O Dreamland [Andrew Alexander]
Gentle reader, discouraged traveler, kind friend,
When times get tough, we’re told to toughen up, and this is undoubtedly good advice. But as you are no doubt already aware, there is another, perhaps better, way. I offer this playlist as a map of territory already known to you. It is a means to contemplate the twists and turns of your own path so you can see all of its peculiar contours, as if from above.
Far be it from me to tell you how to do something, but I humbly suggest a way to begin:
1. Pick a place where you feel comfortable and at home. I suggest your home.
2. Pick a time when distractions are few. I suggest night.
3. Pour yourself a drink.
4. Click the button that causes the video to fill the entire screen.
5. Set your device aside in a place where you can see it.
6. Cook something.
Tomorrow morning when you wake up, you must try to be more hopeful than you were the day before, even as you remember the dismal truth: you’re stuck with what you have. You can only toughen up so much and no more. But remember, as dreary dawn brightens into difficult day, that when all else fails, you can still choose to be more curious.
I feel cats are on my side when I say that curiosity, seldom deadly, is actually the greatest of virtues. We may prize wealth, beauty, talent, health, style, courage, kindness and success, but aren’t those things valuable insofar as they take their charge from curiosity, or give energy to it? Other virtues can be hard to locate, nearly impossible to increase or maintain, and they seemingly grow scarcer by the day. But curiosity is an infinitely renewable resource.
Cultivation of it begins with a journey to the interior, never an altogether pleasant trip. But steel yourself for it, because when other lights flicker out, you can rely on your curiosity to guide you. This takes practice while the lights are still on.
Could the comfort you’ve sought elsewhere be found in curiosity? Would it be any help to think that, in the great darkness that’s descending, courage and curiosity may soon be indistinguishable? Is it possible that, even in the dazzling light of our most glorious days, the two have always been one and the same?
Start with a stiff gin, a careful listen and a good cry. Cook something, and then take it from there.
Yours in his meager love, courage and curiosity,
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