– Excerpted from episode 5, “Field Bagatelles.”

LISTENER: (In Mandarin, to herself) How does one speak about the things with which one is not personally acquainted?

EXPLORER: You move to a quiet corner, and silently, to yourself, in your phenomenological voice, begin narrating the scene.

LISTENER: (In Mandarin, to herself) How do you tell a story with somebody who you don’t trust?

EXPLORER: I trusted her.

LISTENER: (In Mandarin, to herself) So who can’t one trust?

EXPLORER: The voice behind the veil. The announcer on the radio.

LISTENER: (In English, to herself) How does one avoid creative forms of tedious moralizing? Structural charity, the supposed moral benevolence of the storyteller? The well-traveled subject looking outward at the not-yet-departed?

EXPLORER: By resisting the temptation to romanticize. By romanticizing. By not discounting messiness. By organizing. By being indecisive. By knowing indecision. By treading the fine line between showmanship and principled gestures, and the finer line between speech and form, voice and song, hope and cynicism. By trembling on the train, at sea, on horseback, and in the field. By feeding forms and allowing forms to grow like weed, so they become as strange to you as you are to yourself.

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