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Missing Spaces

September 16, 2014

For dwelling, for exploring, sallying forth or staying in, leaping, looking, getting somewhere and seeing what’s there, or being here; for meeting, departing, for carrying on; for turning and finding and missing and searching, for passing and stopping and taking in; for every adventure from beginning to ending; for living: for all this we need our space. To be we need the spaces of our being.

And it is not that I don’t appreciate it, being able to write here, on a porch in Charlottesville, with the falling sun raking its rays over the lawn, the cicadas singing, breeze blowing, copter droning overhead, a speck on my screen looking like a misplaced period, while you read there, could be most anywhere, much later or just a moment after I finish, in the company of what I cannot imagine, possibly a live tiger or a dingy stuffed one, possibly the love of your life or a vial of crack. (Did I just torpedo my argument with that sentence? Do I have one? And why does that copter keep circling?) But it might be nice if the post was late, sometimes a letter went astray, and when you got this you had take your warm hands and smooth the surface of its wrinkles, catching a slight hint of a scent, not unpleasant, as you did. Instead I have my screen and you have yours, we are peering into a surface of no discernible thickness, into an endless labyrinth in which every room is right next to every other room and you don’t even need to turn your head to look from one to the other, and those rooms contain everything– not really everything, but a collection enough like everything so that, given how far away and inconveniently located so much of everything is, we might take it as an acceptable substitute and approximation of everything. We peer into a place of no space, and see something like everything, and it is, indeed, very convenient.

Connection. Connection is good. And being good, we want more, now. Frictionless. Instantaneous. Immediate unwalled adjacency. And pursuing that, where will we end up? With an infinitely hot, infinitely dense, infinitely small dot of a universe, where everything is on top of everything else and you can’t love your your neighbor as yourself because your neighbor is yourself, his eyeball your eyeball, his left foot also your eyeball as well as your left foot and his right foot and both nipples of both of you, without separation. Cosmologists (a motley collection of failed poets, failed engineers, drunkards, cripples, foreigners and insomniacs — on the whole, credible to the imagination) say this is how everything started out. But it is no way to live. Italo Calvino once wrote a story about such a situation and though I do not remember the story too well, I think the point was that it was no way to live and people were glad to get out of there and expand, though not without pangs of nostalgia for the old neighborhood. Because we need space. We need it as much as anything. But we forget our need. And then when we lose it we feel uneasy, but do not know why.

[At this point the author felt a need to take a break, have a drink, and wander off into spaces of the night, with every intention of returning.]

[And at this, later, point he is thinking that before he returns he might go to the library to take another look at that story, though it really has nothing much to do with this post. The story, that is, the library maybe has a lot to do with it.]

[The story is “All at One Point” and is from Cosmicomics. Re-reading did not shed any more light on the issues at hand.]

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