Zero, One: Empty Cookie, Lobster Roll. July 10, 2012.
On my way to meet Dean for the first time, I listen to his From Square One on the train. It is not, he has told me, an audio book, but a musical composition. He says, “Time ruins everything. Because of it, food spoils, breasts sag, loved ones die.”
(Yes, a breast sags, sometimes.)
Later: “Whether focusing our attention on om or on 6-Down, we take control of that part of the brain that is normally hijacked by the voices telling us we’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough.”
And later: “There are so many nonnarrative ways to engage the mind, and still our culture puts stories front and center. We are drowning in stories, whereas poetry subsists in the margins.”
He also speaks of loss, of longing, of compulsion, of limitation. Of Manhattan, of Brooklyn, of Vermont, of Brigadoon. His avowedly unpolished rendering of Joplin’s “Solace” is more engaging and touching than a rehearsed performance.
I stop at Ollie’s for lunch. I remember coming here—that is, the one near Columbia; now I am over near Merkin Hall—for the first time, in 1996.
While I eat, I chew—as I often do—on Mark Epstein’s discussion of the ever-receding pleasure of the lobster roll, of the interrelationship of experience, memory, desire, and experience again. Epstein is a Buddhist as well as a therapist. Lunch is completed, and my check comes:
There is nothing inside.
Ollie’s has bestowed upon me The Fortune Cookie of True Emptiness. Such luck!