An open letter.

To TJ Beitelman, before going with him and two or maybe three other people to Clarksdale, Mississppi, and maybe other places, and maybe to a church service on Sunday morning and maybe not.

You asked “where do you live?” When I’m not at P’s, I live in the land of unlikeness.

My question: So what if we get there and we’re not disappointed? Won’t that be disappointing?

Now I know we don’t have any preconceived notions of what we’ll do and see, and how we’ll feel about it. Because it’s a journey, and journeys are all about the getting there, and the arrival itself is just a part of getting there, as is the return, because the notion of “return” is—well, there’s just no such thing as returning. One “returns” to a different time, a different place, and one is a different person.

But, if we did—just if we did, hypothetically,—have a projected emotional status on arrival, would it be a certain of species of disappointment we’d be after, or just disappointment generally, capital-d Disappointment, that kingdom of emotion that bears weight, that always feels heavy no matter what, that imparts a certain flavor of valence even though each individual disappointment has its own valence that’s different in kind from any other, ever, in the history of human being, even before the people who made hand prints inside caves a long long time ago.

So if not the latter, then, what species of disappointment would we, or each of us individually, to the extent we may be said to be “individuals,” be after?

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