knowing what I Iike
is the first step to get it
Michael Borremans, The Devil’s Dress (II), 2011
For many years I’ve been in desperate search of taste. I think people wrongly assume that your taste is a birthright, that it will fall into your lap. I don’t think so. I think you have to run after it. That was what I was doing all those years when I was poring over books written by old Russian men instead of paying attention in class, picking cherry blossom petals off the ground by the handful and worrying them until they fell apart between thumb and index finger, talking to you instead of living my life, buying the wrong clothes and discarding them, screenshotting thousands of words of text. I was following my attention. I was letting myself get caught, and then I was tearing myself free.
Addiction is the opposite of attention because it lacks variety. True attention is always fresh, never monotonous; you look at the same thing and see something different each time. You’re always going deeper.
I always thought I needed to wrestle with my attention, push it into a mold. I needed more credentials, a more conventional life path, a steady partner, a shiny apartment. I feel differently now. I think the goal of my life is to be as interested as I can, all the time. And there’s no way to force interest. You can lead a horse to the water but it will only drink when it wants.