The first of many beginnings that turned out to have no middle or end. Waste not, want not, though, right?

It was social services placed me here, in this two-person, three-yappy-dog suburban coffin, here to prosper and grow up, after which they’re presumably going to let me out into the world again. As if I can afford to wait that long. They’re good people, nice people, these two, but they’re not my people. Do I even have people? Doesn’t feel like it, not so far.

So I’m on my own now, is it? Better not lose my library card then. I’ll be needing it for planning and stuff.

2 thoughts on “Agency

  1. bystander March 29, 2023 / 5:52 pm

    Well, now, William…. I’ve been puzzling over this recent entry, reading and rereading, parsing the words, the phrasing and the tone and I have to admit that I’m kind of flummoxed. It reads like something that might have been felt by a child placed into foster care and written when somewhat older. But, then I wonder if it might not be the “ghost” of some large language model finding itself at the center of an AI controversy. I am lost. You can place me in this lost-space quite easily, I’ve discovered. It’s a talent methinks; yours for losing me, or mine for twisting myself into a pretzel… I’m not sure I know. Cheers! ….I think?

    • William Timberman March 29, 2023 / 7:41 pm

      You’re less puzzled than you think. Let me explain:

      Lately I find myself living in dreamtime longer each day than I did even 10 years ago. It’s the classic old person syndrome—as we become less active, memory comes to compete more and more successfully with the day-to-day for our attention. This isn’t true of everyone, but it’s common enough to deserve being thought of as a cliché. We tell rambling stories. We bore the crap out of our progeny. We forget to let the cat back in.

      There’s been more of the proper garden-variety dreaming too, and me being me, by far the greater part of it consists of text rather than images. Fully-formed short essays, the opening page or two of what sound like perfectly plausible novels—there are even different voices and different accents sometimes, like snippets from a play. I kept telling myself I ought to write them down, but by the time I’d roll over and put my feet on the floor, they’d be gone. When I was younger that wouldn’t have bothered me much. “Plenty more where those came from” was my general attitude. Now, though, the experience was leaving me feeling a bit haunted, a bit bereft by the loss of moments that always seemed so vital and significant until I actually reached for them.

      The upshot was that I took to keeping an iPad on my nightstand, and taught myself to type really fast while still half asleep. In the cold light of day, the results usually seemed a lot less exalted than when they’d first come to me. To be expected, I told myself. Some actually bordered on gibberish, much like the wisdoms we used to exchange after sharing a joint or two. Some were definitely keepers, though, and those I’ve decided to post here from time to time. They’re not intentionally obscure, although I suppose you could argue that they’re intentionally ambiguous.

      You got this one pretty much right though. I lost my trust in adults when I was just a bit more than 10 years old. It angered me that they would never admit to the subtext that they tried so clumsily to hide from me, and I resolved that if they wouldn’t explain it to me, I’d figure it out on my own. And so I did. And so I still am the child I started out to be at ten. And that’s what this piece from the edge of awareness is, a fleeting recreation of the forge I was drawn from, the resolution that tempered me. It’s called “Agency” because there’s a lot of talk these days about agency, especially among the oppressed. Realizing that it is never given, only taken, is the first step toward emancipation.

      (For the record, I wasn’t an orphan, and was never fostered, but given the parents nature had gifted me with, I might as well have been.)

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