“Whether you take the doughnut hole as a blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.”
― Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase
“The challenge lies in knowing how to bring this sort of day to a close. His mind has been wound to a pitch of concentration by the interactions of the office. Now there are only silence and the flashing of the unset clock on the microwave. He feels as if he had been playing a computer game which remorselessly tested his reflexes, only to have its plug suddenly pulled from the wall. He is impatient and restless, but simultaneously exhausted and fragile. He is in no state to engage with anything significant. It is of course impossible to read, for a sincere book would demand not only time, but also a clear emotional lawn around the text in which associations and anxieties could emerge and be disentangled. He will perhaps only ever do one thing well in his life.
For this particular combination of tiredness and nervous energy, the sole workable solution is wine. Office civilisation could not be feasible without the hard take-offs and landings effected by coffee and alcohol.”
― Alain de Botton, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work
I was looking forward to an easy day – especially since it was supposed to be my day off. But the phone calls kept rolling in, the emails kept coming, everybody wanted a piece of me. By the time I made it home… there was nothing left. Another day stolen by the man.
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.”
― Kurt Vonnegut
Sometimes it seems that time is going by slowly, sometimes it seems like it is moving too fast. Oddly, often, the people around you seem to feel the same way. I’ve always wondered if this is really true – maybe times speeds up and slows down, that it isn’t always just in your head.
“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.”
― Leonard Cohen
It’s out there, it’s all around. You do have to look close.
“The inferno of the living is not something that will be; if there is one, it is what is already here, the inferno where we live every day, that we form by being together. There are two ways to escape suffering it. The first is easy for many: accept the inferno and become such a part of it that you can no longer see it. The second is risky and demands constant vigilance and apprehension: seek and learn to recognize who and what, in the midst of inferno, are not inferno, then make them endure, give them space.”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
The yellow streak in the time exposure above is the streetcar going by. Invisible.
Rod-a, he ride him and he jumped a ditch,
He ride-a, he rode him, and the pony did pitch.
The pony, he felt a little bit shy,
‘Cause he’s bitten by that blue-tailed fly.
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care.
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care,
Jimmy, crack corn, and I don’t care,
My mastas gone away.
When I went down in Louisiana,
I stayed a little while in Texarkana.
Every once in a while, I felt a little bit shy
‘Cause I was bitten by that blue-tailed fly.
—-Leadbelly, Blue-Tailed Fly
“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Are there ghosts around us… ghosts that are simply moving too fast for us to see? There are definitely live people moving too fast for anyone to see. Maybe a blur. All you feel is a buzz of wasted excitement and maybe a bit of a hot breeze.
And they are gone.
The sculpture in the photograph above is a Henry Moore bronze – Three-Piece No. 3: Vertebrae (Working Model). It is a prequel for Moore’s larger Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae, also known as the Dallas Piece, which sits in a forlorn spot in front of I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall.
I’ve always loved that sculpture and have visited it for decades. One especially cool time was when Rachel Harrison added a temporary pink arrow in a sculpture known as Moore to the Point as part of the Nasher Xchange project.
“The crystal trees among them were hung with glass-like trellises of moss. The air was markedly cooler, as if everything was sheathed in ice, but a ceaseless play of light poured through the canopy overhead. The process of crystallization was more advanced. The fences along the road were so encrusted that they formed a continuous palisade, a white frost at least six inches thick on either side of the palings. The few houses between the trees glistened like wedding cakes, white roofs and chimneys transformed into exotic miniarets and baroque domes. On a law of green glass spurs, a child’s tricycle gleamed like a Faberge gem, the wheels starred into brilliant jasper crowns.”
― J.G. Ballard, The Crystal World
“ Give up all hope, all illusion, all desire..I’ve tried. I’ve tried and still I desire, I still desire not to desire and hope to be without hope and have the illusion I can be without illusions..Give up, I say. Give up everything, including the desire to be saved.”
― Luke Rhinehart, The Dice Man
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, Eleonora
This is the time of year in Dallas where the days are awfully hot – but the nights are still bearable. As you walk the cool, humid air wafts by – but if you cross a patch of concrete you feel the ghost of the day’s heat still radiating upward. I feel guilty interrupting its voyage back into space.