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Teju Cole

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In a time of surveillance and snitchery, being looked at, far from being the same as being seen, is often its exact opposite. Looking is extractive, but seeing is relational. Survival depends on knowing the difference. The friend’s voice: “I see you.”

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Late night. Such a concourse of faces at F.’s party. Who were those people? What were those conversations? But now, solitude; music in bed. And an early train in the morning. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Kim Kashkashian’s new set of the Bach Cello Suites, transcribed for viola, are freer and fleeter than usual. What happens then, when the tremor of dark wood is separated from the familiar music? I envision a man in neutral colored robes moving in a fluent way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A friend is one who plays the melody of your life back to you on a different instrument. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If I sleep now, I’ll get six hours before I get going in the morning. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ A dancer in an ancient Chinese court, perhaps one of those preserved in painted terracotta from the Tang. The lines clear like a young river, like calligraphy from a serene hand. Neither high nor low, neither dark nor light. All that complexity conveyed in a neutral register, no wasted gestures, no added emotion. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ When the tremor of dark wood is separated from the familiar music. If I continue listening I’ll get five and a half hours. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Five. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Four. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “Everything worthy is fragile and under threat, is prey to time and invisible to power, and yet affection keeps the accounting in the black. Worthy things, invested with affection, pass into ‘the now/ which is eternal.’ I don’t know how this can be... and yet I believe that it is so.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (Wendell Berry) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

They are always surprised to discover that we, too, know how to hate.

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀“beijos” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ —🇧🇷 playlist— ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ see profile for link ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Apostle possibly is not wrong. Possibly, the Apostle is right. I ask only to consider the matter a little longer before I agree. A little more time—time, which itself is related to hope—before a decision is made. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “A Chronicle of Life and Pain in Upstate New York,” my most recent essay, is about Brenda Ann Kenneally's impressive, immersive "Upstate Girls." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ nytimes.com/column/on-photography ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Or see profile for link. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

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