Go on, I’ll go on
Back from 10 days of travel, rejuvenated from a mostly off-the-grid existence. While São Paulo experienced its rainiest months since 1943, Rio de Janeiro’s winter turned into a vernal tropics, complete with all-you-can-eat tangerines and mangoes. There are vast, dull sounds, buzzing and drilling and crying babies that seem to loop endlessly. There is no such thing as silence in this city.
I don’t too much exteriorizing of inner psychological states in this space, nor do I use it to collect the strands of life strewn around, but some realizations of what lies ahead are sinking in. Paper abstracts, film proposals, looming research deadlines, translation and poetry submissions, teaching commitments, not to mention wrapping up the accouterments of life Brazil, where I’ve called home this year.
In moments of anticipated stress I like to re-read the second act of Waiting for Godot—not the scene where Vladimir and Estragon decide not to hang themselves, even though it will give them erections—after that, when they contemplate the merits of staying sentient. Their rhetoric favors moving forward (‘Well, shall we go? —Yes, let’s go.’) but they stay stuck in place, ‘they do not move.’
The most important thing is staying curious, moving forward, moving, moving, even if there is no FEMA to save you.
(Photo: Lower Ninth Ward, New Orleans, Paul Chan and Creative Time’s production of WfG, 2007.)