Wait! There's More


Well, I am certainly not one to post more than once in a single day, but these are interesting circumstances.

Earlier today I had a fantastic friend on the phone and happened to ask if he thought I were too strange...affectedly strange (I completely support authentic strange-ness). I had lately been wondering if my new comfort amongst my own quirks was really just a well-disguised offshoot of vanity, or whether it was a constructive, fertile thing. And I have had other moments this week where I have had to stop and wonder if I weren't perhaps becoming a bore...a true bore.

There's nothing more abhorrent to my mind than falsity, boorishness and general obliviousness.

And then I watched Grey Gardens.
(pause to thoroughly enjoy Regina Spektor's Samson...playing right now).

And I saw the essential problem.

When one lives too much alone, one runs the risk of becoming too much of an individual. Too sclerotic. I have lately realized that living alone has been my great liberator--but that the thing I have to watch for most is the complacency that comes with having the power to arrange entirely one's own life. Complacency is the greatest danger facing someone who has the freedom to stretch and breathe deep and indulge a little. It is much too easy to cease all challenges, all questioning, to accept oneself as the rule and measure. And there is ABSOLUTELY nothing interesting about that.

There is a strange line between the developing individual and the sclerotic individual. (Taking the idea of a sclerotic character from my before-quoted Julio Cortazar).

I don't quite know what I'm looking for, but I know that it is often found in that hiccup of emotion in my throat, in that exploration of entirely new ground, in the poignant recognition of a face/name/view/experience that has passed me by before. I know that human beings are largely (and necessarily) made of vanity (self-love). I know that it is the fault I should watch for most. But I also know that there is nothing more stimulating than meeting someone who has taken their own life in both hands--to mold, to watch, to flow freely.

What to do with life? What to make of it? What to think of it? It must be more than a collage. It must be more than a perfect composition. It must be more than individual and general.

And when ever I think of an individual thrown into the middle of a great massy society, the image of Kirchner's little girl always come to my mind. The frenzy surrounding, the immense loneliness of her figure, the inward-pressing tone of the compostion. It feels like that sometimes, like the boundaries are caving in a little, like the world is becoming altogether unbearable, unfathomable.

A Concerto helps (Its Mendelssohn's Viloin Concerto in E Minor at the moment), a glass of a new pinot grigio helps, the thought of browsing at the Strand helps, and thought of meeting new people, of working out my own ridges and inconsistencies and surrendering more and more of my vanities helps.