I swear, the cosmos gets right up in my face sometimes. Does this happen to you? Are there patterns that emerge; seemingly meaningless patterns- a variation on a theme; words that keep repeating.
For me lately it is ‘the journey’. I keep hearing about someone being on a journey. Not a quest, not a holiday, but a journey. This seems so J.R.R. Tolkien to me. In movies, in conversations with friends, “He’s on a journey…”
Oh. Of course he is. He and his hairy-footed friends.
I’m going to pull together some disparate thoughts and hope their spatial proximity make up for any lack of connecting-the-dots that this babble might encompass.
I wanted to talk about my understanding of plot.
Plot. You’ve probably heard it said by someone: a teacher, a pundit, or one of those experts-on-everything sorts that hang out at bus terminals, that there are only 7 plots.
This person may even have broken it down for you: Man versus Man. Man versus Nature. Etc. etc.
I had a literature prof who more concisely stated: “There are two basic plot lines: Someone goes on a journey, & someone new comes to town.”
If you’re at all like me, you immediately started trying to think of a storyline that didn’t fit one of these two sleek alternatives. I imagine there are exceptions. I imagine that the exceptions can be argued not to be exceptions, in one of those brainy conceptual arguments that grow more and more contentious and raise the stock-futures on Advil.
I took my lit. professor at her word and allowed this thought to impress me, not because I dislike a contentious argument, but mostly because this teacher had a cool and grounded approach that inspired my respect.
I’m on a journey right now. I don’t know where the fuck I’m going to, which is a little disconcerting. Is there a plan? That question sucks your mind right into the free-will/destiny argument. Everything in my freedom loving heart wants me to be the captain of my destiny, but then… if there’s no plan… maybe there’s no meaning. And that’s just hard to take. Of course if there’s no plan, no life can be wasted; because they’re all wasted to start out with.
I don’t believe this.
I think there are sign-posts. I think there is both destiny and free will. I think if I leave legos in a heap on the carpet, they don’t tend to spontaneously develop self-awareness and internal order; and that basically explains my belief in a God or Gods. Anyone who thinks the mesmerizing layers and patterns of creation are one big, wild accident is to my mind an inconceivable optimist. Imagine that random chance could lead somehow to the several million systems necessary for a sentient being to exist and produce poetry.
I can’t even grasp it.
So let’s say life has meaning, and we have the freedom of will to screw it up.
Brings a whole different aspect to the journey, doesn’t it? Who was it I read recently, that said we are like rivers and tributaries… Even the most unlikely paths find a way back to the sea.
There isn’t one journey possible for one person. A life encompasses the potential for endless possibility, strange twists and turnings.
Which is totally hot.
Mouth on skin… that’s a journey. Finding the way around an obstacle that looms over and frightens and freezes you, that’s a journey. If you wanna be literal (and it is Tuesday, the anniversary of many senseless and meaningless deaths, so literal might be the way to go), ‘Life’ is a swinging your feet onto the floor again kind of exercise; waking up and greeting the damn thing day after day after day, that’s a journey.
& this is a brain dump.