Vanishing Point A Bookand Websiteby Ander Monson


City 2

The city gives us fictions. It gives us writing prompts. We are forced to write it. We uncover its many pleasures. It is as it was a year ago, but different. It bears investigation. The country too, of course. All things have a history. Those barns on the verge of falling down. They fell before, were put back up before. Those old spars like stars, rejigged for new constellations. The country is a city too.

And: all the cities that built up around the mining in mining areas, as in Upper Michigan: there were hundreds, maybe thousands. They boomed, then they disappeared. All there is is ruins. You can drive any road in mining country and run into ruins, some of which has been rendered as official history, sanitized and made safe for tours. Some of the ruins are grown over. Some of them you can literally fall into as you pass above a hidden vent or shaft. I guess we shouldn't be surprised by our desires when they are answered by the world. You want mystery? Here are a hundred deaths occurring on this spot a century ago, and all there is now is ash. It's hard to even think about. In the moment this space feels so much like ours. We inhabit it. We own it. We could stay here for ever, lovers leaving us and our families disintegrating, then our bodies, our aortas slowly burning away in cold and wind and sun and the bug rush. But other things occur. At night, for instance. We are in a space and it is lit and others are here too, their bodies interchangeable for our own. Their desires for ours. If we open ourselves up deep enough we are no more or less than them. We are zeroes. We fit in other zeroes. Shells within shells. The possibilities of electrons in this space: a likelihood, not certainty. So we are made of space. You've seen that short film, Powers of Ten, where each new shot is ten times magnified from the one before one (and the reverse takes place too)? It's beautiful. It is profound. It's hard to imagine space, the space within the city or within our bodies, like this.