SELF-ISH, Part I

Once the Expert woke up,
looked at the mirror, and,
much to his consternation,
had no idea who he was;
Once the Expert woke up,
stumbled out of bed, and,
much to his consternation,
had no idea where he was.

It was there he decided to begin his life’s story:

     Someone or some thing sat [me] down and said, Write what you know; as if to document one’s sum total of experience in a fell swoop is the most natural thing a writer with modest skills can do.  Well, [I] replied, to [myself, it turns out], How can I do that, when I’m not even sure when/whom the “I” is, much less, how I got to be that?  (That caught them [me] off guard.)  …Or, [I] went on and on (and on), even–and then interrupted myself,

     Whenever you talk to somebody as if they were unique, you talk behind someone’s back.

     Or, [I] persisted, even that it makes any difference who “I” am, in contrast with, say, that sad so-and-so over there.  Again, the interruption,

     So you see?  You just answered your own question.

    No, I questioned my own answer.*

     Suddenly–or, fairly quickly–it struck him like a tuning fork, that to attempt to try written expression would be to deny the futility of capturing in short words what is patently under some gag order.  This, even as he articulated it!

     “It’s all in your head,” someone (or some thing) summarized for his benefit, “and that’s not saying much.”

*It never occurred to him that if he were a bit more clever he night have quoted the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus.  (Not to drop names, but he could have.)  Instead, he realized that, if anything, inspiration is a spirit, not a person, and that–heavy on the pathos–it was with some wist he began to suspect the parts of the body are more than the sum.

page too

     “How sad,” he winced, recalling how a closeted friend had once accused him of living      all up in his head.  Not sure if he had been pegged, or politely crucified, he shrunk to the  size of a cream puff.  It was then he knew, his worst fear was to be killed with kindness.

     Paradox, his old friend from remedial school, tagged him like a weary wrestler,  “They said you’ve been trying too hard.  So, the best thing to do would be to quit while you’re behind.”

Penultimate Postscript

     Fortunately he had a talisman: colors.  Instead of clinging to some object–say, a thousand dollar-bill–which he told himself was transitory, he deferred to colors.  A plain vase on a table and in the vase, a flower arrangement of three flowers: lavender, canary yellow, and fire engine red.  Unlike the muted tones of Winter, these colors conveyed a sense of familiar calm.  He vowed to always consult them when he needed advice.

     Think him childish?   No, he is self-ish.

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