Monday, March 2, 2015

The Agon and the Ecstacy

The sound of an epiphany arrives with an unmistakable flourish of trumpets, announcing the arrival of royalty.  No matter if the sound plays only within the head. Epiphanies are, after all, individual experiences, your invitation to share through creativity.

A note of caution, however:  epiphany is royalty arriving to pay you a visit.  Following in the tradition of working-class folk having to put on a gala to celebrate the arrival, you need to become a host, with all the responsibility that entails.  Right now.

Things will henceforth never be the same.  You'll no doubt need to max out your credit line, but matters will balance out to your advantage, even though you'll have to take on extra work to pay for your gala.

The epiphany to which you refer this time--for your life has become a cavalcade of them--is the beginning of inference that some authority you hold in great esteem has defects.  You not only recognize these defects in your elected authority, you see them as well in yourself.

Congratulations; you've just discovered the humanity of your authority figure and the humility-as-squatter resident within you.  Not only that; you've taken a step toward understanding both.

Love and writing have a good common ground.  Each is brought on by some explosive awareness of stunning beauty, which the beholder rushes to capture, and who are you to refuse the presence of love or writing in your life?  In your rush, you stumble with great frequency over visions, anomalies, and lies.  Brushing the dirt from your knees, you rise, then return to your work.  You follow the likes of your authority figures, knowing you cannot hope to capture what they have, for it will not be your own.  You must take what you have learned from them and make it your own.  

Twain's dead-pan tall stories must be your own versions, wrought out of the individuals you see about you. Melville's clash of cosmic forces may become story points to your visions, but your life at sea has been limited to one trip from the Long Beach Harbor to Catalina Island, numerous ferry rides from New Jersey to the Manhattan terminus, and life on the ferry service plying the waters to the islands in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  

Cather's ability to evoke prairie and its denizens must be transformed to your awareness of the Grand Central Markets in downtown L.A. and Guadalajara.  Austen's ability to explore the outer banks of free independent discourse, even before the term for it was coined, become wall sconces flickering with guttering lights as you make your way down the dark corridors of narrative.  Lewis' satiric visions, at once tempting and too hard-barked for you, help you see the need to trust the characters you select to dress and comport themselves without stage direction from you.

Love and writing change on you after the romance wears thin.  You either change with them, working at your best effort to take their clues and leave some of your own, or you become caught in the natural presence each provokes--the abrasive force of friction.

To avoid this uncomfortable tear and scratch of fiction, you must remember yet another epiphany:  you don't form love or story, experiencing each forms you.

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