From chaos and conflict to harmony. See chaos and know the underlying harmony. Connect with it. The path, the way, they say. Maybe it starts with that bad story I wrote a few years ago about a sidewalk encounter, the one I once upon a time shared with my long lost friend in Mexico who was kind enough to give me some good advice, always kind enough to be honest. She was and I presume still is—I should run this by her and confirm.
Run it by her that it came to me walking east on Randolph after work on a muggy summer early evening, walking east toward Clinton, the street in the bad story from a few years ago. The hustle and bustle, the sunglassed people like me, unlike me, with bags and purses and heels and oxfords and chukkas and sneaks and skirts and slacks and jeans and shorts and voices and expressions and vast invisible constellations of thoughts.
That, all around, and me, walking east and seeing the corner ahead and knowing without thinking that I was no longer seeing the city’s movements as violent and conflict-ridden, no longer so harsh and opposed, this great push and pull and churn like sea waves and undertow but without the sometimes seeming serene surface. Chaotic, yes, and always moving, always edged and cornered and underway and passing over and crowding and crushing, but without that elemental perniciousness of days I can only call “before.” It dawned, this, washed over like the sunlight streaming from behind, like the sticky August air. It’s harmony, in fact, I thought, chaotic beautiful harmony, and I suddenly knew what they’d all been saying, the sayers, saying that’s what it is and it’s ok.
Why not do the book this way, I thought and later wrote and now write now. Not two narratives, not essentialism and bifurcation, not some plain Hegelianism or worn out duality, but, rather, pieces and fragments and memories and thoughts—everything that’s already there—gradually coming together, adding up, getting longer and longer across time and space and page till the tale turns to a harmonious, messy, evolving, stagnant, incomplete whole. A story in the making, pieced together. The narrative builds to fluidity, but not perfect, and the end is hope. Not hope for more, for later, for different, for other, but for this, for what already is. Assumption 1: Fragmentation and chaos are our zeitgeist. Assumption 2: Meaninglessness and monotony in the fragments only when taken by and for themselves. So bring it together and let it be and go light on the commas and spare the final sentence the trouble and ceremony of a closing period, just a book about what it’s not, a picture of what it is.