20 July 2010

Spukhafte Fernwirkung

aka Spooky Action at a Distance

Two items:

Item 1: Some time back I posted a brief obit of Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse fame. I included two of my favorite songs (not just of his, but of ever): Rainmaker and Happy Man. This weekend I was taking Wesdom up to baseball camp at Clemson U—about a two and a half hour drive each way. I borrowed Wisdaughter's charger that allows me to play my iPod through the car's speakers, plugged it in, set it on random (approx. 8500 songs), and headed up the highway. After dropping off young H., I grabbed a quick and awful falafel and headed back. Just at the Walhalla (!), SC, exit on I-85, Rainmaker began to play. In a few seconds it began to rain on me, the first (and only) time the whole trip in either direction. Then as the intensity of the song built, the intensity of the downpour increased. Until it was so dark and raining so hard I couldn't see out my windshield. Traffic that normally treats the Interstate sign as a speed limit sign (i.e., 85 mph) was moving at about 15 mph, and practically every car had its flashers on. Many simply pulled off the road. I played the song REAL LOUD so I could hear it over the clamorous downpour. Then, just as the song wound up, the rain simply stopped, the cloud opened up, and I emerged into sun and fairly clear skies. It was first time I'd heard the song since March. Eerie, in a cool sort of way.

Item 2: Just now I was browsing through my local used book store as is my wont. I picked out a few beach reads for my annual vacation. As I was heading up to the counter to pay, I spotted a novel which bore the same title as the novel I've been working on recently. Interesting, I thought. I picked it up and began reading the synopsis. The plot it described was very similar to the plot I'd been working on (I have an outline of about 40 pages at this point). Too similar for comfort, I'd say. I'd never heard of the book; it's relatively recent. Nor the author. Not sure what to do now. Spooky, in a weird sort of way.

Three things:

Thing 1: I first saw REM perform in Winston-Salem, NC, at a bar right when their first single came out.

Thing 2: The protagonist in my novel EULOGY thinks/dreams/believes he encounters the ghost of his mother in his law office late at night.

Thing 3: I'm a non-believer.


BDR said...

Serendipity abounds in clusterfucks, one of clusterfuck's few good side-effects.

Frances Madeson said...

I don't know if you caught it, but I want to say two autumns ago, Daniel posted, and then quickly took down, a brief personal statement about experiencing the realm of the ecstatic, feeling like he was in the passionate grip of an extraordinary, electrifying force relentlessly bearing down on him in the darkness, in bed, in the middle of the night. Reading it early that morning, the pixels themselves vibrated with an agitated sleeplessness; if you read it you would never forget it. It was around the time he also wrote that he was going to post some new stories, exhilarating and violent stories (two other adjectives I'm blocking right now), on TRE's Fiction on the Side, but didn't.

That revelatory and jarring post, its hasty, dramatic subtraction, the promise of the new stories, so far painfully (I feel) unfulfilled, threw a switch for me—the power and beauty of his... I was going to say gesture, but it's really more like... action of going all the way out to the outer limit so whoever happened to be in that room in that moment got an eyeful.

An irresistible invitation resulting in all kinds of unanticipated journeying and sojourneying and consequences therefrom, some quite dreadful. Not unlike the characters in your Harley/Congo story who hear the teacher's screams in the middle of the night and then have to live with that, solve it somehow, even though it takes them to dangerous places. When you wrote your story, were you depicting a vacation derailed, or another kind of adventure, a reclamation of the human birthright, a ticket to the rawest possible magical mystery tour? (Would very much like to reread that story now, Jim, can you please re-post before you go on vacation?)

I wish Daniel hadn't redacted the record; the lucidity of his compressed composition of words instead of my more diffuse paraphrase might help you have a more refined feel for your current predicament.

At the 9 min mark here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdzUewoqAcs&NR=1 David Bohm leaves the door open for “hidden connections.” I take that as wholehearted permission to do likewise.

I don't know if you caught it, but I want to say two autumns ago, Daniel posted, and then quickly took down, a brief personal statement about experiencing the realm of...

Jim H. said...

FM: I missed Dan's post re afflatus. I've never been able to make the precise connection b/w the experience of the ecstatic (and, oh, I've been there) and the creative (which is as much an effortful process as anything else—so call me a materialist). Maybe Dan did before he pulled his post and cast a cold eye on his (perhaps, as you imply) automatic writings. Fact is, I've been meaning to do a post on this very topic for some time.

And I agree: the connection in each item of the OP is the "me". Me me me. Plus the things I (choose to) notice.

W/r/t "Harley": was it experience? was it figural? was it intentional? It was Harley, naif that he is/was, in a place of beauty and violence at which he was/is not center.

BDR: Or, as my mother used to say, cohinkydink.

Frances Madeson said...

"...afflatus...meaning to do a post on this very topic for some time."

I'll look forward to that one.