Friday, January 30, 2009

I Can't Make You Love Me

The resignation in Bonnie Raitt’s voice as she sings those words and, "if you don't...can’t make your heart feel something it won’t..." causes me to ask how long does it take each of us to learn that lesson. A friend has quoted Kurt Vonnegut for years, his expression about, "...tap dancing and farting," and we reach a point when, clearly, that is all we’re doing. There is no pay-off.

What holds true for romantic or familial love is just as valid in this world of mixed media artists, a universe, really, densely populated with such a diversity of styles, talent without limit, energy and invention and, I think it could be called determination. In my small boat I cruise the waterways of blogland, one stop sending me on to the next, that one leading me to a new resource; frequently enchanted, feeling what is very akin to relief that there isn’t discretionary income close at hand or there could be trouble. But I do wonder as every day my little journey takes me to destinations I can only describe as fabulous - you may think you’ve seen it, whatever it may be, but are there surprises ahead, and how. Can we possibly know when we’ve reached the top?

And with this abundance it becomes clear, at least in my version of processing information, that not everyone is going to be everyone else’s new favorite thing. There are stars in this universe, the status is easily quantifiable by comments or sales or visitors and by the richness of content, generosity of spirit in sharing ideas and information and stunning visual support. A comparison (odious, at best) that comes to mind is the actual world contains Paris, France, and Dinuba, California. And I know, I can hear, the thought - "Well Paris, duh?" And yet...Dinuba (pronounced Die-new-bah, accent on "new") was where my grandparents had their farm, my grandmother’s paint-by-numbers landscapes on the walls, each of which was papered in a different pattern, as was the ceiling in several rooms.

After more than 60 years Dinuba is still peaches and everything heavenly that can be made from them; it is breakfasts in the not-quite-dawn which include biscuits and gravy; it is collecting the eggs, picnics among the redwoods, learning to shoot the BB-gun, riding into "town" while having to stand in the back of their Ford coupe, praying my mom won't actually make me a dress out of the feed sacks Grandma saved for her.

We put our art and our hearts up on these (I still wish we could agree upon a word of greater fluidity or grace or some recognizable aesthetic) blogs and at least a part of us wants people to find them and love them and by extension, us. And that has never been, nor will it ever be as far as my imagination can stretch, the reason to do anything. To be found, praised or purchased is to feel ourselves catapulted into the dance of joy. It is a challenge to write the words that demand to be expressed, to draw and color the goofy or cheerful eccentrics who have somehow selected our hand out of all the others to bring them to life. And life as I experience it is work. It is showing up as best we can, allowing ourselves to be a conduit for greater visions presented with a unique flair, and letting go of the rest. Bonnie Raitt sang in a way that told us she knew the words were true. What the song didn’t tell us was that we had to be happy about it.

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