The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Summer is ending...

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What seemed like a distant shore but a moment ago is now nearly past the bow, moving starboard towards the stern. For the first time in so long, Summer actually means something to me. Likely because it can now be contextualized by the cold approach of winter, the thought of icy winds biting and stinging my finger tips makes me mourn the present. With that, this season suddenly presents an opportunity to practice non-attachment, deeper presence, and the cultivation of Proustian perspective. I feel grateful for the sweltering heat these days. In Southern California I found myself eagerly awaiting its end so that I could return to the sly tepidness found within LA's gaudy and gilded shores.

I'm sitting at the darkly stained wooden bar of In Sheep's Clothing, a vinyl listening cocktail lounge in Manhattan's West Village. I wish I had the knowledge to identify the wood that runs in grained rivers beneath my notebook. I noticed the impulse to catalogue it arrogantly as a "dark oak", knowing damn well that I know not the first thing about trees or wood grain. The impulse vexed me. This was not created for a public forum, this was my personal writing, it was written for my eyes only. Why was I so willing and ready to lie to myself for absolutely no gain?

What was this impulse hoping to achieve? Why the mental gymnastics? Should I be worried?

My gut says spending too much time picking this apart or judging too harshly is a non-sequitur. Let's instead amplify what happened; I caught the impulse and moved against it. A wise voice once said:

You are not the bad thought, you are the thought that responds to the bad thought.

In that way we are very much the ripple in the still-water, not the splash, nor the rock that caused the splash, nor the hand that tossed the rock. You are the wake itself. Perhaps that's why to have your eyes open is to be Awake.

Notes on Setting

The blue light of late afternoon New York floods through the staggered set of glass double doors leading into the warm, wooden, and glowing interior of In Sheep's Clothing. A new comer to the space might notice me at the rear of the staple-shaped bar, writing sporadically into my midnight blue Moleskine, a ruby red Negroni burning brightly next to my writing hand. I'm hunched over my notebook similarly to how Bill Evans would phantom over his 88 ebony and ivory keys. I glance up here and there to stop and take a sip while I ponder the next delivery of prose. The room may be a square shape, or at least very close to it. In it's corners are massive Klipsch horns, each large enough to stuff a child into. I lean my weight into my right elbow as I put pen to paper. I'm tired now and the words aren't flowing, but alas, something is better than nothing.

Before you go on, may I suggest brewing a cup of coffee or tea to accompany the following listens?

📚 A Quote to Consider

I picked this book up the day before last and have been moving through it at a rapid clip. Patti Smith's writing seems to be having a moment amongst young people, or perhaps that's the echo chamber talking. Either way, when my wife stumbled through our door with a copy of M Train after a long day of prancing about Manhattan by herself, I had a feeling I would end up diving into these pages sooner than later. My wife inhaled M Train and has hailed it as an eternal favorite of hers. I'm reading it now off the strength of her testimony and I will say, Patti's lucidity around her stream of consciousness is magnificent to behold. The elegance, the grace, the poignancy - she quickly inspired me to see how I can show up to even my most mundane writings more playfully. My wife actually showed me the following quote during her read through and I loved it then, I read it again on my own today and I still love it now.

Overhead the fans spin, feigning the four directions of a traversing weather vane. High winds, cold rain, or the threat of rain; a looming continum of calamitous skies that subtly permeate my entire being. Without noticing, I slip into a light yet lingering malaise. Not a depression, more like a fascination for melancholia, which I turn in my hand as if it were a small planet, streaked in shadow, impossibly blue.

🎧 A Song to Study

🏡 An Album to Live In