There is something about my previous blog entry – which was drafted toward the end of a two-week trip in August, then left unfinished for five or six weeks, then finally published in a rather unbalanced sketch form – that continues in my head....
Copenhagen, Allen, Berlin, Hans-Friedrich. Tivoli, bookstores, Alexanderplatz, the big apartment.... Rostock, Darmstadt, cities and their names...
There were points late in that trip, and afterwards, and perhaps in a number of dreams that I've forgotten, where various clusters of feelings and memory moved past me: and they are heavily weighted, because of course Copenhagen and Berlin were times when it looked as though I would be really happy, really successful; but also times when I was really sad, really lost, far from home, wondering if anyone would ever care about anything I did – there is a heavy (if irrational) emotional intersection between relationships (someone caring about me, as in love, and holding me at night) and success (someone caring about me, as in public symbols of respect and achievement).
These two clusters of love and success may seem unrelated to you, but for me they seem to have gotten connected: I'm not sure they can be completely disentangled again. Even if one of those were to improve in place of the other: if I were to be happy in my home life with a dull career, or the reverse.
There is a particular flavor to those memories that astonishes me: it's no madeleine, but there is a quality that feels as though I could suddenly taste just how it was, in 1993.
And if those memories are present – that may also explain why I was so alternately charming and sour yesterday, at an event in Durham, where I ended up discussing my research and career and life expectations with too many people – at times pleasantly, at times bitterly: afterwards I was appalled at myself, that I had casually expressed so much chilly despair – and thought oh well, I must have left a bad impression with all of those middle-class Brits, at that more posh, more arrogant, more 'British' university.
But that was all an echo of my feelings twenty years ago in Berlin, in Copenhagen: a time when my life up to then seemed to come to a point –
Well, perhaps my life has come to a point, again: but I no longer expect a clear or wonderful resolution – it is just that I can see some of the things that have created this particular me, the me-that-is-present.
It's odd: that it all seems to have a particular sort of flavor.
Is that how I will learn this, and hold it? Or is there really anything to hold, here?...