Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dream Days in the Hotel Existence

I want to talk about happiness and well being, about those rare, unexpected moments when the voice in your head goes silent and you feel at one with the world.

I want to talk about the early June weather, about harmony and blissful repose, about robins and yellow finches and bluebirds darting past the green leaves of trees.

I want to talk about the benefits of sleep, about the pleasures of food and alcohol, about what happens to your mind when you step into the light of the two o'clock sun and feel the warm embrace of air around your body.

I want to talk about Tom and Lucy, about Stanley Chowder and the four days we spent at the Chowder Inn, about the thoughts we thought and the dreams we dreamed on that hilltop in southern Vermont.

I want to remember the cerulean dusks, the langurous, rosy dawns, the bears yelping in the woods at night.

I want to remember it all. If all is too much to ask, then some of it. No, more than some of it. Almost all. Almost all, with blanks reserved for the missing parts.

The beginning of the chapter Dream Days in the Hotel Existence from The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster [Faber, p. 166]

It's not often happiness jumps out of the pages of a novel like this. As poet Bill Manhire says - and he's quoting others I believe - 'happiness writes white'. It is simply not interesting enough to jump from the page; it struggles to its feet and then falls back again helplessly blending with the white of the paper. All too often we skim over hapless happiness to get to the more colourful and various stuff of misery. I like the way Paul Auster unselfconsciously rounds up joy and makes it vivid.

Today, after a very rough start, I had unexpected moments of happiness. There were no robins or bluebirds or mild June weather, but there were yelps of excitement with friends over a wonderful discovery, high-fives with a daughter who's been offered something she's dreamed of for years, a son home for pizza who might have a job at last.

And there was a cerulean dusk. The sky blending with the sea, and people swimming and a ferry docking, and a languorous, liquid light.

It's a perplexing, strange and beautiful place Hotel Existence.

1 comment:

Andrea Eames said...

Lovely! And it sounds like good things are happening, yay.