Saturday, October 26, 2013

Duct Tape

There is a moment in every story or poem you remember where the true sense of reversal and loss become profound and resonant enough that part of you is thrown back to some moment of your own reversal and fear of loss.  Those two states, the story's and your own, become a shared moment of despair and loneliness.

Then, everything changes, because here you are, at this remarkable low point in the story or poem, and here you are, at this remarkable moment in your life, one of your notebooks filled with things you've lost--everything from animal and human friends to such embellishments as hair, teeth, jobs, and even your way in life--to a day in which you've written what may well be at least one keepable page, had one relatively decent cup of coffee, seen a sun rise or sunset, exchanged a phone call or text message of personal radiance, discovered at least one new book you have to read, noted some hidden miracle in a pavement or parking lot, and noted at least one funny joke.

The story you are following may not allow its protagonist the same measure of contentment you now possess, losses to the contrary notwithstanding.  But you remember the story because it has moved you for moments, perhaps hours at a time, back onto yourself and who you are.  Thus, here you are, a tad ahead of the story, at the least, even with yourself, more than likely, ahead of yourself with the energy and enthusiasm to consider in what remains of the day the thing you are working on and where it might take you tomorrow and the subsequent days of your relationship with it.

You have been for some time living with the inner duality or, if you will, dialectic, or even argument within you, itself arguing with your attempts to find unity and oneness with story, the narrative you wish to tell, to understand, to teach.  

When you hear the neighbors arguing, they are not your physical neighbors.  They are your inner neighbors, trying to effect a dialogue from the arguments, from the pairs of opposites within you, struggling to have their say.  

Sometimes these neighbors are your waking neighbors:  Do you wish more coffee?  What music would suit you?  Which thing needs to be worked on as opposed to which thing do you need to work on because of some deadline related to commitment? 

Other times, these visitors are dream neighbors, sending you on mischievous and wonderful journeys where you are asked to perform mischievous and wonderful things you hadn't dared to let yourself wish to perform in waking hours.

These dialectics lead you, yank you sometimes, to the conclusion that the oneness you seek is filled with unity.  The book you most revere has within it things that inspire you and cause you the most dreadful moments of most books.  The author you most admire has written one of the most remarkably awful books about a subject he should have been content to deal with in a one- or two-sentence aphorism.  The author you most admire even thought this was his most successful work.

Of course.  The person who can and should have the greatest access to breaking your heart should be the person who has the presence to cause the throaty rumble of purpose and curiosity to send you always to the unguarded moment in the present where you walk with the greatest sense of balance along the cusp between the conventional and discovery.  If you stumble, you will stumble into one or the other, but you would rather have the muddy knees of one who has fallen into discovery.

Let us say you are sitting somewhere, outside, perhaps on a rock, but just as well on a park bench.  A complete stranger emerges from the passersby, asks you to extend your hand, which you do.  The stranger tells you to close your eyes for a moment.  You do.  The stranger places an object into your hand, then moves on, into the stream of passersby.  You look at the object, which is a marble, with a small green leaf inside.

You rush after the stranger, calling out, "Why me?  Why give this to me?"

"Because,"  the stranger says.  "You were ready for it."

Then the stranger, who is your imagination, is gone again.

For all the times you have had a heart broken, you have found sufficient duct tape in your imagination to mend it.

Your imagination enjoys such games, presenting itself to you as strangers, offering you things to argue about.

But not too loud, or you'll wake the neighbors.

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