My Third Novel's Conclusion, My Heartbreak

My heart begins to break when I think about completing this particular book -- because this narrative has sustained me like no other story I've known. It's both more personal and more universal than my other works. But beyond memory and archetype, it's a cri-de-coeur about needing to become the person one is destined to be. And in the writing, I have met my own life's work, my own fated journey -- having the sense all the while that the pages are suffused with a resonance, an energy, an electrified field that defies explanation. Writers hope and pray to be overtaken by a work in this way -- to be conscripted into passionate service of a profound story. To experience it even once in a lifetime seems a great privilege. I still have perhaps six months before this novel is complete, and this constitutes my reprieve. Because I'm not ready for the beauty to end.

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Lantern Within


"We see the world not as it is, but as we are." – Talmud

As a fiction writer, this quote says it all.  Characters in fiction, just like the people we encounter in life, constantly see themselves reflected in the world around them.  Those who are fearful or angry typically see a frightening landscape, filled with imposters and enemies.  Think of King Lear, beset with paranoia, confusion, the sense of victimization.  Those who are joyful and at peace, by contrast, usually see a landscape of friends, adventure, and imminent discovery.  Think of Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbevilles, whose appreciation for beauty is undiminished by anyone.  Tess is “brimful of poetry – actualized poetry . . .She lives what paper-poets only write.”

I don’t know to what extent our subjective experience is a choice.  But I do know I find it a privilege to embrace a joyful life – one replete with close friends, adoring family, transcendent literature and music, transformative travel, adventure, constant learning – and beauty – so much beauty that it reaches life’s brim and overflows it every day.

For those who know what I mean, I include a poem here from William Carlos Williams:

The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Williams is seeing an “objective” reality ostensibly – and yet, “so much depends” upon the beauty he finds there – his joy, his sense of the day’s meaning, his entire experience of life.  Of course, Williams’ appreciation of the world is a reflection of the resonant beauty of his own spirit, which invests all he looks upon with its reflected light.  The poet is the poem in this sense. 

We who witness illumination carry our own lanterns within. 

10 comments:

  1. I've seen this over and over again. People don't realize that they project their point of view onto the world. It's kind of fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Remember that great quote from Einstein? "The most important question you can ever ask is if the Universe is a friendly place." The answer determines almost everything of import about our lives.

      Delete
  2. Your posts truly inspire me, Lane.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Realistically, don't people sometimes have real enemies?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only speak for myself when I say that I only carry love and compassion toward others. I don't carry enmities.

      Delete
    2. What if somebody is intentionally working against your best interests?

      Delete
    3. David, my reply was too long for the moderator. So, I'll post about this topic separately. Thanks for your substantive questions.

      Delete
  4. I wish you would post about some of the beauty you see in the world surrounding you. You are obviously carrying a bright lantern within.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for your kind words! I will try to oblige you, Anon.

    ReplyDelete