Monday, August 03, 2009

Stone soup and other delicacies

Perhaps I make a mistake when I try to communicate what is actually going on in my mind and “heart” rather than try to create art that could manipulate reader or listeners into feeling and thinking those things for themselves. But art is so hard to make, especially with words. I’m taking the easy way by simply telling me like I am. Or as I’d like to be (which is part of what I am). At the same time, I’m superficially disgusted by all this “I” and “me” stuff. I’m no one special, and yet, I’m everything to me. That’s a joke. I think.
I’ve had this longish life that kind of moves inside me now as if I were an overfilled pot of soup, and when someone tilts me a little bit, some of my life spills out. They have to jump out of the way to avoid getting greasy spots on their clothes. Rarely do they thank me for a delicious taste of something unusual. Maybe that’s because my soup is quite common, and only the inexperienced think it’s something new. Most probably think it’s something to be avoided. People don’t have much conversation these days, or listen to each other’s stories, unless it’s presented as “art.” But I know there’s more to art than off-the-cuff storytelling. And knowing that, I despair. Who has the time to really perfect something? And who has the time to appreciate art?
Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling like my brain is too small to form concepts, let alone comprehend existence. It wants to, but it fails. This is when routine comes in handy, but still, it leaves me feeling empty. My morning exercises soothe me as if I were autistic; my breakfast gratifies me as if I were a domesticated raccoon. The comics in the paper give me a sense of community and continuity as if I were a nun in a convent and needed news of the outside world. And then I go to work, which is just another trap. I’m looking for an escape hatch, but not very hard.
The older a woman gets, the less likely there is to be an escape hatch of the romantic kind (which is a favored kind of escape for us culturally-deranged females). There’s almost an inner compulsion to “give all of that up.” Even the daydreaming (if indeed there ever was any). But what’s to replace it? Here’s where living in a convent could have come in handy; surely such women understand how to deal with life directly, without romance. I’m thinking of Julian of Norwich, an old favorite literary figure of mine, who hallucinated upon a crucifix, and made a career out of it in the 14th century or thereabouts. Got herself a little house next to a church; didn’t have to do anything but daydream (about Jesus) and dictate. Oh yes, and receive visitors occasionally who were seeking her wisdom and trying to imitate her piety and get a special soup-stain upon them that they could see a vision of the Lord in. But prayer is a selfish thing. Prayer is not action, that I can tell. Prayer is meditation and navel-gazing, even if you think it’s the Lord’s navel you’re looking at.
I’m feeling some anger at the moment. Not sure what it’s about. Could be many things, or just life. Maybe my soup needs salt to make it complete, and I just can’t find any.

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