1. She will give you a “heart hug,” which is a hug of the heart touching the heart.2. It’s hard to think of any actress that Ryan Gosling doesn’t have good chemistry with. 3. Design brief: what’s it like to live on Mars? 4. “Apparently I have a wall.” "It’s hard to read when you’re uncomfortable, but that may be because others haven’t learned how." 5. The Asian man in a gray suit stopped in front of Slice, fixed his Fedora, looked pointedly toward the right, then strode forward with purpose. He reminded Wanda of Tony Leung in Wang Kar Wai’s In the Mood for love. 6. It is best to eat your biscotti with tea or coffee. 7. So it’s a storytelling game! 8. There is sensory overload. 9. There can be no one more hip than you. 10. So is your plan to become a mogul? 11. You were like a mad-scientist genius at your podium.
In Manchester all you listen to are mandarin pop ballads - the saccharine 278 songs you have in your “Iching Sodapop” playlist that hasn’t been updated since, oh my, June of 2012. Some routines don’t change though, the fact that you still only light candles when you do deep writing, preferably staring out a window. To be fair, listening to music of the opposite origin seem to have always been your schtick. As a preteen in Ohio, you grew tired of Hot101 and the moment Internet happened it was gorgeous melancholy Japanese rock and glam all the time. The walk from your apartment to the bus was always dark, and therein the best time to growl to Shiina Ringo. China was the opposite, in China you took all the “Music Mondays” Urban Outfitters music from your co-worker and lived on Pitchfork like you were going to step out to Bedford for lunch. When you were learning about the Middle East you listened to Lebanese bands like Soap Kills, and of course, Beirut, even if they have nothing to do with Lebanon.
It probably would have been better if you turned up to, say, Costa Rican birdsong.
You do so many pitches. You do so many pitches the same way, the familiar feeling of sculpting the stories, the wee hours into the night, the heart racing before the presentation. Some of the emotions are shadows. Most are different. More are the non-stop talking. Instead of sculpting in silence, some brooding, mostly maniacal, you are working on some hybrid, futuristic, larger than imagination statue with five strangers. In one week you get to know them better than your mother (in some ways). You grow to love them, just a little. In the way that you love humans, and their idiosyncrasies, their fallacies, their tenacities. You write a Wechat message to R telling him that, “bro, we worked together beautifully,” because more than anything else you’ve learned at Hyper Island, it is the act of knowing it and saying it.
You hear they can edit genes now like cutting a scene from a movie. Hello Gattica. You hope the scientist in China editing Monkey genes know that imperfections are the stuff of great art. NEVER SURRENDER YOURSELF TO PERFECTION.
You keep watching the movies in the theatre alone. It has become, shall we say, therapeutic. It’s wonderful unlike Beijing or New York. There are no lines, and 20 minutes of commercials and trailers! And when the movie starts you shed layers and layers from the day and almost climb into the screen until you are clandestine and consumed by giant trees, giant buildings, and giant heroines.
You wonder if the world had always felt like it was on the brink of something big - Mars, Arctic Drilling, A Planet Dying, China Ascending.
Even the movies and floating cities couldn’t save The Avengers. You can’t wait for a big beautiful film… my god. A tree to the moon. You can’t wait to be swallowed up, lifted away, and forgotten in the darkness.
China is almost becoming a burden. A self-assigned burden. A wounded ego with a sustaining bruise. The key is probably to be Buddhist about it. Let it go and enjoy the five seasons in a day in England, and the air! What air! The air is probably already enough. The key is not to feel obligated. There will never be an answer to this. She will always be familiar, and alien, deeply-moving, constantly-heartbreaking, suffocating, dying, and living just fine, with or without you.
Then again, so will you, with or without her.