Monday, August 22, 2011

60. (recycled from last year's writings)

Genius. It always creeps into you at night, with characteristic bad timing that makes you promise yourself that in the morning, when your bed is less warm and your room less cold, you’ll write it all down, create a masterpiece. Of course, in friendly daylight nothing seems remotely as mysterious, interesting or complicated as it does at night, and the long words and lovely sentences curl up and arrange themselves ordinarily, uninterestingly. It makes you wonder what it was about the night before that made you believe in your own promise and talent.

Darkness does that. You can fumble around in it forever, believing yourself to be feeling and touching and experiencing something novel, something special, something profound that needs to be shared with the world. It also makes you miserable. The quest for genius can be melancholy. It makes you marvel at the loop-de-loop of your own thoughts, drives you insane when you try to follow them in a straight line (out of habit), forces you to consider answers to all the world’s questions before sleep takes over and the mundane tasks of your Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday morning begin.

I like friendly daylight better though. Genius is alluring, but kindness is more forgiving. In broad daylight, you can’t be fooled into taking your own mind too seriously, because the rest of the world competes for attention. There are things to see outside of your own head, and they are kinder and happier than the things you conceive of when you are alone and in the dark. They may not create masterpieces, but I’m ready to believe that shrugging off the need to know everything, do everything and be everything is an art in itself.

I argued with someone about Taoism once, about how it’s not wrong to just be. Pooh just was, and he seemed considerably wiser than Rabbit or Owl, but without the Tao of Piglet book series these things are impossible to explain. I realize now that contentedly being is much more difficult than aspiring for genius, and it is considerably more aware of others and their happiness than the deluded nature of knowingness. I’ll go with the sunshine. Beautiful words and mysteries can wait for a darker day. My daytime universe is a friendly place and I fit happily inside it.

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