August 25, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on August 24, 2018

I  came to a possibly useful realization just this morning. It had to do with desire, passion, the drive – The Drive (in Neutral, in Park, in Reverse, in “Go”: that’s what I should call a memoir …the stages / settings of your Drive, your Desire(s), and how to shift them). Anyway, I digress. I realized over the past few eons of agony around mulling over my B.-existence that I’ve lost my interest in things I used to be interested in quite strongly. It makes my hair stand on end when I recall my mother’s mantra, “Don’t try too hard, you’ll only be disappointed,” or, “Don’t bother with that, you’ll only lose interest anyway.” What a legacy…

Interests. Take urbanism. I realized this with specific acuity when I thought of going online to purchase an item, which in turn reminded of a book about cities and suburbs and built form that I sort of want to pull the trigger on, but also don’t. And I wondered, why?, what’s making me hesitate? And I realized it’s because the issue has diminished in significance for me. And that it has done so because everything has diminished. And that all my previous interests have been extinguished, one by one, primarily because of my isolation from others who are practitioners.

When we lived in B. before, I “blamed” motherhood; but maybe it was this: In B. my dedication to or passion for art history and research and academia was diminished because B. isolated me from others in my field. I always felt a smidgen of passion resurface whenever I went to MIT, but once I was back in B., I was a fish out of water. In Victoria, my “arts” interests were strongly rekindled because I served on the Arts Advisory Council and was suddenly around all these other arts people – albeit not academics. I put the strictly theoretical art history / academia thing to sleep, because in Victoria there was too little resonance for it. (And also, I was finding it a bit silly by then; General Q from eager theory groupies: Oh tell us, postmodern theorist enshrouded in a palimpsest of deconstruction, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? My A [sotto voce]: Who cares.) But I marvel at how my urbanism chops developed in Victoria – because I was with people interested in and practicing the same thing, really engaged people who weren’t just idly shooting the breeze about it, too.

Coming back to B., I tried to keep that interest going, but it has withered on the proverbial vine. My once-flourishing interest has died, which is why I haven’t bought that book. And, no, mother, it’s not because I’ve lost interest. It’s because no one except an idiot would keep battering their head against a brick wall in the hope that this would create interest (from others), resonance, creative juice. It’s insane to think that any of these things can be sustained in isolation, which is what I am here. I can make small talk, chitchat with any number of people – I’m not exactly badly socialized. But I have no one to talk to in depth about any of the things that used to excite my mind. The political situation further isolates me, because people want to rant on about what excites their feelings (typically feelings of outrage, their desire to groom their Trump Derangement). They need to wallow in it. I’m not like that.

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