Friday, September 19, 2008

Mental Mountains

In the mountains, there you feel free.
T.S. Eliot

I've been doing a lot of abstract painting lately, extremely abstract. No brush, no paint, no canvas, I just think about it.
Steven Wright

In Valley Forge National Park—best known for George Washington’s troops eating bark and freezing their asses off in the long winter of 1776—a couple of hills are home to what I like to call the allegorical hike. First, I walk up the soft, grassy slope of Mount Joy. Then, after a pleasant jaunt among the rabbits and deer, I come down, cross the road and creek, and begin to climb a steep colonial ruin-lined trail to the top of Mount Misery, following a noose-shaped course before going back the way I came, again reaching the heights of Mount Joy, descending to my car, and driving home. Deep, isn’t it?

I thought of you as my mountaintop, I thought of you as my peak
I thought of you as everything I had but couldn’t keep...
Lou Reed

There’ve been times I’ve been hopelessly infatuated with someone I didn’t know well at all. Looking back, after things have gone bad, or didn’t happen at all, I’ve wondered how I could’ve been so wrong, or what the hell it was all about in the first place. The trouble, I think, has generally been that I saw a projection of something I’ve always wanted, or needed, or lost, not another person at all. There’s this movie called An American Crime—young Ellen Page gets left with Catherine Keener who turns out to be a psychopath and tortures her to death, with the help of her children and their friends—based on a true story—the kind of movie that’s well-made with strong performances, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to subject yourself to it. Shortly after seeing that, I was reading about David Pelzer, who’s written a bunch of books about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his deranged mother. “How could they do that to an innocent child?” is a valid question, certainly. But I wonder if they see that innocent child at all, rather than a malevolent symbol, or some part of themselves they hate. Maybe it’s similar to the way depression causes a person to see nothing but itself, and mistake it for the world.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.
William Blake


Lydia said...

You are one hell of a writer. This is so tight, but so deep.
"Maybe it’s similar to the way depression causes a person to see nothing but itself, and mistake it for the world."
I wonder about the first documentation of far back into history would that go

Gina said...

interesting post. i love your writing. thank you for sharing it.

Lana Gramlich said...

This reminds me very keenly of the moment I realized that my mother beat the hell out of me because of what I represented to her, rather than because of who I actually was or what I did. It was an amazing moment to me. A real rollercoaster of emotions. I'm just glad the ride's over.
Your description of "An American Crime" is like a train wreck; I'm horrified at the sound of it, but I'm compelled to try to see it, as well. I recently survived a 2nd viewing of "Requiem for a Dream," so that's got to count for something! <:\

Gypsy at Heart said...

I agree with Lydia. You are indeed one hell of a writer. Your blog is one of those places where one can fall in deep Jay and, where your words make us travel further for all that. Wonderful quotes.

On another note: Thank you so much for the note you left me at my blog. We are still without electricity here in my section of Houston but as you can see, we now have internet at least. Makes me feel less isolated being able to connect again. Anyway, thank you.


Suzy said...

Re: The American Crime, my guess is that the innocent child is never seen as such. They are usually seen as the "ruination" or catalyst that caused the downfall of some hidden elusive dream they had about themselves.

You can spend many many years trying to figure it out, but sometimes we just never know what's in people's minds.

Great post.


TragicComedy said...

I liked your thoughts about the abusive person. "But I wonder if they see that innocent child at all, rather than a malevolent symbol, or some part of themselves they hate." I suppose I've recognized that concept in an abusive person in the past but I've never heard it put that way. The fact that they don't even see the person for what they really are but instead, what they put on that person. Interesting, intriguing post. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Lydia. My Jungian analyst helped me with that projection thing, when I would become infatuated. The image that worked for me was reeling in the projection. I would reel as if bringing in a fish, bringing my animus back in from where I'd projected it onto the latest, most available unwitting human.

Arnold Layne said...

I loved the first quote, but your last few sentences were very deep. You're a fantastic writer and a fantastic read!

Rhiannon said...

I've been reading some of your post ever since you dropped by my blog..what an incredible writer you are...very "deep" and honest which I really admire. I notice a few quotes from Lou Reed lyrics..I always loved Lou Reed and velvet underground..along with Nico..I have some of her rare cd's and the last one she made before she passed on.

Are you familiar with Laura Nyro? She is passed on now but all of her music is incredibly intense real, poetic, beautiful, funky, soul, and passionate. Maybe you might check her out if not familiar with her..New York Tendaberry album might be a good start along with Eli and the 13th confession and Christmas and the beads of sweat. Something tells me you will really like her lyrics, voice and piano and compositions..I could be wrong..

Well, enough said for now. Except to say that I was very abused by my own mother during my whole childhood and on..and as hard as I've tried I've not been able to ever forget it..nor never receiving the maternal love from a far as I'm concerned I had no mother. The hardest part is knowing she nor my family never loved or cared about me..especially since I'm the one that is the black sheep of the family, because I was "different" and I broke the cycle.

Your walk in the mountains sounded like something I used to do a lot..on my own..finding peace there.



Janet said...

Yes! mostly what we think of as being in love with someone is just as you said, a projection of something we feel we're missing in ourselves. that and huge amounts of chemicals coursing through the body...really takes the romance out of it, eh?

great post!

Ed T. said...

I know exactly what you mean with the 'hopelessly infatuated with someone' thing when there is only very little chemistry. You're right it's like you want it to work so bad you project what you want not seeing what is actually there. That's a tough thing; getting out of relationships that don't work was never easy for me.

FANCY said...

DEEP DEEP Diving...Wonder if it have to do with that we as small children get taught to not accept our own feelings...I mean when we was crying we get a cake - as adult we drink coffee when we are tired - we live in a culture with quick solution.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take-
but by the moments that take our breath away.

if you have moderation on do you really need the letters then? Just wonder?

KentuckyGal said...

Dig your "about me" section.

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I saw that movie, it was sooo hard to watch at times. To imagine that those who can't defend themselves (children) are treated in such a manner......and the blatant disregard from nearly every other character is gut wrenching....

I always thought that I was stripped of my youth, but then I see something like that and think.....Damn, it wasn't so bad.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Jay. Very insightful deconstruction as to the nature of hate and its psychological underpinning in self loathing. It seems if you trace the root cause of any destructive emotion it can be tied to egocentricism.

As for me, I've been both busy and uninspired so there was a brief hiatus from blogging. But I'm back in the swing of things now.

As always, wonderful philosophical musings at Yoga for Cynics. Keep em coming!

Jerry said...

Very Interesting!!!!
Thanks for sharing.

Kristi said...

On the subject of infatuation, I think it is easy to think we love someone we cannot have because we are more in love with the fantasy than the reality. In my experience, when I finally got to the reality, the infatuation ended quickly.

Nancy Ellyn said...

Sir, your writing stirs me up. I love it when words make me feel alive.

"I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have ever had. It certainly changed me forever......O, let me get away! But the moment I saw the brilliant, proud morning shine high up over the deserts of Sante' Fe, something stood still in my soul, and I started to attend." D. H. Lawrence.