Much Love Monday

"[They wrote] an elaborated, painterly prose. It raids the world for materials to build sentences. ... It is a spendthrift prose, and a prose of means. It is dense in objects which pester the senses. It hauls in visual imagery of every sort; it strews metaphors about, and bald similes, and allusions to every realm" (from here).
I like that commentary on Victorian writers, because it stresses the activity of the writer: writer as engaging with life. I also think it underlines one of the problems of the post-19th century age: raiding. Surely we can arrive at what we need without such Promethean charge?
What remains today is the pillaging; what is lost is the passionate look at life. Flannery O'Connor wrote a lot about that - and also developed a habit of looking. I sometimes get the impression that people today are afraid to look. What are they afraid they will see? We all know that imagined fears are far worse than reality. Yet it is possible to be fixated on projections without knowing it - and thus miss out on "as much as the world as can be got into" the eye, as O'Connor writes.
Is it even necessary to feel fear in our thoughts towards people or situations when we are not with or in them? It is exactly these thoughts that get us into trouble later: they lead us into Real Housewives delusions, like: "I am one hundred percent positive that you are insinuating that I am a bad person, even though you never said it." Even if someone insinuates something, they are the ones living in their made-up, negative story. A friend of mine always says: whether something's true about you or not, people will say it. Or, as we said in the '90's: They all up in the Kool-Aid and don't even know the flava!
To really look at someone is to have no expectations of them. This is such a tricky thing. On the one hand, we want to learn from our past experience of people. On the other, we don't want to be weighed down by heavy memories of them. So, the happy approach is somewhere in the middle. No expectations.
Other fears that block us in life come from the unexpected - which is exactly what teaches us not to expect. A tricky childhood. Fake friends. The prejudices of educated people! Maybe it is the shock of seeing such things that makes us want to be blind for a while. Some things sure are ugly. But the thing about ugly things is that they pass. And voluntary blindness is too sad for words. If hardly any of the world goes into the eye, we're left with "ignorance with guns."
We are called to see the world in this little life of ours. We are called to live it "to the hilt." It is never enough to observe: one must jump in and experience life. Experiencing means being open to feeling, even pain. But it's exactly when the pain begins that there is hope of something good happening - if we're ready to learn about our expectations. So, for today's Much Love Monday, I love seeing the world - which means experience, including that of vulnerability: "The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're ... exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That's the moment you may be starting to get it right." (Gaiman keynote address.)

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