27 June 2017

Introspection at once myopic and scatterbrained

Dear diary,

All right, THAT's over. Yesterday was my mother's birthday, so the whole family got together and attended the local "art fair" (for "art" read knickknack; for "fair" read market), my mom's choice of "fun". We all got along well, but, as usual with family, it was stressful in deeply puzzling ways.

Maybe I'll vent more about that later; right now the most important item of business is to talk about Twin Peaks: The Return, whose eighth hour aired last night. I've been trying to capture my reaction to the series as each new part is released, in order to have a record of my opinion – I'm curious if my future self, who will have watched the series again (and perhaps again and again), will agree with my initial impressions. Lynch intrigues me because he's willing to experiment so wildly that what seem failures on a first viewing often turn out to seem successes upon re-viewing.

But I'm positive that I've locked into the groove with Twin Peaks, and my assessment is correct. My view can be trusted. Here's what I said most recently, before the eighth hour:

So the latest episode (#7), which aired last Sunday, was barely passable. The show used to be magic, now it's humdrum. But I still stand by my praise of the third thru fourth hours of the show. If every new airing offered us stuff like THAT to look at, I'd be a less sad camper.

Now I'm thrilled to report that episode eight has not only lessened my sadness but eliminated it entirely: I'm now a very happy camper. I just KNEW that Lynch would come through again; that's why each week I keep hopefully returning to The Return, despite its lags of mundanity. Any cognoscente of the series will remember that the second season posed a similar challenge to the well-intentioned spectator: vast, dull, even sometimes episode-long valleys (though usually not Lynch's fault, except in the sense that he can be blamed for abandoning the project momently to uninspired underlings), YET then when the peaks come, they are the highest ever experienced. I endure the low, long valleys for these sky-high peaks.

So just like hours 3 & 4, this 8th is some of the best work I've seen from Lynch; my single caveat about this praise is that it applies only to what follows the Roadhouse band performance. Nothing against "The" Nine Inch Nails; but the fun begins directly after that scene.

*

Just a minute ago I made the mistake of checking one of the online microblogging networks and am disturbed to see that everyone has apparently already said what I tried to say above. (Incidentally, what quality of attention can you possibly be giving to a film, if you're typing and publishing updates online during screening?) And others are making quips about the show being confusing; viewers either absolutely embrace OR absolutely recoil from poetic cinema, from intensely personal artwork: no undecided voters in THIS election.

I wish that I were different from the rabble; I wish my reaction were something new, striking, helpful, exciting. But I find that I'm only normal. But I guess that's OK; this journal was not intended to be a flashy sales-pitch for my exquisiteness. It's here to unearth raw self-truth: my part of infinitude. ...And yet I do hope I grow luckier...

MORAL: Don't ever visit any "social" network, even if it's only to make sure you're correctly referencing the Roadhouse.

*

Being shy, I go through life hiding. Even when I'm determined to be open, there's something in me that's always scheming to avoid self-revelation. Why is that? My aim in keeping a public-private diary is to crack the hard protective shell so as to get at my soul; because, contra my remarks above about normalcy, I know that my soul is distinguished. Thus, however scary the act, it is well worth jackhammering its casing.

But here's the funny result that I've smacked into. In this act of personal journaling, even as my overt purpose is to unveil my soul, my soul remains most hidden. When I compare this to the effect of my free-form compositions, whose overt purpose was to blend my soul with the IT, I find that the IT simply reflected my soul back unmasked – my soul confronts a shard of itself in the mere. That is to say, when I review my life as an artist (a sloppy artist with no responsibility, but an artist nevertheless), despite my attempts at ambiguity and evasion, I find that my soul is out there, naked as a jaybird...

When I try to show it, it hides; and when I try to hide it, it shows: that's what I'm trying to say.

I've traversed, so far, through three distinct stages of junkmaking. I started out with rap, then I dabbled in religion, then I advanced to creative prose. (This of course doesn't count the present shit-phase of weblogging.) When I stockpiled rap demos, it was my trickster soul at work; and when I wrote my own holy scripture, it was my Saul-of-Tarsus soul (angry child, slave to authority) striving to become its Apostle-Paul soul (fully realized cult-master); and most recently when I composed my self-amusements, my soul shone brightest and truest: I was like the cartoon Pinocchio transformed into a real cartoon human boy. Or rather like a wooden puppet having varnished itself.

Yes, and now with this non-creative self-journalism, I'm like a star fizzling out...

So the different phases that I've gone through in my creative life, in spite of the fact that I was always trying most intensely to be wild, strange, and different, end up tracing perfectly the common path of each individual human: the downs and ups of semi-telluric life. So I have discovered, as perhaps we all do some dud day, that I am EVERYPERSON. Which is only a letdown because it implies that I've failed to uncover the glorious NOBODY that I'm still convinced I possess. Or am possessed by. The best poem is the one that has not yet been written. (I believe I stole that last line from Emerson.)

Please note for the record that I've tried to lift the mood here, but it keeps on drooping of its own accord. First I lament being average; then I counter that I am preeminent; and now I'm trapped in the Entirety Straightjacket:

. . . I am made all things to all men . . . (1 Cor. 9:22)

Instead of continuing in this vein, I just want to end this, because I am tired. Here I'll paste a quote from an email, which I just received from the MDA (Minnesota Department of Agriculture), for you to read while I nod off; like how a variety show's orchestra plays a tune while each guest leaves the stage. I'll even put it as a postscript.

P.S.

The Department of Agriculture is warning residents about the dangers of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), a toxic member of the carrot family. Residents should be on the lookout for the weed, take extra precautions when handling it, and do not ingest any parts of the plant.

(I was so interested in this that I clicked the "Learn more!" link to the state's own website, where I found the following.)

Poison hemlock is very toxic to humans and livestock. Symptoms include: nervous trembling, salivation, pupil dilation, rapid/weak pulse, eventually leading to coma or death.

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