October the 30th, 1998
How I miss my beautiful Dakar! How I miss your soul!
My soul transmigrates deathlessly; it stretches along the way that separates sleepers from breadwinners. Like Bresson's oeuvre, you need to reach L'Argent to reshape, restructure, and reevaluate the past works: the isolated hands and flying hatchets, stretching and falling onto a puddle of water, bloodsoaked and tense; they both cry and whisper an autobiography, a statement. But utterance penetrates so few within the perspective of the utterer, much less in writing, within the purview of morality, especially the virtue of goodness – doing good, thinking good.
I wasn't guided by culture to see my preference for good. The trick, as usual, lies in the drained notions of nature/nurture, tabula rasa/religiosity, etc. of philosophical concepts, and the grey zones within, where the "ordinary man" finds oneself unawares.
An obstacle to redemption here is represented in the title itself: The Necessity of Good. How should one avoid a didactic tone? Should they deem such a tone undesirable? Should they think of the putative avoidance, to begin with? (A masturbatory mental exercise to eliminate self-righteousness)
I should now honour what I wrote: "I wasn't guided by culture to see my preference for good." Namely, I should eschew the abstract and talk memories and events and certain reflections, even though I shouldn't be able to siege them all in one letter.
You already know of my uncle Hassan. He was an idol of mine. "He understands life." I used to think, because of his calm responses and the way he used to observe us, my young uncles and me. But then I would question my thoughts when I fell prey to his fury. That's when I started questioning what good was. Who is good and why are they good and how can they be? Eventually, my admiration to people devolved: first, it was because they were older and had deeper voices, then because they looked comforting, then because they were smart, then finally it was limited in Good.
I was mostly tortured when I questioned my own goodness. I had to do wicked things to prove to myself they weren't any good, and I believe those experiments plucked away, for good, the sound and fury within me. You know best how I can never be furious, that I always approach things wholeheartedly but also with flowing restraint. My anger is processed, not repressed. That' what brought me close to you, Aissa. I've never felt angry with you, the kind of angry that needs processing, not the certain outburst of disapproval (For example, when you fall prey to drunken self-pity
We are good, love. We learn and discover. We don't demand the center of the universe; we are our own universes. You could say the same to me as we both exalt and laugh at the ethics of times.
I hope I'll be soon graced with your presence, speaking of good, as I'm now recalling the night we both knew we'd be friends for years. I believe we spoke of the "warm-hearted" atmosphere of the party, and how that, all in all, warmth should fuck off the winter of surrounding assholeries with or without our help. Either way, we're often warm in each other's company. See you soon, beautiful soul.
Your North African friend.