We cannot be defined by where we’ve been.
We seem to collect moments, hoard them like music collections. Sometimes acknowledging that this instant in time is a transforming coordinate, you going off on the X axis, me the Y, but this other moment we’ve selected is meaningless. We cannot see that we hold onto all these points as anchors.
We have been shipwrecked on this orange couch for days, swaddling pale glasses of gin and soft blankets, anything for comfort. Boulevards of LPs outstretched before us, like magical multicolour roads, plush paths to the kitchen, back to salvation. Odd bits of biscuits crumbed the pillows and sheets like broken sparrow bones. The skull of an Iced VoVo staring back at me, tempting me to finish it off. Arms and torsos sprawled across this vessel of fun. We knew we had to move, even if it was just another quick stereo stop.
You tell me Plato said God ever geometrizes and the position of figures and properties of space are all that’s important. You relate it all back to your essay.
You had been given the weekend to research the author for work. I was only going to help, but then things got out of hand. How many albums had the author listed as his main influence on this new book? Hundreds? It just so happened that I owned some of them, mostly unharmed, sculpted to the brown boxes under my bed. Now, Sunday afternoon we are like pilgrims returning to the spiritual land of turntables. We had devoured every note, breathed in every groove before finally, exhaling small, harmonic sighs.
I read notes from your workbook out loud, ‘When the Greek philosophers discovered that the square root of 2 was not rational, they ran into the streets darting and brawling, rasping the last breaths of sanity, finally succumbing to urges of sacrificing one hundred oxen.’
Seems quite drastic, you said. I mention the author may be taking some liberty and flare in his argument.
This was a gamble. We had a deadline. We tumbled over each other laughing at the all the lyrics that had mentioned the word ‘air’. We sat cheekbone to cheekbone, glass to glass, clinking sweet platitudes as we burst into song. Such theatrics for this long weekend. I nibbled the edge of several sleeve notes as we typed: He is as mysterious as he is coiffed. No, that last word wouldn’t do, it was a private joke that could creep into the final copy, betraying our time spent in studious contemplation.
What’s the main thing you want to say? Start with that and then work backwards, I said. That may be the element that conveys the whole story. Yes, he said, as our legs crossed making out the boldest outline of the letter X.
Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer and broadcaster. She is a regular guest on radio talking books, film and culture. Alicia was a 2014 Fellow at the State Library of Victoria and writer and director of the science-poetry show, Elemental that toured extensively in planetariums around the world. She is passionate about arts and science and is currently working on a new show on particle physics.