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Rant #350
(published October 4, 2007)
In the Zone of the Stream
by Danielle Foley
Part one.

Do I think it's acceptable to ask question after question and not offer any answers to them? Is that being profound, somehow, like suggesting that I have the answers in my head but have decided to hold them back from whoever reads this to imply that I'm in the know and everyone else is somewhere out of it? I think these questions are a little ridiculous. I'm in this stream and I'm being washed downhill. Sometime I'll reach the valley, the town, the people, the place I recognize.

[ . . . ]


Part two.

[ . . . ]

I'm still thinking about the valley and the water, because it's cool and bubbling. Goosebumps on the skin and hairs standing up. I have hairy arms for a girl. I have a lot of hair on my head, but I like that. I like wild hair. I like wiry hair but envy smooth and shiny hair. My hair isn't soft. It's kind of dry. I like its color, though. What does any of this tell you about anything? What do you think about long beards and piles of sand in the middle of the street? Three piles of sand each spaced four feet apart in the middle of a road where cars pass them by?


Part three.

There's nothing left to say. I feel very unfulfilled after writing that, so I'm going to continue. I don't think anyone can write enough before they feel fulfilled. That's a lie. I said that in the Heat of the Moment. In the Heat of the Night with Sidney Poitier. Was it a good movie or was I under the spell of a good teacher (To Sir, With Love)? Was he a good teacher or was I mushy and impressionable? Am I now? Are you relating any of this to yourself? Am I arrogant to think that anyone might be relating my thoughts to himself or herself? How will I ever be able to stay focused? To stay focused on a single idea for a prolonged period of time is a feat, let me tell you (even if you don't care to know). You step into an idea, and it's like a big gerbil ball with lots of air holes and you're a person with little feet and legs that fall through the holes, and you get stuck, and then you pull yourself out and take just one more step in any direction, and you fall into another hole. You pull yourself out, you step, you fall. It's a goofy analogy but it's what came to mind, and I'm trying to be as true to what comes to mind first as possible. Do I believe that there's some greater worth in speaking in the words that come first and naturally? Do I think revision is bad? What's the deal with rawness? Naturalness? Let's go put on some make up and dress up as clowns. Our mothers would like it. Our mothers like everything. Is there some meaning in anything? What is anything? Is it fair to throw these questions out nonchalantly? Am I throwing them out nonchalantly? If you pack too many hard-to-answer questions together in close proximity, will there be an explosion? Should I say no? Do you prefer hair to be wavy or straight? What is a segment? Why do we have segments? Can you cut things down infinitely into smaller and smaller segments? Would anything ever disappear because you've cut it down too far? We see things as events, happenings, intervals, chunks. If you eliminate that, then what do we have? When is something a thing? Why am I one unit? Do I exist alone? What is it about form and structure? Why are we so reliant on patterns? Consistency? Why can't we handle complete awareness? I'm always trying to be more aware of myself and my mind, my thoughts, my feelings, my body. For what? Who am I? Did I just ask that question? Can I be any more ridiculous? But really, now. Who is Me? How did "who am I" become correct English and "who is me" incorrect? But really, now, How am I? Who is my Self? Do I exist in my mind? Am I my mind? Am I my body? Do "I" exist independently from both my mind and body? A brain alone isn't a person, is it? Are we even in control of our thoughts? It's neurons sending electrical impulses across synapses. Do we control when they fire and from where, and to where they fire? A thought is created by the firing, so the firing must come first. I don't know how it all works. I don't quite know if we can truly figure it out. Truly?

In the middle of this my friend called and I went out and looked at the sky, and a cat rolled and writhed on the grass in front of me, and the clouds dimmed, and I thought how untrue-to-life cameras are, that they rarely picture their subjects for what they are. That they make the image better or worse, usually worse. But there are two thoughts I have now that follow. 1) maybe cameras are actually very true-to-life, because we may never perceive anything for what it is; we are so influenced, so individual. 2) what is this talk of "better" and "worse" than what uncaptured images are? I'm wondering why we are so quick to think that the human eye is the best port for seeing the world. Why can't the eye of the camera mean something? So the view changes with the camera. What we see and what the camera sees are two different things. So what? Look at it and find something in it. Look at everything and find something and nothing in everything. Should I? Should you? We're all so damn selfish. That just is.

The water is still churning and cool, a little froth, a word I feel slightly uncomfortable with, there is stark blue and crisp green, white, brown, gray, yellow. I see the valley, the village, the people, not far, so close. Still flowing, I see a hole in the ground, I grab on to a rock, pull myself out of the stream, the bubbles, the rush, crawl into it, feel claustrophobic, crawl back out. I want to end, I want to dry off, but it's so tempting, so cool, so relaxing, yet so tiresome. These feelings exist together but they shouldn't. According to who? To what? This is the world. Take a sleeping pill but don't get tired.

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