Monday, 13 May 2013
treasure: one art, by elizabeth bishop
perhaps if losing is an art, then humankind is an artist.
I'll be perfectly honest with you- this poem is one I know from the movie 'In Her Shoes' starring Toni Colette and Cameron Diaz. Seeing as I only ever heard it in the scene when Cameron Diaz' character is learning to read, I have to say I didn't really take the poem in, as such. Possibly partly because I felt weirdly victorious about the fact that I could read, and this hot blonde leggy fictional character couldn't. Yeah, I get my kicks where I can.
I have been thinking quite a lot about this idea, that many things in life are intended to be lost, and that that's ok. It's hard not to get caught up in the fury of having lost something you felt was important, something you assumed you'd have for a long time.
So, poem, I'm not meant to expect or want to hold onto anything forever? Forever is, after all, a very long time, and my hands are only very small and not always strong enough for holding. If you clasp a peach too tightly with your pointy fingers, there will be bruised flesh, and the peach won't be so sweet. If you hold a hand too tight, or a whole person, eventually there's discomfort, and they have to wriggle away from you. It's not cool to be the one who holds on.
I've hated letting go of lots of things in my life, and I'm certain I've left some bruises where I clung too tightly, hoping and wishing for a repreive, a change of heart, another chance. I've been the one to escape, sometimes by leaving a whole country, sometimes by leaving silence when someone's demanding answers.
But then I think, loss is what makes us want to create; to create art, to refill our senses with something. To fill that gap left after a loss. I have all the time in the world at the moment. I have plentiful space to fill, lots of time stretching empty. I've been filling it with different things: whole seasons of Californication (because my bad decisions don't look so bad when compared with Duchovny's Hank Moody), letters to my friends all over the world (alternating between sugar-coated and brutally honest, optimistic and heartbroken), whisky (because), situpsandchinupsandsquatsandrowingandsweat (distraction with hidden benefits like fitting back into your pants), and here, this, writing.
I spent a few months struck silent, but I've decided that I do want things in my life that I could lose at any time. How else would there be any words to say? What would I write about?
I'd like to write a bit more about loss; in manner of Elizabeth Bishop, all those little things you lose throughout your life. Maybe I'll get to it; I'll add it to the list of things I want to say.