– Well, that’s certainly not an easy question to answer…
– I know, that’s the point of the project. Otherwise he wouldn’t have asked you to answer it.
– Of course, nothing’s ever as easy as it seems when you’re a grown up… Or half of one, at least.
– Yeah… So, tell me, who are you?
– I don’t know, who are you? What am I supposed to say to that? Could you answer it?
– I’m not the one who has to answer the question.
– Well, you’re the one supposed to be helping, aren’t you? Huh, I don’t know… Let’s see, I’m a Nicaraguan living in Berlin, studying comp-
– Nope. Stop.
– What? Why?
– Because this is supposed to be something that identifies you as a person, as a unique human being. If you tell me you’re a student, you’re not telling me anything about you.
– Of course I do since most of my fucking time is spent around my fucking studies. What the hell? I lose two hours every day just to commute to the bloody university. Do you really think that says absolutely nothing about me, when it takes so much of my time?
– The way you just expressed it tells me much more about you than the fact that you’re a student. Be calm, creature, don’t lose your patience! We’ll get through this, but it’s not something we’ll answer in two minutes with a single sentence.
– I’m calm, don’t worry, it’s just that…
– What? You’d rather spend your time on something else?
– I think that should be obvious to you by now, bearing in mind that you properly know me.
– Yes but I’m not the one answering who you are. So, tell me, or rather tell yourself: What would you rather spend your time on?
– I don’t know, a lot of things. I mean, it’s not as if I hate my career; I used to a year ago but now that I changed I actually like it somewhat, I’m actually interested, I even manage to study. Do you have any idea how hard it’s actually become to me to sit down and study? I feel like a joke when I remember how I used to be one of the best students throughout the whole school and then achieved practically nothing after two years here. Up until now I’m starting to make some progress. And I know there’s no proper reason to be so bitter about it. It’s nobody’s fault but mine. But regardless, you can now imagine why it isn’t my favorite topic.
– You don’t love what you’re studying.
– Please don’t look at me like that. I’m trying to help you.
– No, I don’t. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it, though. I’m just not passionate about it, and that’s the problem: I think I’m too much of a passionate person to dedicate so much of myself to something I’m not fully immersed into.
– You’re too much of a passionate person?
– What are you implying, that I’ve always been a cold-hearted bastard? You know what, screw you, being passionate or intense or anything similar doesn’t mean I need to be telling people every hour how much I love them or hunting desperately for hugs all day.
– Haha I know, I know, I wasn’t judging you! I know what you mean, I was just surprised because you actually reckoned it. I know you’ve changed, it’s been ages since I thought of you as insensitive. And I’m glad you’ve managed that. I think you’ve made a lot of progress with yourself since you moved here. Have you found your passion by now?
– Well, thanks. Actually, I have. I think so, at least. I didn’t feel like that two or three years ago, though, so I can only wonder if I would actually feel like this in three years’ time.
– That’s not something we should worry about right now.
– Actually, that’s definitely something I can tell you about me right now: I hate planning years ahead. I’m too anxious and already dwelling too much in the near future to start worrying even further about it. I’ve had some issues with certain people already because I’m not planning my life with the goal of having a family by thirty-two or buying my first car at twenty-three or saving money for my future family’s house. No. I have no life plan. I’m not thinking about buying a car. I don’t even have a girlfriend, why should I be thinking about marriage? And what if I’m sterile and can’t father children, what would I do if my life plan had a 7-kid-family goal? I save money to travel next month, or next summer, not to buy a flat in Berlin or Managua or fucking Peking in three years. My bank account is in minus right now because I spent two weeks travelling last month. Do you think I care? Money comes and goes. Life doesn’t.
– That’s true, life doesn’t.
– See, I’m more about experiences. My mom says I can still experience marvelous things even while having a set of limitations within which my life choices develop themselves, but I think that’s bullshit. Look at her, she had me when she was twenty-two. Do you think she’s done everything she has wanted to in her life? Twenty years later, me being exactly a half of her life, she says she did, but I don’t believe her. There are so many things she had to give up in order to raise a family at that point. Can you imagine myself being a father next year?
– Oh god, please let’s not even think about that.
– I know, the mere thought of it makes me sick. There are so many things I still want to do that I won’t be able to if I start a family right now. Not to say that children are a curse, of course not, I think I’d like to have children someday (I’m still debating about it, though, but that’s a topic for another day). But yeah, you know what I’m trying to say? For crying out loud, I don’t even know if I’ll be alive in two years! Why the fuck should I be worrying about what I’ll be doing when I’m thirty? I’ve barely made it alive and well to my second decade! God, I hate this. They’re always like, “we’ll cross the bridge when we reach the river”, yet the river is fucking kilometers away! What the fuck?
– Damn, you really got into it.
– I know, I’m sorry. It’s just that it really gets on my nerves. I’m so happy I finally made it to where I currently am, because it was so goddamned hard for me, you have no idea, the past two years have been tough for me. I’m so happy I finally made choices regarding my now, my present state, that truly fulfill me. Just to have people bitching about why I’m not thinking ahead. I don’t want to think ahead. Every fucking day I struggle to not think about what will happen if I do this or don’t do that, OF COURSE I don’t want to think if I’ll be bald and fat in fifteen years or with a fucking mortgage I can’t afford to pay. I like this, the now, the spectacular now. I’m enjoying it and this is where I want to concentrate my mind on. This beautiful moment right now, with all the beautiful people I’m lucky enough to have around…
– You see? That’s perfect. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear from you.
– Actually, I… I think I know where you’re getting at. I think I know what you’ve been trying to make me say, and I think it all stems from me having changed so much as a person since living life abroad.
– It does. But let me fix that: I don’t think you’ve changed as a person per se. I’d rather think you’ve been discovering yourself, you’ve been getting to know who you actually are, and you are still amidst that process.
– Yes, exactly. I mean, damn, I can’t believe there was a time where I didn’t want to move to Germany, I can’t believe I wanted to go to that country. I look back at myself and see someone else. I read so much back then, but never really checked between the lines. I saw films with different eyes. I walked around the woods with a different pace. Could you tell how I used to smile at people? I sometimes think I did it with an effort. And shit, you know what the Blacks told me the other day? “Remember back then when I couldn’t get you to like this song because it was six minutes long,” I mean, really? Nowadays, I can’t spend a day without listening to music. I even got bored when I was alone. Wow… this sounds so pretentious. It didn’t sounds like that in my head. I swear.
– Don’t be stupid, that’s not pretentious at all. That’s just honesty.
– I’m an honest person.
– I know.
– I always tell the truth. I was taught that being honest was crucial for a good life, but it’s as if they had no idea of how much you can destroy by being honest.
– But do you consider yourself a destroyer? Do you think you are a bad person?
– I can’t answer that. I mean, not that I couldn’t, but I’m not sure if I am. Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes I get shocked at my own thoughts, I am constantly amazed at wat my mind is capable of thinking. Sometimes I see good and evil as completely ambiguous terms. I think the more you discover and learn about humanity and humanism, the blurrier the grand scheme of things appears. But we’re not talking about morality and ethics, we’re talking about me. Where were we?
– You were telling me about your passions.
– No, I wasn’t.
– Ok you weren’t, but now you will. Do you like music, yes?
– I love music.
– And do you enjoy it?
– I love it. I love to hear it, to feel it, to make it. There is this very peculiar feeling you get when you’re really into it, when you’re really connected with the music. And when you’re playing some of your own music, or just improvising, with such a strong connection, such a strong feeling, I think it’s the most beautiful feeling in the world, at least for me. It’s a special sort of happiness, it’s just… It’s just great. It’s wonderful.
– That’s beautiful. By now, I’ve actually come to think that music may somehow define you.
– I think about music all the time. There’s always something playing in my head, anything. I think it’s funny because I’m not usually known as a musician. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know I make music. Obviously it’s because I haven’t been so public about it, but then again, I’ve never been very public about anything. I’ve always been very reserved. But let me tell you, if it were up to me, everybody would listen to me.
– What’s holding you back, then?
– Well, I’m not a solo artist. Not yet, at least. And there’s that ever-present fear of failure, of course. But it’s just that I’ve had such a bad luck when it comes to bands. Really, I’ve tried, but I haven’t been lucky enough yet to meet like-minded people, or even guys that have as much interest as me. I’ve played with friends, I’ve even had “bands” for a time, but they never work after a couple of months because the interest is never there, the ambition never appears. And I’m very ambitious when it comes to the things I do. Which is a problem in itself, because I’m never satisfied with anything I do. Everything could always be better. Everything. It’s never enough.
– But I don’t think that happens only enough, the thought of displeasure with your own creations. I believe a lot of artist share that feeling.
– I know. I’m not denying it. Maybe you could say that I’m an artist, since I have that distinguishing trait so typical from them.
– So you’ve found your passion in your art. You’re a musician.
– But it’s not just music. I love literature. I wish I could read more, I love to read. I love to write, I get a sense of fulfillment when I do it. I want to write at least one book someday. I’m not sure when, but I’ll get it done. And I’m slowly growing fond of cinema, though that doesn’t count because I’m not doing any films. I don’t know, it’s as if all of a sudden I love every art. I love art. I love expression. I love it when people express their emotions, their thoughts. It sort of feels like being part of a huge community built on intimacy, even when you’re part of it as a voyeur, not as a creator.
– And what is it you love about art, or music specifically?
– I don’t know, it’s as… It’s kinda like… They make me experience, you know? A good written book or video game, a detailed painting, a movie with a well-made ambiance – they always make you feel something. It’s the same reason why I love to travel so much, to discover the unknown: it’s always a different experience, being on a concrete jungle or in the woods, or in a large, open field of rolling hills, or on an old medieval town. It’s always a different feeling, one that you’ve never experienced before. I hate monotony, and that’s why I try to live like this: it’s always something new, a new sentiment every time you unravel a new mystery, every time you discover a new place or a new artist. I like that. I like to, to…
– To feel.
– To feel. Exactly. I want to feel everything. The purest joy, the deepest depression, the biggest surprise, the wildest pleasure, the sweetest melancholy, the darkest fears. I want to feel the loneliest guy on the planet and the most blessed man on Earth. I want to feel privileged, and I want to feel miserable. I enjoy feeling what I experience. I want to feel everything. Well, everything except physical pain, heh, even though spiritual one can be worse at times. I want to feel as much as I can. I’m so curious. I want to experience the reaches of my soul, see how far I can stretch it, how many strong emotions it can take, it can survive.
– Does that mean do you do your art with the intention to feel?
– No. To recreate what I feel. To express. Express everything I feel. For a long time I was ruining my relationships with everybody for not being able to express myself. I never said anything, I never dared to, and I shied away from what I felt and took people for granted. I couldn’t say anything. Now I found a way to. I feel like I need to, even though I do it because I want to. It fulfills me.
– Are you doing this as an act of revelry? Are you a rebel?
– No, I’m not a rebel. Or am I? I’d like to be able to say that I am an artist.
– But you are. Say it.
– An expressionist.
– You‘re not talking about the movement, right?
– No, I was just making an adjective out of “expression”. But I like to express, I’m really working on that… Of course, being pragmatic as we need to be, I might not live my whole life like this. I might never make a living out of sharing my secrets, thoughts, dreams, nightmares. Maybe I’ll never properly create anything, maybe I never get to finish any book, who knows. And one day I might want to settle down and maybe have a family and buy a car and a house. But that’s not what I want right now. I want to experience all I can experience, see all I can see, listen to all the wonderful and terrible stories humanity has to offer, take it all in, reflect about it, and then recreate it. It’s the life plan I have right now. It’s what the person I am today wants to do. I might be different in five years, but I’ll cross the bridge when I reach the river. Right now, I want to express, if that says anything about me.
– I think it says a lot about you.
– I think it defines me.