Tuesday, March 15, 2011

All Little Girls Should Be Told They're Pretty

Kaleidoscoping and shattering outwards in a sharp array of knives, in a precisely chaotic pattern, still, the face, the icon, the body, the expression, remain recognizable. Though distorted, the image and the person, the woman, behind that image can be elucidated and perceived. Though shaken, scattered, and eerily reassembled, we can find her beauty, her poet. Nonetheless, despite the continued ability to see and to perceive and to recognize, the distortion and the chaos, the confusion and disruption of what is familiar, are disturbing, and generate a sense of unease. We cannot look straight into her eyes, discover some inner facet of her soul or read some polemic of her perception of externality.

Within our skull resides approximately 100 billion neurons, in turn creating over 100 trillion chemical connections, or synapses, with one another and other cells in the body. The human brain and sensory systems have evolved such that we, as an adaptation to further the propagation of our own kind, can identify objects with surprisingly little visual information; we imprint certain images of cultural, historical, or personal significance, we formulate and memorize patterns and sequences, we reason through conflict, from hunger to war to infidelity to political and economic Machiavellian megalomania. It is a beautiful and malleable organ, one that is far from understood. Despite its power, its capacity for flexibility and chemical agility, its ability to perceive and make sense and make decisions amidst chaos and distortion, the brain cannot avoid, and cannot accurately predict, the mess of the unknown, the natural and constructed perversions and surprises continually thrust upon it by planet, men, and incorporated civilizations alike.

Japan, at a keystone of plate tectonic fault lines, the ring of fire, has experienced yet another earthquake, after the initial behemoth burp of subterranean land masses last week, which successfully adjusted the earth's rotating axis by several degrees.

More intimately, my beloved filmmaker is spending the night within a sterile capsule in the stomach of our local hospital, combating the stabbing pain of large and ornery kidney stones, calcium Grendel stones crawling through his intestines. I brought him a gift basket, in the shape of a monkey sock, with chocolate and candy he can eat later, some bubbles for blowing, and a stuffed puppy to serve as a soft distraction. We laughed and held hands. I cried walking to my car alone, for his pain, and for many other reasons, big and small, reasons encased in my self and beyond.

The world lately, I can see, perceive, I can recognize shapes and smells and tastes, but it does seem splattered, smeared in distortion that upsets me. Perhaps, confronted with many fronts aggressively forcing responsibility, I am merely reluctant to succumb to the reality of my perceptions, want to cling desperately to my naivety, to be told that I, and the world around me, are pretty.

Tuesday evening hospital blues soundtrack: "Drive" the Cars; "Baby Blue" Chocolate Watch Band; "I Want You in My Life" R. Stevie Moore; "Judy and the Dream of Horses" Belle and Sebastian; "This Night has Opened My Eyes" the Smiths; "Only Skin" Joanna Newsom

(image taken from Modern Fifty, 20th Century Furnishings & Design)

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