Saturday, February 28, 2015

Isolation or Action

The artist Nidaa Badwan has hardly left her small room for more than a year, creating her own world of color and a striking set of self-portraits.

It is a cool and cloudy weekend here which suits me fine.  I am beat and lazy and just want to lay up and heal.  I want to binge watch.  It is the new national pastime, and it is a good one. . . if. . . .  There is one problem.  New friends aren't necessarily where you are on the binge watching thing.  "House of Cards, Season 3."  That's what everyone is doing right now.  But nope, not everyone.  Unless you are in a serious relationship, you can't be sure that you are in the same binging place.  For a bachelor who wants to curl up with a friend. . . .  I just don't understand how someone can't have watched all the good things I have, who are not in the same place.  The whole binge watching thing is for couples or those who are seriously alone. 

Does it ever end?  A friend who has many of the same tastes as I has recommended I read the new Jim Harrison novel, "The Big Seven."  Today, there is a review of the book in the New York Times.  I will have to read if for no other reason than this:

Despite his thorough recklessness, though, Sunderson is a tough old survivor. And like all of Harrison’s protagonists, he is supremely aware of his predicament and the biological absurdities of being a man. Usually this means observing women with a constant, helpless lust, as when he escapes to Europe late in the book: “Her legs were brown and when she sat on the bench for a few minutes her skirt flashed up a bit in the breeze off the river and his heart felt a pang at the bareness of her legs. How hopeless. When does it stop?”

Never. It never stops. The ego, the wandering, the violence, the bottomless hunger, the lust — they just might be life enacting itself. What else is there?
 What else is there, indeed. 

And if you can't have that or any of the other sensual pleasures denied us by religious and political zealots, then what is there to do but what Nidaa Badwan has done--isolate yourself as much as possible in a world of your own creation (see link to N.Y. Times story at top of page).  She is an artist, she says.  What is that, asks the zealots?  Why do you look so strange?  I wish the writing in Don Quixote were more to my liking.  So many are driven to a voluntary madness. 

Or they are driven to politcal action like Boris Nemtsov (link) or Avijit Roy (link).  We live in oppressive and fearful times.  This is not a time of subtleties. 

“Slowly, slowly, I started to love isolation,” [Badwan] explained. “It’s not a disease. It healed me.”  

Those are the choices, I think--isolation or action.  

Today I shall choose to be isolated.  I remember when the world was inviting and exciting.  Now it is like a David Lynch movie most of the time--wild at heart and weird on top. 

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