Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

In for life

Given the prevalance and popularity of crime dramas in the popular culture these days, I'm sure I'm not the only one who has morbid fantasies about prison. C'mon . . . you know you've done it. You can't watch Law and Order too many times, hearing again and again about lengthy prison sentences, and not ask yourself: what would I do if I was in prison? How would I survive? What would I do? The Shawshank Redemption is considered in some polls to be the most popular movie of all time, and I'm sure it's because it taps into this dark prison fantasy lurking inside us.

One thing I could never understand was the dread surrounding "protective custody" or "solitary confinement", in which inmates are alone most of the time. Having seen and read about prison life, it seems to me that there is not a lot to recommend the social life one would have in prison. Why would you be fighting for your right to associate with such people? I would sooner do my time in Limbo than in Hell. But I think that says a lot about people these days . . . very few people can keep their own company these days.

I was listening to Eckhart Tolle this morning while I was working outside in the yard, and he quoted Nietzsche as saying, "The smallest things make the best happiness." Usually, the more obsessed we are with the forms of the world, the more unhappy we are . . . and only the diminishment of our involvement with the world of form can make enough space within us for real happiness. I have sometimes wondered with the isolated prisoner sometimes experiences the same peace that some cloistered monks deliberately seek, where the content of their existence has become so minimal that they have room enough to experience their own consciousness.


Post a Comment

<< Home