Sunday, October 3, 2010

Borders (the un-bookstore kind) and Boundaries

When you begin a vision of self with a vision suggesting superiority or merely enlightened awareness at the expense of others, you are distancing yourself from forms of contact and interaction that support your basic instincts as a social animal.  This distance mechanism, if pursued, is a direct path to feelings of remoteness, where suspicions and loneliness may lurk, even be nourished into resentment, which represents an even deeper push away from contact and human discourse.

Frustrating and slow-moving as human engagement may sometimes be, it is nevertheless the wellspring from which insight, intent, and behavior emerge.  Could a person go it alone?  No question.  Could a person flourish and create alone?  Same answer; examples abound of productive men and women in quasi-hermetic conditions.  But were they happy at what they were doing?  Or did they somehow manage to convince themselves they were put upon, thus creating as they did in spite of instead of because of their remove?

Scant distance from these observations to one of your favorite and more productive working places, 3917 State Street, Santa Barbara, California, a coffee shop crowded equally in observation of free wi-fi  and superior coffee.  Whatever the motive, they often talk, chat, visit, all symptoms of their humanity.  You do not particularly need wi-fi access; there is your cell phone, if necessary.  And while you cannot match the foamy splendor of a Peet's latte, you have equipment at home to provide a good approximation of a Peet's latte.

Why then would you come here when you could just as well find the solitude you associate with you work for the lower reaches of Summerland, say, in the Greenwell Road Preserve?  You come here to be pestered and bothered, to need to focus beyond a strident voice or an engaging conversation; you come here because you are a city person who sometimes needs traces of city, if only as an avoidance mechanism.  But also, you need the sense of contact even if to create a wall about it.  You are one of many anomalies afoot on this planet, a writer who needs himself in solitude but must have people in order to write.  Perhaps if there is time, you will learn to write in solitude, where the only strident voice or engaging conversation is yours.

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