There are a few things that can bring me to tears instantly. Rest assured soppy chick flicks are not on the menu. Although who can resist that “moment” when grand, or not so grand, gestures are made, and love is truthfully professed? I am deeply romantic, but only in music. Real life? Well, that’s tricky…as love and I are deeply suspicious of each other.
On a good day, I would agree with these sage words…
“How can love’s spaciousness be conveyed in the narrow confines of one syllable? If we search for the source of the word, we find a history vague and confusing, stretching back to the Sanskrit lubhyati (“he desires”). I’m sure the etymology rambles back much farther than that, to a one-syllable word heavy as a heartbeat. Love is an ancient delirium, a desire older than civilization, with taproots stretching deep into dark and mysterious days.”
On a bad day, it’s Henry Miller who keeps me sane, and who I must agree and disagree with.
“The practice of any art demands more than mere savoir faire. One must not only be in love with what one does, one must also know how to make love. In love self is obliterated. Only the beloved counts. Whether the beloved be a bowl of fruit, a pastoral scene, or the interior of a bawdy house makes no difference. One must be in it and of it wholly. Before a subject can be transmuted aesthetically it must be devoured and absorbed. If it is a painting it must perspire with ecstasy.”
Ecstasy in music is something every musician is familiar with. I have often said that Music provides sanctuary. It’s my sacred altar at which I place every emotion, every event, big and small, whether it be infused with pain or desire. My altar is littered with the effigies of lost love, unrequited love. There you will find small voodoo like dark objects that house my bitterness, my sadness, my aloneness, my rage. While at its side, small baubles and trinkets that glow and sparkle with ineffable love for family and friends. At the centre of my altar, stands my Muse. Immortally fixed into one space in time. Immutable, not only in my thoughts, but also in the minds of anyone who listens. Frozen. Timeless.
When I was young and naive I once madly professed, “I want a love that feels like music!” Oh Henry Miller, don’t you see? A love that devours and perspires with ecstasy only does so for one brief moment, leaving you with nothing but longing and desire so harrowing it consumes you whole. Who could dare to live in that peculiar kind of hell?
Many years ago I watched Sandra Bullock’s The Proposal – religiously. Before you judge me, let’s just be honest for one second… I know you enjoyed it as much as I did, when Sandra shook her ass like a girl from the ghetto! Yet, what I was most struck by, as I am in my dealings with people, are the moments of kindness. Thoughtfulness. Sincerity. Those are the kinds of things that bring me to tears. Just the other day I received a handwritten letter that was scanned and mailed to me. I read it and cried. Partly because I am deeply acquainted with my own flaws and, at times, am only able to see where I fail.
I now live by the insights of the author George Saunders.
“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly. Or, to look at it from the other end of the telescope: Who, in your life, do you remember most fondly, with the most undeniable feelings of warmth? Those who were kindest to you, I bet.”
Forget grand gestures of love – as entertaining as they might be. Never take chick flicks too seriously or hope someone will try to top a grand gesture Hollywood spent millions creating. In fact, put the very notion of love out of your head completely. Not only with the fairer sex but with anyone you cherish. That single word, and the failure to show it, can do more damage than nuclear bombs, natural and unnatrual disasters combined! It can destroy lives, I tell you! Try being true. Try being present. And while you are at it…why not try being brave? If you can’t manage any of that..try being kind instead.