Posted by & filed under Open Letters.

Hello Pamela,

On our last Skype call you used the word “FASSTuck” to refer to an obstacle you had been facing with the FASST experiment. We then talked through the obstacle and realized it wasn’t an obstacle at all: that FASST has already launched, and is always and already moving, and to deal with an obstacle of the kind of which we were discussing is simply part of the job of flying the ship.

I’m proposing “fasstuck” as a new word, one the two of us have wordified together, and a new oxymoronic word at that, to describe situations where we feel we’re stuck, when in reality we’re already moving and for one reason or other are unable to see that that’s the case.

For example, me, in my romantic life, I often feel fasstuck! One gentleman or another refuses to do what I want him to do, and in the meantime I refuse to see that I’m a gentleman myself, capable of making decisions and taking actions.

Another way to look at this situation is an analogy I came up with when I saw my therapist this week. I told her that I had been feeling the previous few days like I didn’t have a compass; that previously I had known what direction I was going, generally the 30 degrees right in front of me. But now that I’ve lost my compass… unbeknownst to myself I suddenly have 360 degrees available to me. The challenge in such moments is to take a risk on an unknown direction—

—and as soon as one’s done so, one gets “unfasstuck.”

A third analogy comes from a film I referred to on our last Skype call, Star Trek Beyond. I spoke of a scene from early in the movie, when the captain of the starship Enterprise puts in an application to take a humdrum bureaucratic job on a non-moving starbase, because he’s feeling lost and directionless leading a starship out in deep space. The admiral who has received the captain’s application says to him,

“What you’re going through is normal. It’s easy to feel lost. There’s no relative direction in space.”

And to be quite honest, with this last image of a starship in deep space, moving yet with no sense of relative direction, I feel fasstuck again, and unsure where to take this blog post. Let me replay my last therapy session again in my head. Oh yes! Take a risk on an unknown direction, Brian. Which I believe was my motivation in the first place for writing this letter.

Brian