I know it is a little late to be dropping you a ‘Hello’, seeing as you already have decided to ‘check out’ so to speak, but none the less the hope is that there is a postal drop where ever you may be now. If not, then my apologies, but it isn’t my fault that you’ve made delivery of this letter so god damn difficult.
I was paging through some notes of mine, mentally speaking, and had a few questions that it seemed only you could try to explain. First off, the whole notion of the ‘Default Setting’ that you went on about at the commencement speech at Kenyon College back in 2005. This was a core concept that you attempted to get across to the students that were graduating, and I do have to applaud how forceful you persisted in shifting the awareness from ones own needs to a recognition of what was outside of oneself. Well done! But there seemed to be something missing, something you left out, were careful not to step into. Yes, I know that there are an infinite amount of possibilities that exist for explaining all that is going on around us, the pain, happiness, joy, and banality of everyday adult life which we all experience. And yes, I agree it is important to open ones perception wide and far to attempt to make sense of it all, but wouldn’t you also not recognize that this in itself can cause paralysis?
If in following each and every thread to its potential imagined end, for every interaction that we have with the outside world, whether it be family, friends, lovers, coworkers, and complete strangers, how could one not be completely held within an animated suspension of thought, debilitating all possible action? Give me a hand in understanding this if you could David, because all of that awareness would make any action in life damned near impossible. Not meaning to add words to what was missing, but I think that you left out the concept of creating a ‘filter’ so to speak. A filter that is built on whatever belief system that informs being able to listen and see carefully the subtleties that inform life about others we encounter. Is that what was missing from the speech?
Sarah, the love of my life and a big fan of yours (evidently she went to several of your readings before you exited stage left or right?) and I have talked off and on about this speech, your novels, and some of the shorter pieces that you wrote, and unfortunately we are a bit conflicted. She sides with the idea that essentially the speech was about your own inability to find that sweet spot, existing within a state of empathy, compassion, and understanding (hence your obscure postal address now!). I’m not so certain I agree, which is the reason that I am writing you now about the filter idea. So if possible, I would love it if you could carve out a small slot of time to get back to me, with even a yes, no or maybe.
I’m not sure if you’ve had a chance to see what was done with one of your short works, but I thought that I would enclose a short video clip of my favorite scene from it. Just in case you don’t get Netflix where you are at, knowing that a good internet connection can be hard to come by in some locations.
Once again, a huge fan of your work, but it is vexing that you potentially understated or misspoke at the ceremony. So any help in clearing this up would be great.