It’s so easy for me to go off on a tangent; it is in my nature to overdo everything that captures my attention. This state of mind will prevail until I hit saturation or until I discover some flaw, or some disappointing detail about my current obsession. Until that time, however, forget about it! If you are anywhere close to my latitude and longitude, you are going to get an ear-full, or in this case, an eye-full. I want to compare it to the revolutions of a hamster wheel but these tangents go somewhere; I consume the object of my affections until I have learned anything and everything about my subject. This is not a futile undertaking and I am known to log some pretty impressive mileage!
Take for example the time that I became enamored with Oscar Wilde (truthfully, I still love him!). Everything that entered into my little world was sifted through the sieve of Wildean philosophy. You see, Oscar had a keen perspective on the laughably serious condition of humanity: he knew that we could never be what we wanted others to think that we were. That insight, in and of itself, is an irony because in the attempt to fool others with our fictitious persona, the only one being fooled is ourselves. Oscar knew that people rarely revealed their flaws and that fact alone was their greatest character deficiency. At the same time, Wilde knew what it was like to be different and to embrace his unique characteristics by embracing them through his art and he prudently hid those which he knew society would never accept (his homosexuality). The Portrait of Dorian Gray was a masterpiece of psychological insight into the temptations of life that keep us on edge, and therefore make us feel more alive, and at the same time slowly erode our innocence and purity which are the very things that make us truly beautiful. Most would never dare to engage in the activities that our fantasy worlds encompass and for those who do, the consequences will reveal themselves in time. There are no exceptions.
Another obsession I have saturated myself with is that of D.H. Lawrence. I had to know everything about him. What an inconspicuous-looking man to embody such a sensuous and passionately erotic nature! I wanted to know what his life was like and how a young man from a relatively poor working class family became such a courageous and skillful narrator of erotica during the last breaths of the Victorian Era. He obviously knew women and this knowledge appears to have been an instinctual, almost innate, frame of reference. When reading Lawrence, I can feel my heart pounding and my hands shaking…I tingle in my girlie parts as he sets the stage for sex; the spark that is ignited from the combination of literary licentiousness and my imagination knows no bounds! I love that Lawrence!
Lately, I have become enamored with Charles Bukowski (surprise, surprise!). I can’t seem to get enough of his raw and edgy prose. Bukowski challenges me to remove my high-heeled slippers and to take a walk across the path strewn with broken glass and to feel the pain and its consequent relief that defines so much of the human experience. The pretensions of culture were a slow-death to Bukowski’s art and the temptation to suffocate pure and uncensored humanity with the addition of literary mechanics and proper grammar were an insult. Reading Buk, I experience the swirling and ceaseless meanderings of a littered mind that exists within the ugliness of the human experience. And in its beauty. Despite Bukowski’s vulgar and crass language (women are “cunts” and men are “cocksuckers”), he had no lack of female companionship and accumulated a loyal following of admirers and friends. Ripping the chest open to reveal the heart that beats within is what Bukowski did best and my thirst will never be quenched!
So I live among these Walter Mitty paradigms of fantasy and as I dissect and digest the larger-than-life bits of humanity, the words of these authors pierce my mind and soul. Within their uncompromising arrangements with life, I find my existence through each word and my validation through each emotion that is cajoled and caressed out of hiding. Yes, I do go off on a tangent now and then and although I enjoy the trip, it’s always good to come home!