On communication and risk

June 11, 2007

Though she and I have never been close, there are plenty of reasons – at least superficially – to believe that we could have been. Rather, though, it may be that our different recourses to such a similar stock of qualities condemn us: she seems to view her natural reticence dialectically, pushing through it in ways that make me wince at their potential to destroy the observational power I believe my own reserve grants me. And for all the books that we’ve both read without ever having coordinated, it seems that only I’m capable of letting those books change me – be it in the form of an author’s pet word creeping into my vocabulary, or an idea that obsesses me. I can’t understand her trajectory of reading at all because of this. But her lack of candor in discussing these ideas combines with her obvious intelligence to give me the impression that she’s writing a theory masterpiece in secret, spending her nights in a solitary labor which she’s too humble or dismissive to discuss.

If I have the urge to wonder whether she comes up with theories like that about me, is it in absolution for the ways in which I – both of us, really – have withdrawn from the platonic overtures we used to make to each other?

The fact is this, though: that neither of us can divulge moderately around the other. To the degree that I see that she is preyed upon, that the creative energies she pushes so mercilessly to dispossess herself of are lapped up mindlessly by the herd that clings to her – to that degree, she sees how scared I am by so much of life. It’s enough to wreck the economy of any burgeoning friendship, but especially so between people like her and me, who naturally long for a bit of control over the ways our energies disperse in the world.

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