Last weekend, I sat in Skyler and Alicia’s kitchen and answered their questions about myself. Skyler had been asking to do this for awhile and I was happy to oblige. I like asking about others better but over the past few years talking about myself has become a lot easier.

Katherine told me at the bar that she’ll probably never listen to the talk we taped because she hates the sound of her own voice. It’s pretty common for people to feel that way or to worry that they’ll come off tongue-tied or stupid. It’s like anything else, the more times you do it the easier it gets. It’s not that I love the sound of my own voice or get dazzled by the insights I come up with on the fly, it’s just that it’s become a habit and no big deal to listen to myself yap.

Between this new interview, the deep dive into the old sketchbook, and the ongoing assemblage of the new art survey book, I’m generally in a retrospective self-examinatory mode these days. Writing, editing, and designing material having so much to do with myself specifically is not novel or special but I do find that I have to take a bit of a bemused, perhaps slightly ironic stance on the thing to get through it.

When I was young I used to paint and draw self-portraits all the time. It’s a no-brainer rudimentary exercise for any aspiring painter but also makes a lot of sense for times in a life when one finds oneself fascinating or maybe a mystery. The prospect of sitting before a mirror any longer than it takes to wipe soap or shaving cream off my face is not a thing I want to ponder these days.

In this country, self-discovery seems like a never-ending pastime and hobby full of wonder but, if anything, I’ve long wished to know less about myself or at least forget some of the things I already know. I’m stuck in this meatsack for whatever time I have left but I don’t have to be charmed or enthralled by that fact.

When I think about it in a glass-half-full mode, I’m just another character in the ongoing comedy I’m watching. Not usually the star but not an extra either.

The good thing about the book I’m putting together is that a lot of the work is from long enough ago that I can pretend it was made by someone else. I know that thing about how we replace all our cells every X number of years so we’re literally different entities afterwards, but damnit, there’s still so much of the old molted skin et al that trails after into every successive iteration.

There’s just no damn escape.

But at the same time, I can’t imagine myself as anyone else.

It’s a real conundrum.