Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ironies: Missionaries from the Cosmos

Ironies sometimes appear in your life like Mormon missionaries in dark suits or Watch Tower persons, the males always seeming to wear bolo ties, the women square-toed shoes with two-inch heels that virtually shout out, "I'm sensible." You wish them well at the same time you wish them on their way. Sad to say, it is your own politeness that energizes them to say that one extra thing that means it will be another five minutes before you can peel them off and send them away. Politely, of course.

You do not particularly wish to spend your time with sincere individuals who want you to consider other approaches to coping with the Cosmos than you have already chosen. Indeed, their approaches may perfectly cope with the Cosmos they see, but such catechism does not suggest anything resembling congruence with the Cosmos you see.

You instead prefer the company of men and women who see the universe as a seething mass of contradictions, escape clauses, broken promises, and unhealthy tendencies toward lust. To be fair about the last part, the things and persons after whom they lust may not be in the neighborhood of sexual behavior but rather jealousy or envy or preoccupation. You, for instance, are often preoccupied with a man who by most accounts died in the year 1400. You have not attempted to convert another person to your interest in this man or his writings but by the same token of admission, nor are they surprised when you relate one or more of his characters to a contemporary event in real life or a contemporary story.

Thus the connection and return to irony are established. Sometimes you are caught up in routine chores and necessities such as laundry, income tax, washing the auto, washing the self, taking your pal, Sally, for a semblance of an adventure. With the exception of your times with Sally, such chore type outings tend to be predictable, their outcomes often bordering on a frustration that comes from the awareness of time better spend doing something--anything--else. It is entirely possible then that the idea for a new story or the solution to a work in progress will arrive on the metaphoric front porch, leaflets and bibles in hand. You groan inwardly and outwardly at the mode of arrival of the idea which is related only tangentially to your real life and by blood ties to your writing life.

No fair if you take the position that whenever you squirrel an hour or two aside for writing, your use of time is exquisitely efficient. There are times, for instance, when you are drawn to the New York Times crossword puzzle on either of your home pages. There are times when it suddenly becomes vital to your writing health and sanity for you to learn the composition dates of Mozart's last piano concerto, the 27th, and the span of time between it and the 26th. It becomes a matter of absolute life-saving importance for you to identify the tune that happens to be running through your mind like a cat trying to avoid a trip to the vet as the adagio from 26 or 27, things you need to know, rather to feel with certainty before you can undertake today's writing stint.

The men and women you admire who write and/or compose are admirable because they have produced things that not only live lives of their own, much as they were intended to do, they live lives within you. You recognize that there is practice and revision and the cyber equivalent of wadded sheets of paper, tossed in a wasteful disarray in or about a wastebasket. You recognize the potentials for mischief in both the worlds of creation and of day-to-day participation as well as the need to be attentive in each. You recognize that while Mozart might have been proficient on a viola as well as the piano, your instrument is the mind, which you are famous among your students for saying, "Don't think. Not yet. Time for thinking is after the early drafts."

The comparison between ironies and missionaries are infinite and you are caught between them in the great existential management crisis.

1 comment:

Heather said...

...and yet, both can leave you feeling as though you may be doomed to a lake of fire.