Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Wisdom through excess
“It takes several lives to make one person.” I believe that and that we are also, all of us, phoenixes rising, or so it seems, from the ashes of our old selves. The rise and fall of the phoenix. Phoenix. Pheonix. Phoenix.
“The soul is a vast domain," wrote Arthur Schnitzler. "So many contradictions find room in us… We try our best to maintain order in ourselves, but this order is really just synthetic. Our natural condition is chaos.”
I think of that as I come across reviews of an earlier book. “Four Incarnations is named for four distinct periods in Sward’s writing career… shaped by four marriages and four dramatic changes…”
Friends ask, “Does it get easier… does getting divorced and getting divorced again… does it get easier, the second or third time around?”
In the 60s and 70s I took pride in being called a wild man, a crazy. Experimented and bought into the Romantic notion that to carouse, to indulge, to choose excess over order would help me as a writer. Excess. I'm thinking of Blake who suggested that the way to wisdom is through excess. I'm pro-Blake, but I'm re-thinking excess. These days I’m paying more attention to Ben Franklin and less to Blake. “Early to bed, early to rise...” In truth that's what works. That, for me at least, is what furthers the writing.
It's late in the game, but these are the confessions of a much-married man.