Thursday, January 21, 2010

on living like a child

you would be amazed how many times artists and writers told to see things like a toddler, freshly, for the first time. there's no doubt this true. look at tolstoy. vision as new as a baby's.

unfortunately, tolstoy also acted like a kid. and there's the flaw. to act like a child when you are an adult: evidence of insanity. a crazy person is a grown being acting like a three year-old.

acting and seeing, a thin line keeps one from being locked up or merely criticized. 'love and madness closely allied', wrote shakespeare. true enough. don't most murders come from physical passion gone wrong?

this whole business much on my mind, as i feel a longing for childhood. not that it was particularly pleasant. i remember lots of mental pain. every disappointment cut like a knife. every feeling of being denied and silenced threw me into a tantrum. if only someone would listen! yet how rarely it seemed to happen. and i can't forget miss clark, the math teacher in grade school who seemed to have a soft spot for me.

childhood, why? making a living, taking care of yourself, decisions, being protected by parents takes away all that. you can throw yourself into the moment, no matter what pleasure or disaster it brings. later we become so careful. and if we don't, we die in a car wreck or end up in jail.

these things on my mind because of the pictures i took last nite, a dress rehearsal of the play 'babylon heights.' first of all, i have to say, judy garland in the wizard of oz my first love. plump, yes, but adventurous. and the babylon play about the munchkins hired to make the movie. we live with four of them, and you'll see how everything in their surroundings huge and difficult:

adults treated like children, outsiders. we experience four of them living in a oversized hotel room. i don't want to give away the plot. needless to say, the experience provides a telling and strong story.

to have a body that doesn't develop, it gets mixed up with those who's brains don't. and to live your whole life with a son or daughter in such a situation...well, that's as difficult as it gets. (it can have high moments, your child always a child and often endearing.)

needless to say, to have escaped childhood without damage seems like an ancestral myth, never to be proved or denied, like the primordial golden age.