Somewhere in Wyoming, 2009

Without new faces or scenes to cement memories, a rubbery sense of time has defined most of 2020. These final days of the year especially tend to drift and blur, as if they belong to some shadow calendar. The holiday buzz begins to fade and my thoughts nervously peek around the corner, wondering what changes and plans I should make.

I used to be a big believer in resolutions, in the mirage of a sparkling new James, now under new management. But my black-and-white thinking has mellowed with time (aside from my weird commitment to posting something each night this year). It might be a function of age, this acceptance that I’ll likely drag my flaws into the grave, and the best I can do in the meantime is forge a d├ętente with my ornery and self-sabotaging traits. There will be no flash of light or burning bush.

Or maybe I’ve become infected by the chipper language of our culture. People keep talking about “becoming a better version” of themselves, a phrase that drives me nuts, how it reduces us to software. But perhaps it’s natural to equate our minds with the technology of our time: unplugging, recharging, feeling overloaded, etc. “Blowing off steam” originated with the steam engine, and being caught between a rock and a hard place might be prehistoric.

I’ll still attempt a few resolutions, although now I have more faith in fiddling and tuning rather than the myth of the tabula rasa or thinking of myself as something that can be easily upgraded. It’s always a moving target, this process of establishing some measure of discipline and structure without creating pointless or even painful little boxes.


Rhythm & Sound – King Version

The Versions | Burial Mix, 2003 | Boomkat
Each night in 2020 I wrote a short post for a series called Notes From the End of a World because I wanted to etch these times into my memory. Before the world changed completely.
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