I’ve been away for a few days, ‘roughing it’. So, there will likely be a couple entries today as I’ve gone to fever pitch in writing down absolutely everything that pops into my head.
This one is from Wednesday: The writer finds on this, the slow streetcar crawl home during rush hour, that no one she knows has much interest in life for art’s sake. I know, the ‘blank’ for ‘blank’s sake’ is something used quite often around here, my own little corner in the ether. I would prefer to think this is indicative of style and a linguistically laborious phase, rather than it merely being repetitive. Anyhow, no one has any interest in savouring a moment in time these days. The photos I have been taking lately are just of everything around me. They may seem mundane, I suppose, but it’s not as though I’m taking pictures of the plastic european replicant buildings in Disney World or some such. The things I like are shots of some random old guy on the streetcar, a cat on a stoop or of what appears to be a urine-filled bottle on the sidewalk. I find their quotidian qualities (shut up) extraordinary. That time passes by us all without our taking much interest; that a mother pulls her child back from accelerating traffic; that a flower soaks up life from the sun, hiding within its bosom malicious little creatures, feasting upon floral guts; that someone has died and someone has been born several times over before I finish this compound sentence: these are the things that interest me. That any of this should occur without notice or record sometimes astonishes me.
Why should only ‘monumental’ events be recorded as history? Why not the action of peeling a potato or the exchange of harmlessly pleasant conversation between two geriatrics on a park bench? History remembers the winner, but never the stroke of the butterfly wing it took to stir the wind that shook the tree that made the sound which startled the eagle who cried out in a recognisably elegant screech-to-arms that inspired the hero to win the day (I don’t know why she swallowed a fly, perhaps she’ll die). I would hazard to assume this mindset can be attributed to attention span and the inability to focus on minute details for too long. The human remains childlike in aspects of intelligentsia like attention to detail and all-around acumen. (I don’t think I used that word ‘acumen’ properly there, by the by). I think this is why the likes of artists and scientists and poets are always deemed to be a little off-colour. Because it is never enough for us to simply watch the sword fight. We must also consider the weather on the day the sword was smithied (I like that word ten times better than ‘forged’), in addition to the food consumed by each opponent before the fight; and maybe the chemical change in the soil where the blood spills afterwards.
When people do this cleaning, or with any regimen, we call it obssessive compulsive and prescribe routine-breaking-routines and pills. When artists do it, we call them anal and tend to regard their cavalier attitudes with disdain. We find them to be obstruse and flaky. Although, for the record, I want y’all to call me vainglorious because that’s awesome. Us wordsmiths are shuffled off more practical shoulders with a brush of the hand and a roll of the eye. Always viewed with a soupcon of suspicion (rightfully so, I suppose), we tend to notice your errs (not a word, I think) before you louse-up.
Anyway, this is why I take pictures of banal things like that: because when frozen in time, they become composition. They become form and line and angle. They metamorphose into pulchritudinous pauses, worthy of the tiny amount of time it would take to pay them mind.