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08 July 2015 @ 05:15 pm
whatever gets you through the night  
I am a teller of stories. A weaver of dreams. I can dance, sing, and in the right weather, stand on my head. I know seven words of Latin. I have a little magic and a trick or two. I know the proper way to meet a dragon, can fight dirty but not fair, and once swallowed thirty oysters in a minute. I am not domestic. I am a luxury, and in that sense, necessary.

― Anthony Minghella, Jim Henson's Storyteller



i keep having dreams about the magical powers of language, of storytelling, of deliberate wordings: but the dreams are strange and the scenarios conveying this information seem, more often than not, dramatically out of scale with the importance of the lesson. which might be saying something else about my current variables: are my efforts toward a valid cause? or am i mired in schoolyard bullshit spirituality, level one glamor, illusion, self-deception, and baser desires? well, yeah. of course i am. show me one mere mortal with the ovaries to claim they’ve transcended issues like envy and narcissism and i’ll show you one envious narcissistic motherfucker, but am i so preoccupied with it that nothing else can get in?

maybe it’s not the dream scenarios that are important. maybe it’s more that my symbolic mind is utilizing the most direct language it can to communicate core matters: concepts so primal they dwell outside of workable language. that’s a significant part of what dreams seem to be, anyway. maybe it’s the best i can do, in the dream situation. however, it’s becoming clear to me that these dreams are about mastery and the way i have embarked on that process in my creative work without realizing it.

“open sesame,” he said, so i did. of course i did. what else would i do? a world in which a desire exists is different than the world before that desire. maybe storytelling exists as a means of creating desires the listener (as well as the storyteller) didn’t understand that they had. it’s a gift, perhaps? knowing what you want is satisfying, or so i’ve heard. it gives you power, desire. focus. form. more power than directionless hunger: everybody has that. hell, even i do. how many wives did king sharyar slaughter before sheherezade drew him in with her narrative and sculpted the truth of his will into form? before that it was just: raging hunger, in every direction, devolving into hatred and destruction.

of course sheherezade’s stories have no beginning or end. she’s accentuating our universal state of in medias res as a means of survival. at first it might be a means of disarming the king’s threat, but eventually the impetus of her stories bring a new version of her into existence, make listener desire her continued presence, change the universe. a story, as well as a storyteller, survives in the action of telling and receiving. to stop that cycle?

here’s the thing: we are always telling ourselves stories. this is the story of my relationship with my mother. here is the story of my problematic scalp. this is the story of where i keep my notebook. this is the story of why that notebook is black. even as you read this, you are telling yourself stories: perhaps it is the story of how judith’s grammar lacks strict adherence, or how aggravating it is that she’s always making edits after something has already posted, or you had an uncanny moment of resonance with something a couple hundred words back. maybe you’ve been here once or twice before and your story is of how the last time you read it your foot fell asleep.

listening to a story is also an art form, and the means of mastering it has become obscured in the proliferation of easy self-broadcast methods. we were already too quick to use other people's stories as a launching pad to talk endlessly about our opinions. now we don't even have to wait for such an opportunity to shout into the four corners of the earth: snack cakes are morally reprehensible unless they are gluten-free and the fact that you'd have anything to do with a gluten-containing snack cake makes me embarrassed that i even know you!

what we need to learn is not this preposterous hyperbole of stopping everything to witness a story, because that’s impossible and dangerous, but, instead, marrying the story you are hearing to the story you are telling yourself. let the outer story guide you through your inner story. not overtake it, not disappear in it. submit to the waking dream of human interaction. yesterday i was joking around with one of the apartment maintenance guys and, unprompted, entirely out of thin air, he gifted me with support for a major working theory i have about recent dreams and what they mean for my spiritual work. a good conversation between storytellers can be like that. it goes late into the night. it’s a whirlpool, a beehive, not a ladder or a prison cell in isolation where you chisel your hard-won truths into the walls. as you get older, you stop needing to urgently assert the narcissism of your fine distinctions to somebody you are truly talking to: you can just be with the stories that are before you. if it’s important, it will come back.

i often catch myself thinking of the curved translucent plexiglass hallway to the children’s department of the library where my mother still works when i use certain words in certain combinations. i cannot make an omelet and, quite possibly, there ought to be a local zoning code prohibiting me from further attempts. by the way, i'm not going to stop editing my entries in post so deal with it. i went out of my way to find a second watson-guptill 5”X8” sketchbook for journal fourteen and i could only find black, but the pages in it are thinner and [intersection of stories] i press hard when i write and [intersection of stories] baltimore is so unreasonably humid that from the side the thing often looks like a japanese woodblock print of ocean waves. i used to always crave tuna whenever i watched twin peaks. it’s weird.

‘weird’ is one of those stories that’s always shifting, always changing form and layers. there’s weird and there’s weird. charming weird and breathless weird. spooky weird and weird that makes me want to hide. curious weird and curiouser weird. there’s not really a beginning or an end to the story of weird, is there? is there a beginning or an end to the story of anything? what would happen if we stopped telling ourselves our stories all together? chaos. death. heads will roll, my friend.

it would make for quite a story, i’d say.


 
 
music: underworld - best mamgu ever
 
 
 
[redacted]elsewhereangel on July 8th, 2015 10:52 pm (UTC)
Whenever you write I get excited about the long conversations I want to have with you.

Today's topics: Icelandic sagas & the idea for the novel I don't even begin to know how to start.
selva oscuraanonymousblack on July 11th, 2015 06:05 pm (UTC)
i have a novel of words that should never be spoken. perhaps the two could combine in some way.

but! also. i recently discovered (through means i do not especially care to discuss) that giving in to shadow urges - in this case, going emotional places i'd been sternly disciplining myself from and writing shit i initially thought was just ridiculous self-indulgent escapism - got me out of a creative stasis i'd been stuck in for a long, long time and suddenly, i had an actual clear path in HUGE projects that had always been "wouldn't it be cool if i did a project like this." not that i have any idea what to do with a television series, but the majority of it has been written and i think it's actually something people other than my boyfriend would engage with. there were some intermediary steps, beautiful writing that will never go anywhere... but i can harvest it if not just enjoy it privately.

oh, and if i ever visit you, which i don't know because baltimore tends to exceed my upper humidity threshold but maybe we could manage it in the deep winter, we're going to have to at least partially indulge my need to stalk out local cemeteries for andrei codrescu. who is one of my soulmates. he just doesn't know it yet. *nod*
translucentflowerfalls on July 11th, 2015 04:48 am (UTC)
marrying the story you are hearing to the story you are telling yourself
selva oscuraanonymousblack on July 11th, 2015 06:06 pm (UTC)
advanced magical dream interpretation with a friend!