Shells

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 11.23.39 AM
Kaigara danmen zuan (Album of Cross-sections of Shells)
貝殻断面図案
Japanese, Taisho era, 1913

On Wednesday, I visited the NY Society Library, bought a day pass, and began assembling my thesis. My thesis is something I have been calling the shell of my book, but when I say the word shell I don’t mean an eggshell, where everything is neat, suspended, and contained within a thin, fragile layer, I mean the other kind of shell. A conch or maybe a broken piece of coral, where the elements can flow in one way and flow out another.

As I sit at a table on the fifth floor of this library, assembling the parts and pieces of this shell—my shell-that’s due to my advisor in less than a month, I realize how fully addicted I am to the float-feeling: the feeling that some writers call being in “the zone”, where after I finish tweaking a word, or restructuring a sentence, or writing a memory, I have forgotten where I am for a moment, where everything around me has fallen away and it’s just me and the edges and curves in front of me. And then, as soon as I realize I feel disoriented, my surroundings rush back. I am again inside the room among other writers on the fifth floor with the sun casting a glow on the wood table and the white noise of the shuffling of papers and the tap-tap-tapping of keys.

One thought on “Shells

  1. Although my work-writing was less creative (documenting procedures), I was often “in the zone.” So much so that, on one occasion, I was unaware that the building had been evacuated due to a bomb threat.

    Liked by 1 person

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