Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It only doesn't hurt when I laugh

There are dictionaries and thesauri which you can consult to find the meaning of a word.  In the process of investigating one or both of these sources, you are presented with a menu of possibilities, allowing you to see how a particular word might have taken on new meanings and implications since it was first bandied about, thus the reference book becomes like a catalogue of layers, much in the manner of tree rings being used to measure the antiquity and structure of a meaning.  Such investigations may seem like distractions but they are important research, geared to help you find not only the right word but to help you get it into the right place in order to present the exact color of meaning you intend.

But you soon reach the point where one word is not enough of the help you wish.  What you're after is an understanding of the vision or sound resonating within you, somewhere, wanting to be sorted, experienced, known, then conveyed.

When you set forth, with only the sound or the vision, there is a sense of wonderment, tugging at your sleeves, inviting you to some serious investigation.  The more you think about the invitation to proceed, the more overwhelming the task becomes, daunting you with the weight of all you do not know and understand, causing you to wonder if there are any short cuts.

Most discovery comes at the price of a determined focus and, in many cases the accompanying discomfort of frustration, dead-ends, and the Contrarian of whom you have been speaking these past days, suggesting to you in snide stage whispers that there is no guarantee of profit in this pursuit for understanding, as though all curiosity should and must produce you with an immediate business plan.

The pursuit of what if and wonderment in general is a presence you see residing uppermost in the men and women you admire the most, are in fact envious that these individuals seem to have arranged their priorities to allow the pursuit of understanding regardless of consequences.  What you see in them is a goal orientation contrary to your own resident Contrarian; to this moment in your life, this particular type of goal orientation appears to you the most likely to produce the condition you think of as happiness.

To carry this one step farther, you believe that sharing this kind of investigative happiness with another person produces an inner satisfaction that leads you to a better understanding of why you so enjoy writing.  Naturally it is selfish at first; you must edit and refine and polish the vision or the sound in order to share it with another person.  Then you must try to polish and refine even more to set it out to persons you may never meet.  You are aware of men and women of inner gloom edging on misanthropy.  Edgar Allen Poe and Patricia Highsmith come to mind as examples.  Even these two, you will argue, polish their gloom and darkened visions as an act of love.  It is not their fault if their happiness is to be found pursuing the bleaker discoveries that inhere in human nature any more than it is the fault of those who produce the touchy-feely tropes we associate with greeting cards and inspirational sermons.

Every ten to twenty years in our Industrial Revolution Society, a cusp is reached where men and women, trained and adept at a particular process find themselves unemployed because their process has fallen fallow; there is no further need for it because it has been supplanted by new technology and/or understanding.  These men and women, if they are the right age and temperament, can be reeducated to perform other, useful tasks, giving them the satisfaction of having a new process and of being a contributor to the larger process of humanity.

Many of us, yourself included, need to press for the priority to pursue the inner process of vision, therein to produce yet another kind of product that can be articulated, coaxed out of the shadows of inchoate, inexpressible emotions, then forged into a narrative that can be shared.  This is by no means to suggest that we should all become writers although it is to suggest that we should all become lovers in the sense that we have discovered, each of us, within our depths of experience a narrative that may be shared as a philosophy and offered in the spirit of honed articulation to those we care about.

Your own process leads you to believe your own inner vision, however tinged with the side dishes of impatience and intolerance in specific political areas, however burdened at the moment by the baggage of grief and loss, is centered in humor, which, you are pleased to note and quite willing to share, is sure to be found in the qualities you have just used to describe your own inner self.


Anonymous said...

You continue to tease-out networks of thoughts that articulate crucial truths. Now I can see that a denial of humor is a denial of our place in the universe... we are here in no more than a breath of time, and very small... joking in the face of that knowledge is courageous - Karen

Storm Dweller said...

Yes, dear friend, centered in humor you are, bringing levity to topics that might otherwise be unpleasant, dreary, or *gasp* boring if differently handled. Your voice has remarkable similarities to Twain, yet you coax out the voice of the educator, and artfully mask it, so that your reader believes they are being entertained, without realizing they were learning something about themselves or the world around them the entire time.

Lori Witzel said...

"as though all curiosity should and must produce you with an immediate business plan" - thank goodness we can say about curiosity, "Dayenu." ;-)