Petulant. Frustrated that he has to wear the hat. Or maybe they told him to cross his arms, and though he had wanted to wear the hat, he did not want to sit still with his arms crossed and wait for the shutters to click. Sitting on something reflective that looks like the top of a piano. Maybe marble?
His parents took him for a piece of candy afterward. He held his mother's hand. Abbott went down to Gramatan Avenue a week later to pick up the prints of his sulking boy from Marvin, the photographer.
Later he went to the Pacific. Later than that he went to the Catskills. Spent half a century designing hats. He died after eating a plate of sauerkraut. The story has been told.
"If I had known I'd live this long, I would have taken better care of myself," he said.
Fair enough, fine.
Where does curiosity bleed into obsession? Maybe that's the difference between someone who doesn't feels like there's a responsibility to write, and someone who does. Or, well, not a responsibility or a duty. And not really like an addiction.
Because if addicted, then addicted to what? The feeling of getting inside a moment. The feeling of understanding something deeply, sure. In more generous moments, the idea that sharing this moment means others have access to it. Externalizing, memorializing, putting rhythm to the world. Empathizing? Meh.
More like: trying to make sense of incomprehensibles. Where does a person's history begin? As a thought in the backroom of an imagination? As a chromosomal oddity in an ancestor? As a synaptic misfire that produces a desire to reproduce part of oneself?
Too abstract. Back to the text:
He's got the same eyes. The same big-nose-in-waiting. But behind the eyes, that's where the meat of the question is: what's there that remains now? What deviousness? What inclination toward levity? What ideological intoxications?
And then, how far removed was he from what found articulation in the imaginings of his forebears?
Too abstract again.
A world in brown and sepia. And now, with 152 words remaining, too little time to describe exactly what it is that feels necessary, essential. Time always running, or not running but dripping: constant. It will be such a drag when they figure out how to control time, how to navigate it, how to break it into parts that can be surveyed and dissected. It will be a bummer when metaphors no longer seem urgent in one's relationship to history, fiction, narrative.
Because maybe it will just be in front of everyone, like the plains.
A friend said that getting the words out is easy. Something like: it's the making them good part that's hard. They're both hard. They both exhaust. But to accomplish at least the former, to get the words out, still seems like the first necessary step. It has taken years to shake loose the cobwebs. It's a big attic with lots of spiders. But with time: some light.