Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Combination Lock

I’ll tell you what it feels like. It feels like I’ve been trying to crack a combination lock for years. And the combination lock in question isn’t a dial or a little keypad. Oh no, this baby’s big. Full sized keyboard big. The amount of potential combinations I could enter is staggering.

And I’ve been tapping in codes for a long time: endless permutations of letters, strings sometimes thousands of digits long. And sometimes these random combinations might accidentally cough up actual words. They might resemble sentences, or even full stories.

But don’t let that fool you. They’re just codes. Any pattern is an illusion. Any narrative you think you see exists only in your mind. It’s all just code.

read moreAnd I’ve been at this for years. Tapping away at my keyboard. Discarding old approaches, leaping upon new methods with fevered intensity. Mutating, adapting, editing, refining, trying to second guess the lock builders. Punching in code string after code string.

And sometimes I think I’ve cracked it. The lock clicks promisingly, maybe moves a little. A little light leaks out. Then the lock corrects, whirs and ticks, closing tight again with a pneumatic sigh.

But I carry on. I don’t what else to do. All my other skills and interests have withered and fallen away. I only know the keyboard. And the lock.

And eventually there comes a point when I have forgotten that there is even a lock. I have forgotten why I am even here. All I hear is my fingers on the keyboard and all I can see are the code strings marching across the screen in front of me.

And slowly, my focus shifts. I begin to see beauty in the code strings where before I had seen simply utility. I start to realise that there are ways to make the code even more beautiful, without losing any of it’s functionality. The accidental words and characters and stories which I had previously endured as a necessary evil now become my focus.

The code ceases to be the means to an end. The code is no longer the journey. The code is now the destination. I soon reach the point where I can think of no better way to spend my life creating infinitely more intricate and elegant code strings.

I am so absorbed in my new purpose it is some time before I realise that I am now bathed in light from the open lock.

I grin and keep typing.

No comments: