outwait outrun outwit


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Only yesterday, I sat in a kitchen in south Dublin, reading Ursula K. Le Guin's utopian novel The Dispossessed while a sleek chocolate labrador sniffed for the remains of my scrambled eggs. In Rathfarnham village, I found buttery old Italian leather boots in a charity shop. Nearby we walked among the trees of St. Enda's Park, which was once the private grounds of a house owned by the Irish revolutionary Patrick Pearse. Here revolutionaries had taught future revolutionaries, amidst books and fine objects, the portraits of poets and politicians, a butcher block upon which the body of the young rebellion leader Robert Emmett had been severed from its head after his death by hanging in 1803. Here I read a letter through a glass display, written in 1916 shortly after the Easter Rising by a condemned revolutionary to his wife, "the pulse of my heart". Here I took a picture of hanging globes of electric light reflected in the window, a necklace of moons or eggs caught in a furry coniferous tree.

Time passes so quickly and so much happens! Teaching, research, anniversaries, the departures and renewals of friendships, travel, always travel, and divorce: I am so close to getting filed. Jim sends a text: Ten Years. I delete it. He sends another text, wishing we could talk, ending it with a hashtag, followed by "nostalgia". I snigger. Nostalgia kills. It is a self-killer. You lose vitality, lost in dreams of what can't and shouldn't return to you. Sure, it's okay to remember - to remember places and people past, in their fullness, everything negative and positive, but let's keep moving, let's recognize that change is the condition of human possibility. To stop and wish and look back derails the possibility of your being.


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