This is published post number 4401. For some reason, the frenzied excitement I expected to feel with this post—or the previous one—did not materialize. Perhaps my sedate reaction to the milestone of yesterday’s post can be explained by its content; yesterday’s post and the one before were exceptionally short (especially compared to some of my other recent posts) and dull in the extreme. My brain simply would not willingly get in synch with anything but its own slow, irrelevant, molasses-like drip, drip, drip of creativity. It felt for all the world like it had been harnessed by a steady stream of barbiturates, despite the fact that no barbiturates were consumed in the writing of those posts. That is to say, my thought processes have been horribly, horrendously, awfully, unacceptably, monstrously, amazingly slow. Bah!
My attempt to infuse the morning with good cheer, hope, a sprinkling of elation, and a touch of pure happiness has floundered. Record high temperature records in Phoenix, state-sponsored terrorism in and near the Rio Grande in Texas (courtesy of Greg Abbott), the broiling of Europe, devastating floods in the northeastern U.S., and a string of similar blasts of bad news chased joy out the front door and into the forest. Joy is hiding behind towering pine and oak trees in the distance. I would go after it, but I am afraid I might be overcome by heat exhaustion. Or a copperhead snake could inject venom into my foot or calf or hand. Or I might simply trip on a vine, plunging into poison ivy so thick and lush it could cover me from head to toe in an instant.
The pleasure delivered by the events of the last few days has melted, leaving only its dried and brittle remains as evidence of the euphoria that enveloped the weekend. But, though it’s gone, the memory remains. The challenge is to retain that memory; to keep it polished and gleaming so it will serve as a reminder that bliss has a place on the planet. Quite the challenge, given the circumstances that swallow us as if we were a snack and the circumstances a ravenous python. On we go, though.
One’s interpretation of the world in which he lives depends, in large part, on his perspective. Where is he in relation to what he sees? He sees reality, but reality is shaped by context, as the image demonstrates. Every “shadow” is a legitimate expression of reality, yet every one is dramatically different. This image captivates me because it shows so clearly how different contexts can dramatically change the way one sees the world. The three dark shadows offer unique perspectives about the shape that is casting those shadows, yet the shape itself is an amalgamation of each of the shapes illustrated by the shadows, as well as a completely different shape of its own. Life is far more complex than the image. Image, for example, how the view might seem from behind each of the shadows, assuming the shadow was translucent or transparent. And how would the view appear if one looked at the image from the “corner” of the shadow box; an entirely different set of images, all appearing very different from anything we see in the view as presented. A lot like reality, in other words.
A dry spell. Or, rather, a drought that leaves the air and the ground as dry and parched as Death Valley. I refer not to the soil, but to my creativity. I feel the same emptiness I have felt for the last two days. Nothing of consequence to write about; nothing of consequence to think; nothing that has the potential for triggering even a slight uptick in my mood. This barren, dry, dehydrated, dusty emptiness leaves me angry at myself for allowing my creativity to wither. Anger is not really it, though. It’s disappointment. Humiliation. Embarrassed acknowledgement that I am not in control of my own internal emotional environment. It is odd that a person can be on such an extraordinary “high,” only to take a single step off a cliff into an almost bottomless canyon. Manic depression. Naturally, that word pair prompts me to think about Jim Hendrix and his music. All Along the Watchtower. The Wind Cries Mary. Hey Joe. Purple Haze. If nothing else, remembering those tunes and the lyrics I used to sing under my breath is beginning to suffocate the dreariness. After all the jacks are in their boxes. I remember how I was struck by the cleverness of that phrase.
After all the jacks are in their boxesAnd the clowns have all gone to bed You can hear happiness Staggering on down the street Footprints dressed in red And the wind whispers “Mary” A broom is drearily sweeping Up the broken pieces Of yesterday’s life Somewhere, a queen is weeping Somewhere A king has no wife And the wind, it cries “Mary“
And thus ends the worst of the mood’s downward swing. I think I need to upgrade my computer’s sound, though. Listening to Jimi Hendix over lousy speakers does not have anything like the impact as hearing the same music through a perfect, rich, balanced, WONDERFUL amplifier and speakers designed to maximize the experience.
Spencer Tunick, the American photographer known for his photographs of crowds of nudes, recently engaged hundreds of Finnish volunteers in a series of nude shots. According to an article in the Helsinki Times, “as the clock struck 3:00 am on Saturday, nearly a thousand naked participants flocked to the designated locations” to be photographed by Tunick. The human form, with all its beauty and its flaws, fascinates me. And what fascinates me more than the form itself is the fact that the shock of nudity disappears when individual nudity is multiplied many times over. It fascinates me that there is nothing titillating about naked crowds, yet if each person from a crowd shot were extracted from the photo and presented individually, one’s emotions would tend to change. Nudity is absolutely natural. But we treat it as an aberration; something unnatural and, to far too many, immoral. And—something that causes me to get deeply irritated—too many people express disgust or disapproval if the nude body they see is not “ideal.” Too old, too fat, too blemished by experience or lifestyle or too different from that very unusual “perfect” body presented by marketers as that shape and size we all should strive to achieve.
Perhaps I haven’t fallen entirely into a deep pit in which creativity does not exist. Maybe I am here, just looking at it from a different angle. Look at things from my perspective, won’t you?