Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tender is the Morning

(capricorn bathing)

I will finish "Tender is the Night" today. I have taken my time with it, extracting what pleasure and life lessons can be respectively enjoyed and endured from literature. This book has almost been too much for me, breaking my heart and scattering the shards liberally for weeks now.

I will likely begin the novel "A Bad Girl" today. An author, Mario Vargas Llosa, whom I know nothing about except that he has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I am looking forward to reading it. I have a very private life again. Though I have agreed to read this along with two friends. We will chat about the novel and sip tea, separated by an armed nation at war with itself.

I do have a very private life now, not one that I exactly wanted, or sought. Reading is a very lonely business. The problem with extracting your life lessons exclusively from literature is that you run the risk of being paralyzed by inaction, stricken with the disease known as caution. If you were to allow all of your life lessons to be learned from novels alone then you would never do anything at all. As all actions, no matter how minor, can serve to be your eventual undoing. 

The butterfly effect - the flapping of the wings eventually becoming a hurricane - those types of ideas work very well in literature. They have somewhat less traction elsewhere, though there are those that argue generously and often for them, often without knowing, confusing the dependence on initial conditions with the dependence on a condition. As in horoscopes and astrology, believing the month of your birth and the positions of a handful of known planets to be in a causal relationship with current and future behavior... It is a case of assuming the linear as the exponent, appearing similar to the non-mathematical mind, and indistinguishable to the ignorant.

Though it is true that stories are useful for padding out your experience-resume when you are young and just bluffing your way through life. The bluffing of youth fades away. I wonder now how many of my life's experiences are just borrowed, how many are just retellings modified to suit the immediate circumstances. Increasingly, literature makes me feel lonely - as I gain, and become naked, by years. 

More and more I share less and less, as scorpios so often do.