my personality that is illuminated and apologetically prefers a disaster scenario or fire drill.

    For its clearer sense of purpose, a stripping away of the unnecessary, of the distractions, of the uncertainty of choice in the very moment. For its change in scope and permission. For a five minute (and only five minute panic) before the curtain rises on an unrehearsed, unscripted tragicomedy of errors. A silent creditor exchanging ambiguity and unease now for a larger, more untenable debt of suffering at some future compound interest rate. As there is only so far that the dreadful adrenaline of abrupt change can extend.

    Not for its pain, and suffering, and unease.

  7. The shared, natural, or otherwise communally experienced disasters that one endures over a lifetime are often abrupt and jarring.

    A car crash — one instant, from a normal timeline into a ball of wax thrown across and open flame, to be slightly reformed.

    An earthquake — one afternoon peacefully exploring the backwood of childhood upended, shook into the relief. Here once were all the things in your life made steady, now strewn across the kitchen floor.

    A break-up — a party of two split into separate yet equal, dimensionally-distanced universes, the sky falling forever away from each other.

  8. There’s a second familiarity — one I’m perhaps too intimately keen on — the atmospheric sense of that the sky falling. Earn the opportunity to build a business and quixotically-or-perhaps-self-destructively keep it alive beyond the actuarial tables of the silent majority of failed startups and their leather-bound museum of ancient corporate books, and the sky is always in some state of gravity. The sky is at least falling for us all equally here (although not evenly distributed in its weight) — and there’s a kernel of something space-aliens-invading-we-can-prevail-and-help-one-another-through to-the-other-side about this. Together. Against tiny space alien things from Earth.
  9. Resistance or procrastination against being creative, as in, “what could I possibly write about that is worthy of this moment” isn’t any more legitimate or valid under a time of crisis.

    I’ve been noticing that the measures and qualities of the resistance that I’m experiencing are exactly the same when put under the microscope of mindfulness. The same as these last nine months of limited output, as I returned to organizing my economic life back into focus.

    There’s perhaps a great lesson: you think there are emergencies and priorities and agendas that are clearly more important than whatever deep purpose you might be called here to generate upon the fabric of the universe. But they may actually just be further obstacles.

  10. Although, some of those obstacles are very legitimate.

    But they’re just obstacles, not universe-collapsing contradictions against a sense of creative purpose.

  11. I sipped from a mug of wine on Friday night, in an after-work-group-video-chat-party-social-hour.

    I was invited to participate early on, and then through the grace or mercy of the video platform’s algorithm kept off-screen and easily muted, strumming a guitar and only thinking about performing a thematically relevant song toward the end. It was disorienting to be at something akin to a party, but without the ability to have a one-on-one side conversation of the introverts retreat. Instead; a windowpane of four people all on stage, with microphones, and the mic is passed around instantly to those who speak. Our personalities still operate, even and especially under new digitally altered circumstances. I felt as socially awkward there, sitting in my room physically alone, as I would have had we all been in one room together. The anxiety just didn’t manifest as directly.

  12. I drank two mugs of wine on Saturday night, after a day of chores and (mostly) essential errands.

    They were good chores. The ache of work and the wine pushed me further away from any deeper retrospection, of reading and writing, my not-so-secret retreats and perhaps good habits, which seem as lately now as they ever have like both strong shelter and a black chasm of a pool with unmeasured depths.

  13. I poured myself zero mugs of wine on Sunday night.

    It was still easier to work on any project other than writing.

  14. Much of this situation (I think) illustrates the power of belief in the context of uncertain, partial and persuasive information.

    Do you trust governmental institutions?

    Is scientific fact filtered through and refracted back behind the lenses of bureaucracies and journalistic entertainment still fact?

    How do we collect evidence for ourselves without the opportunity and means — and instead have to rely upon a sense of intuition and collective protection?

    There are clear guidelines, without clear duration or efficacy, and that is a microcosm for the rest of our time here on Earth.

  15. In previous isolations, self-exiled from all the people I wanted to see, for long periods of time, across thousands of miles, we bridged that continental gap then as we bridge the epidemiological gap now — talking, texting, facetime cooking shows.

    It may, in fact, brings us all closer, out of the slumber of complacency.

    At least out of my own unexpected self-distance.

  16. What is important to you? If it at all lights you up, keep making strides toward that constellation.
  17. A meaning of life is about finding purpose, in whatever way that connects and works for you.

    The meaning is about discovering that purpose, not necessarily the purpose or the outcome or the destination itself.

  18. It might not answer your great questions in the way you had hoped, but perhaps changes you entirely such that you don’t need to ask great questions.
  19. The meditation centers, in their diaspora, began twice-daily virtual group sittings a week ago.

    The first evening I sat, there were over seven hundred humans on the call.


A New Social Contract

The new windows darkened the kitchen, and I stood outside, these windows between us and the room that had held us together for decades, now helped separated us, which would also hopefully keep us together in this new way, a new social contract.

A contract brokered between the kind of success that eats up all of your free time and the varieties of boredom that sap away all of your days.


A Third Kind of Water

Beyond the window of the library reading area, I felt I could name these two kinds of water.

The lagoon surface held up three radio towers, a perpetual shifting left to right, the wind movement reflecting the sky a few shades darker than the afternoon talk radio broadcasting from the shore.

The sea rested further beyond, intersected and bounded from the lagoon by a passing silhouette of cars, most often right to left, southbound this time in the afternoon. In front of these kinds water a  parking lot, not quite full, late afternoon shadows creating a field hosting two brothers playing with a third kind of water.

The older brother began by kicking the clear water bottle, a football of sorts, the beginning of a game. The younger brother cheered him on, delighting in his side of the asphalt court and the goal line of a handicapped spot. Flipping the bottle over to get it to land upright, with just the right amount of water. Two, three, four times, the clear bright light of the afternoon like a diamond. The elder, kneeling on the ground as he plays. The younger, following.

I am trying to understand my own feelings and search for some extract of happiness as I watch the boys, especially the youngest. What is it to be him, less burdened and more pure, not yet free, not yet broken necessarily, not me. I often think about my other friends, especially Martin, probably more often than is helpful, about being or about having an older brother, about being stuck in a place of time, stuck in the precipice of adulthood, and making the best of it.

The brothers’ older driver, could be cousin, or eldest brother, or uncle, or perhaps father, walks out of the library courtyard and into the parking lot carrying a unused single crutch, barking commands at the boys to stop playing.

The youngest swings his bottle like the brother, two lighthouses looking for a foundation for their small containers. In nearly any place we can find a game, and in these game can we find some small measure of the truth of the world?

The youngest haphazardly tosses the bottles behind him, blindly, in a swing-songing motion, and fires an expression of embarassment, hands to cheeks, and then delight after the guilt leaves him. The bottle clears the fences, a home run, into the bushes or perhaps all the way back into the mud – the two kinds of water  brought closer together in an act of innocent, naive, foolish rebellion.

The Nature of Action

Ironically now that the pressure is off — I still find I have things I’d perhaps write about.

Perhaps. What is this perhaps.

Unsure what green light I’m waiting for, blue risographed permission slip entreating me to embark on a field trip somewhere I’ve been before.

The last three days I’ve been mainly working on graphic design for a project, highly detailed work in Illustrator. Which, after two decades in Photoshop and only a handful of days of diligent work, I often times am flummoxed why a point converts to a line, why a symbol didn’t copy over a cropping mask, why the files take minutes to save. Flummoxed like visiting a foreign country, stumbling over the proper predicate form of a verb conjugation.

For everything that Photoshop does well, there’s a precision to Illustrator and vector editing in general – a lack of forgiven, a lack of fudging things.

When I let the flummoxing and input/output angers go, usually I google the problem. Ther/ an answer, if I make the time to ask the right question.

It’s good work. I’m worried about hidden typos or errors not likely caught. Can’t google those kind of problems away.

When I first sat down to tackle the project, the critical voice, and I can’t emphasis this enough, it’s a perfect ventriloquist, hypnotizing into a depression the thoughts, “you won’t know how to do this, there’s no way you can figure out how to put all of this together, it’s way too much work and not enough time to learn the details and navigate all of the info and folder structures and then put everything together.” Then it speaks in some other language, of abject fear. Like somehow there will be a firing squad at the end. Somehow you can’t understand it but this isn’t what you should do.

I imagined turning back before the journey had begun – letting someone else down. That, deeply, for some reason, felt like the worse failure. So instead I trudged on, one screen at a time. And the fear doesn’t go away – in fact the resistance is still there, shapeshifting, counterarguing, creating soft bunny cages.

You can’t google away your fears, or think them away. But you can google small problems that are getting in the way.

Can you write away your fears?

You can write through them.

Design your life through then.

Speak loosely held guesses about your true self, letting the nature of action silence the inner critic.

The Midnite Deadline

365 midnight deadlines and ninety-two thousand words later. The first half I’m proud of — the second half … let’s just say I’m impressed that I kept writing every day for so long.

I’ll take a break and regroup and decide what’s next. Something. There’s always something next.


Last Irish Exit


The more people arrived, the faster the party seemed to proceed too quickly along its rhythm until we were the last children of the dancefloor. Calling it the theory of social relativity, dancing to the quiet of a final track, time traveling with a wig.

“And then all of a sudden, the party is over,” I said. I was sad, again, all that commotion and opportunity and connection slipped back away into ubers and drives home and leftovers around the table.

What hadn’t the party been?

Not just the hours on the invitation, from the first arrival until well past the last Irish exit. Not just the balloon surprises.

All that came before, the construction, planning, printing, arguments, cleaning, moments of stress and worry — that was a ritual and could be looked upon as perhaps the party.

Time itself would

As A Tide


When is a piece perfect, and done? How do you know when it’s finished? Or what to take out?

Is it taking too long? Perhaps you’ve given yourself too much time.

The task, the ideas, the thoughts – a little pressure and deadline is a swell as much as a tide to bring them forward, help them rise to the surface.

For the last year, minus about four days, I set myself a deadline of posting here, something, every day.




An Expression of Nature


Looking at the warehouse of housing supplies from the balcony, saran-wrapped magical building blocks nested within larger building blocks within buildings of self-replicating efficiency, after the potential self-reflexive horror of it all, then come the questions of wonder, of how we even does civilization encourage it all, turning raw materials over and over again into these ideas and markets and commercial ventures.

Backing away from the suburban and consumerist and observing as an alien scientist might — or just a weirdly speculative gazing — I saw this technological and industrialization was still just a different form of nature. Commerce was in nature, or perhaps more accurately, an expression of nature. It was just this thing that sprouted from the universe.

Even this structured idea of a depot, where the self-growing greeneries of nature were sometimes plotted and sprouted and herbicided before folded neatly into the corners, this too ultimately derived itself from nature as much as it helped to reinforce the home as the object placed against the elements and forces of nature.

The vista worked my brain over the vast sea of aisles, trying to reconcile the majesty — the sheer phenomenology — how all this amazing, functional crap sprouted forth from the fractals of the universe. Here. And in the next town ever.

I turned back around from the railing, and Savannah was still investigating the nature of blinds, conversing with the friendly employee aproned in orange, working the swing shift on an Easter Sunday.