Thursday, August 16, 2007

There was much more that Sarton said that struck a chord with me--about solitude, about the difficulties in leading a fulfilling life, especially for women who are also wives and mothers. Basically, her whole lifestyle was so similar to mine. Makes me realize again how I have the sensibilities of a writer. If only I could just get started!
In the beginning of the book she speaks about how draining human interactions are:

For a long time now, every meeting with another human being has been a collision. I feel too much, sense too much, am exhausted by the reverberations after even the simplest conversation.
My difficulty in this world is that I am a sensitive, a hypersensitive. I feel and intuit to such a depth and extreme that ordinary life is far too stimulating and overwhelming to me. Most of the noise and hubbub of modern life is superfluous and shallow anyway. I need to shut all that out. Serenity is a necessity for me.
I really believe I will come into my own when I can retreat from the world as much as possible. Then I can begin to share my gifts with the world. Retreat is far from antisocial; it’s how I will best be able to be of service to humanity.
For me, I suspect, the personal level of human interaction is too much for me. The gift in that, in being so hypersensitive, is that if I step back, I can have a far greater impact in the world. I can access the universal. I have a direct pipeline to the unseen, to the creative essence underlying all that is. I’m meant to share what I see and sense, my intuitions and insights. In this superficial, shallow culture we’re immersed in now, I can maybe give people a glimmer of the vastness and mystery of our being.

I’ve still been in a weird state of mind over meaning-of-life issues. I’m kind of bored with human endeavors. They seem so limited. Physical creativity seems so limited. What hasn’t been done before? What true innovation is left? We’ve manipulated just about every piece of matter we can get our hands on. What else can we do with matter, and why should we bother doing it?
Why should I, personally, do what’s been done before by countless others? What is the meaning of so many souls doing the same pointless things over and over again? Just to know that we’re alive? So much sameness though. So much repetition from one person to the next. Where is the novelty? How do I forge a truly creative life for myself? Again, it’s the freedom issue, but it’s confused by the thought that there doesn’t really seem to be anything new under the sun. Is it really freedom, doing what’s already been done before? How do we find true novelty? How do we forge a unique path?
What is the purpose of the structure of my world? It seems like it’s only there to limit and constrain, to narrow down possibilities. I know life isn’t ultimately physical, but why this playground? How am I supposed to be playing with the physical? What would be truly innovative?
I want to push the limits of physicality, somehow. I’m not even sure what I mean. I guess maybe I believe there’s got to be more to this physical incarnation stuff. There’s got to be more that we can be doing with it than what we’ve done so far. Some way of blending spirit and matter in a tangible way. How do you build spirit into matter in a way that can be seen by everyone? Maybe it’s through becoming a true person of power--becoming more spirit than matter yourself--that allows your creations to shine with numinosity.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Yesterday I finished reading Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. How I could relate to so much that she said!
I felt culture in its deepest sense, what civilizes people, is only a thin veneer, like the new houses which turn out to have a brick fa├žade pasted on to some other material. And how incredible it was, in autumn, to swing past acres and acres of fancy French provincial, Spanish, or Tudor houses were not a leaf is allowed to rest on the immaculate lawns! So beautiful in a House and Garden sort of way, so empty of poetry. For poetry lives in places where people work in their gardens, or let them go wild and do not leave it to impersonal firms of gardeners to plant and trim.

Shreveport has far more charm, a livable town, where Dallas seems just plain inhuman, too rich, too new. A fifty-year old building in Dallas looks antediluvian and ‘must be torn down.’ I felt the women were starved, starved for a kind of reality that does not exist in Neiman Marcus fur coats, in changes of fashion, in redecorating, in travel to the ‘right places’. Under polite small talk, one sensed nostalgia, the nostalgia of the bored child who does not know what he lacks, but knows he is being deprived of something essential to his well being. These women are not disturbed, striving, anguished about the state of the world, not always guilty because they should be doing more as their equivalents in the east often are; also, they’re not happy or fulfilled. It is hard to define, but under that huge sky and among so many “beautiful” things, houses, expensive cars, what I sensed was loneliness. There’s too much luxury, maybe, and too little quality. Good manners are just not enough.
But, oh, how marvelous it was to come home to dear shabby Cambridge, to uneven brick sidewalks, to untrimmed gardens, to lawns covered with leaves, two young people walking hand in hand in absurd clothing, to dear Judy and the pussies! We are all a little old and worn, but we’re happy. And Nelson, when I drove up under a pale bright sky, looked like heaven. I saw it freshly, saw the beauty of wooden clapboard painted white, of old brick, of my battered and dying maples, as a shining marvel, a treasure that lifts the mind and the heart and brings everyone who sees it back to what quality is.