Having traveled two weeks and a day into the four week trip, this morning feels like a good time to confer against what I thought my three intentions were for this trip1:
1. to revaluate myself in the context of and relationship to the east coast; to see what has changed for me (and for DC) in those eleven months
At first I thought not much had changed in DC; but given time to unfurl, I found there were few things left untouched by my former life and work in those eleven months2. There was a relief — I don’t know what else to call it, perhaps joy? — in recognizing that things carry on without you. As if I were cosplaying as a time-traveler. I was the pin holding some things back. I was holding myself back. I sat in my old office on that first full evening, writing out a blog post, looking out over the twilight window of brick and green I thought I might be always looking out over.
2. to challenge my disciplines against the distractions of travel (of which there are many)
Your discipline is freedom.
Your days of transit require lowered expectations for what can be seen and accomplished, and the work itself and the journey can be appreciated rather than rushed against. Because where are you ever really going, anyways? You just are where you are.
It never gets any easier than doing the thing right now, and you never regret doing a thing earlier.
Which is how you find yourself in the Portsmouth New Hampshire Public Library five minutes after it opens for the day, on the second floor looking out at another window of brick and green.
3. to not have expectations, to not fret (ever), and to keep experimenting with the order and priority of things
He enjoyed each day but for different reasons; excited to write, excited to see friends, excited when a thing went well, went better, went unexpectedly. Initially the opportunities of social obligation felt like challenges, but they soon just became equal forces to balance against. He was, surprisingly rarely alone.
And the loneliness, when it met him in the empty bedrooms or apartments, revealed itself as a choice rather than a condition. His introversion felt like just one thing rather than The Thing, no longer a fusebox culling amperage beyond its heat capacity. He kept the priorities fresh and interesting and saw now how his list of things was a recipe against which the distractions of the day would improvise and perhaps improve the very things he was looking for.
Whatever it was he was looking for, he seemed to already know. The words were a window of brick and white.
- Or it just felt like the more attainable topic against the other more complicated thoughts and emotions on my mind and body, that I would write if I had more than an hour: how to structure myself into a DIY MFA; memories of growing up in a computer lab; my gratitude and anticipation about mentorship; and an unspoken and half written elegy for a friend that needs to be finished and shared.
- The phone system in the office still breaks down with the same precision of difficulty and obscurity as it ever did when I was there.