‘…Just Don’t Put It on the Internet.’

Caveat:

This has been written to disturb you.

Invitation:

Summon your personal incarnation of this figure into your mind’s eye and look through it like a lens while you’re reading this. 

A dear friend and I were talking on the phone the other day when she mentioned that one of her daughters had achieved entry into a creative writing course. She said that she would be keeping said daughter away from anything I had written on this blog, however.

Not sure why that would be – and wanting to be polite – I replied by saying, ‘Oh well, do what you do best, I suppose,’ to which she replied, ‘Just don’t put it on the internet.’  

This struck me the wrong way in several respects, not least of all because it felt like someone pushing their definitions of ‘art’ and ‘moral decency’, something they felt both confident and justified to do.

In terms of ‘Social Media’, the difference between the written word and the photograph is that there are no filters or corrective organs for literature. Further, the writer shows up as clear as the whorl in the thumb print. Everything is laid bare, which is part of the appeal of the Blog.  

The poet Robert Graves said that there were only two subjects for poetry: love and death. It makes sense that they come with their corollaries of sex, violence, suffering, elation, consummation, sacrifice, beauty, and pain.

There is the bullshit that happens in between, but such subjects are hardly worth your time – or mine. They’re not the things lovers whisper to one another, not the things that score a child’s mind, and not the things that hover over a deathbed, indistinguishable as either angels or demons. 

…Going back to intimacy. If the blog appears to be driven by an intimacy similar to the Confessional, then that reader is sorely mistaken.

I’m trying for that discrete, mysterious communication whereby another person can be removed from you entirely, but psychologically conjoined, just as the vibrations that rise from the strings of an instrument become music for the player and the listener as they cross a given divide.

And now, to return to your apparition. The writer is the one doing the legwork in this; the revealing, and summoning; the letting. Your own contribution remains as private as your experience of God.

And maybe that’s the trick that contains the answer. Art is inert. You invest it with life, through the innocence of credulity. And suddenly, there it is: staring at you from the other side of the one-way mirror, the angel or devil of your making.

As Rilke wrote, ‘Every angel is terrifying.’

Then again, you’re always welcome not to read if you find that it’s too much.

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