Distribution Automatique

Thursday, February 19

Untitled Mood: A Note (3/7/86)

Now and then, on the occasion of a flu or an emotionally
upsetting experience, the whole of life, including all the
complex interweavings of values, beliefs, pleasures,
aspirations, relationships, comes under question. Whether it is
exhaustion or irritability that does this I can't be sure,
but it is certain that a particular perspective, occluded under ordinary
circumstances, becomes more lucid. It is like the quality
of light on a changeably cloudy day: objects take on
an otherwise dull cast, less sharp, somehow less
determined, blending into each other by dint of shaded or
hidden edges. Perhaps partly because of this effect and
the unease and instability of shadowed states
of mind and time, thoughts tend to turn
inward, a kind of quietness, even silence, envelops the
inner life and for a certain while all that had just previously
seemed firm and solid now appears
provisional, shapeless, haphazard, inexact, unfinal.

It would be more comprehensible if thoughts were always
like a song's refrain, repeating themselves long enough
to be remembered, rhythmically even and predictable,
yet charmingly circumscribed and framed, allowing for
neat transitions from one state to another. But like
erratic gusts of wind, or sudden shifts in sunlight
breaking through gathering and moving clouds, thoughts
are just as likely to jump around in unusual ways when the inner
weather is erratic. As often happens when such events occur
and when an unmistakeable minor key emerges, a bleak
perspective may momentarily condition the inner view; a feeling,
perhaps uncomfortable, and which can
easily graduate to actual sorrow, glides the mind
along some specific narrrow furrows to memories
of difficult periods, awkward eras of doubt,
confusion and otherwise oppositional moods and
forces. Generally firm
convictions appear ephemeral; plans &
goals are now enveloped in fog, appearing to
move away from the mind's eye, leaving in their
wake a growing gulf and emptiness. This movement
leaves a blankness, a break in the everyday inner dialogue.
A space is hollowed out and some time is somehow
circumscribed for something strange to
happen. Instead of leaning forward in an attitude of
more or less pleasurable anticipation of future satisfaction,
interest or excitement, the mind hesitates between
present past and future. It is a stillness, a sense
of calm before the storm. A similar
mood has often been described by people who
live in places that are frequented by long periods of
cloudiness, humidity and gathering storms. There
are names for this type of prolonged, uncertain
weather I've heard employed in Southern France, I think, and Italy,
but I can't remember them now, perhaps one of my readers
will supply an example . Sometimes just having a name
for things can help to remove a bit of the
quality of impending doom that surrounds such unpleasant
admixtures of anxiety and possible excitement; the latter
I attribute almost completely to the beneficial effects of
the possibility of sudden change.

For it is change that pain sometimes
precedes, releases, torrential rains, spasmodic
bursts of thought lost in memories & hidden yearnings may thus be
forcibly displaced from their secret nests- flying out &
scattering like frightened birds heading towards
previously untouched ground.