Thursday, July 16, 2009
And quiet comes the Dawn. A corresponence
Star Light, Star Bright…
I was sitting on my patio, on my birthday, drinking my 2nd bourbon and enjoying the view of my backyard as darkness settled and the mosquitoes were effectively repelled by citronella candles (one placed directly between my feet – the little bloodsuckers always go for my feet and ankles). The first star of evening appeared, and that childhood bit of magic came to mind:
I wish I may
I wish I might
Have this wish
I wish tonight
I can’t remember what I wished for as a child – and childhood seems a blurry memory with the occasional sharp photo or screen clip. But, as an adult, on my second bout of what looks like long-term unemployment, with a failed marriage 10 years behind me, and some failed relationships less than that – I know what I wish for.
Remember, in the fairy tales, where we can still see “reports” of magic in action, wishing is fraught with peril. One may wish for riches, and find oneself rich, but miserable. One may wish for love, and find that the loved one is an ass (sometimes literally, as fairy tales go). One may wish for brains, and find that they were there already. But to wish for happiness? What’s the worst that could happen?
I could become the village idiot, drooling, laughing, and…happy. Not that that’s the way I’d like it to turn out, but once it happened, well, I’d just be happy.
I’d prefer that happy meant a career that challenged and excited me, a family that was healthy and happy as well, and a group of friends that allowed me to be me – and liked me that way.
As I thought about it, and as dusk turned to night, I realized that I already had two out of three. All I need is the career. Happy birthday to me, as I enjoy two out of three, and thank you for making part of my wish come true.
"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance."
I used to get in your frame of mind when living in a neat white cottage on Lake Sincoe hereabouts, retired at 32 with already enough to live on, a loving family and not a care in the world, save for not a failed marriage but a failed novel!
I had made the mistake upon successfully publishing some fragments of a work which I had somehow sutured together to make up something titled The Black Icon, and thinking I was a real novelist, I went on to do a second "book".
As is almost always the case, we have only one book in us.The first is usually quite good, but really just a fragment. of what you had hoped to write; the second book is bound to be a failure.
But good people had given me the cottage and enough to live on for a very long time. All I had to do was produce this second book.
Hah. ..."Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party."--that was about all I could do after 240 pages. Stuck. And very likely, for a long time. I was written out. I was out of gas.
But there were emoluments, or perks, as you would say today.
Like you, I would
"(sit) on my patio, on my birthday, drinking my 2nd bourbon and enjoying the view of my backyard as darkness settled ", slapping at mosquitoes --and think of Dostoevsky.
Out across my acre of field, there were lightning bugs, glow worms winking on and off, and high above the cedars, the pearly Milky Way glowing in the rural night, undimmed by city lights. Stars that jumped right out at you through the milk.. How grand would it be, I sighed, as I had my third drink, If I had been Dostoevsky.
No matter. I was happy was I not? The children were sleeping peacefully upsairs, there was someone beside me, eyes aglow, like mine through the drink and firelight..
Later that night there would be love as the the glow worms flashed on and off throgh the windows of our attic bedroom in the 2 1/2 storey classic frame farmouse
But this was a condition of happiness, not achievement.
I had achieved paradise not with accomplishment, but somehow by default. The reward coming before the actual project completion, the book. The question was, what was life for?... For happiness or achievement?
No matter. There had been new family and love.
So I had a fourth drink and swore I saw, in a Dali dream-- right there in my back yard-- Dostoevsky's ghost rolling in a cloud through my high cedars, emitting thunder flashes here and there. It could have been me rolling by.. For one day there would be the book, and there would be success and applause.
Well, it turned out almost like that, but all things like this take time, years and years, and now 35 years later, I still have the same glorious Dostoevsky fantasy as I look out my balcony window out of my new home, also near some woods, and swear I still see that wandering, powerful CB cloud just outside my balcony, about to flash fire. That cloud of my dreams.
Ginger, you peering up into the hemlocks, craving love and me into the heavy cumulus of a Dostoevskian fantasy.
It is amazing that through sme parallel world you and I are somehow tonight on the same frequency.
I like very much your musings.
I would like to reproduce them, somewhere, though all I have of late as a former small publisher is my blog.
I do not know if it will be this third thing you seek, but I do feel it very near.