My writing desk vibrates with the hum of Florence + the Machine, the echoes of her voice as it thralls and throws the air, a soft vibrato all the way to my fingertips, my toes.
My toes sit soft at the ends of my shoes, slightly sweetened by sweat and the long walk across campus I made today–twice–beneath the blistering North Carolinian sun.
My right shoe is pressed flat against the floor of the faded maroon carpeting of my new campus apartment, only the ball of my left foot hitting the floor, my heel raised as I lean forward, poised for creativity, ready for my words to rewrite the world.
I’d say it feels like home, but it doesn’t. It isn’t.
In another universe I am not the one writing this. In another universe I am still who I am, but wholly different–the personification of another facet of myself. In another universe I am the same man but different, a secondary, tertiary–an nth degree version of myself wholly unknown yet wholly undifferentiated.
That’s a good way of saying it.
Where all these universes meet–a place in time or space, removed from either or both–there is an integral self that exists beyond all possibilities.
The act of reality forming from thought differentiates these forms, causing universal constants to slip behind subliminal ideals, each variable taking upon itself a new manifestation based upon those factors that surround it.
Today I feel undifferentiated. It’s an integral part of my identity.
For the last three year’s it’s been tradition to read a chapter of the Pirkei Avot–the Jewish Ethics of the Fathers–every summer. Except last summer I never finished the third book. And this summer I haven’t touched any of them.
Unfinished business delights no one, and I’m fond of tradition, so with these last four weeks of summer, I’m returning to the Pirkei Avot and bringing it to completion.
With Independence Day right around the corner, I feel compelled to continue my tradition of celebratory posts, but the summer months also represent the dip in the metaphorical sine wave of my life and as such, I haven’t felt inspired much. A dismal forecast only compounds this interest into something darker, brooding, wet.
Yet as I sit here, plucking words from turbid air, outside my window, past the Cartesian coordinates of the screen, through the humid and disparaging air, I see a verdant field pockmarked with shadows of hunter green, the rust-colored brick buildings opposite ours, dense trees on the horizon yet another shade of green, and above them, stretching toward the ends of the earth itself, the azure skies with snow-white clouds tied in bows all about it.
For a few Tuesdays last semester a Chabad rabbi joined with a few of N.C. State’s Hillel students and spoke with us about issues in contemporary Judaism. Not to be confused with contemporary Jewish issues such as Israel, people leaving the faith, and the degradation of traditions, he instead led us through discussions about the modern significance of Yom Kippur, suffering, and free will.
It’s obvious, then, why I thought of him when I read today’s teaching.
When the world didn’t end on Friday, I thought I’d post a revelatory message on Saturday. Instead, I got carried away applying for a scholarship and lost track of time. So, I figured, let’s just read the next lesson of the Pirkei Avot and post it promptly on Sunday. Well, as I decided to finish said application this evening and took something of a nap earlier in the afternoon, time has once more gotten away with me. Regardless, learning is learning no matter what time it happens at (although, arguably, midnight learning is best left for Shavuot).
One of the first things I found myself doing after I got home on winter break was make up a table of goals, priorities, and steps to get from one to the other (or from the other to the one, as it should happen to be). It’s a planning technique I learned from the coordinator of the NCPIRG group that’s trying to get started at N.C. State. It’s essentially an activist group for issues especially relevant to students and since the election, I’ve been moderately involved; it’s very methodical, however, especially machine-like, and that somewhat deters me from going in deeper, although I think it’s an experience I’m likely to enjoy.
But that’s next year, and I’m still struggling through today.
I wrote this the other day and figured it was too mentally askew to be worth posting. I was in a bad place–stressed by finals, consumed by philosophy–and strange things happen in dark corners on bright days, you know? So I’ve been thinking about it anyways, and since I’ve had some more time to consider it, to reflect on it, I’ve found there’s actually some merit in it after all.
So with no further ado, I present to you “Dancing Fire”:
Today began early voting in North Carolina. I’ll be voting on Monday, but that’s besides the point: What matter today is that you can now take your voice and make it heard–locally and nationally.
I’ve been debating a long time with myself if I want to “go political” or not. It’s a part of me, and I can’t deny that, and it’s certainly been a part of this blog–none of us can deny that. However, I’ve worried about alienating readers, offending people or making erroneous claims that will hurt me in the end.
I’ve decided today that all of that? It’s stupid. It’s our obligation–yours as much as mine–to “go political,” and given the start of early voting, there’s no better time than now to do it.
Tomorrow begins NaNoWriMo and this is an exceptional year for me: Not only is it my sixth consecutive year competing, it’s also my third and last year as Municipal Liaison of the North Carolina Triad region (formerly the Greensboro region). I have so many exciting things I want to get done, and one of them is continuing to build upon our sense of community. I know I’ll be leaving next year for Raleigh to finish my bachelor’s degree at NC State, but I want to leave our region thriving and strong.