The Small Gasp

20 September 2013
11:50 PM


I am still listening to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. They have been on repeat the whole day while I was working. This was how I found myself this afternoon, alone in my office: swaying, tapping my feet, my arms raised above my head, my eyes closed, clapping. I probably looked awkward and out of place to anybody who can see me–but it was perfect. It felt like praying.

The video above and the one I posted last night was a live performance at the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, sometime around March 2011. It was filmed/photographed Ryan Gall, Tao Ruspoli, and Jimmy Cohen.

I was reading old letters and I found this one I wrote to my friend KC about three years ago:

“…I always get paranoid, then panicky, then very, very, very melancholy, then deliriously happy for a brief time, then melancholy again, at the end of the year. And then I will take a deep breath, smoke outside at two in the morning, and mental scream at the sky as I wait for the dark to slowly turn into the first day of the year, and resolve to do better, and be a better version of myself than I was last year, which would be yesterday.

And then I get distracted for awhile as I marvel how it only takes a second to separate an old year from a new year. But that’s how it usually is for me…

…I’m not really afraid of growing old, I welcome that. It’s the growing up part that scares the shit out of me. I feel like I’m always running around lost, and at the end of the year I try to reflect if I’ve actually done something of my life or have I wasted it, again, on things that I will barely remember ten, twenty, fifty years from now. I still can’t reconcile with myself what I want more: to just feel so much at any given moment, regardless if I can’t remember it tomorrow, or not be at the forefront so much, so I can be the stranger at the back recording everything, processing, so I have something to look back on later on. I don’t know if I can make myself choose actually, because I don’t want to know what that choice means, in the end, and what kind of person that makes me.”

You shared an excerpt a few days ago, about how wandering was our real work, and now I realise the truth of that. Perhaps this is a moment of clarity–for this moment, anyway–and I might forget it after this, tomorrow, the next day after that. But let me say: maybe my life is changing before me even if I can’t feel it. Maybe the changes are subtle yet necessary, and it will only make sense three, five, ten years from now. Maybe this wandering is something that must happen.

I wanted to write to you last night about the recent webcast, but I feel like my words would only diminish the experience.

Here is something I will be embracing for awhile:

“Here’s the small gasp: we’re lost in a poem…and that loss is thrilling.”

– Al Filreis, 18 September 2013



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