Tuesday, July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

July 15, 2014

How I see things is slightly different from the way you look at things.  I usually have a single word or a sentence, and I try to get something visual from that vocabulary.  The funny thing, once it becomes ink on a page or a font on your laptop, it appears to change its meaning.  I make a specific image, but when I have the honour to describe that representation, some sort of magic takes place where either by chance or a curse, it changes to another beast.  But my observations are often tainted by a certain amount of presumption on my part.  As I sit down at my writing table, and start to write, it somehow goes through a transformation that is totally a mystery to me.  As I mentioned in another essay, the journey is the thing, not the destination.

As a teenager I met the actor Jan-Michael Vincent in Malibu, very close to Topanga Beach.  We would go to parties there, and at least several times I have come upon Jan-Michael, although I just remember shaking his hand and never actually had a conversation with him.  I was very much raised by seeing his handsome face in various forms of media, including of course, the television set.   What I found interesting is that he seemed to be exactly what I imagine him to be, through his various roles I have seen in his films and TV work.  He was just as handsome as what I have seen in the printed and electronic media.  Also I had the impression that he was very much of a surfer, because one, he lived near the beach, and I don’t recall ever seeing him without a shirt.   I didn’t see a surfboard, but I just presumed that he had one for some reason.  He had a pretty wife, who at the time, looked just as golden blonde as he, and everything worked perfectly as in a publicity photograph.  It was a shock to see him in later years, when he slowly lost his beautiful looks, and became more haggard, angry, and drunk looking.  But even in one’s decay, you can see the traces of his beauty and that appeals to my aesthetic.  You start off with a beautiful thought or image, and it slowly turns either ugly, wrong, or painful.  Yet, like in life, I just have to accept those changes for the better or worse.   Nevertheless the image I have in my head, is like a tattoo on my perception or thought, yet is it a correct one?

When one sees an image of the famous painting of “Mona Lisa” are we actually seeing the painting?  I suspect not, because of the perception of the print-maker and how it’s cropped in a magazine or on a poster board, it can change everything.  A writer, that I greatly admire, is Lydia Davis, because her observations are so personal, yet the landscape appears to be such an impartial site.  Nevertheless as a writer one is allowed to mess with perception, to fit it in one’s vision.

I have been disappointed with Ian Curtis, for the reason, that his death seemed predictable.  Although one hears through personal accounts that he wasn’t that miserable of a person, yet, his suicide feeds into the Joy Division aesthetic.  The perception when you hear his music is that he would kill himself.  We don’t need to know why, it just seems to be written out in the first two Joy Division albums.  There is no twist to the story, and even more banal, he seemed to be listening to Iggy Pop’s “The Idiot” or/and watching Werner Herzog’s “Stroszek” at the time of his death.  If the incident wasn’t so tragic, it would almost be comical.   On the other hand, he has become the pin-up figure for those who flirt through image than reality.  But then again, reality is filtered through image, and therefore a performance of some sort, despite the fact that tastelessness takes place.  More likely he suffered in private, and it is quite insensitive for me to comment on such a private moment like death, yet, it was played out in his work.  If not specifically, it was in the packaging, the tone of the songs.  His sense of despair, had beauty, but when death came it became a vulgar incident.  I can’t listen to Joy Division anymore, because his death sort of cheapened the original listening experience.  It put a period, not a comma to a life that should have gone on.  

The Palestine/Israeli conflict will neither get better or worse - it will just be on a tape loop where no one wants to make changes to, because perhaps it suits the powers-to-be.  The very nature of destruction becomes a backdrop to a staging of one’s entertainment.  I wonder through the garden of earthly delights, to smell the flowers, watch and listen to the chirping birds, and then go in, and write something of a horror show.

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