Friday, February 28, 2014


... nowhere to go.  By seven in the morning yesterday, I had finished writing my blog entry--a brief one--and found myself "done for the day."  That is, I have no big writing project to keep me at the computer, I had no appointments or obligations to fulfill, I'd done my gym workout the day before (and I find it best to do that every other day) so I literally had "nothing to do, nowhere to go."

That's a challenge, for me.  A bit scary.  I have learned to thrive on schedule, the to-do list, the work that awaits my attention.  To have none of those things means to be confronted with the abyss, a great void into which I gaze and see... absolutely nothing.  It's like a great, silent echo that comes back at me. Readers might recall my having written, a few weeks ago, about that question posed by Ken McLeod: "When you say you see Peter, what exactly to you see?"  Well, nothing.  Nothing, I mean, but the fabrication, the "idea" of Peter, which has no substance, no appearance.

These two things feel to me to be related, at least in that sense of gazing into the void.  I take comfort--I assume others do, too--in the notion of a reality whose solidity I can somehow trust, since it seems to confirm and validate my existence within it.  "I" sit on "my" chair, I gaze out through the window into the garden, which is "mine."  But that "I" is the person who writes his blog entry, who sits at his computer working on his writing projects, who has appointments to keep, obligations to fulfill.  What if, as was the case yesterday, I have none of those?  I find myself feeling like a non-person--a truly frightening experience.

So of course to escape that terror, I start inventing things to do.  Oh, I forgot, I'm working on the tax returns.  They're still not finished.  Maybe I could take a walk downtown, trade in some library books at their used bookshop, buy some more.  There's that recorded episode of "Sherlock" on PBS that I abandoned halfway through...  All of which makes me feel better about the self that depends so heavily on its delusions.

I aspire, one day, to be able to do nothing and go nowhere; and to rest without fear or judgment in that place.  But of course aspiration doesn't hack it.  I'm not capable of actually doing it.  Or not doing it...  I have much further to go.

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