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, February 9, 2018

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know

In 1812, Lady Caroline Lamb described Lord Byron as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" due to his drinking, his philandering and his generally dissolute life.  The description remains an intriguing one, whatever we now remember of the man who inspired it.

For those of us who are eminently responsible -- entrusted as legal guardian of other people's children,  executor of myriad estates, medical power of attorney for friends and family -- such an accusation would be a remarkable one.  My friends see me as trustworthy in all domains -- conscientious with their secrets, their hopes, their dreams, their progeny, their worldly possessions -- their unrealized ambitions in the realms of life and death.  They know I will move mountains to uphold their desires.

So, what is delightful about the prospect of being called "mad, bad and dangerous to know?"  It sounds a good deal more fun than being called a saint, for one thing.  And, as a writer, it implies a prodigious freedom.  What would I do if I actually were "mad, bad and dangerous to know?"

Fly to Paris tomorrow?  Begin writing all five novels I'm pondering simultaneously?  Go horseback riding?  Direct another short film?  Visit Machu Pichu?  Pick up the Italian language?  Learn to write a stage play?  The possibilities are endless, really -- and I find the exercise, alongside the laughter it provokes, to be exhilarating.

Someone who is "mad, bad and dangerous to know" is a powerful person in the world -- perhaps reckless, maybe impulsive, undoubtedly free.  I might try this on for size in the same way the infamous Lord Byron did.  I might experiment with being a force of nature in the way that he was.  I have the indomitable spirit, the high-flying creativity, the perpetual youth.

As Byron said, "The truth is always strange -- stranger than fiction."  What if being "mad, bad and dangerous to know" were not a condemnation, but rather six words on the path toward freedom from an unasked-for sainthood?  Somehow, the thought makes me smile.

14 comments:

  1. It's a great descriptor and you need to give a wide berth to the person who's earned it. I don't think that applies to you, though!

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  2. The saint and the rebel actually have a lot in common.

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    1. Yes, I agree! They're both visionaries in their own way. They're both passionate about life.

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  3. Someone suggested that you are mad, bad and dangerous to know?

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    1. Well, yes, actually. One person told some untruths about me. I had hurt him unintentionally -- so it was his way of expressing his anger.

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    2. He couldn't just call you on the phone?

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    3. I agree that would have been much better! But he was acting from a perspective of suffering. I never want to be the cause of anyone's pain.

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    4. You have compassion for this person?

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    5. I'm an empath, so, yes, compassion is part of the deal -- and all the more so for people I care about.

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  4. Lane, you already are a force of nature. You don't have to "try" in order to accomplish this. But you're a force for good. You're never going to be mad, bad and dangerous to know, imho.

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  5. Your list of what-ifs doesn't sound very mad, bad, or dangerous to me.

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    1. It's a pretty great list, isn't it? I think I'm going to pursue everything on it! :)

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