© Aron Hsiao / 2004
I am actually a big fan of tactility and of the aesthetics of materials and situations. That’s my version of sensuousness—not massages and hugs and strawberries dipped in chocolate, but more more fundamental stuff.
I have always loved leather, for example. Hard or soft, black or brown, it doesn’t matter. My cars have always had leather seats. I have always worn leather shoes. I have always had multiple pieces of outerwear at any time made of leather.
The same goes for stone. One of the first eBay purchases I made, way back when I was still a teenager, was a stone chess set. Why? Not because I loved chess so much as because I loved stone and the aesthetics of stone when carved into a chess set. I basically took up chess because of the fact that chess sets could be made of stone, and though I never got good at chess and the pieces have since been lost, the board remains and I can’t bring myself to part with it, even though it weighs rather a lot and has no purpose without actual chessmen to accompany it.
Wood, pavement, stone, leather, glass, steel. The tactility and aesthetics of these things lie somehow at some of the deepest intersections of my subconscious mind, as do the seasons and situations that bring out their nuance as well as their extremes. I have spent rather a lot of money over the course of my life (relative to the amount of money that I actually have) ensuring that I’m surrounded by these things. They mean rather a lot to my well-being, I think.
Yet I’ve not been able to find a way in my life to do much with this intense interest and yen. Photography is as close as I’ve come, and I’ve built a tiny (and I do mean tiny) side income with thousands of photos taken over the years that are essentially all about these materials in various kinds of lighting and in various situations, as found in the real world. No people. No hugs or chocolate-dipped strawberries and red lips. Those things bore me.
But a particularly interesting marble hallway? A leather jacket laying on a wooden table? Be still my heart.
But I do wish that I could figure out a way to turn this interest into something deeper. Something that somehow synergizes with my other great loves in life—academics and writing.
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Some people were made for business and the office and the modern workplace.
I was not.
I was definitely, definitely not.
— § —
Between this blog, my personal digital diary, and my written journals, commonplace books, and so on, I have upwards of 4,000 pages of personal writing accumulated.
What is it all for?
Someday, I’ll aggregate them all into some sort of volume, all collated into chronological order from the multiple sources at issue, and have them bound. Two or three copies, maybe. Just to have and to pass on.
I’m not sure. Because it all exists, that’s why.
And because I need to add paper to the list of substances above that fascinate me, deeply resonate with me, and by whose aesthetics and tactility I am held utterly spellbound.