To This Project (first letter)

We’ve been dormant for at least a few months now.  I think about it a lot and keep wondering if we’ll only start up again when I manage to stop thinking about it, or perhaps more importantly, stop caring.  If this were to happen, why would I ever bother with you again?  There’s a question.  Lately, when I’ve thought of another letter or anything else that might get things going, it’s felt as though the new ideas involved, as they form in mind, are enough then and there, fleeting but fully envisioned, preemptively beginning and ending at once.  Why bother if you’ve already figured things out, anticipated it all, realized what could/would/will be?  There’s another question.
I’m reminded of some historical claims about socially conscious conceptual art, but there’s no drive in my current circumstances to argue or privilege the merits of thought over production (or something similar), to claim a sort of precedent in this and contest established relations outside of my own head in doing so, to allow this agenda, its inferences and ramifications for the cultural values underpinning societal relations, to declare art is all over and then be unwittingly rewarded with an acculturating canonization, a career, in doing so, to allow this to subsume whatever it was that I thought we were doing in the first place.  I sometimes fear that I’ve paradoxically turned inward because of all this, away from others, that your ongoing retirement reflects a permanent disengagement from the world, a resignation or defeat in trying to change the way things are for the better.
There’s never been a professional path to forge in seeing you through.  Wasn’t this an important reason for bringing you into the world in the first place?  I’ve hoped your existence would say something like Wake up!  There are reasons to think and feel beyond external affirmation, beyond acknowledgement or acceptance.  But who are we speaking to in saying these things and why do we think we should be telling anybody anything anyway?  I wanted to believe this kind of impasse was easily surmountable when I named you Not Sent Letters.  The conceit would be obvious (or so I thought) and form a continually renewed, rhetorical question to provoke anyone engaging with you: What is lost and found in the unrecognized, the unseen and unheard, the unspoken and unrepresented, the unanointed?  Or something along those lines…  You must know what I’m trying to say here more than anyone right?
Are we stuck because I’m now able to admit that the contradiction between these sorts of intentions and my ego invalidates you (ego here meaning a desire for attention, to be recognized as astute, sensitive, important, to be known in my lifetime and remembered after death, to be understood by others as successful on my own terms, to be living well and publicly as sweet revenge for the various chips on my shoulders).  Have I succumbed to an accumulating sense of shame?
If I have, the shame, the intolerable embarrassment, is caused by something else.  You are, by default, a record of my inarticulateness and overreaching, my ineptitude and naiveté, stretching back to 2005.  You trace a learning curve steeped in mistakes, awkwardness, reductive assumptions and ugly ambition.  This, if I am going to be honest with myself, is the most likely prime suspect for this blockage, but why now?  Why not five or ten years ago?  Surely I have sensed this all along?  Well here’s the thing:  I need you now more than ever before.  It’s to the point that I’m writing you a Not Sent Letter for goodness sake.  All of this accumulating stuff that I find so unbearable is necessary for a much more significant process to take place, one which has led to an awareness of what we might be through each other (and certainly what we have already achieved and become).  It extends far beyond making something from nothing.  There’s no con job between us, no loss of faith.  There’s nothing to prove and now, at long last, we know it.  We really know it.
You have allowed me to develop engines of speculation and critical distance, both within and beyond myself, that I’m only now beginning to consciously navigate with some skill.  I did have an inkling about the possibility of achieving this from the start, but the floundering and panic that have fueled these motors are subsiding only now.  A new sense of responsibility, privilege and gratitude is introducing itself during our ongoing moment of arrest.  The separateness of art and life, at least for us, has become meaningless.  I no longer feel despair or desire in the face of it all.  I’m rolling with the punches and enjoying the struggle for what it is (as all there is).
I’m still adjusting to this awareness.  Knowing one can proceed, should proceed, without pressure or need, is not equivalent to doing so, but at least in realizing this we’ve found our own sense of time and shared being.  Writing to you for the first time like this (hard to believe while completely understandable) feels like a new beginning.
jeremy