Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Life is Divine

That creative feeling flowed into Nick tonight, just before bedtime. When he was supposed to be flossing, he sat with a new notebook and drew pictures of armor, leather armor, that he wanted to make. "I can help you," I had said to him. Apparently, he didn't need me to show him how. He began to draft the pieces right there as I watched. Unfortunately, when he was supposed to be brushing his teeth, putting away his dirty clothes, and getting himself a glass of water, he was still drawing and trying to describe his creation.

I love that feeling almost as much as falling in love. Productivity. The muse. Inspiration. I'm not sure any of those words really work for me when trying to describe how I'm feeling a particular way. It's a way of looking at things. It's almost euphoric, as if art will appear if I can just carry the right feeling around with me for just a little longer, as if art will save my life. Life is better when I have this feeling, but it's bad for getting to meetings on time. And I can say that I seldom leave a meeting or even a lunch with that particular feeling. Once in a while, with a unique individual, I can. I just bought a book for a friend, not even a good friend, because she can do that for me, so I got her a copy of a book that does that for me too.

Books can, but often don't, leave me with that feeling that I'm trying to describe. I've been blessed with an abundance of books that push me into creativity. I've already told you twice that I loved reading 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog' by Muriel Barbery. Well, I started listening to another audio book and - Wow! - it's doing the same thing to me.

I picked up this book after it sat on my book pile for a whole month. I know because I had to renew it a couple of days ago. I thought it was probably a romance novel. 'The History of Love' by Nicole Krauss is no ordinary love story. Oh, it may be a love story in the end. I'm only finished with the first disk and it got stuck in my car player. I need to use my forceps to get it out in the morning. Dare I put the second disk in to risk the same thing happening all over again? I probably will. I want to know what the author is going to say next. But it's not an ordinary love story.

No. The beginning of this story is a captivating narrative of a very old man and the methods he uses to keep from disappearing before he dies. The phrasing is stunning and it's funny, though it has already gone into the experience of being a Jew in Europe just before WWII and the experiences of being a nude model for an art class. Already, it has thrown me into that euphoria of creativity that I crave like chocolate. No, I crave it more than chocolate or any food or drink I can think of. The closest food comes is the beauty of a plate of sushi when it's presented well, nourishment for the soul as well as the body.

In those moments during this book, I click off the player and sit in the relative silence while the offending sentence rolls around in my mind. Sometimes, I have to pull off the road and riff in my notebook on what that sentence does to me. I can't say I'd copy it, but instead, the words themselves are muse to more words, a story I need to tell. Art, intended or not, will do that to me too, throw me into a state of being that doesn't work in time the way it should. I often get caught up, wake to reality suddenly, and find that hours have passed and I've moved from the car into the house or along a long trail with the dog. Those long walks are delicious, one image, intended or not, blowing me to the next without my realizing that I've been floating.

Do you know what I mean here?

If you look for beauty, you will find it, even in the cracks of a city sidewalk, even in the wrinkles of a worn face, even in the colors you find on your plate. You can find them in words, in naked limbs of the trees, in music flowing, in the way the fog silhouettes some trees and hides others.

Ah, but Mike is home and the TV is on again. The TV, I tell you, seldom puts me into that place. 'American Splendor' was a good one. Can't think of any others. When it does, however, when a movie is beautiful, when food has the colors of fall, when music moves me, or a vision of a leaf on the asphalt takes hold of my throat, life is divine.

Thank you for listening, jb

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