Sunday, September 03, 2006

Eriq

James calls Eriq the mad scientist. In some ways, he is.

Eriq is insatiably curious about the world, and he does seem always to have an experiment or two in progress. During my brief stay in Vancouver, these included several dinners, a batch of blackberry wine, a watercolour painting, code for an online encyclopedia, and the third chapter of the novel he is writing. All this while working a full-time job.

Eriq spent years studying philosophy and linguistics before finally deciding not to pursue an academic career. He described going through a difficult transition period, in which he realized that he had lost his self-identity as a scholar and had none to replace it with. Instead, he resolved to devote his considerable energies to working on his character, a word he uttered without a trace of either pretension or irony.

How could I not sleep with the man?

As some of you well know, it’s been rather a long time. There have been a few dalliances, none of which bear mentioning, but no one who could accurately be termed a lover. By this existentially conflicted summer, I had resigned myself to being what the always adroit contrary-wise calls “a head on a stick,” a state I once presumed to be equivalent to death. In a certain sense, it is.

For me, celibacy is the corporeal equivalent of writer’s block: that is, of having a thousand things you urgently want to say but not being able to say them. I’ve missed using my body as a means of expression, and the reprieve that it offers from words. This is also what I like about making music: you can mean something even when words fail.

The first night with Eriq, I couldn’t stop myself from smiling. When I opened my eyes, he was smiling too.

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