Voyeur and Voyager

Posted: November 21, 2011 in Life, living, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How much electronic pain must be suffered at the delighted hands of masochistic fairy muses, who flit about teasing the writer with half-formed ideas?   All day long this one has been continually dive-bombed by brilliant sparkling thoughts, only to see them fade away as soon as the mental hand reaches out to grasp.

At the heart of the exercise is the certainty that such grasping is not in vain.  The hope stretches beyond wishing, to the point of clarity:  gems are meant to be mined, not left in the walls of rock, forever ignored, forgotten.

The analogy searches beyond the immediate:  while the gem is the goal, it goes beyond just writing, or just ideas.  The gem reflects the natural light of value, inherent in those lights who have perceived it.  The woman whose flashing eyes reveal far more spirit turmoil and joy than most in her company.  Hidden to most, she is accessible to the seeker who somehow just can’t stop perceiving.   Like the ephemeral muse, her quick quirks of dangerous laughter upsets the apple cart of decency and “the norm”.  The writer understands and yet knows that he doesn’t get it all.   His self-awareness understands the depths of his own ignorance, and the intrigue tickles his mental taste buds.  A flavour, filling the mouth with ambiguous fire.

It’s not often this happens – this departure from every day mundane musings, and when it does, it’s certainly welcome.  I was reading “Jitterbug Perfume” (once again, probably for the tenth time, but who knows – and more importantly who’s counting?), when a new pre-ordered book slipped into the e-bookshelf of my iPad Kindle application.   The dangerous world of espionage had always intrigued me, and so I flipped over from “Jitterbug” to read the first chapter.   In normal mundane times, I would start such a book but wouldn’t stop until it was finished.  My appetite for reading has always been like that:  voracious and hungry, and unable to stop until full.  I’ve missed meetings and have been late for doctors’ appointments because of it.  There’s no shame there, really.  I revel in the fact that brilliant ideas, written painstakingly by good authors are so greatly appreciated on this side of the internet.

Yet, this time, I only made it to the first couple of paragraphs before the compulsion to jump back to “Jitterbug” irritated me mercilessly.  I knew why, too.   Robbins’ writing – at least in this work – does not lend itself to distraction.   Literary vortexes are like that.   This one is anyway.  It tends to consume concentration, with the promise of reward.  His dark maelström of lightening beneath bitter clouds floods the consciousness with meaning and soulish rapture.  It instigates and enables so many epiphanic ideas and thoughts.   I suppose it’s why I read the book so many times.   There’s an old commercial about the snack food “Bits and Bites” – where the cartoon narrator reaches into a box and pulls out some content while saying “something different in every handful”.   “Jitterbug Perfume” is just like that, with every reading.

It’s an unceasing drill sergeant too, demanding, obstinate and blunt.   The bright thoughts demand action and reaction, and doesn’t seem to know what “tolerate” means.  I suppose the contrast becomes too apparent:   the world “Machine” wants everyone to take a seat and settle down.  We are cajoled and advised to be content, to watch our favourite TV programs, to eat our fatty foods and be quiet.  To be precise:  the Machine would rather we shut the fuck up, sit the fuck down, and don’t stir up any shit.

Following that advise is what gets you old.  It’s an intricate preparation for disease and death.  Many of us are cool with that, and plan accordingly.   When we question that direction, and ask why it is, the only response is “well it’s complicated”.   Truth-speak for “not only wouldn’t you understand – we don’t want you to get it.”

The Machine keeps stepping on my chi, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had enough of it.  The best defence is a good offence, and the best offence is to be offensive.  Challenging my own direction is scary and a little invigorating.  It pleases me to be displeasing to conventional wisdom.

One has to suppose that the grown adult’s self-imposed rut comes from a lifetime of digging and creating a nest.  Even the most creative of us gets used to the idea of comfort wherever we can find it, or create it.  Stability is the goal, and at least for me, stagnation is the result.  So there’s a trade-off isn’t there?   If you want security, be prepared to be bored.   If you want excitement, know that your life won’t be all that stable, and it certainly won’t be predictable.

Deep in historical awareness – the same awareness that exists within our DNA – is the exhilarating knowledge that steps into uncertainty and risk have their own reward.  Joy, excitement, and even a measure of a type of security.  It knows that the plush fruit of its acts will shine attractively to those who don’t yet have it.

Ever wonder about the state of the economy and where it will all end?  I have.   Some things seem certain:  those who invest themselves in artistic directions always have willing buyers.  People who – like me for so long in my life – have become art voyeurs, the Hansel and Gretel of life’s forest, excited by the new trail, but lulled to a certain undignified grave.

The choice becomes simple.  On one hand, we can concentrate on consuming (and become consumed), and on the other we can concentrate on creating, bringing new life and enlarging our perceived horizon, constantly growing and finding room for more growth.

Voyeur or voyager.

Comments
  1. I wish I felt like writing right now because this post captured brilliantly something I’ve been wrestling with for a long time now. You wrote, “If you want security, be prepared to be bored. If you want excitement, know that your life won’t be all that stable, and it certainly won’t be predictable.” Exactly.

    Exactly.

    Sometimes I feel nearly torn in two, Wolf. There’s this life that I have and then there’s the other one. The one that just might give breath to the artist in me. Big, clear, deep breaths, not this wheezing. But I’m so blessed… How is it that I want more? How is it that a huge part of me would walk away from what’s known and secure to embrace the unknown again? I can answer that. It’s because the artist in me wants to breathe.

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    • virgo12345 says:

      I understand Kate’s dilemma but after living a life of turmoil for so much of my life I’m content most of the time for boredom more importantly for me it’s predictable. I don’t like surprises any more.. especially when the surprise is that I’m going to be hurt. I had the intense passion..the days of never knowing what comes next. And it almost killed me…yes it’s BORING sometimes, most of the time. ..but its’ easy …it’s familiar and it’s comforting, like a w rm blanket. And very now & then there is magic …and reminded why I picked it.

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      • wolfshades says:

        Hey Virgo – yours is such an intriguing comment. Evidently I have to pay a visit to your blog, with the hope of learning more of what you mean by that life of turmoil.

        I wonder: there is uncertainty that is thrust upon us, and there’s uncertainty that comes from taking off the overcoat of caution so that we can feel a bit freer in what we do. The latter is certainly my intent. Was that the case for you too?

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        • Ileene says:

          Mine life became a life of selfishness that was born from frustration and angst of a life gone wrong. It seems I was “abandoned” more than once before I even got to the end of my teens.My Dad and then was left pregnant ( please know that I only became to understand all this in the years past my sobriety.) it was a life .of losing my soul ..and my identity in the process and one being left with nothing else but to survive or die. As simple as that) I had the life of living on the edge, sober and not sober. it was never boring.. I’ll take that boring now in SPADES.

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          • wolfshades says:

            I know all too well the hell of imposed chaos, which in my opinion is far different than the fully conscious self-motivated decision to fly at the expense of safety. Deliberate decision implies ownership – something that can rarely be claimed from someone living in the circumstances you describe, for sure. My background was different, but no less anxious: the roaring, angry giant of a father, who took joy in using his fighting skills on helpless family members, created an atmosphere considerably divorced from boring, for sure. Much of my life, like yours, has been like that. I sought and found peace for a while, and it was good.

            Yet, the wild lights of uncertainty and challenge call to me – no question. The opposite of responding is, for me, a kind of death. And therefore not much of an option at all, I suppose.

            Thanks for sharing, Ileene!

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      • wolfshades says:

        P.S. @virgo12345 – do you have a blog? If so, would you care to leave the link here? I’d love to read it if you do.

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    • wolfshades says:

      @UnequivocalKate: Mine too. I wish I had answers though. I worried, when writing this, that the imagery would still be too vague, too non-specific. It’s a valid concern, solidified by the fact that I know I’m still in the air, circling the prey. I haven’t landed. Frankly I don’t know where to land. I wish I did.

      The only thing I can count on is the fact that I know that the execution is in process; the change will happen and is happening.

      As I walked home from the store tonight, a truth presented itself: all change happens on the inside first, before anything gets revealed to anyone else. That down and out person, walking with his head to the ground, might actually be going through an inner metamorphosis. The cover in his case, is not the book. Not nearly.

      The same – I believe – goes for me.

      To think: it was your post about wine versus the gym that served as the catalyst for the pressing volcanic thought that had been bubbling for quite some time. I’m glad you posted it.

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  2. You have managed to capture my whole morning in this post.

    Like

    • wolfshades says:

      Thanks for saying so. I’m glad. Wish I could say I was done with this (sort of) but ….that’s not the case. This is one of those dynamics that won’t quite settle down. Maybe once my butt is in gear, and I’m doing rather than thinking…. Well, we’ll see I guess.

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