What is curious to me at this moment is the anxiety I am feeling as I contemplate publishing the short piece of fiction below. I publish here, on lafered, a good amount of text and I hardly ever feel as nervous about what people may think as I do putting out there for others to read “Deidre EI.” Somehow it is about judgment of a different kind but what is different, I cannot tell. Maybe it is that I hold art to be more sacred than argument and exposition, maybe, but a less than satisfactory answer in this now. The story does feel, somehow, to be more personal than response to public debate. Maybe “DEI” reveals something more about me than the other kinds of writing in which I engage but, that other writing, when I think about it, does reveal much about me, who I am and how I think.
This story, composing it, took something out of me. I felt intellectually winded when I finished the first draft and I felt that what went out had been replaced with a kind of comfort I rarely have felt; something had left me, taken on a nature of its own, in a rather lovely way, but not without attachments of an inexplicable kind, a loving bond born of responsibility in its creation.
Maybe that is it, that in this case, I feel a kind of responsibility that is different from that I feel when what I share with the world is about things more tangible, ideas that attach to events and actions that—I want to say—are real. Here, I am dealing with what feels to be a deeper reality, a reality that exists in the depths that lie below what is real in that more tangible reality but that are essential to that other reality having and meaning worth an effort to respond.
She created her own mystique and her own myths followed, she believing herself to be what she made everyone else know her to be. She could never free herself of the self she made up for herself and she could not understand how it was that all who knew her didn’t really know her at all, herself included. This state of existence was of and by her mind and reinforced by those who had mind of her, the slight and agile one dancing in a light that was pure, direct, and unshaded.
She was exposed, she, and frolicked in the attention until she gave herself some time to think about what she had created, who she had drawn herself to be and how irrelevant that self that was she really, the possibilities and what she had done with them.
Possibilities. But how, when you are pinned and wriggling on the wall, and the pin, the one you took from the a plate of pins, the pin you thought to be made of silver that, in reflection, shined only because it had been sprayed them with varnish, a cheap varnish that came off at a touch to exposing dullness so deep and so shallow that you could not possibly find your way beyond it inside yourself.
She did discussed herself, in broad terms, with herself but it wasn’t until she took, for herself, a breath that allow herself to float away, free. Glimmering were all she could achieve, now, at this height. Pins made of steel may be dull but dullness does not diminish their power to hold well what they poke through and what they poke into and these walls were of matter that never lets go, give release only when smashed to powder by very heavy and well-aimed hammers. She possessed no such tool, only a pair of nail clippers and a tiny screwdriver for setting time on her mechanical watch.
Deidre was spelled out and the spell was one she could not break. She was born with the name. Deidre, the I before E without the a preceeding C. Hers did not conform. She remembered school trauma, learning to spell names while learning the rules of spelling. She was an exception and this she got confused with exceptional though she was not ordinary, not at all. Her first song was not a lullaby. It was a jazz piece, called “Evidence,” played on a throaty organ, notes robust and, enrapturing, comfortable, up to a righteous point, for they did not always float softly or sensibly sometimes mysterious, sometimes raw and disconcerting, and then meaningfully in ways she could not yet understand, at least as “understood” is commonly understood to be—when understood properly.
She grasped at those notes and, most often, surprisingly, grasped them, for moments at a time and sometimes some forever a given moment of her conscious would tell her reveal. Notes written onto what she later came to regard as the score of her life. Forever so long, “Evidence” was what she had to go on, most all of what she could find to explain to herself what sanity could be, as she was capable of understanding it and herself. “Evidence,” notes and cords and an organ’s sound, a bass, a guitar, and staccato shots from insanely tight drum skins and thin cymbals.
When others began to notice her and she them, the hesitation was profound enough to get through at least several bars and, when through, there was left nothing so much, so good as to be real acquaintance, something else, something confused and muffled as it worked its way through “Evidence,” muted against time but audible enough to allow for connection of some kind but not of the kind necessary for empathy and meaningful communication.
Coping, she created an identity for herself without “Evidence” and this was the she she shared. In time, it became the she she thought herself to be but, when “Evidence” entered her consciousness, made itself known, she knew, could sense at least, that her relationship to she and she to those she would know as far as knowing could go were not wholly real and, she did surmise, possibly illegitimate. She lived made up because of “Evidence” and because there was little she could find to contradict it.
There is a forever field. What grows in it is temporary–and significant for the existence of the field cannot be explained except for what crops up there. Some of what is there is organic, but not all. There are rocks and bottles and shards of bottles and rusty tin from rusting tin cans. There are, at times, too, fresh sprouts of vegetation that grow in its soil. Sometimes someone will, with intention, plant something there, sometimes it is organic, sometimes not, sometimes legitimate and sometimes unreal, sometimes truth and sometimes lies.
Draw a rake through the plot and find the evidence needed to sustain whatever reality makes of it to be. Take the rakings and examine the debris, the detritus that holds to the ground. Count, arrange, categorize, diagnose, infer. That is how reality is sustained and that is how what is often the real is missed or ignored. Cut oneself on a piece of the glass and what is something painful and not the glass. Find a single spring flower in the dirt, but one, alone, and consider life too empty. Or choose this, to consider the edges on the shard, hold one up to the sun and consider the colors of the different angles, their possibilities. Block out everything except for one flower. Contemplate color and shape, petals perfectly whole and perfect in the whole it shares with the other parts. The boring part is the stem but, without it, nothing more would be.
The choice is a choice of what to know and of what to make of what is known. Evidence is that there is a factor of mindfulness and degrees of engagement of mindfulness and, too, mindlessness that can be counted as nothing or something as relevant to understanding as something. Understanding understanding is a kind of delectable agony, an impossibility that allows for lingering and states of ecstasy beyond simple, beyond the painfulness to nearness with the sublime.
Deidre waited. She waited until she was well into her life before coming to understand that “Evidence” was like a piece of glass that might be discarded for of its capacity to hurt and do harm. Or it could be held up to the sunshine for discoveries on the edges and meanings concerning shapes and angles and what they have to do with how one sees into and through a minutes and hours and day and lifetimes. She did what did. She held a fragment of glass and pointed it toward the sun. She turned to a flower growing near her feet and found in her mind and again discovered contrasts to helped her understand the fullness of her existence. She saw sunrays split, refractions, tinted in the hue of a rum bottle’s pale green. She saw a flower. Lit by the sun and then through the glass, at angles again, to distort, to make anew something more difficult now to get at the real, the real more malleable than, she thought, she could ever have imagined.
At this point she realized she and realized about she that she was someone quite different from who she had understood herself to be, this because of thoughts she was allowing herself time to think, in a moment on a field so empty that a person had to look hard for something to find. This was evidence of not vacancy, but fullness detectable with eyes wide open and mind receptive to all and to nothing. She was alive without much to live on but very much enough. She knew what it meant to be human, to have the choice, to choose the angles and the lenses and how one could and might and would use them in the moment in forever fields so vast that there would never be good reason to die.