by Carson Reynolds

I have spent much of the last few months talking to around a dozen random strangers a day. Under the guise of running an experiment I find a subtle desire to be social on the periphery.

I have this new idea that if I do just a small fraction of the things I wish I could do each day that somehow one day I will wake up and find them all done. And so each day I listen to a little Japanese, read a little fiction, write a few pages of my dissertation, answer a few emails. Every now and then I climb something harder.

It’s strange really. I can list off the bits of progress, but somehow these things don’t seem like steps taken so much as noise that blurs or confuses the real things I want to do.

In the last few months I have traveled to Seville, Granda, and Paris. I’ve read Wittgenstein’s Poker, Morality Play, Winner of the National Book Award, The Elephant Vanishes, and The Line of Beauty. I’ve memorized the Hiragana and Katakana, and have gotten to the point where I can start to form ugly-sounding half-thoughts in Nihongo. I have climbed a V6, which I still think was some sort of fluke.

I have gotten rid of most of the things I own. I took all my books to a used book store. My CDs I boxed up and gave to Steven. (Alright, I am not wholly true: I kept 12 to put in the CD player now and then). I took a tube holding all my posters and left it in the lobby to be picked up by a random stranger. I took 3 boxes to the Goodwill.

I remember some years ago where I thought of making a life for myself in Boston. I rented an apartment that was entirely too expensive and filled it with possessions and decorations. At the time I thought, “well, if I’m going to be stuck in Boston for a few years, I should at least make something of it.” And now, as the last months tick by, I can’t belive my self as I was then. Was my view so narrow that I couldn’t see that it was just a slice through a process of becoming.