My time is subdivided into small pieces. The pieces twist like scraps of paper in the wind, each blowing away before I can read it. Sometimes I catch a piece, spread it out, even write something on it before I turn my attention to another matter and the piece snaps out of my hand. I let it go. So I am accountable, not for the wind but for letting my focus go with it.
If I stop writing now the BART train will carry me on to Oakland, a city filling in gaps between other places in the San Francisco Bay area. I head towards the Center. San Francisco is less a center than an aspiration while for better or worse Oakland forms the center of gravity, if not the greatest power. Honestly, the Center of Gravity of the Bay area is likely out in the Bay and south towards the salt flats. But Oakland is probably the closest city to that center, which is probably just off the industrial shore of the worst part of East Oakland south of the airport. Oakland’s a rising star but we need to consider the Center of Gravity either the sum of its parts, or better yet the hippest expression of new cuisine near the Uptown BART, or even better Ike’s Love and Sandwiches or a store that sells fine spraypaints for Urban Artists.
Five minutes, or do I have even that? At my daughter’s music lesson. Used most of the time reading business articles, and next I shall be cast upon the rest of my Sunday. Could that possibly be a good thing? Can I use these remaining moments in this quiet, resonant place to connect with a larger picture. I have tried. The Business articles are supposed to connect me with the world of work coming tomorrow. I intend that this writing should connect me with the world of creative endeavor sustaining me through work and family. And wouldn’t it be full circle if I reflected positively now upon the family time to come in one minute…
Which minute? Today I’m parsing the time more carefully than usual. A Monday, and after the weekend off I feel I must use every minute well. So, that was a minute waiting for my transfer train back to Berkeley. Everyone around me seems grumpy, if not despondent. So it goes. And despite my fear that trying to create an iPhone app is beyond my reach, I press forward into the unknown… I have the feeling the fog this morning will give way to sunshine. Nothing like purpose to create a sense of hope in sheer momentum. I’ve completed board game projects, why not an app? The doors of the train open and close. I’ll be in Berkeley momentarily, then lunch and writing, and the app pursuit as the pinnacle above the rest.
Climbing, climbing to the pinnacle. If you have read Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead you know about climbing the pinnacle, even if it is pointless. Even if in the end you’re turned back by your team’s fear of some little thing, some stinging insects–a puny obstacle blocking a truly daunting and terrifying but pointless quest. But the pinnacle that I seek to climb while eating duck in sweet sauce and sipping a tempranillo that’s a third try best choice here at the Spanish tapas bar, is the same pinnacle that you could guess a person in this society might seek to climb: making an iPhone app. It’s so logical that I’m going to, laughing, throw in my lot with everyone else in this gold rush of the Third millennium. And did I mention the buzzing hornets (from Norman Mailer’s novel…)? I don’t think I’ve reached those yet. My obstacles are simply the fatigue associated with keeping going, of sourcing and carrying my rations, just making sure my associates have blankets and dry clothes, keeping the body fit to carry on, trying to assure none of my associates falls off a cliff before we get to the top. We may as well make it to the top because no matter what we’re going to die trying. No particular morbidity intended. Just, that’s life, right?
So, lately I’ve been pushing towards that pinnacle because Why not? And I find the most amazing effect when I push upwards into the high, thin atmosphere of the pinnacle. I get lightheaded. Really. For example, as I push to develop my own iPhone app, surprise, an hour or so a day leads to a huge amount of stress and uncertainty. Because looking into it shows me how little I know. Because climbing the pinnacle takes me away from my comfortable surroundings and into cold, clammy clouds, silence, giant blind drops into oblivion as far as I know. Hanging by one hand on the side of a cloud-covered precipice, I could Just. Climb. Down. And I do. Each day that I test myself on this pinnacle, at some point I say to myself OK, time to go do some reading, or, Look, it’s time to take a break, or, My God I’d better deal with This Issue down in the farm kingdoms below where I’ve built my homestead. So down from the Pinnacle I come. And what a relief!