Smoking and time

(Reader’s note: This entry would be less self-conscious if I was actually cool and future-proof enough to smoke.) The way I see it, cigarettes are a game the smoker plays with time. I don’t know much about the nicotine high, since for me it’s always accompanied by the more familiar vodka feeling, so my images of cigarettes are from the outside. I mostly imagine the stick burning out the way it does at the beginning of Ray, at right angles to a banner of smoke. A Camel is much better than a clock at explaining how time feels; it burns us out quietly, in greys and grey-blues, except at those moments when we grab the thing, cut its even ribbon to shreds, and suck it up in an instant. This is the perfect image of a consuming night’s work; anybody who writes with occasional feelings of inspiration knows that writing is a form of sensory deprivation. Days last twenty four hours, and nights, too, and one good night of work has to be paid for with three stagnant ones. The ashtray is full; the night has contained others, already mortgaged in manic inhalations, which will vanish afterwards without a trace.

(This is only a guess.)