Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Plains Indians, The Contrarian, and You

 The Plains Indian, mounted upon a horse he had probably liberated from some enemy or other, sits at a strategic vantage point, surveying the course of battle he is about to engage.  Before kneeing his horse into a forward charge, he says to no one in particular and yet to the entire Cosmos as he visualizes it, "This is a good day to die."  It is not so much that he wishes his life to end as it is his sense that if it were to do so, it would be in battle, no doubt among close associates, all of them doing what they had chosen to do, which is engage in a particular sort of encounter.

For your own part on this rainy, sodden day toward the end of the Fall solstice in a La Nina year, this has been a good day to write.  It did not appear that way for a number of small reasons, punctuated by a ten-year-old cat's insistent nagging for some portion of her daily board, added to in some measure by the persistent set of leaks emerging on the roof of your ancient cottage, and the need to cover your Canon printer with, of all things, a spare rain coat.

There were an encouraging number of distractions in the form of telephone calls and email messages from those about you who were checking in to see how you were getting along, making you aware of the efforts you were putting into coping, and on assessment, deciding you were more than a little bit ahead of the game for the moment.

This awareness of how you are doing makes you realize some far-fetched perhaps kinship with the metaphorical Plains Indian of eld, his laconic view of death as compared with your enthusiasm for this being a good day to write.  You have thoughts and visions rumbling about in regard to the novel underway and the encouragement of Jim Alexander to whatever else you may do, put in at least an hour getting some of the material down.

As it so often happens, the act of sitting down to compose, either here, in a notebook, or some other computer file, causes the loud voice of the Contrarian of whom you wrote yesterday in this platform.  The Contrarian said in his harsh flatness today, This is a good day not to write.  It is one thing to write when you have something to say; it is yet another to presume that even when you believe you do have something to say, you will be able to set it down as something that will interest anyone.  More likely, it will send individuals who at one time supposed you had something of interest to say skittering off in search of something worthwhile.

It was and  is a good day to write, which I began by telling the Contrarian to go fuck itself.  There is something exciting about the notion that any particular day's work might be the last for all time or for some necessary or unnecessary hiatus.  No matter what the inner or outer emotional climates, starting any day by telling the Contrarian to go fuck itself sets the kind of tone you have chosen as a cornerstone of your voice and your vision.


Sarah said...

I wonder if contrarians and other trolls aren't some ancient part of our psychic history, set to guard the gates of the soul. Their dire warning messages originally meant as protective spells, cast as a battered sign that says "danger, keep out" now covered with moss and hanging by a rusted wire. Perhaps we can honor our own ancient instinct for preservation by noting the sign, acknowledging the good intention, but pushing the gate wide open anyway.

Storm Dweller said...

It's quite gratifying to thumb one's nose at the contrarian I've found, rather than allowing him/her/it to bully you into a corner. And you're quite right, it's a wonderful day to write.

Anonymous said...

The Contrarian stood in my way for far too long a time. On the other had, as you illustrate, if it weren't for the Contrarian I would never have gotten into this business. 'For everythng, there is a season... Karen