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exit wounds of light

* Nick Cave has gone from solitary gloom poet to community-minded philospher poet. And that's fine, of course! It's a bit of a paradigm shift for me, having followed his vitrolic and isolated ways for 35 years now...but I get it. I really do. The death of his child has broken his heart open. Death has that capability, doesn't it? He's been venerated for a long time now and new fans want more and he's decided to give them more. I don't see myself, personally, going to any stadium show of his. That would be asking too much. But I will never ever not pre-order his work and buy his limited editons and follow him on social media. Just recently he's decided to speak directly with his fans via an email list. This week was the first installment and he sent out a hugely moving missive. It was both tragic and true and incredibly inspirational to me. Here's a bit of it -

What is at the centre of our lives? In an artist’s case (and perhaps it is the same for everybody) I would say it is a sense of wonder. Creative people in general have an acute propensity for wonder. Great trauma can rob us of this, the ability to be awed by things. Everything loses its sheen and appears beyond our reach. We were surviving, but we were surviving in exile on the perimeter of our lives, way beyond anything that mattered.


We all needed to draw ourselves back to a state of wonder. My way was to write myself there. I sat and wrote and wrote, and in doing so I found a way back, or at least a way through the veil of grief, to the other side. I felt very strongly that the communal suffering, and our ability to transcend it, was the thing that held us together. This was not some pessimistic worldview, quite the opposite really. It became clear that as human beings we have enormous capabilities that allow us to rise above our suffering – that we are hardwired for transcendence. This was an acute realisation that changed the nature of our relationship to everything.

* I must must must find a way back to the keyboard. I feel this in the same way one feels a need for anything, a hot shower, a couple of aspirin, a restful sleep, a long walk....Soon.

* I'm working on a digital slideshow for my father's memorial dinner after the burial at Arlington in November. It's both heart-rending and celebratory. A strange combination of emotions. Has anyone here put one together? Any advice? Have you seen one that you felt was particularly moving, or perhaps not? Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!

* Circus came to town this past weekend. So much love -





( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2018 07:07 pm (UTC)
That is a beautiful excerpt.

I think in a way with creativity it's not just wonder but also wondering itself, the what ifs, standing in a moment and spinning out the lines of potential realities from that point of time, the change from a slightest tilt of happenstance, the unspooling.

I just now went down a whole circus rabbit hole.

I hope everything goes well with preparing for the memorial. With my dad we had many people close to him each contribute something to a book, that was nice as it shows the person from different people's perspectives, different sides of them. Maybe a few people could each contribute a photo or something.

Sep. 17th, 2018 09:38 pm (UTC)
He is a pretty amazing writer and I'm humbled to read how he's written through his grief and become even stronger. I like what he's saying about becoming more human, too. I just really need to find a way to move forward creatively once again.

That is a gorgeous sentence and a very tangible thought. Yes, yes, yes!

Is Idol not happening?

Thanks, Jay. *hugs* That's a really good suggestion!
Sep. 18th, 2018 04:19 pm (UTC)
I think the sign up post for Idol just went up
Sep. 18th, 2018 08:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up, J! Hmmmm....
Sep. 17th, 2018 07:09 pm (UTC)
Which circus? :-)
Sep. 17th, 2018 07:28 pm (UTC)
Vargas! They had a trampoline act that was worth every penny of the price of admission!
Sep. 17th, 2018 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ah! You knew I traveled with the Culpepper/Merriweather Circus for six months in 2009, right?

I'm pretty sure I've seen Vargas, but I don't think I know anyone on the show.
Sep. 17th, 2018 09:47 pm (UTC)
You've said! Is your journal archives open??? I need to sit down and absorb circus life through your discerning eye!

In Cali, these small circuses are all South American. Why is that?
Sep. 17th, 2018 10:12 pm (UTC)
You're on my flist, so yeah—you have access to those archives. But I didn't really write about the circus all that much. I mostly wrote about the tiny little towns we pitched tent in.

There are still three American traveling tent circuses: Kelly Martin, Carson & Barnes, and Culpepper & Merriweather. Culpepper is the only one that's routed through CA—every other year in the early spring. That's the circus I traveled with, and I was with them all the way from Oregon to Fort Smith, Arkansas. My travels were very educational!

Why is that?

People don't really go to traveling circuses much anymore. I mean, I guess they still go to Cirque du Soleil in Vegas, although the other big non-traveling show The Big Apple Circus closed two years ago.

I think people are not so interested when a real human being does cool physical stuff because they see so much CGI in movies. It's hard for a circus to make enough to cover its operational costs let alone make any kind of profit. And then there's a big to-do about animals. The animals I saw were all very lovingly treated, but we had all kinds of PETA protestors.

Carson & Barnes was the big elephant show, but I think they announced earlier this year that they're not going to tour with their elephants anymore.

Edited at 2018-09-17 10:15 pm (UTC)
Sep. 17th, 2018 10:25 pm (UTC)
I am a hardcore circus aficionado and agree with your thoughts here. Probably animals are...passe in today's media culture, but the first time I was brought to RB&BB and saw the elephants and tigers OH MY!!! I was ringside and the power of those elephants changed my life. I had never seen a creature like them and I was awed by their size, their intelligence and what I perceived to be their desire to work. With Geber-Williams in the cage with the tigers...my world EXPLODED and EXPANDED. For me, as a child, the show was about animals and human feats, human bravery. I did love the clowns, but it was secondary to the awe I felt watching seven horses perform at the behest of a female trainer.

But yes, abuse and cruelty. We must stand vigilant guard.

I've never seen Cirque but its only my list. It simply does not land anywhere near this cowtown.

One thing I noticed yesterday was the preponderance of working class families. All in the "cheap seats" and a small handful of us single and paired adults in the pricey ringside. The clowns, of course, recognize this and play to the rafters and that's wonderful! Where are the middle class attendees? Not there. I suppose at soccer matches and Girl Scouts....

Sep. 17th, 2018 10:41 pm (UTC)
Right. And there also seems to be an ethnic divide: Circuses are hugely popular with Hispanic audiences but not so much with white and African American audiences, and this seems to be true in every part of the country I traveled in. (Although Culpepper didn't get down into the deep South.)

There are a lot of Mexican, Central American and South American circuses that come up into the border states—I guess CA counts :-) — because their operational costs are lower. They don't pay their performers, drivers, and roustabouts very much at all.

Cirque du Soleil was never a traveling circus as such, so you'd probably have to make a trip to Vegas to see them.

By the way—all the current American tent circuses winter in Hugo, Oklahoma.
Sep. 17th, 2018 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yes the writing. Yes the healing.

Sep. 17th, 2018 09:39 pm (UTC)

I feel like it's time to get firm with myself, M. I need to return to my practice, the discipline of writing. I can feel the gears rusted stiff and it's a strange feeling.

How are YOU?
Sep. 17th, 2018 10:53 pm (UTC)
I'm okay, E. Gearing up for the Feast in a few days. I'm never where I want to be prep-wise, but somehow I am always where I need to be.

Sep. 18th, 2018 01:56 am (UTC)
"We were surviving, but we were surviving in exile" . . . yes, this.

Certain kinds of grief actually shut out the capacity for joy, and it's something you can *observe*, but not *fix* -- the wound has to heal. It's like gradually coming back from blindness, and being tormented by the memory of sight, until the light finally begins to filter through.

Wishing you luck with unsticking those gears!!

Sep. 18th, 2018 08:04 pm (UTC)
Exactly, A! Wise words from someone who has made the journey herself.

Thank you. I'm beginning to see that I have to make the next move lest I be stuck for waaaaaaaaaay too long.
Sep. 18th, 2018 03:10 am (UTC)
Wow, what a moving snippet!

I hope you find your way back to the keyboard soon!

Nice pics! Looks like a fun night!

Sep. 18th, 2018 08:05 pm (UTC)
Thanks, S. I hope so, too!

I love love love the circus!
Sep. 18th, 2018 05:20 am (UTC)
This: "* I must must must find a way back to the keyboard. I feel this in the same way one feels a need for anything, a hot shower, a couple of aspirin, a restful sleep, a long walk....Soon."
Sep. 18th, 2018 08:05 pm (UTC)
*smooch* yes.
Sep. 18th, 2018 01:44 pm (UTC)
Speaking of rusty gears and writing, will you be signing up for the LJ mini-season? I'm creaky as hell and haven't written a thing since the end of last season. We'll find out if I can produce regular quantities of silly anymore. I love to read your writing.
Sep. 18th, 2018 08:06 pm (UTC)
Heh, G, thanks! I just found out the sign ups went up. I'm contemplating this! So happy to hear you're committed! Dust off those cobwebs and blow out the dust! I will be very happy to read your stories once again!
Sep. 18th, 2018 09:40 pm (UTC)
Please contemplate in favor of signing up. It would not be nearly as fun without you, and the quality of writing would go way down. Do you want that on your conscience? No, I don't think so.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )