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Saturday, March 2, 2002
By Paul Ford
What happened in the future.
By the end of the 2002 I had found some of the things I'd set out for; my dominant fantasy was no longer of a A Tent in the Arctic, a place alone in the cold to sit and think out the days. By the end of 2002 I had no dominant fantasies; I wanted mostly, for my next year, to see more, to feel things more intensely and with less mediation, fewer layers of film between the world and myself.
I hadn't gotten to where I wanted to be, of course, hadn't pulled myself up so far that the mirror rewarded me and my mind felt like a set of shark's double-jaws, ready to maul any difficult problem into shreds. But I at least looked as if I'd made progress; it seemed I had stepped at least one step forward and stumbled backwards less than I might have, given my native clumsiness.
One of the things I did that year, through 2002, was indulge my interests, and face the onset of loneliness brought about as consequence. And my interests were, and remained, documents and words, and the way that language played at the horizon of desire. I went often to In my spare time I did not drink copiously or engage in other destructive behaviors. And when I found a patch of gladness I kept some back for myself.
Throughout 2002 I focused my mind on the cognitive mechanics that gave me pleasure, mostly those around language. The boxes filled with language, in which I choose to spend so much time, became once again places to play, their sides no longer swelled with my damp pondering about what it's all worth. I made more things out of words, and gave more things away, and people wrote me and enjoyed them with me.
I walked, too, around Brooklyn and Manhattan, and around other parts of the world. I wore out a pair of shoes and my legs felt strong again. Strangers drove by me on the highway and wondered for the briefest second about who I could be, loping along, big and quiet, the smell of gravel on the side of the road, the heat of my own hands, the sky going gray and dark in time.
I began to plan this shift, though, a shift from my tent in the arctic to more interesting climates, in January of 2002. At that point, I decided that I would no longer make my life in a confined space, and that I would use the year to find as many new ideas and projects as I could, and to play with words and ideas as often as my schedule - which was still filled with paying work, always a priority over the financially draining creative aspects of my life, would allow.