Disruption

As an artist my days and my walls stand ready, empty.

I surround myself with thick blank paper and a blockade to deflect news and noise.

On the surfaces ahead of my fingertips, coffee turns to ink.

When I cannot find a needed word or gesture, I look in the kitchen or on the sidewalk.

The medium of my work is trust. It is frail and skittish. It arrives late, and is confused.

My job is being able to write it down the way it comes, not to lose track. Accuracy.

To delay worrying about it, weighing it, wondering if it will fit in the box, planning secure transportation.

But premature anxiety is not the only enemy.

It has become tragically apparent to me that much of what passes for sociality disrupts the landing sequence of creativity.

The most obvious problems are things that disrupt my bare schedule, that divert me from feeling my way through the day. When all I seem to be doing is wandering around stretching and trying to figure out exactly what I want to eat, I am easily confused by normative sociality. I should be excited for an impromptu invitation. I should be glad my friend’s afternoon was freed by a cancellation. I should be flexible for a colleague who wants to optimize their appointment-route. The wisps of sensation and thought who I try to follow are less insistent. And when I turn back to them after lunch, nowhere to be found.

I practice refusing, then blame myself for my own loneliness. Rigidity is not a virtue.

So, considering that I do not suffer writer’s block, I propose to myself that the process is more robust. I can well afford a flight delay. The ultimate luxury is an abundance of time. I feel generous. I can keep my notebook open in my hand.

Then I discover something worse than rigidity, an ugliness I blame on my own privilege. The content.

We sit at the table and people seem to lack the basic social graces of humility and democratic engagement. They give monologues and brag, rather than asking questions and following up. They overreact, spilling excess emotion across the table, and flit about from topic to topic without resolving anything.

Themes recur without iteration, and without agency. They talk without taking any interest in consequence. No actions result. The difference between therapy and friendship is the expectation of praxis. I continue to engage not because you pay me to listen, but because we are in this life together and I therefore depend on you to move along with it, to manifest our engagement.

My wings are so tired after this foray that I can barely reach my aerie. Once there, I lay down to allow the anger to seep out. I clear my heart with water or sleep and vow to love my friends from a distance, on a schedule.

Once, when my boyfriend was away, I used his coffee cup. It was a mistake and a resonant lesson:

Drink only from your own cup. It is the right one, and it is enough.

For Magda