A Pencil's Lead
Letting go of plans and expectations.
There’s a pencil that keeps crumbling in my hands. Its lead etching away seesaws on my notebook pages. Patterns losing form. Lines forgetting their ability to hold concrete sentences. Words falling through cracks.
Each fresh notebook page, a new beginning, a new plan. Something thought up in the shower or in between dreams and nightmares.
I wonder sometimes if I take more pleasure in brainstorms, skies full of clouded dreams above my brain, than I do in the process of ideas becoming outcomes. I scan an overview of past plans and think about how polar opposite initial stages can be to their final edits. How quickly ideas shift, reshape, regenerate into something we could never have predicted with the use of a time machine.
I look just over my shoulder, to a space that still echoes the past but peripherals the future, and I stop. Suddenly, I can see and analyze the xyz theorems that have lead to xyz hypothetical answers to riddles I’ve never been able to solve. I watch these xyz’s becoming more and more impractical, false displays of understanding, and I think.
And suddenly, a sense of relief flies past me. It comes in the form of a realization, perhaps even a familiar encounter, and I begin to see it—the thought of—the pure ecstasy of—how little we control. How few the pages are, how unsuccessfully we are able to order, the definitions of words that make up our lives.
I reopen my notebook a second, third, fifth, tenth time, in an effort to jot it all down. To make the realization concrete, so that I won’t have to forget and remember it again and again.
And yet. My pencil’s lead fails me at each turning page. It casts unknown shapes. It guides my hand, and alas,
I let it d a n c e—