July 3, 2009

While I was in LA, I went to a museum where a pretty famous illusionist and magic historian had donated his collection of antique dice. Each set was arranged in various states of degradation… some only slightly cracked, others a tiny crumbling avalanche of pulverized celluloid.  The lighting was so lovely in this museum – nearly nonexistent, really, it was practically pitch dark in that place, save for the few halogens that illuminated each display.  The lighting haloed each object with such fierce light that each of them smoldered there in the dark.  It was jarring.

I spent a good ten minutes just staring into the crumbling dice, while the illusionist’s voice narrated into the dark a self-written history lesson on the development of dice.

There was something so hauntingly lovely about those dice.  Not only their color, and how the camphor caught and trapped the little light in the room.  It was the fact that they were dying that really moved me.  Well… not dying… they’re not alive.  But the way they were positioned atop one another… the little flecks and bits of their structure peppering their display cases… the way they fractured and fell away from themselves – even down to the chemical level – it was almost moving – like they were eroding away in the dark.

I like that things can still be beautiful as they die… that death itself, that deconstruction, decay, that entropy is, in its own way, a truly beautiful thing.  Not because of what it means – because even its meaning (perceived and invented as it is) will corrode, too.  No, I don’t mean to project a belief on those dice, or on entropy at all… I mean to talk almost about the aesthetics of loss… and say that I found it beautiful.

Everything is crumbling – all the time.  Every relationship is ending, every person I know is dying – the universe is pulling itself to shreds.  It’s just all happening so slowly that I can’t really see it.

I can’t see it, but I know it’s happening.  Every connection I make with someone is a connection I’m losing.  The very act of letting someone into my life is a wound, really.  Something self-inflicted.

Yeah, I know… I’m being a miserable old shit right now – but it’s been on my mind for the last few days.  Just this little itch in my brain.  A reminder that everything I think I know is an illusion – or at least a fiction.  That every relationship I think I can depend on is slipping away.  That I cant really count on anything… anything other than loss.  A slow, constant loss… like water running through my hands.

Here’s hoping I’ll still find it lovely once it’s all gone.  Or, at least, while I’m losing it.


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