A Faraway Look

Daydreaming is amazingly useful. No matter what teachers and bosses and impatient parents may have said over the years (never to me, of course, wink-wink), that pleasant fugue state of seemingly purposeless internal wandering is where a great deal of terrific, very purposeful invention and problem-solving happens. It takes us to inner regions where we are unencumbered by rules, editing, and logic, and can let the what-ifs of experiment and hope play together until, sometimes, they produce brilliant results that endless hours and years of study and labor might never have fostered. How can we expect to engender anything grand if we don’t aim for the seemingly impossible?Photo: Faraway

Consistent study and labor are, of course, quite necessary if we are to be able to even conceive of what exists and how we intend to alter it; to begin with no facts, no tools, no notions of probability or potential will inevitably leave us puzzling fruitlessly for ages before we ever approach a fantastic and outlandish idea, let alone a useful one. But once the seeds have been sown, we can’t assume that there would be no purpose in additional time and imagination spent on divining what to do when they begin to grow as well. The dreamers of the world have nurtured at least as much meaningful and helpful stuff as the mere scientists and scholars and brawny-brained geniuses have done, but with less hoopla, and it seems to me that we should be wary of working too hard to bring fantasists down to earth too soon.Photo: Fruition

Assume, when you see me in an apparently abstracted slide toward the comatose, that I am in fact inwardly journeying toward a dazzling insight or earthshaking invention or two, and leave me in peace. I shall emerge, in due time, bearing the harvest of this grand exploratory trip. Or at least I’ll have had a refreshing nap. I’ll happily leave it to you to determine the value of the difference, if any, between the two eventualities.

Bottom the Weaver!–After the Fact–

graphite drawingAh, Shakespeare me boy, do tell me. I’m just curious: did Bottom have any sort of Fairy Fella epiphany after his little ass-hat adventure? Me, I am fairly certain that had it been me I would have felt smugly brilliant in my newly dawned state of knowledge the moment I was un-donkey-fied again, but I’m even more certain that I would have slipped right on back into my unwise natural state just about as quickly as twitches a donkey’s tail. Because I am so very much a silly, stubborn creature of habit.

Mr. Shakespeare, whatever his level of formal education or high culture or (if you’re of that particular school of thought) of being multiple persons, had a decidedly perceptive eye for ordinary human nature. The bard’s keen observation and sharp understanding are the fundamental reasons his plays and poems have so long endured–he had us figured out, my friends. I may sometimes wish that the characters in Shakespeare whom I resembled most were the heroic and compassionate ones, the witty, the powerful and the sage. But alas, it’s in Bottom that I recognize myself, in Shakespeare’s dolts and fools and in the obstinately self-centered and weak and wooly-minded characters.

I guess I should just thank Mr. S. for having raised my humbly mortal state to high art and sashay back over to perch in my little flower bower. I rather hope that one day these moments of revelation won’t need to be as frequent or as rudely transformative as getting me visibly turned back into the braying boob that represents my true inner being.

Clarity (Klart Blikk)

photoLet me make one thing crystal clear: all of my world is seen through my filters, colored by my way of thinking, its perspective all my point of view. And that’s not either strange or bad. It’s how we all operate. It’s just important that I always remember that simple reality.digital image from a photo

I finally had time to sit down today and go through a backlog of seemingly gargantuan proportions in my email inbox. Among the items that were most enjoyable to unearth, there was a note from my sister carrying a link to another blogger’s post about her son’s (our nephew’s) band Honningbarna’s first gig in Dublin, with the requisite embedded YouTube clips of their performance there–which, in turn, linked to other Honningbarna clips, including a couple of very informal interviews between a young journalist in Germany, if I recall, and nephew Christoffer and his bandmate Edvard Valberg, the band’s cellist and frontman. Besides that I get a kick out of seeing our relative as a successful rocker and hearing the band’s wildly kinetic and screamingly energetic punk/metal performances, I am reminded every time I see and hear them that Honningbarna represents a particular brand of cynical idealism that only the irrepressible and wiseacre young can so ably embody.digital image from a photo

Like many a punk band before them, they sing/shout about the wrongs and stupidity and injustice in the world, calling attention to it all and making us want to clarify, if just a little, our own view or stance on such things. One of their biggest hits, to date, is in fact a number called ‘Klart Blikk‘–it translates, approximately, to ‘Clear View’–a call to stop being passive about the world’s imperfections, to get up and ask bold questions, to act. The link on the song title right here is, wonderfully, a Norwegian 5th-graders’ video workshop animation of the song, a perfect (and artfully executed) answer to this very call to intelligent response. And I think it a wonderful, if laughable, serendipity that my computer’s auto-correct recommendation today for ‘properly’ spelling Honningbarna is ‘Housecleaning‘.

Update: blogger/reviewer Andy Barnes has just posted an additional critique of Honningbarna and the band’s debut album, the source of ‘Klart Blikk’.photo

There’s obviously no single thing that can always serve to make any situation clear, let alone ‘cure’ it. Collecting all the facts and information and evidence and being fully honest with them can help, but sometimes perfectly diligent research and full disclosure do not constitute reformation or restitution. We’re all human. And only human. We stay muddled.photo

And some things really are a matter of opinion. The glass is half full; the glass is half empty. I like things the way they are, or I don’t.digital image from a photoNow, occasionally, providing a sharp contrast to the point under debate is just the nudge needed to push our minds toward a firmer understanding or acceptance of the longed-for truth. Sometimes, the discovery of new evidence can shed brighter light and move us to choose and accept a more accurate reality. It’s even possible, from time to time, to elucidate and pinpoint the ‘right’ merely by simplifying–by paring away all that isn’t, bit by bit, with thoughtful and insightful explication.photo

None of that, still, stops us from being opinionated, stubborn, sometimes truly stupid, and occasionally outright determinedly wrong. It’s where we derive a lot of our mortal variety, our strange human brand of exoticism, our color, if you will. It’s okay to be ridiculous and bull-headed, even when the Truth is staring us right in the face and can’t be ignored, because it’s really part of who and what we are.photo

No matter what a charming song it makes, everything does not necessarily look ‘worse in black and white‘–and light and clarity are certainly discernible, even brilliant, when we stop being so saturated with peripheral influences like our feelings and hopes and desires. But there’s so much sheer wonder in our colorful world, I say, Why not revel in it, even if it sometimes distracts us from the seriousness at hand. After all, that will always be with us and will push its way forward again eventually, even if it takes a bunch of young Punks yelling at us to get us to pay attention.digital image from a photo