The middle

I find absolutes, in the figurative sense, quite tedious. Black or white, A or B, Pepsi or Coke; absolutes are like the end of a rope, and there’s few good things I can think to do with the end of a rope.

Instead I prefer the fuzzy middle, neither here nor there. I suspect it might have something to do with being a middle child both literally and figuratively: I grew up the second of three siblings, a punk- and hardcore-loving kid in Puerto Rico at a time when the dominant culture was largely insular, then later spent my formative years in Boston hanging out at basement shows as usually (with very few exceptions) the only Latinx in the room. I wasn’t exactly an outcast, but I never quite fit in this or that crowd either. I straddled the dividing line, learning to occupy the space in between and finding comfort in places most people seem to avoid instinctively.

I’ve spent my life becoming familiar with the middle, the space where worlds meet. Identities, cultures, ideas, myths; in other words people, and the things they create. It's an ambiguous place, uncomfortable and rarely conflict-free, but filled with great possibility. It's also where I do my best work—a little further out, past the discomfort, where you may suddenly find yourself somewhere exciting and unexpected. –CJM