It’s been over a year now since I’ve started referring to something called Death Blues, and while I’ve had grand ideas for all sorts of creative output around the idea, the impetus behind those actions was the desire to connect with others. To some degree, those actions are not necessarily needed in order to make those connections. As I’ve traveled domestically and internationally, I’ve felt traces of those connections in unspoken words between people waiting in security lines at airports, looking out of bus windows, driving in rush hour traffic, sharing a drink with friends after a long week, and sitting silently with my wife on a long drive.
I’ve also received letters. Handwritten notes and books and thoughts from friends who simply wanted to say that they have thought about what this thing is, and they are curious where it will go. I don’t have any answer.
I’ve had conversations with people about what it is, how others have approached the same idea, and so the idea keeps growing.
There have been personal stories about family, regret, and the struggle to do more, better, and somehow reach this sense of potential; to achieve some sort of desire.
Calum Neill, Lecturer in Critical Psychology and Discourse Analytics at Edinburgh Napier University, UK, send me a copy of his book, Lacanian Ethics and the Assumption of Subjectivity. At first, the text was somewhat daunting, but then I began to unravel parts of it, and started to see why he thought it could be shared. There are sections which discuss desire, the importance and intensity of that, but that there is also no way to actually put it into words, and because it cannot be completely defined, it cannot be fulfilled – a linguistic riddle, but also curious in that once fulfilled, it no longer exists. It needs to be unfulfilled in order to be.
Andrew McKenzie, who some might more quickly recognize as The Hafler Trio, sent me a copy of What is Death? by Tyler Volk. In it, is a chapter that discusses the death of phloem cells in trees, which upon dying play a secondary role by becoming part of the bark of the tree, which aids in the structure and continued life of the tree. This creative aspect of death implies that the desire is not fulfilled, the story doesn’t end, the mystery continues.
So who knows what’s needed, and where it will go? People have asked, “When is the record coming out?” as if it helped shape what this project is all about. It certainly does, but without it, there is more mystery, more chance for wonder, more sitting silently on long drives; a silence to look inside and see right now.
Surely there will be celebrations, and things, and experiences to be had, but I’m hoping those situations aren’t the only ones where we might cross paths.