When I think of all the reasons not to smoke I start to reminisce. I started listening to Titus Andronicus in 2006 and I was smoking then. They had written a song called Albert Camus and I spent lazy afternoons in groves by roadsides taking notes and smoking, sitting beneath the shade of trees and looking quietly at the changing hues of green above. It was never intentional and I never read a word at the time. Their music was more powerful than any page of l'Etranger at that time, and it took me until quite recently to read the novel itself:
“I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world.”
- Albert Camus
This overwhelming heat and moral ambiguity, the dark pleasure of being by myself and surrounded by ribbons of smoke like loosened ribbons of a typewriter. It was so simple to detach from the present and get lost inside that haze that was sometimes the clearest air. But this music reminds me of what this really reflects: a need for pleasure to be a dark and overcast experience, like plunging into an interior that is set apart from other people. A hazy space for memories to co mingle and adjectives to twist alongside one another.
Most of my best conversations had taken place in this death-like aura, but towards the end of this performance (above) those transparent lacunae that define what it is that is so significant about this experience begin to emerge in between the static and I remember. The whole experience is a retreat and a delving into myself, and it also detaches me from the lingering memories of childhood, into some strangely diluted sense of what is and what was.
So, to really feel, though this is such a strange thought, the simulation of being able to fold and shape thoughts must end in a brave act that allows sense to re-emerge, that confidence that is shrouded by pale fire, by lingering wisps of air that startles and suffocates the life that I depend on. Really, it is because of a lack of love for myself, a heaved over feeling of solitude and indecision and only being able to speak through curtains of smoke, veiling what is truly a trepidation to speak without the joie de vivre of an eternally new and expanding self. In the world of Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, in their work What Is Life?:
“Since life’s origin, all living beings, directly or circuitously, have been connected, as their bodies and populations have grown. Interactions occur, as organisms connect via water and air. Darwin, in his Origin of Species, likened the complexity of these interactions to "an entangled bank”- too complex for us humans even to begin to sort out: “Throw up a handful of feathers, and all fall to the ground according to definite laws; but how simple is the problem where each shall fall compared to the action and reaction of the innumerable plants and animals” Yet it is the sum of these uncountable interactions that yields the highest level of life: the blue biosphere, in all the holarchic coherence and mysterious grandeur of its budding in and from the black cosmos.“ (p26)