It’s true. Proust relaxes me. It’s those huge paragraphs. They’re just so mesmerizing. I go into solitude and discover there is an ocean in me. I feel it slap against my sides. I wander the world in a robe of feathers whispering that something has vanished. Do not tread on my dreams I say and someone says Yeats said that. Yes I know but this has nothing to do with Yeats. This is how I feel not how Yeats felt. I feel more akin to Proust don’t ask why. It’s like trees. I can’t take a tree in in its entirety. There are too many branches. Too many leaves. Too many textures and irregularities and variations of color in the bark. Each tree is a narrative. It might not be as exciting as a novel by Elmore Leonard or James Ellroy but that doesn’t matter. I’m talking about Proust here. A spoon yells out its bright metal proposition and I think “that’s it, that’s what a spoon is about.” I give my body what it wants. Food, clothing, codeine. Coffee slides through my nerves awakening just about everything. Nerves respond to stimuli. But what stimuli? Not all stimuli is visible. Or even material. Sometimes, in fact most of the time, you have to act as if life were coherent. Even though, deep down, you know that life is not coherent. Study the motion of the hand when it’s writing. I am at the age when I notice these things. This is a sadness, because it doesn’t promise anything in the way of eternity. Quite the opposite. Impermanence is one of the first things you notice in life. Even as a kid. Remember your parents? One day you’re cute and you can do no wrong and people wipe your butt and the next day you’re not so cute and it’s off to school for you. Get out of the house. Go get a job. Clean your room. Mow the lawn. You know what I mean. No need to belabor these points. We all know what it feels like to get kicked out of paradise. Apple my foot. It’s got nothing to do with apples. Can we ever know reality? We all want to find a buried treasure. Especially a treasure buried in ourselves. Our own true selves. And that’s where writers like Proust and Virginia Woolf happen. They happen in rare settings and crystal abstractions. They happen in incongruity and the hot refining winds of intuition. Intuition cannot be pushed or pulled. Watch how the eyeball swallows the world. It’s all a matter of dilation. Life is an exhilarating book. But it helps to consider the syntax. It’s not just a matter of content it’s a matter of undulation. How perception is shaped by language. And vice versa. A box arrives in the mail and a hand comes out and pats you on the head. It’s like that. A knowledge that forms unexpectedly, a vague but persistent sense of reciprocity with the world, rounded and hypothetical like the finger of a ghost.
Drums Along the Potomac
2 days ago