Monday, May 4, 2009

Deliverance Duty 5/04/09

For us artists there waits the joyous compromise through art with all that wounded and defeated us in daily life.

Lawrence Durrell
Welcome back.
I can think of a lot of things about my past that please me, fun memories and good friends. But why is it so much easier to remember the hurts, the pains, the failures. I am glad to have learned the lessons from all of them. Now why can't I bind up the whole mess in a big plastic baggie, throw it out in the trash can and forget about it?

There used to be a popular question asked of older people when they were interviewed on radio or TV. If you had it to do all over again what would you change? The answer was "I wouldn't change a thing." I have never understood that remark. I sit here and fervently wish I could start all over again, change almost everything and do it right.

I would say, when asked, that most of the roles I played as an actor were either autobiographical or wish fulfillment, sometimes a combination of both. It was very helpful to call upon events of my past, both positive and negative, to supply me with images and emotions that synergized with the life of the character I was playing. But since I'm not an actor any more why do I need them? And, thus, why do they keep popping up to hurt me like mosquito bites or bee stings?

I don't appear to have any choice about it so I might as well take those memories, cut them apart, twist the pieces around, repaint them, hammer them out of shape on the anvil of my mind, make something else of them and run them through my keyboard.

The time and effort it takes me to invest my poor memories into the whirlpool of my creative mind is paid off by the repose I would never award myself otherwise. And as I pull apart the veils and uncover the grotesqueries of my vagabond past I tremble. But I also retool and redesign remorse and regret into something that may even resemble the beautiful.

To consider my sins of commission and especially my sins of omission I may feel as if I'm tending a garden of vipers with no exit for them to crawl away. But if so, I collected them. I earned them as my destiny. And now my duty is to translate each of them into something beneficial to me and anyone who wants to listen.

When Eugene O'Neill wrote "Ah, Wilderness!" he said it was the story of his youth the way it should have been. I can write about my youth the way it should have been (wish fulfillment) but only if I face the way it actually was (autobiographical). In short, I can turn that big plastic baggie of trash into art. And that's what we do.

DB - The Vagabond
May you have a bright and happy day.


Anne said...

We are all made up of good, bad and indifferent. To ruminate on these is unhealthy, to learn from them, saves us many therapy bills. Sometimes it takes decades to learn and some of us never do. I am a believer in genetis. There are family trees with many branches and you can find yourself intertwined in a few. Acceptance could be a key. I've found we are all really much too hard on ourselves. Anne

Gerry said...

Yes, I do think the beauty of not being able to earn a living anymore is that there is time for contemplation, like it or not, time to write it down and try to pass it on, which may not have been possible during the hectic pace of earning real bucks to put food on the table. My hard working nurse sister accused me of becoming disabled at an earlier age than retirement so I could write, while she chose to work until she was 73 and then lost a big chunk of that money in 401K retirement. I bought time to write with my inheritance, so who is to say who was right. I just wanted to write more than she did. I regarded that as something I would do to earn a living if I were fortunate enough, a gamble I lost, still I have no regrets I made this choice, because I was too much of a writer and not enough of anything else. Gerry

Indigo said...

"And as I pull apart the veils and uncover the grotesqueries of my vagabond past I tremble. But I also retool and redesign remorse and regret into something that may even resemble the beautiful."

In this dear friend we are very much alike. Mistakes can't be undone, however we can learn from them and come out a better person in the end. (Hugs)Indigo

Middle Ditch said...

Indigo has said it all.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Hmmm, that is a conundrum, having the ability to do things over has appeal, but that could mean our current lives would be different. My case in point is being married to Beth. If I had done things different, I would never have met her, so, I have to say, there are many, many things I would not change because I like where I am.

Beth said...

It's funny, but I kind of had the same reaction as Ken. Who knows who we would be if we'd done things differently? It might mean that our current lives would be very different. I wouldn't risk that.

Janice said...

I dreamed a dream of days gone by
(Les Mis)