Thursday, May 27, 2010

Writing, Painting, Bumming...

Of those three, bumming would make up more than half of my life ever since I graduated this March. My laptop crashed at the airport, when I was about to leave Bacolod (after a six-hour bus-ride from Dumaguete). I lost all my recent files since I didn't update my backup copy. At first I was just staring at my laptop, devastated at the fact that I'd lost the four short stories I'd started but haven't finished. Also lost my nonfiction piece where I wrote about Siquijor.

But for some reason, I was relieved. I started to just chill. Two days after it sank in that I really, really did lose those darned pieces, I was happy. I never thought that losing something important can actually be liberating. See, I feel as though I've gotten into a rut. I keep writing, and the more I write (and oh do I write a lot!), the more I get weighed down by everything I've already written. All those stories felt like a hundred-pound weight on my back. I wondered if that was how tortoises felt.

I couldn't seem to go beyond what I've already made.

I don't understand why it happened, but the spontaneity I had when I took writing seriously a year ago was quelled. My finished works became shackles, my memory of them a steel ball I'd been dragging by my ankles. What's already there was burned not only in my hard disk but my brain.

I remember how, when I began, I would write in a frenzy. It all came out so easily. Didn't even need to discipline myself. I was writing out of instinct, sitting and typing from 7am to 12mn (with eating and bathroom and jogging breaks of course). Perhaps that was the time my muse really took over. Though come to think of it, I'm not really sure what a muse is, what my muse is.

When I was in Bacolod, my cofellow, Jordan mentioned something about three sources for one's art: The duende, the angel, and the muse. I guess he was referring to Federico Garcia Lorca's theory of this triune inspiration. I found an ebook of Lorca's book "In Search of Duende" and am planning to read it one of these days, though I'd much prefer a real book version I can hold and use as a pillow to sleep on.

The duende seems to be the one that had me in its grips back then. Lorca uses Goethe's words in defining the duende as ‘A mysterious force that everyone feels and no philosopher has explained.’
It has a visceral effect on both the creator and the audience. Like the trance music I love listening to, it just takes you away, letting you ride the cadence of light and life. Duende sounds very much like Greek energeia and daimon, then.

Meanwhile here are the other two, the angel and the muse, summed up as light and form: 

"The angel dazzles...there is no way to oppose their light, since they beat their wings of steel in an atmosphere of predestination."

"The Muse stirs the intellect, bringing a landscape of columns and an illusory taste of laurel, and intellect is often poetry’s enemy, since it limits too much, since it lifts the poet into the bondage of aristocratic fineness..."

 It appears that artists are supposed to subdue these two. I think I have a vague understanding of what Lorca means. Maybe it's about not letting the angel sweep us off our feet and direct our hands in weaving our destinies. Maybe it's about holding on to the ground when the muse tries to lift us up to the pedestal overlooking the world's glory and folly.

Maybe its about letting our souls accompany earth and life as it is churned out in this cycle of fire, tears, blood, and death.

Maybe I'm talking too much.

All I really want is to have that ease again. And I seem to be contradicting myself since what I'm writing now is just gushing out of me, mental diarrhea.

I'm guessing all I really needed to do was to sit down and write. Forget about all those lost files. Forget about those stories I've already written.

Time to create new things.

Beautiful things.

A thing is new only once. Beautiful things happen only once. Maybe that's why Lorca wrote "[t]he duende never repeats itself, any more than the waves of the sea do in a storm." That's something I should never forget.

And now I should download iTunes, Adobe, etc. again to get my laptop back (close to) the way it was.
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