If I’m lucky, I’ll drag three or four hours of sleep out of the night. 

Then wake around 2 or 3 and try to get back to that place.

“You know, it’s like, something good happened once. 

And I keep doing the same things over and over again, because I want to have that good thing happen again.”

Sounds like addiction, I think.  But it isn’t an intentional thought, instead it is a knee-jerk reaction. Thinking longer, it seems more common than addiction.  I think most people feel this way and act on that feeling.  

It probably takes a lot to move outside of yourself and see it for what it is.  

“Are you depressed?”

I don’t answer right away.  I try asking myself the same question inside my head first.  

What the hell is depression?  I sleep from 4 am to 2 pm most days. I let things pile up because, well, what’s the point of staying ahead of the curve?  

Late at night when I can’t sleep, I might walk around.  Down the hall, turn into the empty living room, through the kitchen with all the cracks in the walls, into my office where photo and art stuff takes a backseat to boring Dayjob Hack Writing junk.  Then back into the hall again.

On the floor by my bed is a copy of John Lawrence’s The Cat from Hue – a book that I can’t bring myself to pick up and start again.  

When I was younger I would vehemently deny being a failure in any shape or form.  But whenever I think about reading this book, I just think about what a failure I am, and how while other people are out there telling real stories, important stories, stories with real worth and real value, I am sitting here writing out a lot of nothing.  

Sometimes, in the dark, when I’m laying on my back and gazing up through the black towards the ceiling, I think about just giving in to a kind of mad rebellion.  

I think about tolerances.  

One time I asked my little brother, “so what do you do at your job?”

“I’m an Experimental Aircraft Engine Technician.”  

“Whoa,” I exclaim, almost involuntarily. “That sounds cool as shit.”

“Dude, it’s really not,” he half groans, half explains.  “Basically I just sit in a room and run things until they fall apart.  It’s all about testing tolerances.”

Testing tolerances.  Running things until they fall apart. 

I wonder what kind of tolerances exist in your mind.  I wonder about the point where I could push myself over some figurative divide.  I wonder how one might get there, and what it takes to separate from reality the way a great artist might, or a great philosopher or monk might.  

But I know  I’m not any of those things.  I think you just need something to work towards.  Some sort of thing to strive for in your head.  Though you’re not so much striving as you are pointing to some distance point on a globe and telling yourself you’re working towards that point.  

You might as well tell people you’re going to be president one day, or walk on the moon.  Or just come clean and admit to them that you’re too dull and unoriginal, too cowardly and simple to roll the dice and actually take a leap at Something.  

Or look in the mirror and at least admit it to yourself:  you’re a talentless hack.

I don’t know anything.  

Everything seems fluid sometimes.  

It seems like nothing is quite capable of being held fast.  Everything slips through your fingers and mind. 

If you close your eyes long enough, it all goes away.  

I need to take a shower.  Wash my hair.  Long now, and causing me to sweat as the temperature climbs.  

I think of shaving it all off again, of being bald and ugly and simple and avoiding vanity.  

I think of keeping it long. Stop trying to change things.

I think of vanity.  And people who cling unnecessarily to a previous time and the person they might have been then.

I think about who I was at twenty two or twenty three years old.  

Why those particular ages, I don’t know.  

Points somewhere far behind and over the horizon.  Maybe the background in some faded photograph.  

Now everything is upgraded.  The backgrounds are sharp and clear.  There’s less magic when you stop using crap cameras.  More definition means less guesswork, but less imagination too.  

Sometimes I look for side work. 

“Tell me what kind of camera you use.”

Can’t get away fast enough.  Those are the only people who want to work with you.  

But every camera has a soul.  Some souls are paper thin or transparent.  You can’t even tell they are there.  Some are clean and clinical, almost sterile.  

Others are stained with light leaks or haze or fungus.  Dust and debris from years of adventures.  Some can’t see color straight and still others have a natural knack for contrast and sharpness.  

Granted some of those things have more to do with a lens than a camera body, but it all feels like one machine when you’re holding it in your hand, when you bring it up to your face, when you look into it and through it and become it.  

It’s like trying to separate your own soul from your mind.

Or inspiration from the crystallized result.

I can feel myself chipping away.  It feels like disintegration.  The things that make you up, becoming disattached and foreign, no longer of consequence and no longer holding weight, and flying away on the wind.  

Sometimes I feel this happening with photography. Between one good picture and the next is a feeling of disintegration, like nothing is held together anymore, like what it is inside of you is ebbing away.

Sometimes you wonder what you’re doing, where you’re headed, what you’ve become.  

Sometimes, under your skin, you can feel your blood boiling, and your organs shouting.  You can feel your extremities and veins itching and you see without looking.  And there in front of you everything lines up like a sudden jolt, a kind of clairvoyance where a sliver of the future is laid out for you to stab at.  

Then I know.  

Then I think about a kind of mad rebellion.  

And I wonder where the divide is.  And how one might get there.