So many times I think to myself that I will stop writing. This occurs to me when I feel the thoughts are too revealing; when readership halves as it is wont to do; when I consider the topics addressed here so broad as to represent the least responsible form of dilettantism. Sometimes, I am jealous of the person who can say: I am ___; I do ___. Ah! The human life, this three-footed receptacle (the pair of legs, eyes, and proverbial wings). I read a beautiful piece yesterday about a shopkeeper who on seeing a woman's interest in a Delphic tripod, brought it outside, filled it with bay leaves, lit coals, and sloshed it with ouzo (scroll down; but the tripod was also sat on?). To reenact is one way to have a hand in the past. Like handling antiques, and the invariable frisson of all the piece has been exposed to, craftsmen, owners, voices, settings. Like if one hands grains to Streptopelia capicolae, every time one hears their call, one may feel a nearness to the species, as if one enters their song through proximity and offering.
And perhaps this is the point of the writing, to be released from the prison of petty worries and give oneself over into these various melodies that have existed for centuries (even the thoughtful unlearned may encounter : truth, like inventions, may be in the air as much as in the mind). Such leitmotifs become so much more tangible if written, not only thought.
Helps explains, "most persons, if they have but placed one brick in a building, are interested in the progress". We are called to participate: the tripod beckons to be used, like petroglyph spirals and staircases beckon to enhance the vocabulary of dreams. It is here where the human arts are to be developed if there is to be medicine for the soul. In this way, we remember that our thinking is weak without symbols so we return to the discursive idea-talismans of the past. They gather within themselves more than one perspective yet form a focal point for thought. In fact, it is the awareness of a history, e.g. of the symbol, one aims to report correctly that refines and defines dispersed thought. Doubt of one's conclusions refines and defines.
In Hyde's introduction to Trickster, he references how Italo Calvino "meditates on Hermes and Mercury, Europe's old quick-witted gods (the ones with wings on their shoes, the ones whose statues still adorn train depots), and Calvino confesses that he always looked to their speed with the jealous longing of a more methodical craftsman. 'I am a Saturn who dreams of being a Mercury' ... Saturn is the slow worker, the one who can build a coin collection and label all the envelopes in a near script ... he needs Mercurial insight to give him something delicious to work on". Here, methodical diligence is contemplated together with the dispersal of dreams. The musing and the symbol seem lost to us today, at least in the mainstream. Harry Eyres' Slow Lane column this weekend considers how the contemporary man is more concerned with relationships and the act of passion than the far more difficult love.
The symbol and the leitmotif are enriched by the many viewpoints and paradoxes that are borne by those who have peered into their selves and noticed the belletristic cast of characters the individual may hold at a given time. The wisened granny. The jester.
"That’s when I was learning how to actually be an adult in this fucked up place," says the man after the wandering divergence of the experience of youth, which "backgrounds the writing that sticks". With any luck, we enter the stream of the continuing song of man. The adult, refined and defined through the practice of this writing, if only as a collection of focused but divergent symbols, made grander through comparison and analogy, offering the smoke from the tripod up to the heavens, with a hand in eternity that means something determinate. With any luck, our lives and thoughts are clarified into that charm bracelet, the charms of which might resonate into other people's lives whose lives have already resonated into our own.