Aiming My Eclipse


'This is my life. This is who I am.'

The story begins, as I recount particular 'main events' in a certain order, cohering my fragments of experience into some plotline that makes sense… and makes me into hero or villain, success or failure.

Which angle is the camera shooting from this fine afternoon? Is the lighting flattering? Have you captured my best side? A skilled makeup artist, a tailored wardrobe, the magical puppeteer-hands at the Photoshop workstation, and I have become who the publishers and sponsors have wanted me to be. My outer affect: the product of careful market studies, paid research and telemarketing surveys. Give the public what they want.

But who is this phantom 'public', once the abstract collective label is dissected into single individuals with their poorly-behaving individualized viewpoints? If each is truly her own person, then can't we all agree you can't please all the people all the time… and so why bother?

When I tire of my identifying story adhering to conventional narrative theories—the hero's journey from self-doubt to self-faith, adversity to triumph; or the tragic despair of fatal-flaws looming, all foreshadowing-like, in the margins of every poorly made decision or excessive show of pride—I can shirk the readers' expectations. Say whatever unruly utterance rolls off my tongue, unencumbered by worries the director will demand a reshoot or the editors will overdub my speech with scripted replacement dialogue. Run wildly toward the coveted upshot, rather than wait my turn to be escorted there by well-trained tour-guides, already world-weary from jobs espousing official PR-department-approved descriptions of What (maybe) Happened Here.

Pull the tablecloth from beneath the place-settings, one swift yank. Even if you are dexterous enough to leave the plates and glasses unscathed, the sheer spectacle of such a sharp hasty motion will surely shock the bystanders.

The 'heart' (or wherever resides the source of unadulterated instinctive knowing), unintruded-upon by the pushy mind's political spins, provides the most accurate climate-change report. Let it speak bluntly, and often the about-turns in life-direction it demands will startle those observers (such as superego) looking for sense in the splatters.

'What does this inkblot say to you?' asks the inquisitive specialist, jotting down notes that specify which box to put me in.

'It certainly doesn't tell me what it "is" or what to "make of" it,' I could reply. 'Just urges me to hustle… to dash for the door while time still affords me the choice of This over That, before I've prematurely hardened into surrender, finding directed impulse too high a price for overturning boredom.' God strike me down, should ever I accept an absence of enthusiasm—a willingness to bear being bored longer than a passing hour or two—as a permissible manner of living.

The courageous among us will purposely spoil the sleekest form of our story. The discontinuity with convention is what shapes a journey as uniquely our own. The poetic tempering-away of sharp edges (so no one gets poked?) can happen on someone else's time… a posthumous biographer, perhaps, who'll thrive that much more victoriously at streamlining a narrative-thrust once we've stopped throwing curve-balls with our rascally free-will ad-libs. While still alive, we continue outsmarting our inner narrator by innovating, stunning by surprises, short-circuiting with jolts of foreign input.

'Keep me on my toes,' I goad my shoulder-angels, at this epiphanic total full-moon eclipse, 'lest I abdicate my throne as self-provocateur, who endlessly seeks further discoveries to upset any prior understandings of how the world spins. Should I ever claim a firm mental grip on theories that fix reality into a set of placating etiquettes, please show me something new, of eye-opening interest, such that I may never stop re-asking these same fundamental questions, with just as much zeal as the young knight first setting out on adventure… pushing past smug comfort at every turn, to follow the ever-shifting grail wherever it calls me.'

This story, perhaps choppy and erratic even to the point of grating on others' sensibilities, reserves its moral for me. I write it every day, so I should know.

In honor of the June 15 total lunar eclipse in Sagittarius.