Day 8: Heartbreak – Heart Improvement

And now ladies and gentlemen. . . we’ve reached the halfway mark on our Love Ride!

And just to show that it’s not all fun and games, I’m gonna drop it down and play a demo I recorded in Fall of 2013. The later version of this song has all sorts of bells and whistles – but I think the early version possesses its own quiet Beauty.  And speaking of Beauty, have you ever noticed how those dark moments of the soul become hinges that let more light into your life than you ever thought possible?

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Day 7: Disillusion – Meltdown

This song takes me to the ocean really. It breezes along, actually I used to think of it as a bit Beach Boy-ish in melody and mood.

So why did I match this song with Disillusion, which my dictionary says, refers to an instance of disenchantment?

Let’s go back to the shore, the waves. It’s magical, right? But the ground isn’t really solid, it’s composed of billions of shifting particles, granules of mountains. And the horizon, your point of reference, what is it but vapor molecules condensing and evaporating? Likewise, anything or anyone you cling to is liable to switch allegiances with the waxing, waning moon.

Still, the beach is a treat, it’s ample balm for the divesting of illusions. As is this song – whose catalyst is just about washed clean from my memory. . .

Notes scribbled during a performance of Cineastas, expanded upon and turned into ten rules to live by

1.Two lives are more balanced than one. A double life is preferred, and keeps people guessing.

2. Objects reconstruct life. Look around a space, how everything is placed tells our story.

3. The juxtaposition of two things paves the way for a third idea. The superimposition of fiction upon a life creates a hybrid existence, clarified, rare, potentially immortal.

4. Everything that belongs to us will someday be part of someone else’s film set.  Take as a case in point, adultery.  A husband or a wife is as apt to show up in someone else’s drama as an ascot or a handbag.

5. There’s little time left.

6. “To Moscow we must go!” Ever since Chekhov wrote Three Sisters, this expression has exemplified a longing for poetry and art and culture and a desire to escape the low-brow and the mundane.  In Cineastas, the character goes on to ask, “What will I do once I get there?”

7. We see fictions.  We see our lives through fictional lenses.  Does art imitate life or is it vice versa?

8. In all stories, the inciting incident is what sets a character off upon a transformative journey.  In Cineastas, the filmmaker starts out to make his or her film.  It is the inciting incident which interrupts, transforming the experience of making the film into a harrowing, mind-boggling, revelatory act, which is the play within the play we take delight in.

9.  What changes? What lasts? How does the concept of erasure force us to see the things in life that are valuable and therefore fleeting? Or, is it the other way around: is our ghost life valuable because it is a slate soon to be wiped clean?

10. Fiction lasts longer than lives.  Identity is fluid.  We can identify with the Russian Steppes, we may perceive those hills containing measurable qualities that will sustain us.  In the end, what we have to live on is story-telling and imagination.

Baba yaga and the awkwardness of the present

“It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived – forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward-looking position.” – The Diary of Soren Kierkegaard

“We delight in our sensuous involvement with the materials of language, we long to join words to the world – to close the gap between ourselves and things – and we suffer from doubt and anxiety because of our inability to do so.” Lyn Hejinian

It occurs to her in this space, in these particular white walls (only in the bedroom did a smell briefly hearken her back to her past; she did not pursue it), in this, present – (though it isn’t anything like that – i.e. static, rather like a conveyance it keeps moving) is a vastness, though a rather awkward gift it is since it is hard to put to any good use. She thinks it could be pleasant to play You Belong To Me by Patsy Cline on a phonograph but she has neither record nor device so there’s little point in that. How to describe it? A ribbon of butter churning in a fairy tale in which she keeps lifting her face up from the masher or grinder or pulverizer, her task to count the granules, to turn the quernstone, to harness the powderiness, to order the pebbles. Right now the best her story can offer is the company of the baba yaga hag; the trolls always hide their spoils behind the wood shed. Of course, in reality she is not lifting a finger, nor is she dropping crumbs to awaiting mice; it’s just that it’s something to fill the void with, the idea of the scraggly heroine in raggy shawls. And her benefactors and tormentors (like baba yaga one and the same), they are threads leading in all directions. If she only knew how the story unravels.

Yes, Cindy; emotions have bristles (explained by neurobiology)

Today I read a great Antonio Damasio interview in which he distinguishes between emotions and feelings, the first coming out of sensation and giving birth to the latter.

“There are certain action programs that are obviously permanently installed in our organs and in our brains so that we can survive, flourish, procreate, and, eventually, die. This is the world of life regulation—homeostasis.”

I’ve always wondered why emotional events play such havoc on our basic functions – sleep, metabolism – and how a loss or betrayal can usher in a fight or flight response.

“We must separate the component that comes out of actions (emotion) from the component that comes out of our perspective on those actions, which is feeling. Curiously, it’s also where the self emerges, and consciousness itself.”

I stumbled upon a playful rendering of this concept today in Maria Irene Fornes’ play, Fefu and her friends.

Cindy: When a person is swept off their feet. . . the feet remain and the person goes off. . . with the broom?

Christina: No. . . when a person is swept off their feet. . . there is no broom.

Cindy: What does the sweeping?

Christina: An emotion. . . a feeling. . .

Cindy:
Then emotions have bristles?

Christina: Yes.

cg_broom

My personal library, or the meritoriousness of due-dates (courtesy of the public library)

books

I love my personal library because it is always being refreshed and it is informed by the blurbs I read in magazines and books and blogs and the performances I attend. If a work or artist is mentioned which I am unfamiliar with, but intrigued by, it is brilliantly easy to place a hold, which means at some point in the future, that book will enter my stacks. From there it’s up to fate, whether I’ll open its spine to peruse its contents or not, though one factor increasing probability is what’s commonly known as the due-date.

Due-dates are desirable, because we’re all procrastinators, right? The due-date is the secret to life, or at least the key to busting open those musty volumes to see what’s inside. Every 3 weeks the bell tolls; and although there’s a superb chance of renewing, especially the more obscure tomes, it serves as a reminder that the clock is ticking and that one’s reading window is finite. Of course, there is infinite grace here; if a book simply must be returned before one’s time with it is complete, one can place a new hold on it as soon as it’s been put back into circulation. This is a perfect closed circuit, in which books are constantly placed in new hands along with the desire that accompanies an experience which is terminable.

A rent in the fabric

A rent in the fabric of her serenity, luminous like the lake she drove past, surprised by its brightness on such a grey day, occurred at the estate sale where she went to collect a stove. She was standing in the nearly empty garage, surveying the wreckage, when a young man said to his companion, do you have a projector? From behind a rusting golf caddy he procured an aqua canister, the width of opened arms. Before her eyes, the man then conjured three aqua legs – a tripod! she said to herself, entranced – balanced the canister on it, flipped the thing 360 degrees, and unfurled a silver movie screen to the delight of his companion. The woman there to collect the stove stood, a witness to the event, dumbstruck by her sudden and desperate need to have this shiny object. The thought weighed on her that had she been in the room at the time of the couple’s discovery, that it could have been her to see it first, except that until that moment she did not know what she was lacking. It perplexed her to assemble the pieces of her desire; the tripod was mechanical, and therefore linked with her scientific father; the aqua-tinted metal stood for her murky, melancholic, water-loving childhood; and the screen itself, generous, a reflector of light like the lake she had just observed. And here it was, before her, but not to be hers. Such is life! She knew there was no changing the outcome, the couple would take the screen, at a bargain price, and she would collect her stove and pine for the unattainable, and thus, perfect item.

She drove home, the gnawing inside her now accompanied by the rattling of the stove in back. She put on the most cymbal-laden CD in her glove compartment and resigned herself to the crashing. She thought of how it had come to be that she was driving around picking up stoves on a Sunday when previously she had been practicing with a band. The dissolution of the band had not been her decision; it struck her now that the others had been laboring under the premise that the band was her brainchild. The band might have been preserved if members had determined that the band was their idea as well. It’s strange, she pondered, how switching one’s perception the slightest can shift things for good. When the option came up, she turned off the main road, and found a side road chock full of bumps and curves. The music caterwauling, and the stove clattering such that she thought it might collapse into a pile of rubble by the time she reached home, she followed the arc of the lake, imagining the banging metal as her rage, boiling unseen beneath her smooth, mirror-like surface.

An exercise in caring

It boils down to caring. It bothers her to think she is caring less about certain things she used to care more about. Yes, she is certain, there are things she is moving away from, and other things she is moving towards, in terms of caring, although the exact perimeters of those things she is unclear of. It strikes her that there are many things in life which she once cared an awful lot about, but now hardly considers outside of times like this, when a feeling of regret makes her contemplate her lack of caring and a caring is reborn in her. At other times a random thought or news item can infuse her with a new caring. At such moments she sees the ease in it; the minutiae of her caring are like waves in an ocean conveying her. Still she worries about the particulars of her caring, and whether or not she is caring or not caring and in the optimal proportions.