Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Nouns of Desire

Michael Ondaatje, author of the splendid novel, The English Patient, granted to one of his characters in that novel, these sentiments:  "I believe this.  When we meet those we fall in love with, there is an aspect of our spirit that is historian, a bit of a pedant who reminisces or remembers a meeting when the other has passed by innocently,,,but all parts of the body must be ready for the other, all atoms must jump in one direction for desire to occur."

This lovely truth jumped out at you because of its own inherent beauty and wisdom but because of the growing recognition of love you are experiencing between yourself and the topmost priority of your composition projects.

Throughout your lifetime, you have heard stories of various artist/writers and in the bargain possibly have met them as well, hearing judgments made of them that they were lacking in some of the conventionally approved qualities often associated with successful individuals.  Thus such poets as Robinson Jeffers, Robert Frost, and Edna St. Vincent Millary were seen as negligent of the qualities of empathy, companionability, and consideration in direct proportion to the penetrating excellence of their work.  Writers such as Ernest Miller Hemingway, Anais Nin, Henry Miller, and Harriet Beecher Stowe have been pilloried on the scaffold of public and critical opinion for similar behavior, seemingly offered as a part of the price they paid for being so effective as writers.

Hemingway's son, Greg, was a classmate, who showed you letters from his father that seemed to ignore the careful control and practice of his fiction and essays.  Your contacts with Miller were more than cordial to the point where your experiences with him have permanently rigged your regard to the point where you value the man over his writing.  (Disclosure:  Miller saw you blinking and staring with degrees of admiration for a watercolor of yours, then announced on the spot that you should have it as a gift.)

Any number of writers, known to you in person or by anecdote, have demonstrated qualities that would make them seem unlikely to be the sorts you'd want for friends.  Ditto actors, painters, and musicians.  Yet your fondness for their work matters greatly.

The bifurcation between the composer and her/his life and work leads you to shine some light of inquiry on yourself in this regard.  The ante to get you into this poker game of speculation is your answer to the question, How does your love for a person, place, or thing, for the nouns of desire, effect your day-to-day behavior?

Already, you are smiling.  You like this game.  You also return to your appreciation of that quote from Ondaatje.  The chemistry of love for a person, place, or thing comes upon you without warning, impressing you with a sense of aftertaste, calling after you to imagine yourself in concert with that particular noun, that person, that place, that potential work which you will attempt to join in the conversation of creation.

In fact, all such aspects of the numerous selves of you must be consulted to see how they respond to this special noun who appears before you to dazzle you with ideas, responses, essence of landscape and contour of being.  The sterner of your selves might well announce that such a relationship  could never work.

Remember that confrontational song from The West Side Story, in which the character, Anita, sings to Maria:

A boy like that,
Who killed your brother!
Forget that boy,
And find another.
One of your own kind.
Stick to your own kind.

This is a dimension of Romeo and Juliet brought to a place that lives within the frightened conservative who resides within you, calling on you to provide a mealtime discussion with all yourselves.  At such discussions, you may allay their fears, cause them to feel welcomed at the table regardless of their extremity of differences from the majority of you.

And what are you but an individual given dimension by all the previous loves he has found resonance and chemistry with to the point where he walks the streets not only for exercise, not only for health, but for the random sounds and songs that speak of one form of love or another.

You listen for such calls and for intimations of responses to the calls you make in return.  The universe is a clutter of cicada, songbird, idea, theory.  Flowers, shrubs, plants exude scents, dress in colors to attract the birds and insects that will heed them, then come visit, part of a glorious succession of mating dances.

As a now single man and developing writer, you walk about, alert to chemistry of the cosmos and of your own process, which you have been shaping and honing for as long as you can remember.

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