If you’ve ever been required to read contracts on a regular basis, you may know this feeling. The feeling: each paragraph, each sentence, each clause, sometimes even each word feels on its own like an individual vestige of an individual previous incident. The document in front of you is a clot of those numerous and varied incidents, all metastasized amid what was once likely a quite brief, concise, and even innocent document. The innocence was lost in a lengthy sequence of events that required clarification and amendment, and clarifications of amendments, and amendments of clarifications. Certainly some of the initial text reflected actual forethought: someone had considered a misreading of intent (how the spirit might be failed by the letter), and made sure to write — to embed — the specific meaning into the document. But that’s not the feeling you have. The feeling you have is where the scent of some previous incident rises from some bit of language, and with it the full sense memory of that incident you had not, yourself, actually been present for. And when you lift your face up from the contract, you face the real world, and in the real world there are similar clarifications and amendments, some providing helpful orientation, others downright dispiriting in that they evidence fully how sometimes even the most obvious thing needs to be written out in capital letters and affixed with a messy glob of tape.
What Sound Looks Like: An ongoing series cross-posted from instagram.com/dsqt.