It’s still in my head, the image from a lot of years ago, the image that came to me one day when I was sad and angry and roiled with all the awfulness of what had happened, when my worklife had become void, when the job I loved had been lost to me by bad behaviour not my own. Smashworld came and I fell down until the moment I got up and thought to make my own way, which I did and am doing and will do.
But for a person like me, a person with chaosing whirlybrain and an impedimentary reticence to believe that what I make has validity, it takes a long time to get on with it — with a whole variety of “it”s, actually, including the rendering real of what came to me in that flashing spark of moment. It’s still not made, the three-dimensional object that needs to be made from that imageflash day, which is sad, but other things are made, so okay, sometimes (all times?) life unfolds as it should, as it will, as it must, on a schedule that doesn’t always jump, jive, or wail with the schedules we set.
In all the years since that image first showed itself to me, I have fought stupidly with myself, have tried to govern my fear of putting what I make out there instead of being governed by it. Last month, I put on a drysuit, way up in the top part of the world, way up in Iceland. I put on a drysuit and lay myself down in the glacial meltwater running deep through the fissure — the Silfra fissure — that is opened up between the rocky plates of North America and Europe.
From the moment I read about Silfra, I wanted to go there, to learn that cold miracle, to make my way through the perfect clarity of that water and the towering chaos of the tumbled rock below its surface, to be and see where two realities collide. The thought of it became incandescent in my brain, a glowed and constant illumination, partly because of how much I love north and partly because of how much I love water, but mostly because I was so goosebumped and shivered by the notion of border-blur and boundary-breach. There in that place, would I swim through the waters of North America or the waters of Europe? Yes. Both. All. Each.
The image I carry with me is not water-related, nor geologic. But it connects to Silfra because it is entirely about this beautiful truth: the boundary is a pragmatic necessity; the boundary-breach is an imaginative one. Rules are made to be broken. Fences are built to be climbed. It is good sometimes to be contained; even more, tho’, it is an act of celebration and a seeking out of insight, to push past, to crawl under, or climb over, to burst forth through the constraining embrace.
An Indian Muslim vendor separates the seeds of a pomegranate at a roadside stall in preparation for Muslims breaking their fast at sundown in Mumbai, India on August 19, 2010. Photograph by Sajjad Hussain/AFP. Via The Big Picture
CD cover, Live Current, Vol. 02, Minnesota Public Radio. Design by Studio On Fire
Traffic Jam for Berlin, 2008, by Brad Downey. Via designboom