Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Book Of

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
And instructions for dancing but
I...
I love it when you read to me and
You...
You can read me anything

- The Magnetic Fields, "The Book of Love"

* * *

What is the chiefest deed that is asked of us?
To dance in front of our sorrows.

* * *

I read some. I am not well-read. I am selective. I trace down echoes that already reverberate inside me, inside the works I already know. I am eclectic within a narrow range. I am sometimes a complete-ist - reading all the works of one author, mostly I am not. I am open to recommendations, but only if they come with the force of conviction. And in the entirety of a lifetime of reading so, of ignoring huge swaths of creative effort, I have learned that the whole of wisdom is contained in the following words: You must learn to dance in front of your sorrows.

Most cannot do this. It is sacrilege, diminishing the weight and profundity of the sorrow, the sacred sorrow.

Some will do so in spite of the sorrows and that seems better than the ones who won't venture the game, but to do so is to do it wrong, is to miss the opportunity laid before you like a Persian rug.

No, you must not dance in spite of your sorrow, but because of it.

* * *

In January of 1993 my father died. It is what all fathers eventually do. I grieved him grievously for seven years, until the birth of my third child. His death became my sacred sorrow, the one fact I could not overcome, the one that sat on my chest and dared me to breathe. I married as I plunged into the icy waters of my grief - dancing in spite of my sorrow. It ends poorly.

There is something about sorrow, travail, trial, grief, trouble that leads us to think we are somehow immune to it and when it shows up, as it must, we are ill-equipped to understand it. We spend a lot of time rhetorically asking, "Why?" But it ain't why, why, why. It just is. What remains is up to you. What remains is a choice, always a choice, about how you will answer the questions, the tasks life is putting in front of you. You can, as I did, withdraw into a cocoon of meaningless sorrow, sorrow just for the sake of feeling something without the courage or love to feel something more. Or, you can grab your metaphoric crotch and yell, "Right here with yer fuckin' grief" and dance a furious dance to scatter the ghosts, to show the world you ain't been beat yet (which I did as well).

Or...

Or you can take your partner by the hand and dance. You know how to dance, right? You hold someone close and start swaying, maybe humming soft and low in their ear. From there anything can happen. And if no one is close by, take hold of your sorrow, whisper soft and low, "I know, I know, I know..."

* * *

The book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thing. But is only through love, love beyond the self, for another, for a cause greater than your own that you finally let go, finally stop worrying if anyone is watching you dance and you embrace the entirety of your life, your chance to live, your experience, your desire, your hope, your sorrow and find it better to do so than to withdraw or get angry.

* * *

What is the deepest loss you have suffered?
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine

* * *

What is the chiefest deed that is asked of us?
To dance in front of our sorrows.

* * *

Boom.

__________

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