Monday, December 11, 2006

naked words

I've heard somewhere that deployments wreck some ridiculous percentage of relationships, I think it was almost half.

I overheard tonight quiet portions of a conversation revolving around the wreckage of that fact for one of the soldiers in our unit.

There's a quiet struggle going on to believe in words. Everywhere. Once I thought that blogging was a significant triumph for written words, that finally people were being drawn back to the insubtantiated world of words--insubstantiated unless by belief or imagination. Seeing is believing we say. Words seem to lay down the burdon of proof half way. And so, the new world of video blogging will probably consume the old.

The struggle for or against naked words lies very deep in the world of politics, in the worlds of film vs. novel, in the opposite sides of this world when one person leaves for Iraq. Words sometimes become the only hope for substantiating a committed relationship. Maybe it's learned mistrust of words that contributes to the huge deterioration rate over here.

My recent effort to blog in part has been a return for me back to a belief, or an attempt at believing, in simple written language. I've watched a ridiculous number of movies since last April when I first stepped on a military plane to leave Los Angeles for eighteen months. The down-time we have over here is enormous. As enormous as dating used to be back when your adolescent sexual intrigue first began outstripping your driver's licensing. The trouble is not that we don't want to have time off from working, but we have nothing to fill that time with--no family, no clubs, no clothes shopping, no Hollywood Blvd., no movie theater complex, no alcohol.

Scratch that last, even though officially I guess it's true.

I take it back, it's worse than the first years of adolescence. If there were a Hollywood Blvd here I don't think any of us would complain about a quick ride over there from our mothers.

Recently, though, I've grown disinterested with movies. Owen Wilson movies excepted for the time being. I've begun reading again. I didn't even realize I was searching for a way to believe in words, believe that I could enjoy a book more than a movie, believe that books might have something movies don't have. Then I finished reading East of Eden. Probably the best book I've ever read.

I have become reaquainted with a old power that I've never been totally convinced written words can contain. I think that power has something to do with meditation. If so, it's strange since it's not words that meditate, it's the reader. But I think words allow a home for meditation to stay in. It's the meditation that convinces the reader, that woos the reader (romantically, not apparitionally), that substantiates the other person to the distant lover.

There is some truth to the postmodern verse that we create our realities... even if we don't. We do create our interfaces to reality. We control how little or how much we expose ourselves to that great shimmering and scary sea of realness that most of us can not yet so much as dangle a foot in off a fishing dock. In only fishing you can always cut the line. It takes long difficult persistance to hack your way through the mosquito jungle of your own convenient illusions, and the disillusionment is painful. But the process, and wisdom, is good, deep down good, scary good. And such a kind of good is East of Eden.

If we can go the slow way of words, we may enter into a patience and nakedness of ourselves and of those around us. I still believe that. Words will persist. And if they die, every image, and every mathmatical proof, all forensic evidence, every shared memory of rooms in candlelight, everything, will fall useless down at our sides absent the underneath power that made them magically convincing to us all along, and for which we idolize them. Running to the more and more sensory oriented mediums will not create more certainty about history or politics, will not create greater fascination or deeper catharsis, and will not result in intimacy.

I think only our own meditative processes can create things of so much substance.


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