Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rainclouds and Cigarettes: Epilogue


"Whether he's happy or not, I don't know. I don't suppose happiness means as much to an artist as to ordinary folk."

All through this month, though I brought several books, I've focused mainly on one in particular; "The Air-Conditioned Nightmare", by Henry Miller. Superficially, there may be some parallels drawn; a book about traveling through America, written by a wholly natural expatriate who had lived abroad for several years, being read by a wholly natural wanderluster while he travels through America, after having been cooped up in domestic civility for several years. I spent most of my time in awe of the beauty and wildness of the traveler's America, however dreary and sinisterly multifaceted that America may have shown herself to be. Miller, on the other hand, spends a large portion of his travels disgusted, comparing everything to some idyllic and contrary chateau or cafe that he remembers from Paris or Algiers or wherever. But what do I know? Miller's one of the greatest writers America has ever produced, and I'm but halfway through his book.

"This subject, the relationship between wisdom and vitality, interests me because, contrary to the general opinion, I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had the chance to ripen. The word which gives the key to the national vice is waste. And people who are wasteful are not wise, neither can they remain young and vigorous. In order to transmute energy to higher and more subtle levels one must first conserve it."

Then again, as my father reminded me tonight, there are no coincedences. What may appear coincidences are just moments where you are clued in to the larger arrangements of the energy and potential of Everything, given a brief map of the overgrown paths that wind with the barely controlled and subtle chaos of the whipping of a conductor's wand through some orchestral and verdant forest. It's like dipping your finger into the righteous eddies of Lao Tzu's Mississippi River and, for one moment, tasting Wisconsin snow. What am I trying to teach myself? What are all these roadmaps tracing blue and red across my brains, seeping like little spiderweb tributaries into the fertile delta of my confused, exhausted dreams?

I'm home now, and little worse for the wear. Stayed up late, watching Alien and reading and writing and smoking, keeping Megan up with me. It's going to be a lot of work to readjust, and in some ways I feel I'm too far gone. I can hear that same roar of the cosmic tumblers. The safe is being cracked again, and the dam within has sprung a few leaks.

Jeezus, I'm taking everything too seriously, everything for granted. I keep writing love letters to rivers, everything in motion, everything rolling and winding, each handful wholly unique, like swallowing a lungful of time, where only the shore stands still to be beaten and cheated and washed slowly out to sea.

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