Dancing Backwards Barefoot

Yesterday I took the bus to town to check out the flagship Primark store that opened over a year ago. Everything I touched was flimsy and seemed lacking in substance. Without shape; struggling to hold up with too few threads to the inch.

One has to hold together somehow, I thought, returning on the bus without a single purchase. Kabbalah teaches that service to others is good for one’s development. But one has to observe oneself carefully enough to hold on to a shape. Mack talks to me about her loss of shape which causes her a lot of distress. I listen a lot these days and take random notes on bits of paper. I’m always looking for clues, as you know, about how it all holds together. I think consciousness is the glue and the clue. One of my random notes says that Lord Rees reckons there are aspects of reality beyond the capacity of our brain.Tell that to the guys fiddling with genetic modification, m’lord.

I continue with my everyday observing and listening. It’s a bit like being in an empty house and hearing footsteps on the landing. I need people to clutch in times of high drama. I call and they come. Yes indeed, the universe is, as always, on the button. Yet I get the feeling that I don’t get to do the picking. Free will? I don’t think so. I am but a vehicle for the evolutionary thrust, that will one day make individualisation redundant and be merged in that ‘great sea of being’ that Dante told us about.

It’s not easy being a human at this stage of development, trying  too hard perhaps to hold onto a shape, while relating to others doing ditto. It’s like a dance and I’m doing it like Ginger, backwards but I guess I choose whether to do it in heels or not. That’s the free will bit maybe.

A couple of times recently a bloke has asked me questions about myself. It’s an unusual feeling and I quite like it. Sometimes the spotlight gets too bright and I resort to comedy. My suitors, if that’s what they are, use comedy too. It covers a multitude of inadequacies. Comics are strange people on the whole because whole they are not.

But back to choice and the question is there any? What guides and directs my decision- making if not the past? My father was an angry,self obsessed, neurotic man, whose shape was reconstituted by the second world war. Like the Ancient Mariner he was ever after collaring a wedding guest, usually me. I learned, while listening to him, that in order to feel whole I needed to pay attention to a man. His light seemed to beam on me but I can see now that it was in fact a torch shining the way for him. Hence his emotional unavailability and my subsequent ambivalence around men.

Since then I have found myself over and over listening to men telling their stories to give themselves shape and me in there with them, losing my own. I see that now and still I wonder about this free will thing. I have recently tried to choose but a door has closed somewhere in the distance and there is no handle on it for me to turn.

So instead I move into fantasy. Tilda Swinton, an actor I rate highly, has by all accounts, a husband and a lover at home. Clever girl. She is one of those blank canvas women I admire so much but fail to emulate. Silent power has never been my strong suit. How does the dance work with three of you moving around the floor? The speaker, the listener and Tilda dancing alone in the shadows? Perhaps.

1 2 3, 1 2 3, I mouth the numbers conscientiously, trying to get the steps right but in truth it would be better to let go, cut free and dance barefoot, even if it is backwards. Maybe that’s what we’re all doing these days, escaping intimacy is any way possible.

So it’s all about making connections, elliptically at best like my notes or the Frank Gehry Fred and Ginger building in Prague, which I came across long before I’d heard of it and found jaw-dropping.  Yesterday’s notes told me that there is no going back: that Orson Welles’ voodoo Macbeth was filmed in Harlem when he was 21: that I must listen to Schubert’s Zum Sanctus from MesseD872: to google auteur: that the two things America has never understood are sex and the South: and that a blog post is like a movie in that it will never again mean as much as on the day that it is posted. And then the message to myself that ‘I will never again be the kind of woman men make idiots of themelves over. This is both a sadness and a joy, for it gives me a kind of freedom I’ve never had before.’ Does any of that add up to much?  Not until the words are processed.

 The clues are in the words but they must be stripped like chicken from the bone and reassempled in a terrine of new perception. I am a collage of all that has gone before me, remembered and unremembered. As is everyone else. It’s a wonder we ever connect at all, let alone dance. But we are humans and this is what we struggle to do, over and over and over. It’s enough to make the gods laugh-or weep.


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