empty head, full heart

Being in Barcelona makes me think about Bob Cassilly. Maybe because I’ve been thinking about Gaudi, maybe because I’ve been thinking about life. Maybe because I’ve been on a rooftop, talking to Andre, who reminded me of him.

City Museum 2 by Jeff Roberson AP via NPR
City Museum, St. Louis, Bob Cassily. Photo by Jeff Roberson, AP, via NPR

I’ve somehow suddenly, or not suddenly (I can’t be sure) developed a string of very mixed feelings; when I search inside myself, I find…. empty spaces. I believe that this is what I meant to happen, as I cleared out my life, my head, my house, my dreams. But it feels stark in an unexpected way.

I realize that I’ve never allowed any space inside before, or room in my dresser drawers, or a lack of questions in my head, so I don’t know quite what to make of the open plains. I can’t tell the difference between an ache of hunger or that of a phantom limb of the heart; I am uncertain of the difference between a question with one answer and a question with many.

Most information seems subject to change; the universe is constantly shifting, as is our awareness of our surroundings. One can tie something down to find it downstream the next morning; the keys not on the table they were set down on, then back again. Old assumptions disappear; new facts shimmer into seeing.

City Museum, photo by Jeff Roberson, AP, via NPR

I can distract myself from abstract questions by focusing on a project, and I can give my intellectual passion to it, but eventually, the waters become very full. When that happens it’s time to leave some sort of white paper on a table with a rock on top and vanish through vents like smoke. That moment is approaching for Contemporary Geometric Beadwork; the paper in this case will be a two-volume set of books and an eBook filled with video. It will be beautiful, a sliver of architecture slipped into in a world that craved more paths to structure.

In a few months, I’ll dust off my hands and start looking for the hallway in Boston that I saw in the dream; the one with eleven huge paintings hung down the length of it, walking distance from MIT. I think of that campus longingly, I imagine pressing my forehead against Jack’s to cool the fire in my head; my thoughts are hot, they burn.

View from bedroom terrace in Barcelona
The terrace outside of my bedroom at our apartment in Barcelona; we face a portion of the old Roman city wall, and there is laughter and music in the small square late into the night.

Despite the deep connections I have with people, if words won’t work, there is no way to speak my heart, and I feel isolated.

I dream of the paintings, because I think that they might speak for me, maybe they can express what I can’t seem to say. It’s strange and new to have ideas or questions that don’t work in words; I’ve never in my life felt outside of language; I feel myself trying harder than I normally might to bond with other humans.

Tomorrow, I think, it’s Casa Batlló for me; the first Gaudi I saw, and still my favorite.

Gaudi's Casa Batlló, photo courtesy of Tripomatic Barcelona

You might like to know that Laurie Anderson wrote a longer piece about her life with Lou Reed, and it’s in the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone. You can read it here.

I find that the song I keep coming back to of Lou’s is Perfect Day; although he wrote it in 1972, long before he met Laurie, it neatly describes the way he bonded with her, and reminds me of Bill.

2 thoughts on “empty head, full heart

  1. Kate–you look absolutely amazing in the pictures you’ve posted from your trip so far. The haircut really suits you and/or the international travel simply agrees with you, because from the photographic record, at least, you are beaming light in every shot. Whatever process is happening internally in terms of “making room” looks good on you…and I’d like whatever you’re having :)

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