Wednesday, August 8, 2012

From a distance

Photo: Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom."
When we stand too close, our lives become mired in misapprehensions.  The infected tooth, the inflexible joints, the hyper-awareness of our own disordered histories lead us to mistake small, self-absorbed trifles for larger truths.  What we are meant to study and comprehend, the wise interpretation of our stories, is the result of perspective, a combination of distance, time and paying attention.

Paying attention, along with the word patience, insistent as a drum beat, seems to be part of my mandate.  One of my early rubber stamps said, " There is no substitute for paying attention."  There has been no reason to rethink that.  The art of noticing may be the result of a childhood in which my siblings and I were expected to be quiet, those years when good children were "seen and not heard."  One can fritter many hours in reverie.  I can look at the sky while the minutes evaporate when I am almost out of bed and on to the next/first indicated thing.  Noticing, however, grows in the incubator of daydreaming.  When one learns to be still, one hears more.  Voices within and without surrender their secrets as the listener merely abides.  The extent to which we are capable of being our own wise counsel cannot be guessed or gauged.

There is also an "X" factor necessary for perspective.  Whether it is the shifting of a planet or the crumbling of an ancient defense, something needs to fall and allow even one additional lumen of captured radiance,  brighter and more enduring than a struck match, light enough to read and reckon by.

Behind the battlements of most of my life, I assumed I was doing it wrong.  I knew I was doing it wrong.  Five days ago, with evidence to refute the charge, I allowed myself to consider that perhaps such a belief was untrue.  That permitted "the thin edge of the wedge" (a phrase I first encountered in novels by the Mitford Sisters) of realization:  if I had not been doing this wrong, maybe the same was true of that and multiple other examples.  When the gummy, shifting foundation upon which one has attempted to build a sturdy and resilient self is revealed as a quagmire and a lie, what was unimaginable appears suddenly possible.

As with the earlier post about misapprehensions, I am still adjusting to this revision of a core belief.  Do I take the seams in or let them out, raise or lower the hem, cut the thing to pieces for a collage and start over?

For three days and counting, Los Angeles has withered under the summer's first real heat event and I have postponed anything that isn't essential or automatic.  As a life-long denizen of this reclaimed desert, one might think I had, by now, adapted.  I have not.  Which requires waiting for the air to simmer down, the morning fog to return and sweatless nights to be the norm before I can digest (compare and contrast) a truly radical notion.  It was cooler when I started writing and I thought I was equal to this task.  Then my concentration became a crayon in the noonday sun.  I've applied for permission to postpone conclusions.  I want to know how this turns out but distant images become a distorted mirage under this hot blanket.  I can wait until the horizon clears to be sure of this.   



10 comments:

toomuchaugust said...

oh my. that final paragraph (chapter, stanza, verse) circles the same permission i've applied for as well. so beautifully wrought, marylinn.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you. Contrary to what we too often believe, there IS time. Let us creep up on conclusions - or allow them to creep up on us. xo

T. Clear said...

"I've applied for permission to postpone conclusions."

Brilliant!

beth coyote said...

'Then my concentration became a crayon in the noonday sun.'

Oh yes. Just what I needed right now.

Lisa H said...

are you kidding me?....where does this stuff COME from?.....I keep your beautifully turned phrases in my journals & sketchbooks, giving you full credit and grazing over them when I need to (all the time). Who would believe that one mind churns out such brilliance?

susan t. landry said...

dear, lovely marylinn. you have a cadence that no one else has, and a jeweler's eye for the odd word gems buried under the shiny, hollow baubles other writers use.
xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - Thank you. Always good to have it in writing. Maybe notarized. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - I'm glad this fit the moment. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - You are, as ever, wildly generous and affirming. If it weren't so red-faced hot already, I'd be blushing. xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Susan - What a pip of a day for comments, yours adding to a full heart, thank you. xo