Friday, October 7, 2011


Your heart gets broken ten or twelve times a day, a potential sign of concern.  You may have hit a period of slowing down. Time to get up, stretch, look around for some targets of opportunity.

 Over the years, you’ve developed an increased potential for experiencing heartbreak.  Seen from a pragmatic point of view, Life is a steady succession of broken heart circumstances, which must be experienced, processed, integrated.  From a more personal level, if you are not attempting things that have the potential to break your heart, the things left to you for writing subjects go down like the stock market after a cautionary speech from a conservative politician.  You feel the need to keep looking for things and people to love, to be in love with.

All about you are individuals such as yourself, putting Self on the line, drawn along by that remarkable sense of engagement that comes after you have first ventured love into the equation.

It has been helpful to watch the parade of growth for the things, persons, and places you can love.  There are certain compositions of music, say, Maurice Ravel’s Waltzes Noble and Sentimental, where you invariably find something to get the passions flowing within you.  Then comes your joy and finding different performances of it, allowing you to see the energy and entryway for love from yet another perspective.

There are stories and poems, an eclectic patchwork quilt that cover you with the pre-explosion rumble of energetic connection.  There are individuals whose presence reminds you how fortunate it is for you to know them.  Instead of offering you a drink or some snack, perhaps even a meal, they are offering you the banquet of a conversation that causes you, sometimes in spite of your concerns for your time or their time to sweep away the insulating material, then allow the conversation to proceed with the spontaneity and passions required to give escape velocity.  The escape is from the conventional, blasting toward the revelatory, the unexpected, the discovery of which individuals are capable.

Sometimes, when you are working or even at the times when you are lecturing and caught up in the subject, you become aware of the driving voice, the narrative, speaking to you, describing the activity or the ideas.  This voice is the way the work sounds and lives, talking to you in its own, unaffected register.  It is someone you love, calling you to dinner or telling you to get serious, will you, or saying good morning or good night or no or yes.

None of this, you understand, precludes you achieving goals, winning cosmic equivalents of the lottery, completing a sentence that turns the previously jammed key in the previously jammed lock, giving you, for a moment, one glorious paragraph that is as splendid as an iris in a bunch at a farmer’s market.  This is why it matters to you to be on the alert for things and people and places to fall in love with, to scheme for a half hour over a cup of coffee with someone you can speak to in the same voice you use when you try out ideas and their consequences in your own head.  This is growing more dangerous by the moment; how many persons arethere like that for you?

There was a long stretch of time when you were hunting for something nearly at an inchoate level, a something you’d thought to find in one book that would transform you into the writer you wanted to approximate.  There were flashes of insight like lightening flashes in a summer story, illuminating the thought that you would have to write such a book; you would not find it because, until you wrote it, there was no such book for you.

There have been voices with whom you felt you could have conversations on that intensity of intimacy. Voices other than yours, reminding you in its way that you are still a guest in your own reality and invention.

Part of it is also listening, taking in the voice of the speaker, hearing not only her voice but also the music of her ideas.

You will get your heart broken a good many times, reaching for such things, but you must not let that fact stop you nor allow anything to cause you to settle for the ordinary. The ordinary will also break your heart in ways you least expect.  Sometimes in the early hours between night and morning, you will be awakened by the sound of ordinary, which will get you to thinking about the consequences of stopping, even for a day of ordinary.

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