Thursday, February 19, 2009

learning to read

if you stay away from sex (and dating) for long enough, you become a virgin all over again! (believe me, i know, unfortunately, what i'm talking about.) and the same goes for many other skills.

the back-story: seven years ago i got tired of writing. i figured i could see everything like cassandra and no matter how much i wrote about it, no matter how much energy i poured into the ears of an unenlightened populace, nothing would happen. zero. in fact, i began to believe people didn't read any more, only look at pictures like the illiterate in the middle ages. oh, of course, i'm still not sure this isn't true, even as dozens of new books appear at barnes and noble, where i drink my chai with a shot of expresso, every day. 

cold-turkey, that's the only way i can quit an addiction, no ability for half measures. so i bought a laptop and digital camera. millions of pictures and seven years later, i suddenly couldn't look at another book on photography, couldn't lift up a camera, or print out a picture. like the time i became an alcoholic, drunk on khalua and cream every night, fantasizing about a certain woman, one nail knocked out another. my back spasmed. lying on the living room couch, i had too much reality to reach for a bottle.

it's not exactly like that, but you catch my drift. i'd overworked the right brain. i could tell cause as soon as i started browsing novels/poetry/memoirs i could actually feel my left brain getting some exercise. hmm, it had been dormant, for a long time. 

this is not to say abandoning words was a bad idea. language seems to make us all critical of each other. my theory is it depends totally on opposites: light vs. dark, day vs. night, long vs. short. we're caught in the net of terrible dualisms, unable to resolve anything, and it's so frustrating we lower/raise ourselves above everyone else to lose/keep our self-respect, a yo-yo in the hand of a child god.

it doesn't hurt to be silent for awhile. like a poem, a picture can stop time, which is what we most often need. the future is like an avalanche coming at us, and we thrash our arms/minds trying to avoid the inevitable. a photograph of the moment can show us what is actually happening: stillness. we realize the nature of the arrow which keeps halving its distance from us and thus can't plunge into our hearts.

see, mixing metaphors. i've forgotten everything. i go back to what i have written, amazed. where did all these words come from? and, can i really read again? (much less, you know, the other...)