XVII

mnemonic; noun, [ni-mon-ik]

  1. something intended to assist the memory, as a verse or formula.
  2. Computers. a programming code that is easy to remember, as STO for “store.”

Ongoing reaction to living here:

(By Violaine Briat)

Every week this turns into a catalogue of “today I did this” or “right now I’m feeling this way,” and it makes it seem as though I have nothing substantial to talk about. Weekends come and go, I head out into the city, return and resume work. At times, I’m afraid of becoming numb to the routine and lifestyle that I’ve been building (especially when there seems to be no direction). There is so much that I forget.

Let’s take a step back, though. History is made of small moments, brick by brick, and regardless of individual size or weight, they all contribute to the monument that becomes your life. Good things have been happening:

  • Night Market was incredible! It was lovely to see all of the groups come out and perform (bonus points for laughing while dancing, it’s heartwarming).
  • Robin Williams’ bicycle collection is being auctioned and the proceeds will go to help people with disabilities. The Bianchi Reparto is stunning (and look at the Trek USPS edition!).
  • I had a FaceTime call with Lilian that resulted in a lot of laughing and wheezing as she revisited old childhood photos. Dozens of dorky faces and poses. Some things never change.
  • The Last Night of the World, by Ray Bradbury. Don’t read this before going to bed; I couldn’t sleep for hours. (Not as a result of horror, but as a result of pure existential shock. which, now that I think about it, may not be so different).
  • I went to the Cooper Hewitt museum and the third floor exhibit blew my mind—design can be so much more than a mere museum aesthetic. “Everyone should know, we should start making shelters beautiful; because when it’s beautiful… it does something to you…” (Survivor, YWCA Pierce County domestic violence shelter, Tacoma WA, 2011).
  • The A21 Walk For Freedom took place on Friday and I happened to pass by as advocates made their way down 6th avenue. The line must have stretched on for miles. A chilling and powerful statement.
  • I’m reading Herodotus’s The Histories and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Interestingly, they both beg the questions: will you be remembered, if at all? And how do you want to be remembered?

I think what I’m trying to say is that I want to spend more time reflecting and returning to daily contemplation, however mundane or silly. It’s natural to get caught up in doing, especially in a city like New York, yet it’s like I’m creating nothing but mnemonics to hold onto for future storage. Nothing but fragments of pebbles and silt from a river of memories.

What do you want to build? Something good. Then what is good? Maybe there’s no such thing. Maybe goodness is simply whatever you love down to your deep heart’s core, infinitely more than the love you receive, cracks and stains and all.