I think I'll write again

    I’ve been sitting in front of this blank screen for about an hour. I’m starting to write again. No artistry here. I’ve even started off my last song with “I’m not a writer”, so just typing words. Yes. I’ve started to type words again. Maybe i’m out of touch, or maybe i’m trying to force it, or maybe i’ve just forgotten how, but it’s “sure as shit” (as my father says) hard. There is no deadline, no looming requirement, but it happens every so often that you have an urge within you that needs be satiated. Maybe it’s a benevolent goddess that’s trying to get out to see the first rays of spring? Well here I am, spinning contrived words, then deleting, then blowing the dandelions again in hopes that some combination of these type clicks will let her free. 

    It’s balance that we seek, no? On the Hegelian tight-rope we walk with the desire to get to the other side while not losing our wits, while remaining rational human beings. Why does this balance become so elusive then? Even while pursuing one’s dreams (whatever that may mean) we become frustrated, distraught, and ultimately disenchanted with whole enterprise. I am being highly idealistic in my complaint, but I think we can diverge from a fate of the ouroboros and not eat our own tails. 

    There are a few people in my life that I consider real friends. For some reason or another, we have imprinted upon each-other an armored bond that continues to endure the trials of time. I say this only because I almost never see the fuckers, but if reason were to rise, they would fly out in a moment’s notice. (One of you is Brazilian, one of you is German, and with one of you I ate mushrooms and walked around the Metropolitan Museum of Art…You know who you are) Though it’s not because we can’t find the time for one another, it’s strictly because we have all developed hyper-accelerated rhythms of life which is simply a by-product of having a freedom to pursue bigger picture goals. Why wouldn’t we strive for our higher “I’s”. We, you and I, are gifted an opportunity to succeed at any whim of a frivolity with the only caveat being aburden of unbridled competition. “You can have this delicious truffle, but first fight this invisible gorilla that may or may not materialize…” Can we consciously refuse and oppose such a proposition? It’s absurd..but the truffle is Belgian, and I can speak on behalf of the licensing agents of Godiva chocolates that Belgian truffles are the bee’s. Surely we say yes to the dream and forego anything that may impede it’s realization. Est-il vrai?

    I live in a country that is dominated by an electronic revolution where denizens walk in urban spaces in tender continuous interaction with pictures, tweets, and information dollops that insulate us and create virtual pseudo-realities that flow so seamlessly that one can forget why It once rained cats and dogs and that the speakers chirping in the park are an IMITATION of living creatures. This is a country of limitless growth and high-tech capitalism that naturally implies ever-increasing productive and ceaseless intensification of work. You can have it all and have it all again, and if you want more, have more on the side…but only if you spin those wheels! 

    I’ve spun and spun, and you can read my previous blog post about what happened when the wheels found themselves facing opposite directions. In short, I found crackers in my mattress.

The price I paid for this free-for-all battle to achieve a nebulous goal of “success” was the desertification of daily life and the virtualization of emotional life that converged on a condition of utter loneliness.

My only interactions became those who with whom I conducted my business. Isn’t that glum…

    The reason I am writing again is to regain a sense of a balance that will ward off any anthropological mutations to throw towels in places they shouldn’t be. The thing is, I have been pursuing a goal so completely, so fervently, that it has left me isolated and with a frequent sense of meaninglessness. I guess I’m eating the damn truffle while being wailed by the gorilla. If there is anything I learned, it’s that we’re social creatures and need the occasional IPA at the local watering hole with a few of our buds. So go and do that…Your screenplay, short story, book, song, painting, app, work assignment, etc. can all WAIT. You’re more important than the totality of it all. 

PS - If you have any questions, or topics you want me to touch upon, feel free to drop a line in the comments! 

My Barometric Memory

 

Midday, I saw a person enjoying a lager in an outdoor cafe and I told my companion that there was something inherently "right" about that scene. This struck me as strange because I can almost guarantee myself frowning upon such an action in New York, where I would then ponder the person’s other alcoholic tendencies. Why the in world did I find it appropriate in the former circumstance? 

This got me thinking... 

I've always been keen on scents as memory triggers, some bringing me back decades to moments I thought were long discarded from mental storage; a perfume of a previous love from Barcelona, the scent of the first days of winter preceding a season of snowballs and ski-trips to Vermont, a deodorant that colored an entire summer of country getaways and early morning hikes through rural Russia. These are all very specific triggers that correspond to equally specific times and places. But just until recently, I have thought of scents as being the single strongest memory throwback with even visual cues resulting in weaker reminders of my past.

Exiting the plane in Copenhagen and getting hit with the cool sun and powerfully crisp breeze lent itself to a pleasure that penetrated my core. At first I thought it was just a relief of getting out of the 100°F weather of Milan and not immediately sweating through layers of clothing. But then a strange nostalgia started to settle. With every deep inhale, an unidentifiable calm was emerging from an unusual space in my mind and I couldn't understand why. The following mornings were leaving me even more clueless with an unplaced happiness, novel wonder, and a sense of contentment that usually did not accompany my usual caffeine buzz. 

Then, after mechanically putting on a live-stream of a Russian radio station I used to listen to at my summer house outside of Moscow, I had the first inkling of a possible cause. The air was now becoming more familiar, the color temperature of the sun reminded me of the apartment I grew up in, and the air had the rejuvenating bouquet I once had the joy of smelling in Quebec. The nostalgia was becoming more clear and as memories of a road-trip to Canada, family vacation to London, ungoverned exploration of St. Petersburg, my first film premiere in Amsterdam, and most of my childhood in Moscow started to saturate with color, I realized that all of these places are more or less on the same latitudinal coordinates (the geographic coordinates that specify the north- south position of a point on the Earth's surface). Maybe I was off, but my memories all pointed to the very similar environmental indicators. 

I decided to look into the geographical placement of these recollections. 

Copenhagen - 55°

Moscow - 55°

Amsterdam - 52°

London - 51°

St. Petersburg - 50°

Quebec - 48°

(New York - 40° for comparison)

I even went a step farther to check out the Air Quality Indexes of places that were evoked in my memory due to a similar smell of the air. 

Copenhagen - 26

Moscow (outskirts) - 19 

Quebec - 29

Nice and fresh! Also very close in metrics. (Moscow, London, and St. Petersburg were excluded due to obvious air pollution) 

New York - 62 (!!!)

Since the previous were lining up, perhaps UV indexes would also show similarities? 

Measured at 10:00 am, when nostalgia was most apparent — 

Copenhagen - 3.4

Moscow - 3.8

Amsterdam - 3.0

London - 3.7

St. Petersburg - 3.1

Quebec - 3.3

These are all medium level registries. 

For comparison

10:00 AM New York - 5.2 High

11:00 AM - New York - 7.4 Very High

The data points confirmed my nostalgic suppositions. I was even a bit startled to connect all of these strangely unrelated occurrences with a verifiable geographical explanation. 

What is most interesting to note about this observation is how remarkably sensitive we are as human beings. My mind went as far as to cue memories based off tropospheric pressure (atmospheric pressure in relation to altitude), air quality, and UV metrics; not to mention the countless factors I may have not taken into account i.e. lunar position, pollen count, indigenous flora categorized by aroma profiles etc. These invisible factors were carefully labeled with distinct emotional cues that evoked feelings which I could not at first understand. 

That beer I saw being consumed was contextually perfect because it evoked my own memories of enjoying lagers in similar environments, usually in a vacation scenario. It's strange in NYC for me because I don't day drink; I'm always working. 

Memory is an astoundingly complex device that I am only starting to understand. But here’s to having a nice cold one and remembering all the others we had the pleasure to enjoy! 

Mirror

 

Mirror

Do I speak to you, or the multitude of terrifying angels that all share a lineage of destroying the pearlescent walls of our own immortality? With one simple gesture of being, you hurl a pedestrian that was only going about his day into connecting all the stars in the sky to bring logic to a chance happening. Time. Stop. Eyes. Meet. Heartbeat. Stop. Did the birds always sing such orchestral melodies? And it all makes sense for exactly a fraction of century until I notice your wings bearing the silhouette of departure; but was there ever an arrival? Time and movement and grace and the dismemberment of eternity reveals a singularity enthralled in the fangs of a barometer that reads - 

This has all happened before -

It has and it will and with uncertainty we are propelled forward into something that should be as common to us as another blade of grass presenting it's gift at dawn and yet somehow we use light words and heavy niceties and pour even lighter steamed milk into the veiled trap of a coffee date so as to what? not scare this ephemeral creature away that tickles us so? So? So then mirrors turned into walls soothe the soul. Supremely staged fate leads to severely misplaced fear and on the wings of splendor, two enchanted instruments can fly as far as the lands of ice where the demon isn't arrival, it's departure - 

I repeat.

Sharing a bloodline of a race of memories won't affirm your choice of this or that or cross the t's of answers addressed to one as -

correct.

Yet you happened and I scream at myself in disgust of my own ignorance of existence. Yes, I am. Yes, you as a reflection allow vision of the contrast of ultimate beauty coupled with 

the ultimate beauty

and it prevents me from stepping into the footprint of another who walked on a road before me because I know he was happy and I also know he is no longer. 


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Milan, first impression

The sun here is softer, more foregiving, warmer. The buildings with their Umbrian roofs have withstood a presumed harshness of centuries past and maybe the two parties have decided to make peace with one another’s existence. Birds fly through the diffused air and leave their jet-streams of songs. Down an alley a singular voice of a woman in her late 50’s is echoed down pliable yellow plaster walls. She is passionate but not angry; I guess typical Milanese fervor. Everything here seems to fit - mostly the irregular cobblestones that don’t fit within their own jig-saw at all. It is evening now, and humid. I wonder if the young ladies drink their espressos this close to sunset.
— P. Kalachev