Entering my thesis work

Entering my thesis work I was very concerned, from slights I had felt tremendously injurious in my fully one-summer-long professional career, with the reformation of practice into a more democratic or pluralistic adventure. I foresaw a chorus, or at least some kind of organized chaos where I could make some marks and have them left to be noted by someone who took an interest. But perhaps what shook out of that professional experience was not that I wanted to reform practice, but that I want practice to be reformed. I had learned that I had not the ego strength to run an office, and destined to wallflowerdom in the field I wanted to imbue those peripheries with some kind of voice, an intern’s bill of rights. It is hard for me to recall ten years later what made me nauseous every morning I went to the office. I think at the time I saw it as a personality conflict. But I can see a more lasting reading being the acclimation to loss of control. This was not only the loss of creative control, which I had held to varying results over my five years down of schooling and studies, but the loss of lifestyle control that every person must choke on as they edge into the professional world. It was like a first time smoker suffering through those first several butts. I had to really want to stick to it. Having no interest in acclimating beyond emersion enough to provide me fodder for my intellectual inquiries, the experience made me gag emotionally.

I called Leach from the hotel to find out if he was out of studio yet, took off my dress shirt and put on some ragged canvas shoes. I felt fat in just the t-shirt. I couldn’t hide in it and I had grown too comfortable: A Career Man. Coming down on the elevator to the lobby for the evening I always had a somewhat self-satisfied feeling about the bellmen and concierge seeing me in my street clothes. But when I walked through the lobby I felt more humiliated by the extremes. One or both of these costumes was a fraud. I couldn’t tell which I was clinging to or reaching back to. It mattered differently to me in different contexts. In a cross pollination like this I just became generally disgusted. But on foot through the city, and then north of the Capitol, beginning to sweat a bit in the t-shirt, I felt more myself. There was nobody on the streets.

(Out of sequence) There are some busted-ass grackles in the streets; their tails are gnawed off and their iridescence is bedimmed. In Fort Worth again with other folks strolling around the grounds of the Kimbell I think that one or both of the government’s or the Kimbell’s schedules are conspiring to feed me only the grounds of the museum. Any of the four or five times I have raced over there after pencils-down at 4:30 I have only had time to take the stairs from the basement entrance up into the main vault, truly an ascension, and straight out the door to the bosk of trees. This time, like the time I returned after-hours, they were completely closed. It was a Monday. The three of us reveled at how “perfect” the building was. It is really timeless, no doubt there. As one of my earlier companions remarked, “it really works!” No shit. But what I loved rather silently were the throwaways that made it imperfect: the cracks, the weathering (written more poignantly by greater pens), the graffiti, and especially the original miscalculations, I loved that the trench-drain in the staff parking lot, a pristine square, had to take the module of the double-loaded parking aisle rather than the famous building module. I felt like I had to love these things in secret, a different kind of postponement or deferral than the silent oblivion of raw experience, but a delay nonetheless. In conversations the things I fail to say feel more eternally lost than the brilliant hypnagogic musings I simply forget, because I force myself to kill them. As much as I pine for a conversation about substantial topics, reflections on intellectual positions and observations about culture and experience, when I find myself in them I am made to self-conscious by the reflection of what I want to be in the other person who gregariously and too-comfortably plumbs the depths of their impressions, that I stifle my enthusiasm, my insights. I see the orator as phony for being so willing to crack open their mind mostly because I know that the only way I could do so freely would be to act outside my constitution, a phony. The projection of my conceit of phoniness onto them cycles back to me, deepening my withdrawal, and not only do I shove my reflections down, I see them as insipid and blustery.

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