Saturday, January 15, 2011

"Slippery," my father corrects, "just slippery. That was the nickname."

My spirituality is rooted in coincidences.

In The Mentalist, a show that I am unreasonably obsessing over as of late, the eponymous mentalist character does not believe in coincidence. He does not believe in mistakes either, I would assume. Joan Didion had such a character in Democracy, which is a book I started in the past few days and rushed through yesterday and this afternoon until the end. Here's the blockquote:
I said that Jack Lovett was one of those men for whom information was an end in itself. He was also a man for whom the accidental did not figure. Many people are intolerant of the accidental, but this was something more: Jack Lovett did not believe that accidents happen.
Note that each of these sentences in the original starts a new paragraph, which leaves the first two as paragraphs on their own. I didn't present them that way because it would be difficult/beyond my abilities for me to bend the technology of this blog to my will in that fashion. Every stroke of the Enter key pulled me out of the blockquote. Perhaps there's something to be had there. Maybe I've made a mistake or this is an accident and it's coincidental that such a happening should take place while I'm writing this post.

The initial spark to this process in my mind and thus the point I must get across here to keep these paragraphs from being a failure was a connection finally made. In at least two different scenes in Democracy Didion refers to skin or clothing or hair (I do not remember much specifics, only the term used) as "translucent." I attached some sort of importance to these statements. Somehow seethrough as we might call it in the normal vernacular was attractive in a sense, and yet I couldn't quite grasp it.

Lately I have been sick. For about a month now I have been what I could refer to as "not 100% well," but about a week and a half ago I got sick and now I'm on the other end of that. The coincidence that first stuck its head into my mind while reading Democracy, the coincidence that perhaps allowed me to note the use of "translucent" was from observing myself sick or rather observing my sickness. Like an archaeologist, I observed what the sickness created and left behind outside of me. To put it bluntly, what I hacked and blew out during the period.

And the coincidence is that when these pieces of medical output, as far as information was concerned, were studied, the decision (my decision) was that translucency was attractive. It meant I was getting better. I was better. Better, like my father's nickname, is a slippery term. We say we are getting there as if we haven't changed yet. Because better doesn't mean well, does it? I don't think I've ever thought about that before. Anyway, translucency certainly seemed (seems) better than the green I was looking at before. And I'm sorry for that image.

As a way of closing, if you are looking for an author to try on, go pick up a Didion book. Democracy is blatantly wonderful. It might be the closest to the perfect post-modern novel that I have ever read. But who am I to say so? Wikipedia has it that most reviewers thought this her best novel written as of its release. She has another one out now that I haven't read, but her earlier Play It as It Lays is also very good. More emotional, but also less domineering--it's not nearly as strong as Democracy, but do readers who are not writers look for strength in a book?

This is a question set aside for further inquiry. The soundtrack to this blog post and to my life at the moment has been Oracular Spectacular which is perhaps the first record listened to by the new me. Thanks for your attention. There were much better things you could have been doing with it.

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