Monday, April 09, 2007

My Own Voice Loudly Speaking.


You say that we missed things. I remember watching flickers in the corner of my eye while I kept my gaze directed towards some distant goal I imagined seeing. I remember missed whispers tickling my ear while I focused my attention on my own voice loudly speaking. Life is always there all around you; but you live it in a straight and narrow line. I'm telling you the very thing that I myself have the most trouble remembering. I used to try to extend my perceptions all around me as a way of testing their reality. I used to push myself out and into a vast circle. I find myself thinking that I was just blowing smoke. You talk about imagining my Anna. I also imagined her because I was afraid to know her. Lately, I have written her many letters. I have been forced to forget the Anna I made in my mind; but find myself more in love than ever with Anna as she actually is. And it's too late. And it will always be too late for anyone who prefers his visions to his life.

When you call yourself Buck Mulligan, I hear you calling me to come up. I see you drawing me from my moody brooding and directing my attention to the great and sparkling sea. I see you leaping in where I would hesitate. I see you sniffing at my choice of attire and pressing your own clothing on me. I think of you whenever I buy a suit. I've learned to give up my purposeful shabbiness (which I believe you once pointed out is nothing more than the vanity of the sartorially ignorant) only because of what you taught me. But you were never so empty as the jolly medical, thinking that if he only talked loudly enough, laughed hard enough, he could hide from the subtle sharpness he feared. And I, my friend, was no knife-blade. We swung around one another, building momentum with each turn and whirling with such breathless energy as neither of us could have done alone. When I found footing in your hesitations and leapt suddenly over you to a solid stance from which I could confidently lend you my hand, did you imagine that I had always known what you did not? I only went where you guided me, my friend. When we walked together we were each so soaked in himself; but a good part of each self was made of the other.

Comparing yourself to the simpering Sassenach is not something I will dignify with a reply.

I often wonder what it is that makes a person declare himself incapable of making anything. I have met many people who, full of themselves and their lives, still regarded me with envy and suspicion because I claimed to make something. The most intelligent, the most successful people often view creativity as a threat. And when I see this, I always picture them as children with their crayons scribbling fiercely and happily and then grimacing over the inept result. And I wonder if it was then that they gave up. Or maybe their pictures were proudly placed on a refrigerator door for years before they saw them for childish nonsense and suffered an even deeper disappointment. Does all the despair that drowns us descend from a day when we saw that our stubby fingers could never grasp our immense visions? Never mind Dedalus and Mulligan. Let us instead be Julian and Maddalo. And you will talk your gloomy sense to me and I will feel more and more and more certain that we are bound by brittle chains indeed. It isn't easy to be your own salvation; but I am full of hope. You fill me with hope. And Anna. And everyone I truly love.

Please continue to confide in your old friend,