And now, Harry, let us step out into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.
On June 21, 2013 at 11:53am., Little Hunches was born with this post:
I can't tell you why I chose that quote. Really. I have no profound affinity for Soren Kierkegaard, nor have I suffered from anything close to anxiety, and I certainly haven't spent too much time grappling with the volume of my expression -- the muteness-to-screaming continuum actually feels a little binary to me. The only thing that still hooks me is the tiny mention of expression. Yes, four years later, that matters even more enormously.
I occasionally find myself tossing around a rather morbid idea: what if, in the closing moments of your life, you were able to have any question answered about the way you lived it? Anything anything. Nothing you could do much about, but certainly the chance at a final aha! or two before you expire. I always imagine they'd range in gravity and specificity, beginning broadly and finishing minutely, almost comically so.
Starting gently: how many books did I read? How many of those authors were female? How many hours did I spend reading Jane Austen? How many times did I reference Mr. Darcy (both publicly and in my own mind)? How many times was I about to reference Mr. Darcy, but somewhat self-consciously held back because I became aware that he was becoming something of a recurring conversation piece and didn't really want to have the whole, "Hey, I've noticed you're talking about Mr. Darcy a lot recently..." conversation? How often did I connect a conversation someone else started about Mr. Darcy to a more impassioned defense of her most exceptional -- though supremely under-recognized -- male protagonist, Captain Frederick Wentworth?
And it would continue, until the question was most obscure (Ok, how many times was I honestly tempted to concede a greater appreciation for Mr. Darcy than I actually openly admitted to, but stubbornly held back and doubled-down on my Captain Wentworth defense, likely referencing his astonishingly flooring letter to Anne Elliot?) and the answer was in the single digits (Hmm. Maybe one?). I think I'd enjoy these answers because goodness, I love that form of expression. But in that form, the appeal is mostly quantitative. The delight (or dismay) being the frequency with which something was done. Did I really, you might smilingly wonder, talk about him THAT much? And on my way out, I hope I can smile and say, You bet.
The real joy, though, would come a little further along. When the inevitable shift in questions happened and you concerned yourself not with the idea that you were talking about Jane Austen, but who you were talking about her with. And when you did. And how long, on average, did those chats last. And the number that happened after you'd turned the lights out and had already said goodnight once but because of this recently emerging, imperatively necessary discussion, you felt compelled to say goodnight for REAL this time. And of the many irreplaceably beautiful times you found yourself next to them and awake at a randomly undiagnosable middle-of-the-night hour because you'd somehow woken up and somehow they were awake too, what percentage of those sacred moments did a little chat about Mr. Darcy spring to life from nothing and disappear just as inexplicably. How many times did you both wake up at a more conventional hour -- let's call it "breakfast time" -- and wonder if either one of us should address the clear elephant in the room: we had a spontaneous and puzzling (yet VERY important) conversation about Mr. Darcy last night, didn't we? Yes yes, we did.
The rational side of existence, and of expression, casts these moments aside as curious and possibly needless and absurd uses of time. Wouldn't one be better served with a full, uninterrupted night's sleep? And of all things, why the hell do we need to talk about Mr. Darcy And for the [I'm not sure yet]th time? I know where you stand on the matter, and you most certainly know where I do. So: why, then? What value does it have? What is it to ask and wonder and consider -- truly consider -- these little topics?
The answer to me, comes a few ways. The first is a completely bristling reaction to the idea that I couldn't spend my time this way, and that were I more wise, I should spend it in solid pursuit of something more meaningful (but oh, how depressing the obituary that begins, "He was a lawyer..."). These moments, to me, are part of the essence of existence. But even that feels a little soft -- they are the greatest blessing to existence, the fragments of experience that make me feel so distinctly privileged to actually have days to spend. How I will always fight with the inadequacy of words to express their significance. And how, as much as I cherish them, I know of their finitude. And the sheer joy of sharing that aliveness with someone else. To be randomly asked, in one of those delightful (though frequently abused) questions, What are you thinking about right now? And that I could absolutely answer, Well, if I'm being honest, I'm was just thinking that the first moments of dialogue between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet could be the best introductory moments to any couple in literature. Those opportunities are binding. They're fleeting, too, even if they last for 100 years.
My second answer is somewhere within this quote, a line from Paul Auster about aging:
As my friend George Oppen once said to me about getting old, "what a strange thing to happen to a little boy."
I'm not sure I know a better way to say it: may I play -- lightly and bouncily -- eternally eternally eternally, always remembering that the the best segments of life happen in tucked-away moments.
The third answer is Little Hunches. A place deliberately created to safely house all these ricocheting ideas. Better than that, to celebrate them. To encourage them. Where you can take a few steps in the direction of my mind, share some of these middle-of-the-night thoughts, and take a moment to wonder along with me: are words that start with "Q" really that beautiful? And, what's it like to say goodbye to a city? And, is silence music? And, what did Arlene teach you on the way to the airport? And, do I love anything the way van Gogh loved cypress trees? And, what DOES Dumbledore have to do with ______?
Which is perhaps the perfect way to end this, because he is the one I asked to sagely re-introduce you to Little Hunches (I feel like there's also a great opportunity here to invoke his phoenix, Fawkes -- such a brilliantly fierce and loyal ally -- with the rebirth of this site) through his wonderfully simple and reassuring nudge toward adventure. It's one of a handful of quotes I have pinned to my wall, and one I could use a million times over, especially whenever I consider the tempting trap of hesitancy -- one I have found myself snared in far too often for my liking. One that has also kept this site dormant for a while now.
So. My hope is that you can indefinitely come here to take part in what I consider to be life's most wonderful questions. I hope you love and hate them, quote them, challenge and question them. And perhaps the biggest honor would be to wake up whoever it is you sleep next to and ask them something you find here: Hey. Hey hey heyyyyy. I know it's late but real quick, I was just thinking: do you think Horatio was a chump? I mean, he doesn't seem to have the DEEPEST relationship with Hamlet...
All I ask is that if that happens, you let me know.