A recent unpleasantness with my eye meant a seat in the opthamologist’s chair, where I was reassured to hear at least I had good eye pressure going for me. I mean, that’s something. In the garden later, plucking a drooping and dying pepper plant, I realized pressure, of course, is part of what makes us alive; tension imbues us with the life force.
We’re at that point in the midsummer now, where the initial ecstasy of sleeping with the windows wide open and splashing through the shallow edge of a lake has lost its rarity. Our life – while good – is filled again with a kind of tension that might just be contemporary American life, or might just be who we are in this household.
The truth is, tension is creativity’s life force. All afternoon, working alone, I sunk into writing my book, spiraling deep, imagining myself upside down, descending into an abandoned stone-lined well. Nothing flaccid, nothing flabby, but all muscle, clenched and cunning. Alive.
Like most others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles – a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other – that kept me going.
– Hunter S. Thompson