“Memory’s images, once they are fixed in words, are erased,” Polo said. “Perhaps I am afraid of losing Venice all at once, if I speak of it, or perhaps, speaking of other cities, I have already lost it, little by little.” – Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities
I do think that when I am most afraid of losing something, or someone, I stop speaking about it, to him/her, to anyone else. I’m afraid of losing them all at once, so I stay as quiet as possible, to preserve it. That way, if I close my eyes, it almost feels like nothing changed at all.
I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above
But if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?
We were caught up and lost in all of our vices
In your pose as the dust settles around us
Oh where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?
If you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
[lyrics from Bastille’s Pompeii, which, has been a great companion through all this]
lately, of course, i feel a little too emotionally drained to do pretty much anything at all. But I have been tucking away pieces of inspiration for, you know, later.
You have, which is a rare thing, the ability and the responsibility to listen to the dissent in yourself. To at least give it the floor. Because it is the key, not only to consciousness, but to real growth.
To accept duality is to earn identity, and identity is something that you are constantly earning. It is not just “who you are,” it is a process that you must be active in.
Spoiler alert, this is the end of the speech, and it is really really good, so if you plan on reading the entire thing, you should do that first.
And that’s why I’ve been talking only about you and the tension within you. Because you are, not in a cliched sense but in a weirdly literal sense, the future. And after you [the graduating class] walk up here and walk back down you are going to be the present. You will be the broken world and the act of changing it in a way that you haven’t been before.
You will be so many things and the one thing that I wish I’d known, and want to say, is: don’t just be yourself, be all of your selves. Don’t just live, be that other thing connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it, and have fun.