March 12th, 2015
When I was a teenager, I think the greatest lie I tricked myself into believing was that not being a child meant never getting excited about vacations or moved by music. I experienced both today and–if anything–I am far more easily affected by vacations and music now than ever before.
I am “officially” going to be done with Latin tomorrow, as in I am done being officially educated about it. Looking back at my Latin career, I could have…well. I could have actually gotten pretty good at it. It has been fourteen years, though, and somehow I still forget what gerundives are. And all of the possible verb forms are an absurd and tangled forest. At the same time, I feel like I could translate anything if given a dictionary. So, if anything, the greatest skill I have learned from Latin is probably common sense. As for a sense of details, I get the sense they should be forgotten. In the future, I would like to keep up with Latin by reading from the Vulgate (inspired by my mom) and read through some classic works in Latin like I would read through anything else (the difference being the language).
I have said it to a number of people in the past five months, but it is worth repeating: everything has changed. “A chapter has flipped,” as they say, but its feel more like I have taken off a pair of sunglasses I’ve been wearing for two decades. That is not to say that, up until this point, I have been “in the dark” and that it is only now “I see the light.” It is more that everything feels different.
That is something I have tried to pin down for a long time. The feeling of reality. What does it feel like? Sometimes, in wilder moments, I will knock on hard surfaces or slowly brush my fingers across a wet window and wonder to myself, “This experience is so deeply thick, so far from the abstract, so unspeakable, which is to say, a very sensual truth.” But I can never get beyond a few attempts at explaining it, before I start laughing at myself.
And here I am wondering to myself, “Why am I telling you this? Who put me up to having a journal on a blog?” Honestly, I don’t know. It is deeply embedded in me to question everything and that, sometimes (always), gets in the way of taking something for what it is. I feel constantly incapable of taking things for what they are; most pertinently, reality.
That’s another thing. I never say “pertinently” in person and if I did, I would laugh at myself and the person sitting next to me would say, “What are you laughing at?” and I would say, “I just said pertinently.” And then I would lose my train of thought, but then I would wonder to myself, “Was this train really going anywhere, anyway?”
The difficulty in this format is that everything is fair game and I am the train conductor to an orchestra that likes to jump from line to line (see what I did there?). This is all so quite informal and you wonder, “Then why, on earth, are you publishing it? You’ll make a fool of yourself–you’ll look back in four years and say to yourself, why did I ever do that?” But here I am wondering to myself, “Is there a better phrase than ‘wondering to myself’ or ‘say to myself’ to express a thought I am having or had?”
Looking back on everything I have written in those paragraphs up there, the most interesting beginning was, certainly the feeling of reality. But the subject bothers me. I can’t help talking about without going in circles.
It does remind me, all the topics before me, of the very visual experience that is writing down ideas. When I write down an idea, I don’t see the words, I see all of the ideas that are suddenly somehow connected to that idea. I see corridors, lots of corridors. And sometimes I can come to a dead-end if, well, I go down one. An example of a dead-end up there is when I began talking about talking about things. A dead-end of idea is one that feels, well, dead. It feels dead, because it is ultimately a circular path, which gives the reader the impression, not that there is progress here, but rather retrograde motion. And what is the point of reading, if the writing continues to step back, step back?
For the writer, there is the visual experience of corridors. For the reader, instead of possibilities of what to write, he experiences a sort-of popping in front of his eyes. He experiences ideas popping like weighty fireworks, lots of ideas, different colors and shapes like the 4th. And the thing that pulls the reader forward is this experience, this “popping” that keeps his eyes on the hunt for any new kind of firework or shape.
But firework shows are very boring if you keep shooting the same fireworks up into the sky. You want your audience to be looking for some crescendo and you want to deliver that crescendo.
To not deliver to the audience would be like me wondering to myself again, “But what am I doing, anyway? Who really cares?” Goodbye, corridors.