Saturday, February 2, 2008

Instead of:

My good, dear friend was once a coke-head. She realized one day she had to choose between cocaine or life; if she kept using, she would die sooner than later. She quit. For a long time after, she said she felt she had chosen second best.

Once I carried my camera everywhere, and quickly everything became a picture; a weird, quirky, funny, significant picture. “You’ve got the eye,” my weird, quirky, funny, significant husband said. At some point I noticed the picture blocked the experience. Willing to live the moment instead of recording it, I put the camera away, and endured the emptiness that followed. At times I still miss those pictures, those moments to be captured and remembered and shared.

Peter Cushing, B horror flick star and Dr. Who in two Dr. Who films, had continuous employment in the industry, and surely enjoyed the perks he earned. Until his wife, Helen Beck died. He said, "Since Helen passed on I can't find anything; the heart, quite simply, has gone out of everything. Time is interminable, the loneliness is almost unbearable and the only thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that my dear Helen and I will be united again some day. To join Helen is my only ambition. You have my permission to publish that... really, you know dear boy, it's all just killing time. Please say that." Though he went on to play Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars, he said of his wife’s death, "When Helen passed on six years ago I lost the only joy in life that I ever wanted. She was my whole life and without her there is no meaning. I am simply killing time, so to speak, until that wonderful day when we are together again."

Blogging. Bipolarlawyercook has a funny, funny post on blogging addiction. I love it, her post and blogging. See this? And this? Then this? Isn’t it funny or quirky or lovely or significant? Sometimes, though, blogging reminds me of my camera. Time becomes a thing to be captured rather than a moment to be lived. Static rather than fluid.

Remember Bone, the heroine of ?Bastard out Carolina—the girl who went from church to church to be saved every Sunday because in the pageant of baptism everybody loved her, while in the mundane day-to-day business of being a Christian nobody seemed to notice her.

What about food, food, food, food, what feels yummy in my tummy, or clothes or cars or h’mmm, need self-help or spiritual guidance, then this book or that book or that, that, that one has just the right insight, what about ecstatic experience, what a high, where’s the next one?

I caught the end of an interview with David Banner on MPR last week. I’ve never heard Banner’s music, though apparently he has his fans and detractors, but I this is what I understood him to say as the interview closed: People think evil is ugly. It’s not. Who would be attracted to something ugly? Evil is pretty. The thing you love best? That’s where you’re going to find evil.

How can love be evil? What do I think that means? Maybe not what David Banner means, but this: Loving something is merely collecting, pinning butterflies to a board, trying to transform the infinite into the finite, and will bring you grief in the end. Love is God or All or Is, and you can never grab hold of That. You can only relax, open your hands, and let it flow through you. The rest of it, no matter how pretty, is just killing time with second best.


Mrs. G. said...

Bastard out of Carolina was an amazing book. Dorothy Allison is one of my favorite writers. Why must she make me wait so long for another one? Perhaps that is her novels are so good.

Nicole said...

Yep, yep, yep.

I kept thinking about my own blog (shameless excerpt at the end!) when I was thinking similarly...sometimes in reverse, like when I forget to bring the camera to a significant event and I tell myself, just be here and keep the memory; you were here and that's better than the photo. At least, that's what I tell myself anyway. :))

Change, as we all know, is inevitable. Sometimes we avoid it. Sometimes we wonder when it will happen again. Sometimes we just live every moment like that's all there is and we never have to stop and label what we're doing as change. We just DO it.

Blogging sometimes feels like labelling changes. Changes in perception. Changes in activities. Changes in relationships. Changes inside what feels like my soul.