Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dare to Evict Your Inner Mr. Hyde

Your tastes in most things run toward the eclectic; your preferences for discreet events and performances rather than a particular genre or historical era.  Your favorites become strange bedfellows, musician/composers as diverse as, say, the late Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) and Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) or writers as multifarious as Day Keene (Gunard Hjerstedt) (1903-1969)and Deborah Eisenberg (1945--).

The most obvious common thread among your favorites it the fact of their being prolific.  Never mind that Keene for some time wrote a novel a month and that Eisenberg appears to labor over a short story for an interminable arc of time; each has an enormous body of work, which allows you to observe of yourself that you like artists who produce.  This preference extends into acting and the visual arts, where your tastes remain at the same eclectic levels of preference, for instance Claude Lorrain (1600-82) and Sam Francis (1943-1994).  The connecting link of being prolific leading you to the awareness that prolific creators (J.S. Bach, Haydn, W.A. Mozart, etc) are constructing worlds--realities--in which they spend considerable time.  There is a direct relationship between spending time in the structure of one's craft-shaped imagination and one's subsequent tempering and forging as an individual.  This residency, almost without exception (but shall we say Arthur Conan Doyle was an unwilling resident?)does not of necessity augur for a pleasing, considerate individual (F.J. Haydn appears to have been the exception), but that is of no matter; the matter is the ability to have such a creative landscape of one's own into which to retire.

The decor of this landscape is more notional than eclectic, the furniture on occasion being rearranged or thrown out, altogether, with new tastes, preferences, favorite colors being set on display for the primary visitor--you.  Neatness counts only so far as it matters to you, not some living or long-dead authority figure.  Loudness is permissible so long as it is desirable.  With this awareness comes modifications in behavior, causing those who see you to regard you in a different manner depending on the extent of these inner changes.

You are still, within and outside this landscape, a social animal; that aspect of you appears to have been wired in, but you are in large part your own social animal, its reach and resonance reflected in the work you produce.

From time to time, when you emerge from within this special landscape, you may run the risk of becoming as that wonderful dualistic creation of Robert Louis Stevenson, the salient question being whether you will be Dr. Jekyll on the inside or the outside, ditto Mr. Hyde.  Which ever you chose, there will be some possible temptation to remain inside, where everything is so much more to your liking.  And your taste.

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