Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our divided selves - Repost of "Saturday Night Pink"

“Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.”
James Joyce, Dubliners 

If you don't know The Band, if you don't know The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,  playing it loud is better than playing it softly.  If you do know the band and this song, I don't need to make the suggestion.  As I listened just now - acknowledging that I am not sure where my mind and emotions have gone other than to admit they were last seen limping away from a jump made from some great height, which is to say I scarcely know what I'm thinking and not a clue why - I heard an American voice whose plaintive cry has yet to die away.

I haven't the experience of a lifetime of mindfulness training, of how to be consistently unified within my fragmented, human and opposing selves,  and spend what seems too much time trying to resolve inner conflict.  Not big things, just whether to allow my shrieking control-driven aspect to shout down the calm, compassionate and almost wise voice.  We may not at this moment be standing in formation on two sides of geographic lines wearing uniforms of different colors but as I look at us it seems we are every bit as deeply at war with each other as we were when our country split in half.  If we are really paying attention, we are at the same time working to call home our personal vagrant parts, the bits that drifted away when leaving seemed to offer the best chance of surviving trauma, loss and uncertainty.  As the minstrels able to show us who we've been and who I believe we still are The Band has no modern equal.

This updated preamble and the repost itself demonstrate my own diverging paths of thought.  I hope no one expects the necktie to match the hankie.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday Night Pink 


Of The Band's five members, only Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson remain after Levon Helm's death this week.  If you're interested, Wikipedia has background on The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down here.  That Helm, it reports, never again performed the song after this concert, filmed for Scorsese's The Last Waltz, tells a story.  His "Saturday Night Pink" would be enough to make me want to be a writer, wishing for such a phrase to drift in on a summer-like wind, if that wasn't already my plan.
Moving on to a separate topic which is not, as far as I know, connected at all to the paragraph above.
The scraps of paper - envelopes, the backs of on-line craft store receipts, bottom of a page listing color pencil product numbers - on which we preserve the you-never-know fleeting thoughts,  are repositories of the arcane.  In front of me is a note that says, "phrase - suicide mollusk."  For now, I'm viewing this as a misfire, not an internal prompt, not a Sherlock-worthy mystery to which I have been assigned.  It might be easier to draw than write: a colossal squid holding its breath.

Wonder is an appropriate response to the creeping, dawning illumination that we are actually amphibians, afloat in the infinite sea.  I think, I suggest: write how the inexpressible feels, choose words for the horizon-to-horizon journey as what we were certain did not exist begins to take vaporish form.  Can you explain, I ask myself, the ways in which life as an out-of-body experience differs from being here?  Or are they different?  One of my favorite characters on television is John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop in Fringe.  His advanced state of "otherness" may be the result of long-term experimentation with mind-altering drugs but I suspect they were merely enhancements for his true nature.

Refrigerator words will not help me now.  I'm not certain there are words in contemporary reality that don't pare down and blanch our vibrant possibilities.  At last I've awakened to the allure of science fiction as a medium of revelation.  (Mad Men's Ken Cosgrove finds or found an outlet, moonlighting as a sci-fi writer, for plots that would not fit into ordinary fiction.  *smacks forehead*)  Fantasy, speculative fiction, science fiction, the shape-shifter that is called magical realism, create opportunities for telling stories that may well be true but unprovable, real yet invisible.

When I began this post, first wanting to give a farewell wave to Levon Helm, then hoping to give credible voice to what presently rolls through my mind, I didn't know we would end up together in the section where Dune, Farenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five reside.  But here we are.  And I get to consider that languages of other worlds may be the source of words that are so elusive in this one.


beth coyote said...

Amniotic fluid is the same salinity as the ocean.

XX Beth the midwife

Marylinn Kelly said...

Beth - I am glad that in the midst of having to guess at so many things, there are reliable facts, things upon which we can depend. And midwives. xo