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Agency, Providence
and Time


 









He wanted to meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beheld. […] They would meet quietly as if they had known each other and had made their tryst, perhaps at one of the gates or in some more secret place. They would be alone, surrounded by darkness and silence: and in that moment of supreme tenderness he would be transfigured. He would fade into something impalpable under her eyes and then in a moment he would be transfigured. Weakness and timidity and inexperience would fall from him in that magic moment

From A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
James Joyce, 1916

A Personal Musing


In East Louisville, Kentucky, spectacle wearing, lifetime drifter, Avery Mann, accepts a ride from a pickup truck. He is told to climb in the trucks bed; he sits looking backwards. On his lap is a box of cheap antique watches (all with Roman numerals, most not ticking — none have the correct time). The truck is headed west around midnight on the first Sunday of November (Louisville straddles the “Central” and “East” US time zones if you don’t know). The box of watches was left curbside by some county workers who had cleaned out the house of recently deceased nonagenarian Maxim Qualunquecosa. Quite some miles away, a Foureye Butterflyfish (the ones with those faux-eye colorations close to their tail to deceive predators) is swimming against the Western Atlantic current, a direction in concert with a violent and large waterspout that is gyring counter clockwise on the surface above. On the nearest landfall, on a bluff in Providence, Rhode Island, the effect of said nor’easter is causing some stormy and icy conditions. An archaeologist named Aurora Qualunquecosa (estranged from father Maxim) has fallen unconscious after slipping on an ice patch on the edge of her dig. Yesterday Professor Aurora had discovered a mummified Cro-Magnon man preserved in peat for nearly 30,000 years. The professor, lying horizontal on a gurney, is being pulled vertically by a winch toward the National Guard helicopter. The stretcher, because of the spinning blades is slowly rotating clock wise. Outside the downwash of the rotors the wind is blowing hard from the north. 




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