The Next Big Thing

So I’ve gotten behind again. To my credit, after all that whining I’ve finally made a decision.

In any decision, there are really two steps to be negotiated. First, there’s the planning phase, in which you lay out all of your options like you were dealing out a hand of poker, building each stack into a house of cards, a precarious string of logic that suggests you are selecting the best outcome out of many. This phase of decision-making is usually the longest and the most misleading, because as soon as you pick out the one best shining ace of an eventuality from its laminated spire, what you are actually choosing is the very first card balanced at the foundations of the house, the first white pawn which you must advance to get the roadshow rolling. That first active choice marks the beginning of the phase two, and by the time you’ve made it, the house of cards begins to change. Sometimes the thing collapses or combusts, but more often it is transfigured into a sprawling labyrinth of conditional outcomes that looks more like a hedge maze in Wonderland than the neat little condo you’d stacked out of a deck of Bicycles. Now the choices come on like banking turns on a wet highway, flashbulb switches that can get you to the next neat snick of the game clock but not to the end of the game. In reality, none of those top-card results you’d imagined are real options; by the time you get that far up the stack the cards have been reshuffled.

I can’t remember if I’d written it, but I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t be continuing at the University of Haifa. Once I knew that, I started scouring websites and bulletin boards for my next project. I emailed ship’s captains, sent CVs to park managers, weighed out travel insurance policies and even co-opted my dad into nepotistic inquiries among his psychiatrist friends in midtown Manhattan. I considered building a cat-food can stove and hitting the trail till October, writing a book while living off of dividends and dumpster spoils, or even Peace Corps, that Great American Default which is forever cropping up in the conversations of idealistic college grads like a fat little squirrel that scratches at your back door. Anyway I found myself a nice fishy research project and it’s Technion here-we-come in October. Meanwhile I am retranslating Adam Zertal’s book in Ann Arbor, home-fun spinning smoke rings of bullshit among close friends and the close friends of close friends that are always a little lamer, writing mousy louse-y little poems and blunting in the sunshine, putting shoe tread to trail, getting wrist-deep in fish and all the other little pleasures of summer. This blog space is getting a little derelict… in an attempt to make up for the lack of essays and entries, I’ll try and keep throwing poems up.

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~ by jonlib on July 2, 2007.

One Response to “The Next Big Thing”

  1. Jon, I am trying to locate contact information (preferably email)for Adam Zertal. I am writing my PhD dissertation and would like to speak to him about Mt Ebal. I thought since you referenced translating one of his books that maybe you could provide a link to him. I tried the Univ. of Haifa faculty directory, but my email bounced back. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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