I love…

September 18, 2008

I write about what I hate so often.  It comes naturally to me – I'm a sour old wart.  But I think people get the wrong idea about me… probably because I'm always acting like such a sour old wart.  Recently, someone very dear to me commented on my propensity toward acting like a "sociopathic automaton."  I thought it was very clever of her – if a little inaccurate.  I'm hardly an automaton.  "Automaton" implies a lack of will – that I'm a slave to my wickedness.  I'm not.  Not at all.  I'm a Gemini.  A cop out, sure.  But it's still true.

To be fair, her suggestion was really that I put on that facade in order to disguise my vulnerabilities… which, to a large extent, is true.  But that doesn't mean that it isn't honest, even if it is a lie.  Yes, there is a part of me that boils with frustration, fury and outrage.  There is a part of me that wants to tear the sky down and set the world on fire.  Do wicked things, just for the perversity of it.  But that's a small part.  A very small one.  And I believe that we all have a part like that in us – I'm just honest enough (and hammy enough) to wear it on my sleeve.  Not to pretend like this blog is totally honest or anything – I think my readership (since I've actually developed one, if you can believe it) understands that a great deal of the surreal outrage and spleen I vent onto this blog is part of a character.  A version of myself – not the wholeness of me.  There are about four people on earth who know the truest me.

Sadly, I'm not one of them. 


Sorry about that absurd digression.  I'm hiding from the last three pages of my critical paper.  I always do this – get up to the very end, and then go limp.  Feel free to take that however you like.

Back to my original point:

An impromptu list of things I love.

I love a woman's ponytail.  I love how they bounce, and how their hair catches sunlight.  Bouncing ponytails connect to a very primordial part of me – my inner-Neanderthal.  I see them and am simultaneously enraptured and aroused.  I adore ponytails.

I love minute flaws in a person's face or body.  A tiny mark on someone's cheek.  A slightly wandering or crossed eye – not Marty Feldman or anything – just a slight skew to someone's eyes.  It's like they can see something I never can.

I love the smell of a bowl of really good hot and sour soup.  There's something about the tang of its scent that causes the soft bits in my mouth to convulse.  One whiff and I start to salivate like a bulldog – my salivary glands contorting like little, nude Romanians.

I love the Ode to Joy.  I love it.  I cannot make it through the Ode to Joy without falling apart.  There are a few pieces of music that cause me to break down – but that's the king.  I hear that piece – or pretty much anything by Beethoven – and every cynical thread in me snaps… unraveling into a quivering mound of pure, seething love.  If I could die to a piece of music, it would be the Ode to Joy.

I love cracking my knuckles.

I love the smell of books and antique book stores.

I love physics – and I love that I don't understand it.  I love that it's an endless struggle for me – that it refuses me the gratification of ever allowing me to know it, and that through that refusal it allows me the ability to see beyond it to its endless and profound beauty.

I love Star Trek.  I love that it's an entire universe – a whole reality constructed entirely out of science, literature and hope. 

I love animals.  Foxes, Corvids (ravens/crows), and Lemurs especially.  I love how their beauty is accidental – simply the reachings of genetic chance.  The same could be said for all of nature, I guess.  Yeah.  I love nature.

I love collective nouns.  To harken back to my corvid friends – an "unkindness of ravens" or a "murder of crows."  A "convocation of eagles."  A "cult of hyenas."  I get drunk on collective nouns like that.  It's indescribable, the joy I get from them.

I love the clarinet played in calypso, blues and jazz.  I love how soft and round it sounds.  How it croons like a ghost, or some dense, black voice.

I love typewriters – even though I hate using them.  I've got a growing collection of them.

I love the color blue and the color black.

I love scarves.

I love the shape of Star Destroyers – there's something so terrifyingly spare to them.  A wedge in space.

I love the Dyson Sphere.

Okay, last one.

I love this passage.  It's probably my favorite passage in American literature:

Down there fooling with that horse.  He will go on through the barn, into the pasture.  The horse will not be in sight: he is up there among the pine seedlings, in the cool.  Jewel whistles, once and shrill.  The horse snorts, then Jewel sees him, glinting for a gaudy instant among the blue shadows.  Jewel whistles again; the horse comes dropping down the slope, stiff-legged, his ears cocking and flicking, his mismatched eyes rolling, and fetches up twenty feet away, broadside on, watching Jewel over his shoulder in an attitude kittenish and alert.

"Come here, sir," Jewel says.  He moves.  Moving that quick his coat, bunching, tongues swirling like so many flames.  With tossing mane and tale and rolling eye the horse makes another short curvetting rush and stops again, feet bunched, watching Jewel.  Jewel walks steadily toward him, his hands at his sides.  Save for Jewel's legs they are like two figures carved for a tableau savage in the sun.

When Jewel can almost touch him, the horse stands on his hind legs and slashes down at Jewel.  hen Jewel is enclosed by a glittering maze of hooves as by an illusion of wings; among them, beneath the upreared chest, he moves with the flashing limberness of a snake.  For an instant before the jerk comes onto hsi arms he sees his whole body earth-free, horozontal, whipping snake-limber, until he finds the horse's nostrils and touches earth again.  Then they are rigid, motionless, terrific, the horse back-thrust on stiffened, quivering legs, with lowered head; Jewel with dug heals, shutting off the horse's wind with one hand, with the other patting the horse's neck in short strokes myriad and caressing, cursing the horse with obscene ferocity.

They stand in rigid terrific hiatus, the horse trembling and groaning.  Then Jewel is on the horse's back.  He flows upward in a stooping swirl like th elash of a whip, his body in midair shaped to the horse.  For another moment the horse stands spraddled, with lowered head, before it bursts into motion.  They descend the hill in a series of spine-jolting jumps, Jewel high, leech-like on the withers, to the fence where the horse bunches to a scuttering halt again.

"Well," Jewel says, "you can quit now, if you got a-plenty."

Inside the barn Jewel slides running to the ground before the horse stops.  The horse enters the stall, Jewel following.  Without looking back the horse kicks at him, slamming a single hoof into the wall with a pistol-like report.  Jewel kids him in the stomach; the horse arches his neck back, crop-toothed; Jewel strikes him across the face with his fist and slides on to the trough and mounts upon it.  Clinging to the hay-rack he lowers his head and peers out across the stall tops and through the doorway.  The path is empty; from here he cannot even hear Cash sawing.  He re
aches up and drags down hay in hurried armsful and crams it into the rack.

"Eat," he says.  "Get the goddamn stuff out of sight whil you got a chance, you pussel-gutted bastard.  You sweet son of a bitch," he says.

                                                                              – William Faulkner
                                                                                     As I Lay Dying


2 Responses to “I love…”

  1. Morgan Pashley Says:

    Faulkner 🙂 Didn’t you used to hate Faulkner? And were you drawn to this passage because you killed my horse?
    Love you.

  2. a. Says:

    No, I’ve always loved some of his stuff. The Sound and the Fury really frustrated me when we read it back in Feeney’s Mod/Postmod class… because it’s an absurdly complicated book to get through. Especially when you’re 20 and are obsessed with the underwhelming punky girl across the table.

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