Hello to the select few who read this blog … lots to say … today is a good day. The melancholy I was experiencing Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday seems to be leaving me alone today. I think I freak out that Melancholy Beast with my purpose today … the manuscript. But first, I read a good bit of Christopher Moore’s You Suck: A Love Story. This book is on par with A Dirty Job — superb! And I was squealing with delight and surprise when I was reading today … but I won’t ruin it and tell you why. If you’re a fan of his spectacular fiction and have read his repertoire, you will know why squealing was so very appropriate.
Last night, my reading plans took on another form. I was seriously planning on reading some Joseph Conrad. I was going to read his gorgeous novella, The Return for the third time, but alas, something else came out to me. Literally. And if you love Conrad (and especially this novella), run, don’t walk to see the French film adaptation of it called Gabrielle … a beauty you won’t believe. But this date I had with Conrad was interrupted (I think by a supernatural force … read on and you’ll see) …
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet flew off my bookshelf — no B.S. Seriously. And I did feel I needed the only-what-Rilke-could-ever-deliver guidance. So he forced his sweet ass upon me. Thanks, Mr. Rilke … kiss kiss (see picture below, Mr. Rilke). And then it just got weirder, and even more supernatural … when I turned to the following page and the following passage at random (listen up, young poets, this guy knows his stuff!):
What goes on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love; you must somehow keep working at it and not lose too much time and too much courage in clarifying your attitude toward people. Who tells you that you have one anyway (46-7)?
And then (also opened at random):
I believe that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension that we find paralyzing because we no longer hear our surprised feelings living. Because we are alone with the alien thing that has entered into our self; because everything intimate and accustomed is for an instant taken away; because we stand in the middle of a transition where we cannot remain standing. For this reason, the sadness too passes: the new thing in us, the added thing, has entered into our heart, has gone into its inmost chamber and is not even there any more, — is already in our blood (64).
I have been talking a lot recently about this rediscovery, this thing I felt was coming, something without a name or identity. That big something … coming at me like this book came at me. Here is what I am thinking that rediscovery is … and I like to imagine this newness as being a circa-1950 glass doe knick knack painted carefully in tans, browns, her little hooves and nose an onyx-black … but I digress. But I do need to ask the Shaman what my animal is …
I think what often invades me is not sadness; sadness is merely a symptom. I think what invades is a plug of sorts, plugging a part of myself that yearns to be freed … and then other parts of me compensate this temporary loss of freedom in another part of me. That would explain why often depression, sadness, whatever label one would want to give it shows me the world in a different way. Another, usually lessened or “turned off” part of my self is turned on … and there it is … usually something totally mundane that suddenly possesses the deepest of all beauty, meaning and often brings me to tears … makes me want to pray with Unitarian meditations … the melding of the entire world in a moment.
About two months ago, I had such an experience … in the Walgreen’s parking lot no less (how much more mundane can you get?). An old woman sitting in a Buick with a Doberman in the back seat brought me to tears … and then a little girl at the back of a school bus staring at me while I was in my car behind the bus at a red light … tears again. And then within 30 minutes of being home: 2 poems. That plug in my soul began to remove itself … sadness led to realization, then renewal, then rediscovery.
So this rediscovery I have been blabbering about? Anhedonia. I do not have anhedonia, but I have her … persona … in my poems. I strongly believe it was no mistake I happened upon this word, got hung up upon it … and it is no mistake it had to basically hose down my soul for me to understand her. She been there, in my poems and thoughts for a long time now, but I have only now just made her acquaintance. And I can only hope she is as pleased with me as I am with her …
But I couldn’t have found this without a little push … so thanks Rainer … may I call you Rainer?
Rilke, Rainer Maria. Letters to a Young Poet. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1962 reprint.