Cruise control to elsewhere

I started writing this post on February 1st, and now it is somehow May 14th.

Last year’s condition was “why not,” a form of optimistic nihilism and attempt to be less timid and more open. It is a wandering attitude, not a spirit of chasing known desires, but keeping an eye out for shy unknowns waiting to be found.

At the end of 2019, I aimlessly drove, something I hadn’t done since late September. I ended up slightly north of Minneapolis in Anoka around 9pm, where the lack of light pollution allowed the sky to be a dusty mauve and everything below to be vague blacks. What was farther was at the foreground.

What does “elsewhere” mean? Escape? Parallel realities? New from here? Displacement? Establishing place in somewhere familiar? Previously uninhabited? Moving islands? Unlearning through relearning? Going “there”? Changing thinking patterns? Constantly moving, not just pivoting?

I read most of A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit back in February, weirdly before quarantine began. Her elaborations on the blue of distance have stuck with me: the color of that distance is the color of emotion, the color of solitude and desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go and the far becomes the near, and they are not the same place. Distance and longing is what keeps one walking. Knowing that something is there, even if unreachable. The feeling is optimistic, exciting, but also presently melancholic.

Collecting and documenting material is essential for me to make anything, but I have been woefully out of practice doing so aside from sporadic Are.na saves and Google Docs annotations for a variety of half-read books. I have started a new reference repository to get back into active observation in addition to pinning up scraps to a foam board. I don’t know if I’m really interested in answers but rather a continuation of inquiries always leading elsewhere. Every time I arrive, I hang out in the corner, slowly move toward the center, but then exit to elsewhere. Problem is I’ve been in the ether for about a year now. I need to find that center of gravity again. I have always pulled toward type but perhaps the output is broader and just as much about language as it is form. Maybe I want to be more like a library than a type specimen. Senior year of college felt like Phase O. So here is Phase 1, if it is even discrete.