Dear Carl,

Normally I open these letters with an introductory paragraph that gives a bit of context behind the format. This time I’m going to go with a nice little disclaimer. You’ll find it at the bottom… Save it till last.

I totally understand the quest to find a place in the world. Your place, the one where it seems like you fit and everything makes sense. We have all started out on one of those journeys, and while it looks like everyone has it figured, many of us are still bumbling along.

I can appreciate you ‘wanting depth’ in a particular field, especially when you compare yourself to those around you. I mean, your partner has spent the better part of a decade winnowing her career into a fine speciality. But your breadth of knowledge and experience has immense value. Actually I will go further than that, you are without a doubt one of my favourite and most treasured Hoomans… Sorry. I couldn’t write this without going a little replicant on you.

It is difficult to articulate why, and I guess this is a reflection of your own frustrations. It reminds me of an interesting take on intuition that Robert Irwin had:

“What you’ve done is catch the fell of a situation two jumps before it becomes a fact; once it becomes a fact, then it will be more attainable and it will immediately start producing a counterforce. So, on the affirmative side intuition is about sensing the facts before they materialize.”

I guess part of me worries that once you clearly find a single path of interest, and define it so well that it can be followed to the darkest depths, you will start to generate a counterforce. It is a bit like a stem cell or even Schrödinger’s cat I guess. At the moment you can be anything. You are all possible careers, till you start to winnow down to a speciality. Just like how Schrödinger’s cat is both dead and alive till observed.

Spend any amount of time with you, and this starts to rub off. I’m not sure how you do this, but after a conversation the world feels different. Better. Way better. Maybe it is the questions you ask, or the ideas you cook up. Maybe it is the sheer joy you bristle with when hanging out with your son. But after a short conversation, the world seems to radiate with opportunity.

And given the endless barrage of issues and horrors that fill these tiny interconnected screens of media, this seems to be exactly what we need. A world filled with a menagerie of possibilities and opportunities.


Clinton Freeman.

DISCLAIMER: These letters don’t reflect any romantic outlook whatsoever. It is more akin to a fan letter that delves into the work of someone. They help me figure out how someone influences my own work. All the letters are assembled into a family tree for reference. The format is inspired by a Tom Sachs’ film - A love letter to plywood… Which is exactly why this disclaimer is at the end. Because I know how much you like it when I mention Tom Sachs. All. The. Freaking. Time.