Re- and -Visions


bread-and-wine-book-imageI’m on a tight schedule, since I’ve been steadily writing, running away on words like a train hydroplaning on oily tracks. Just forward, forward, forward.

It’s induced a sort of isolated state. I don’t feel the need to attend events, or involve myself in talk. Not that I mean to make these moments trivial. But, there’s a sense of peace that I don’t experience when I’m with others. It’s something special. I believe  that there is a certain type of appreciation in life when I experience something on my own, like sitting in the plush booth at Reggio’s, in the darkest corner of the small shop, or watching blubbery lips rattle on and on in at the Odessa, their chins and cheeks illuminated by the white votive candles in their small glass globes. You never notice these things when you’re talking to someone, sharing words with someone. Not that either sensation is better than the other, only different I suppose. In this city, people seem to exist more so in groups. In Connecticut, I was clawing at the walls to find some friends and get the hell out of my town. Here, I’m drawn to the smallest corner, etching a white chalk between me and everyone else. I seem to live some of my life in opposites.

I’ve been thinking about the act of revising one’s own words. The author of Bread and Wine, Ignazio Silone, made mention of his own passions for red lines and little notes in his introduction. If he had it his way, he would only make one book, which would never be a firm, solid, completed text. The words would move like we do-evolving, failing, and rising again. The book itself would show signs of anger, distress, redemption, satisfaction, pride, jealousy, and contempt. His masterpiece would be a visible shadow of the man who designed it.

I love to revise. It’s a pleasing task. I recently decided to go back to school for education. I want to become a private tutor, a mentor for the mental suffering of words and phrases and such. In college, each 30 minute- or hour- long session was private and beautiful. Grammatical blemishes were just sprinkles on a bigger, more exclusive sundae. And sometimes that’s all the students asked for; that was all that was required of the assignment. Now, the requirements of a certain report or essay or critique were great topics of frustration for the students, especially when they come across a literal epiphany. You see their eyes brighten up. They want to write more; they have more to say. But the bullet marks on the syllabus already speaks for the work. That’s when I steal them away from the florescence of the classroom and whisper, “Write it for yourself!”

Just imagine if we replaced pockets of litter with crumpled pieces of forgotten prose. Our plastic cups are prime canvases for haikus and one-liners. You could shake a tune from your synapses and jot down the notes on a pizza box. We can recycle the best pieces and publish them somehow, maybe on billboards. Our trash would be treasured. But, it would have to be anonymous. We have to learn to appreciate the prose first. This is where such a vision fails. Someone always wants to be recognized, right? Isn’t a book meant to be read, a poem meant to be aired, a song meant to be sung? Shouldn’t the creator get some kind of credit? I suppose so. In this culture of celebrities and idolatry, we aim to follow that beaming light of fame . We search stars on television sets and on West Coast avenues too. Even Anonymity is known.

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One of my favorite episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm is about the Anonymous Donor. Larry David donates money for a new wing in a museum, I believe. And, upon the induction of the new wing, Larry’s spotlight is stolen by an “Anonymous Donor”. Everyone coos over this generous man, someone that must be so modest and so humble as to remove himself from the public eye. Larry is pissed. His names are in bright gold font on the pillar of the wing. He is clearly boasting his generosity, and to a perverse degree. Before the senator proudly thanks the mystery spender, Larry finds out from his wife that her friend, Ted Danson (the actor), is Mr. Anonymous. He also learns that the senator knows too. So, his title may be flawed, but his secret revelation has made him a hero, and Larry a prick-although, Larry does a fine job being a prick all on his own.

What if art could literally be anonymous-just made to exist and not exist for others?

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