Before I get a few dozen concerned e-mails, it wasn't BAD crying (though I would debate the concept of GOOD crying even on my more open minded days). It was one of those things where I suspect I've been restraining my emotional expression a bit too much during this "bad period" I like to torture myself with during the holiday season, so my body is looking for an excuse to cry.
"The Wizard of Oz" on TBS, for example. Or, discussing music lyrics. At least phone commercials aren't doing it to me. ("Yet," came the word unbidden from my subconscious mind)
Lyrics? Oh, one of those Google-thons wherein I was looking up anything I was struck with an overwhelming curiosity about during the week. In this case it was the Talking Heads song "Home (Naive Melody)", a song that's been a favorite of mine since...well, since it came out.
It started when, after all those years, I got a line I hadn't heard before:
"Out of all those kinds of people,
You've got a face with a view..."
The line just struck me like a bell -- what a wonderful way to describe that spark of recognition! I wonder if that was in the context it was intended? Thus out hero is off and searching the net.
So I find the complete lyrics, ironically enough, posted to someone else's blog, although with no explanation:
Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - -she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time Before we were born
If someone asks, this where I'll be
where I'll be
Hi yo We drift in and out
Hi yo sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head Ah ooh
As I was trying to explain the line to Roni (I think she had a bit of a visceral reaction to the "Love me till I'm dead" line) I suddenly felt my voice shake, and the sobs started. I was soon crying hard enough that Roni asked if I was alright.
Well, I was (and still am). I am annoyed at the aforementioned mental basement from which all this springs for the sneaky ways it's getting me to cry. The passion of describing what the song meant to me provided the tears a veritable set of emergency lighting toward the exit that would be my eyes.
You know how emergency exits sound off that annoying alarm when they're opened? I almost feel like my wailing is just as bad, and thus I automatically apologize for it ("Sorry, I can't figure out how to turn this damn thing off...the best we can do is hope the battery dies...").
Ever wonder why great beauty produces a reaction like this? Or why talking about what it is we find beautiful, with all the passion that many spend most of their lives trying to suppress or snuff outright, can do the same thing?
Home to me is that place where I can let that passion flow freely. I may be stopping that from happening because of my own fears... but that's ME, not the people around me that's stopping me.
When I write... REALLY write (interesting...when I first typed that second "write" I touch typed "right". Freudian typos?)... I sometimes find myself dealing with my vision blurring from the tears. It's as if there was something of beauty coming from my own head.
Maybe I'm afraid of being capable of producing something that can shake someone the same way those song lyrics did, or the movies that "click", or even just the sight of Roni asleep next to me right now. Perhaps it's the fear that I'm throwing off the bell curve of that which is beautiful by daring to place something I produce in that bucket. How could mere words compare with the things I feel when I look at the pictures I've taken? Never mind it was me who held the camera and pressed the damn button: I can somehow claim I merely caught what was already there. Writing seems a lot more personal, more akin to sculpture than photography. Can something taken from my mind do more than make grotesque joke out of what I see or feel?
I know many artists feel the same way. Maybe what scares me is the knowledge that the better the artist, the stronger the feeling. Maybe I should just own up to the fact that I know there's a great writer in me, with some pretty intense things to say, in ways that everything I've written before now has been prologue to.
What terrifies me most is knowing what that artistry has cost me already: What will allowing myself to blossom as a writer cost me? No, not nothing. There's a price for genius (and he spits the word out as the bitter root it is), for the compulsion to create that goads us. I only hope it's only giving up my fears that that tyrannical
That would mean accepting my art and my role as an artist. It means I get to let go of the voices that insist that I'm doing it all wrong. It means I get to split infinitives with impunity, torture syntax without repercussions, and generally piss people off just by being me.
It means I can stop being scared of being humiliated already, and get on with it.
I guess it's time to start.