These are the gaps.
They are what happens after a period of intense focus, effort, achievement, and identity building—and before the next thing begins.
In the gaps, you are unsure of yourself. There is a kind of danger hanging in the air. Things feel both forced and thin. You can see through things; they are easily penetrated; easily riven. Nothing works. Nothing is happening, and yet, also everything is happening. It is a covert ecstasy. It is a silent catastrophe. It is—in the words of Baudrillard—a *lack*.
There are no signs of it, there is no evidence to indicate or prove it, but a kind of speculative decline accelerates nonetheless; you sense it the same way that you sense any imperceptible motion, the same way you know, when you wake up, than an earthquake has happened in the middle of the night, even though everything is just where it ought to be.
— § —
At the same time, there is a foreshadowing of victory in the air, a kind of inspired excitement—the sort that you feel before plunging headlong into any conflict with heart and soul, come what may. Sufficient dedication means triumph, win or lose; it is the abandon that ensures the victory—no one can diminish or undermine it. It is a wild kind of freedom, a kind of rising-above that cannot be slowed or undermined—and it is pending. Violently, aggressively, quietly pending. It stalks every thought, every face you meet, every piece of furniture that you might normally ignore as you go about your everyday life.
But it can still collapse; it can fail to take; the explosion might peter out; the gaps have a logic of their own that causes them to try to stretch, become interminable, become their inverse: the gaps can, without any particular warning, become the things between which lie the gaps.
And should the inversion take hold, an unknowable litany of things will be lost before they are ever begun.
— § —
I am in a gap now.
The Ph.D. is done. The good job is landed. The kids are out of their infancy. The marriage is now venerable. The bills are all paid.
What’s next is yet to happen, and is yet to even be conceived.
The first job—the only job—is to ensure that it does and is, before the gaps become the not-gaps, before the negative space becomes the positive space of life.
Motion is all that matters, yet the physics of friction and inertia are persistent. Determined.
After the deceleration, my job now is to commence a next grand acceleration—and to do it before I become completely hypnotized by the presence of, the all-encompassing context that is—this gap.