Mending

The zipper broke on my jacket the other week, and rather than replace it I opted to seize the means of production myself and buy a sewing machine. Before you say it know that I’m thinking it too—guy buys sewing machine, declares self a radical, how cute. But really, I’ve had a lot of fun learning how to do this myself. 

The repair itself took a bit of time—a whole book, in fact. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, which I listened to at a slower-than-usual 1.25x speed to pace myself. There were a few bumps in the road: a machine malfunction fixed at a local shop, an ill-fitted zipper, user error. In the end I did it myself and came away with a like-new jacket and an expanded sense of possibility. 

I’ve been mending other things, too. A part on my car, denim worn through, emotional scars getting harder to ignore. Scratch that; not scars per se, but adaptations no longer useful. Like the jacket with the broken zipper, or the jeans worn through at the knee, I’m finding some parts of myself in need of attention, care, and skilled repair. 

I wish there was a 5-minute YouTube video I could quickly review before running a heavy duty sewing machine over the tears in my heart. 

There’s much mending to do at large. You see it, too, I’m sure. It’s hard to ignore in my neighborhood. Someone airs out their cardboard at the library, hoping it will dry before another snowy night spent outside. Mail goes undelivered for weeks at a time in parts of town due to staff shortages. Symptoms of a mal-adapted heart. Something much larger isn’t working. 

The jacket of our reality needs mending. I’m tired of hearing this world is not our home, and rather than throw the garment out entirely I’m inclined to learn what can be mended. 

Perhaps this sense of urgent repair is part of why I’m enjoying science fiction so much lately. A review of the books I’ve read this year shows that a majority of them fall within this genre—a topical shift I wouldn’t have predicted a few years ago. Some of the appeal is escapism, sure, but I also find the genre to be generative. The stories I’ve found are paradigm-pushing, creating a similar expanded sense of possibility. 

This quality isn’t general, but found particularly in the queer- and femme-penned books in the genre. Becky Chambers in particular. (A Psalm for the Wild-Built.) Hers is sci-fi that feels distinctly human, even when treating alien characters. The hearts and hopes of the individuals are central to the story. Indigenous sci-fi, too. (Terra Nullius, Love After the End.) Even the masculine writers have helped push my sense of the possible. (The Ministry for the Future, Half-Earth Socialism.) Something about visiting interstellar worlds makes Earth feel much more possible. 

I’m still thinking about god as potential and a future worth moving towards. These fictions help distill that future ideal into something imaginable, becoming a prerequisite to possibility. 

There’s something worth moving towards, something better for you and for me. We need not throw out the jacket for want of a working zipper. I want to imagine that future, that expanded possibility, and begin the mends necessary to bring it into reality. 

I hope you’re well. As always, I’d be happy to hear from you.

Mason

Letter #1

Hi there,

Wherever there is, be it digital or a mailbox—I’m grateful you’re there. I’m hungry to connect; wary of attachment but craving a meaningful enmeshment of me and my world. Your world. So I’m writing this letter. 

A lot’s on my mind. Yours too, I’m sure, so I hope you’ll respond if you’re so inclined. Nothing to urge but of course it all feels very urgent doesn’t it. 

The german poet writes of god not as historical origin, but the possibility of some future emergence. god as potential, possibility worth moving towards. I feel as though I’m not moving at all and yet this is something I’m connecting with right now. Attaching to. 

How do you want god to emerge in your life? There are cracks in mine I hope something will take root in. I’ve no clue what will grow best, but that’s the solace of emergence I suppose—need not pick and choose, only tend to and hope.

Tend to hope. That’s hard to do. My heart has strings, and like an octopus’s tentacles they’re independent neural networks searching, roving, tending as towards food. You are what you eat, and my diet’s out of whack. Here’s hoping those networks can be reworked and netted in new ways meaningful and regenerative. How do you train a heart? 

I’m getting into the weeds here. What I mean to say is: I’m looking for the optimism, the reasons to connect, the pieces of god potentiate(?). Amidst decay what is growing? What can I tend to, hope for and harvest? Perhaps just weeds, but surely they still have some nutritional value when they’re so green like that. 

So I want to share with you some of what I’m seeing, tending to. This is arrogance and hubris, sure, but I mean to connect and enmesh myself with something possible. Something that looks a lot like you. And me, and us, together. 

And you can always put this letter down, too, if it’s not for you. I hope you will. But if it is worth reading—and I hope for some of you it will be—I hope you’ll do just that. Perhaps you’ll respond as well. I’d like that. 

Yours,

Mason


What I’m Connecting With

  • Becky Chambers, A Psalm for the Wild-Built. Short sci-fi with a big heart. Her Wayfarers series is also worth exploring. Space opera full of humanity, with humans playing a small role. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1240266570
  • On Being, short Foundations episodes. Krista Tippett is an unassuming host with great wisdom. The short episodes released this fall have been a solace for me in moments of fear. https://onbeing.org/series/podcast/
  • James Bridle, Ways of Being. An earthly refresher on what is possible & emerging. A reminder that much will persist if/when we do not. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1296687871
  • Chad Lawson, breathe (piano instrumental album). What’s playing while I read. 
  • Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. The german poet quoted above. https://www.worldcat.org/title/1178868956