leaped onto the stage and shouted towards the alarmed audience, “I was born to a woman as a healthy child but ‘born’ does not describe the event that occurred to me at the start of my life because I was not aware of my existence until the age of six when I tripped on a loop of wire and fell face first into the ditch where dogs shat and ants walked and felt sure of death until the screams of nearby children rushed help towards me and pulled me from the ground into the soft comfort of home where I lived, felt the reassurance of human construction and love for my mother who nursed me back to health while I waited, completely unaware of how my wounds were sealed, or that some part of my existence was scraped into the dirt when I fell so that out there today there may be a rock or smear of dirt whose existence is closely tied to mine though I am not aware of it, or if swallowed by some bird and planted with a fruit seed on another patch of ground, grown into a tree that shares the same name as me, I would not be aware of it unless I, too, had grown into a tree, perhaps after I am dead, and joined in the great council of trees, speaking to one another as the wind passes through our leaves like vague and unreliable messengers, a garbled language like many languages mashed together and made indistinguishable from noise, and that maybe is how we speak at all, barely distinguishable because of all the sounds we could make, but close enough so that these words as I speak to you now have some sort of sense-making in them that you could even repeat some of it in approximation to your neighbours when they ask what you had learned today, where you went, expecting the meaning of life in that lecture you thought you wanted to hear if only the words in their combination were not so ingenuine, because somehow you had sensed that, even those words, being very similar to these, were also different in some way and was that because you had truly sensed their speaker was disingenuous or has some fault in your character altered the meaning of the words so that as the speaker said one thing, you heard almost that thing, but different, as it passed through the membrane that rests between your eyes and the speaker’s lips, the sound travelling that way before it even reached your ears, or the focal point within your mind that recognizes the garblegarble into words you might have spoken or heard before, then how would you know that anything you’ve ever heard before was true or right or understandable to anyone but yourself or could you say truthfully that you trust your own judgement in all things, because if you do then you are a fool, as only fools know the truth absolutely, just as only when close to death do we truly know what it means to be alive, as a breath underwater, or maybe we are all fools, knowing absolutely that there is fear, fear of death, and fear of failure, fear of pain and fear of disappointment, that makes us lie to ourselves to cope, saying, ‘this is only the best that I can do,’ which is the same as saying, ‘I must compromise in all things, because perfection does not exist’ but does anyone believe that, I wonder, because perfection must exist if we have any notion of it, or how else do we compare our lives and work to others, or how else do we see things that please us and say, ‘that is as close to perfect as I can imagine it,’ if perfect never existed, or if it has, it is all gone now, and only the memory of it survives and as the world loses its perfection the strive for perfection grows harder every day, and I grow old waiting to reach it, ‘inspiration,’ it is often called, but perhaps that, too, is a lie and no such thing exists because the perfection we see in inspiration is only from lack of attention, and any more time we spend looking would cause us to see its imperfections even more, just as how the master spends time working a painting, corrects the spots endlessly before halting, and only because the patron has come to pick up the commissioned work, only then would we stop, when someone else comes for us, or we would go on indefinitely, in that search and endless correction, ignoring the thought that perfection will never come, that the likelihood decreases as we work, the time spent causing perfection to stretch farther and farther away into the past such that no arm is long enough to pull it back to where we stand now, rooted in our spots like those trees, as all around us moves, seemingly in greater direction than us, then we should remember that perfection does not belong in any person’s pocket, cannot be stolen, because it is gone, but if I can do one thing to help, and the one after me could pick up the small piece that I left, and one after that, then what I built might not be all wasted, though by the end of our journey it may not be recognizably mine, if I could have some reassurance that my mother before me created me so that I may have added one thing to hers, and the one after me could add to mine, then as our lives are bound to creation through an endless string of creation I might not have wasted all away, and comfort is enough to enjoy, instead of living in agony, as I would have, had I died before I had lived,” and off the stage, dancing