Issue #114 / September 2020

If, for decades, an anchor served a ship, which one day decided to cut its chains and sail away, can the drowning anchor grow wings? And if so, will the anchor always be burdened by the weight of having been used?

TOM, TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

Dear Tom,

An anchor without a ship is just a useless lump of iron that lies at the bottom of the sea. An anchor serves no purpose once the ship has set sail.

In my song ‘Waiting for You’ I wrote —

 

Your body is my anchor

I never asked to be freed

 

— and even though the context is different I understand the painful place you are in and I in no way want to diminish it, however, your current state is ultimately unsustainable and, well, seeing as we are dealing in metaphors there is no reason we can’t at least entertain the possibility that you might be a ship that just thinks it is an anchor.

The revealing part of your question is the last few words “burdened by the weight of having been used”. If you continue to see yourself in this self-defeating light, whether it is true or not, you will remain that twisted lump of metal at the bottom of the ocean.

My wish for you, my friend — and all the other abandoned anchors that write to me from the ocean floor — is that a time will come when you can reimagine yourself, not as the poor old stalwart anchor rusting on the sea bottom, but as a fucking ship and get back on the surface of the water and do what ships do — venture forth and begin again the strange, dangerous, glorious, storm-tossed voyage of life!

Love, Nick

 

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