Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting the Swing of It

Hypotheses: Nothing is what it seems. Everything is other than it seems. Something is a surprise, waiting to perform chiropractic on a mood or condition. Something is a disaster, waiting to distribute overdrawn notices on one's reality account. Disaster protection is available at 17.5 percent interest. Events are pinatas hanging from convenient trees, daring us to swing at them with ambition or irritation or celebratory enthusiasm. The LAPD has made pinatas of many individuals who were actually celebrating but were seen by the LAPD as activists.

The study of Beckett begins to pay off richly when one entertains the subtext of nothing being what it seems. Failure for Beckett was the opportunity to try again. I don't know that he thought at all about the implications of success and so I can only hypothesize that success fin writing or him wasn't what it seemed, or perhaps worse, success in writing meant he did not have to revisit a particular place again because he couldn't

The danger of nothing being what it seems is the potential for a constant feeling of betrayal. Betrayal means one's trust is undercut (once again) which means one begins to resent being so vulnerable, which means one resolves not to trust anything, which strikes me as an invitation not to trust myself (any of them) which reminds me of earlier times when I claimed to do just that, which is to say I agreed not to trust myself. This meant a time of not knowing if I were hungry or horny or inspired or sleepy or if I understood Chaucer. There are some risks worth taking. One risk not worth taking is the conviction that I do not and cannot understand Chaucer.

That's okay because risk is not what it seems either. Risk seems so fraught with dangerous consequences that it can be interpreted as a reason to do nothing except maybe grouse and take pot shots at persons and institutions, leaving one vulnerable to all the consequences of not doing anything, a course of action that is more dangerous than it seems.

If something is what it seems, there is no surprise, not much chance of other. Does the risk of something being what it seems outweigh the risk of nothing being what it seems?

One of the few constants here is love, which is never what it seems, is filled with risks, surprises, consequences, vulnerability. Love is like Excalibur, the sword thrust deep into the stone, waiting for someone--Arthur--to pull it forth. Grab it by the hilt and yank in a quick, steady movement. That's love, not Excalibur; that was already yanked.

Look for pinatas.


Swing again, only this time, swing better.


Anonymous said...

I am convinced that Cahucer did not understand Chaucer, and perhaps that is his ultimate ongoing joke, that literary critics and analysts through the centuries will continue to try to make sense of his rhetorical humor, and to find what he probably never intended to be there in the first place. Some times a story is just a story, and sometimes it's not. Chaucer likes to keep us guessing.

Lori Witzel said...

One of the many reasons I come back to read your posts: the label trivium here of "Beckett, Excalibur, Pinatas."