Saturday, August 16, 2014

La douleur exquise

Hello from a Saturday night at home with the Spotteds, Thistle, a glass of Italian beer and One Plus One, by JoJo Moyes. It's been an odd day of reflection, too hot to do much, so hot in fact that Jelly almost colicked and had a sore tummy all morning (telling signs: trying to roll and standing awkwardly in odd positions) and so reading was the go-to.  It's been a day of pause, of thinking, of realizing that Karma exists in the world, of realizing you have to pay your dues, and that if you've behaved badly towards someone, the pendulum will swing back and and hit you, full on, giving you a black eye. It's been a day of not being in control, of not being able to use charm to win someone over, of the dawning sensation that for the time being I've been beat. And that it's my fault. It's a day (and this isn't so unpleasant) of taking stock, appreciating the good things that I'm surrounded by, and realizing fully, for the first time ever, what one misses when it's gone, all because you didn't trust enough in the bounty of the Universe. You didn't trust enough in goodness and kindess. And so, I'll take it, I'll take the licks, the punches, all of it, because I think it's worth it. And like Jon Snow, nobody knows nothing (but you). No-one can make decisions for you, or tell you who's good for you, or who isn't, or try to tell you why you shouldn't love someone. It's there. It exists. I'll get through it. But there will be no more drama. Not in this lifetime. That's why it's call exquisite pain.

My friend Reza, who is wise, horribly wise, wise even as we were at the Bowl watching Yo-Yo Ma and saying brilliant things to each other like "Woah." Reza says that the reason to be alive is so that you can feel the pain. That's what living is. It's being in it, and bearing it, and staying with it, and knowing that without it, there won't be joy. Or, as Sophie Calle would say, the worse the break-up, the greater the art.

I've royally messed this one up. I'm sure I'll learn from it. I'm sure that there is plan for everything and that destiny has something up her sleeve for me, but he was a particularly good and kind man and I fumbled it like a rookie ball player. Butter fingers all round.

Also, I was zapped with a massive electric shock this morning. I'm hoping it's made me saner :-)


Anonymous said...

so beautifully, perfectly written, you are so not alone in this life. i am feeling too much today and the heat, oh the heat...i am feeling too much yet i want to sleep and cannot yet. thanks for your writing as always, you inspire.

Katherine C. James said...

"saying brilliant things to each other like 'Woah.' " :)

"Reza says that the reason to be alive is so that you can feel the pain. That's what living is. It's being in it, and bearing it, and staying with it, and knowing that without it, there won't be joy."

What you wrote makes me think of Wallace Stevens' poem Sunday Morning, which has the lines,


Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her,
Alone, shall come fulfilment to our dreams
And our desires. Although she strews the leaves
Of sure obliteration on our paths,
The path sick sorrow took, the many paths
Where triumph rang its brassy phrase, or love
Whispered a little out of tenderness,
She makes the willow shiver in the sun
For maidens who were wont to sit and gaze
Upon the grass, relinquished to their feet.
She causes boys to pile new plums and pears
On disregarded plate. The maidens taste
And stray impassioned in the littering leaves.


Is there no change of death in paradise?
Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky,
Unchanging, yet so like our perishing earth,
With rivers like our own that seek for seas
They never find, the same receding shores
That never touch with inarticulate pang?
Why set the pear upon those river-banks
Or spice the shores with odors of the plum?
Alas, that they should wear our colors there,
The silken weavings of our afternoons,
And pick the strings of our insipid lutes!
Death is the mother of beauty, mystical,

I'm sorry this has been a difficult time. I admire that you are choosing to take what lessons there are and move to a new place. I think that is where we find the good stuff, the Whoa.

And for me lately, life is more and more the Whoa at Yo-Yo Ma, the comfort and wisdom of friends and beloved animal companions, a good book, a beautiful nest, safety, mastery over what we choose to do well, and laughter.


Anonymous said...

I so enjoyed One plus one by Jojo Moyes that I couldn't bear to put it down.

I thought it was an engaging and beautifully observed story of family dynamics, romantic love, resilience and so much more.

Highly recommended.