As I was brushing my teeth, which may be one of the last remaining unmediated liminal spaces through which an idea might have a chance of slipping, I had this idea of renaming the categories on my website to things that are more accurate and reflect more of my actual work. For example, a category called “things I am taking forever to do.” In this category (which constitutes the bulk of my work) of course, is in fact my website itself, so it will all be very meta. It made me feel weirdly happy to think of this. Something about naming a problem makes it immediately smaller. It also made it seem possible to actually just be done with these things.
This feeling of happiness is the happiness of the problem merging into the solution. It reminds me of a time when I was seeing my friend Liz Eitt for a kind of body work to help with asthma. My doctor had casually recommended that I take daily steroids and I had no interest in that. So instead I had to change my whole life. Some of it was changed for me.
Anyway, Liz had me hooked up to some kind of biofeedback machine that measured what I vaguely remember to be my “brain waves,” i.e. alpha, delta, and theta. I actually have no idea what that means and I am determined not to google it right now, because that is exactly why so many things are unfinished.
Lets just leave it at that.
So Liz had me hooked up to this machine that was measuring my brain waves, and whatever was going on was not optimal. I could feel that I wanted to be the best at having the right kind of brain waves but this was not happening.
But then this amazing thing happened. The whole time I had been lying on the table I had been trying to breathe around the wheeze, and I had this sense that this was my own problem that I had to work out how to breathe clearly. But then I told Liz, I’m trying to breathe around the wheeze. And as I said this the needle registered the more relaxed brain waves. And there was also a steady tone. And Liz said, Tell me more about the wheeze. And so I talked about how there was this little catch in my lungs and about how it was feeling to try to breathe around it which of course made it much easier to breathe. And the whole time I was telling her about this, there was this steady state of whatever kind of brainwaves they were, the good kind.
So I thought a similar effect might come of keeping a running list here of things that are in some way still alive as ideas and intentions but that are taking longer than I would like. I have some idea that by naming them here, I will actually be able to finish them. Or in some cases, decide not to finish them, or perhaps decide that they are in fact, finished.
I think listing 5 to start feels reasonable.
1. Transcribing and posting Mattress Talks interviews.
2. Getting all the audio and video for the Expert’s Mind and Nothing is Hidden talks and readings online.
(definitely a postproduction theme here)
3. Making an anthology of poems called 300 Pages of Poetry for SFZC City Center. (which is at 300 Page Street).
4. Making a version of On Growth and Form that is actually possible to reproduce. Here is an example of one of the pieces and why it is difficult to make a book that allows them to move sufficiently.
Here is a page from this book:
There are so many more, but this is enough for now. It does actually feel helpful and more alive to name these things than to carry them around with me. Also it’s nice to look at something in its unfinished state.