an excursus on melancholy

The older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need. Which means that this hero that you're trying to maintain as the central figure in the drama of your life--this hero is not enjoying the life of a hero. You're exerting a tremendous maintenance to keep this heroic stance available to you, and the hero is suffering defeat after defeat. And they're not heroic defeats, they're ignoble defeats. Finally, one day you say "Let him die--I can't invest anymore in this heroic position." From there, you just live your life as if it's real--as if you have to make decisions even though you have absolutely no guarantee of any of the consequences of your decisions.

--leonard cohen

she says i take comfort in melancholy. i say i have an interesting relationship with sadness.

lorca wrote about duende, a word that is impossible to translate into english. it evokes a marriage of passion and sorrow, the transformation of devastation into something creative, something powerful. think flamenco, think spanish poetry, think the beating howl of your heart when it loves, when it hurts, when it seeks to be understood. think about the fact that 'beautiful' is not synonymous with 'pretty', and when is the truly beautiful ever not a little terrifying?

cohen understands duende, just listen to any song he has ever sung. here he seeks refuge from sorrow in resignation but can you see? his action isn't hopeless at all. it is the opposite of hopeless. it is relief: warm, fluid, and embracing. it is the death of the projected self that allows one to embark on a less defended way of engaging with the world.

hal hartley tells us that "every intimacy engenders expectation, and every expectation, some unknown disappointment." i used to agree, but now i am exploring the reverse hypothesis that it is the very death of expectation that engenders deep intimacy.

and anyway, there isn't much room for sorrow these days.
stanford, san francisco, berkeley: sunshine everywhere.

she says i take comfort in melancholy. i say that anyone who's walked the edge never forgets the sound and feel of the void.

but hope exists, and redemption.