Do I earn your attention?
There are the gaudy methods, like honesty. I bare my soul, make art of raw flesh, top layers gone. I offer the sudden reveal, a brush with palpation, every hair erect. To make it Special, I muster up some desolé place of meditation. Like real death, Emminent. Or Utter Wrong done when young.
Or do I do it human-style? That is, slow, unpredictable, dysfunctional?
Our choices are always: a snap shot, with brusque honesty, or the long, fearless description.
Either way, it will mostly fail. We are the animal that must practice, practice, practice, at every asymmetrical and balanced art. So that, for example, for 20 sustained minutes, in brilliantly-expensed great halls, we can see humans attempt to not fuck up.
Because our norm is rough draft. All is endlessly abandoned half-way, in overlapping series, like the way we are always falling forward, catching ourselves, in order to walk. Perhaps Stephen Hawking gets some kind of help in his thinking, in how he wheels, not falling but rolling forward. Does our locomotion impede our evolution?
Our belief in ourselves, that we can succeed, is touching.
But operationally, we are 4 dimensional stutters, Merton's "trembling selves", to the root of our biology. The essential character of our social selves is tentative, haphazard. Ours is the veriest soul of contingency. We make this all up, as we Go.
We can't avoid this. But look: we might never get it right, but we get Art.
We trade it. The coin, no: the real franking itself, is our expression to each other. If you look, I will look. Make a gesture, I see your hands move, I pay attention and then you do the same. Speak, Type, Perform, but add LOOK, and I will do the same. An OS social contract, locally. And thus we get the illusion of a Plan. Of Reliable. Of Share. How good is that?
"Cheap at half the price" my sly and cynical Uncle Hem would agree. Hm. How DO we pay for this? What is it that we exchange, barter?
Some of us wave at ideas. Some use dental tools to reveal every layered gearwork function and whitehot philosphourus urge and firecracker conception; the collapsing field of details that is
-- so far, do I earn your attention? --
snapshots of the stumbling forward that is life itself, plain and utter.
Life gripping our soulstrings like lapels and shaking us: "steady, girl", "whoa, boy", then: "you think THAT's something?" Then: "watch this." Then "did I hurtcha?", over the shoulder, to our corpses.
And whatever we were working on is forever undone, like us. Our scream of defiance at our Inexcusable Disapearance is Art. But which is better art? The whole of it, from First Yes to Final No, the arc of be-all -- or the crsytalline, madeline moments, peered at? Like Schroedinger's cat, does it it stop being the great pulsing steppe of life once you look at interior shots?
And vice versa? I mean, in a novel, the likeliest art, we want both: bring forth every-fact-darted realism, time slowed, all examined, the sweat of contact, under the narrow beam -- then soar above it, and take everyone with you, into a bright reef of life. And not just be sifting through perspectives but really resonating the whole and the particular, at once.
And yet every writer's choice, now, right now, mine, is this: the great slo-mo collision of the heaving herd, writ largesse, or just some penetrating twitter on how I dropped dead Thursday?
I can't really write both, at once, with perfect deliberation. I find it just works for me. I draw beautifully, but horselaugh: writing is my true Art. I am Core and Flourish and Apt, and I fly as in dreams with pen and paper. Ever, always: something Broken and Urgent and Teeming comes with it. I weep bitterly about my best pieces; like Judy I want to claw my heart with every performance.
But I find out afterwards what I meant, just like you, and almost always this is so. No papparazzi passes, even for me. I am scribbling at the edges of the crowd, about Some Other Thing. After, after author birth, I see what's what. I can go back and pull apart the wrapper a bit, or make the piece admit or deny things. What I was really saying.
See, we are uniquely false starters, each of us, and false hearts to each other, because we don't really know what is coming next. Heaven would be to step without ever falling, 20 forevers in asymetrical and balanced art, because we are each and all in love with each other's existence.
Without practice. As forever Practice.
To earn each other's attention we can do any of millions of things, in thousands of categories, by hundreds of rules, in dozens of traditions, by tens of principles, in many ethical traditions, by several moral principles, by...I wish I could say one guiding idea: lovingkindness.
But at least we have each other's number now. That's what THIS is. The dialupinoutoverndthrough, via Earth's blessed and abundant silicon. The net is Sacred Glory itself. We can write each other into the Great Novel of our own lives now, peer at each other's inner texts, reveal our predictable flesh, hoot in unison.
If we but make our 1 in 6,706,993,152 more honest, real, generous. Patient, forebearing, attentive. If we defer, reflect, abide; if we but learn to comfort each other, and allow.
Make love shine.
Let's practice. Make big numbers into one, with one another, one at a time. Each one wonder-full.