So, have I been having bad days? One of my core life philosophies has been shaken so I would say yes. Though nothing really pervasive or lastingly tragic has happened I feel as though my molting period for the growth I am experiencing is painful enough in its own way.
Just thinking on "paper."
Oh, as an afterthought, does anyone have any ideas or information on how I might go about getting a job either as a freelance slam article writer or columnist for some kind of a local paper?
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Ah the subject of love. What can really be said about love that hasn’t been said before by someone much older and well spoken than myself? There are so many types of love. Some loves, when you are in love it’s like walking around with something exposed, you are either liberated and feel the need to stretch this muscle that has been bound for so long; or you feel like you are walking around with an open wound. Like being sick, when every motion causes you pain and there isn’t a comfortable place on the world. When it’s good and you are being loved in return then there’s not much room in the rest of your life for anything else, just your love. You have to relearn everything you’ve ever done because it all seems like a memory from a different life. Love is like putting a filter over your eyes. When love is felt mutually it makes the edges less sharp and everything seems a little softer. When it is unrequited it is like being naked under a black veil making the world seem less friendly and exposing all your flaws.
Those are the two types of love that I remember from my youth. Since then I have learned of more loves; The love felt when you are doing something you are passionate about; The love you feel watching something beautiful; The love you feel for yourself when you do something you know to be right, especially when the alternative is extremely alluring; The love of a quite moment to reflect and be with friends; The love of simple things like the wind in my face. There is love in the feel of how ones body can move, so fluid and controlled. There is the love of learning and knowledge which leads to the love of good conversation. There is the love of a hard days work and the reward of a comfortable night of pampering, though generally guys refer to pampering as “the game” and a beer.
Sometimes “…the world is filled with so much beauty, I feel like I can't take it…” to quote American Beauty. Really though I think it is said best in Moulin Rouge in the song “The Elephant Love Medley” The opening lyrics are: “Love is like oxygen/Love is a many splendid thing/Love lifts us up where we belong/All you need is love!” In my opinion that’s true. Even the love that hurts is still so glorious that there are stories of people dying for it, or like Echo, perpetuated because of it.
Those are just a few of a plethora of loves though. There is also familial love: The love of a parent, grandparent, sibling or child. The love of a neighbor even when you aren’t very close to them. The love of a stranger who shows kindness when there is need, maybe not even to or for you but just seeing it happen can earn them that love.
Like I said before, there are all these loves that have been discussed before by people much more poetic than myself. They talk on all these loves and many more, with much more coherence and in much greater detail. Maybe talking about love is specious by nature. Like trying to describe the face of a sunset, you’d just have to be there.
FRAMEWORK Framework framework mework work
Plato’s Symposium shows a phenomenal example of framework storytelling. Apollodorus tells a story to the reader of a man who asked him to tell a story of a party he had heard of from Aristodemus. In Aristodemus’ story, Socrates is at the party and regales them with a conversation had with the wise woman Diotima about love. Diotima, through Socrates, held that love is only love while a person is without it. Once the object of love is attained, it is yours and thusly cannot be loved. Love being a euphemism for hunt, attain or get in a manner of speaking.
There is an analogy between love and knowledge through this definition. Upon attaining knowledge it can be either discarded to memory and useful as an occasional tool or incorporated into daily life and taken for granted unless it is checked by an outside force such as when a new word is learned through conversation and the definition changes, is partially forgotten or misconstrued. The two comparisons here would be the stereotypical “white-trash” trailer wife and the couple acting as an individual without thought to the other persons needs because they automatically incorporate their significant others completely into their every decisive action. It could be argued here that neither is really a form of love. I would agree, the love was lost because it was attained and forgotten. The attainment of both knowledge and love is fun and challenging, causing a person to grow in order to incorporate this progression of their character. In order to keep the attained things one must work to continually keep them, or rather, to attain them in a new way in order to gain a greater understanding of their passion. If the trailer wife was brought flowers randomly just because it would be nice to see her smile then the love would still be there. They would be putting forth the effort to get each other even though they had each other.
It is said repeatedly and in many formats that love keeps a person youthful. In an attempt to maintain this thesis, I will assume this is something upon which is generally understood and agreed. For empirical proof, simply walk to the park and view the elderly couples smiling and sitting dreamily with each other as if it were their first date all over again. Knowledge can be connected to love in this as well. Should a person be a philosopher and find their love in knowledge then they will maintain a youthfulness through study as the elderly couples maintain their youthfulness through the perpetual attainment of each other.
Taken to the extremes of oral traditions or mythology, from which the truth stems more so than any second hand experience, it is easy to make the leap from the easily stunned humans to the great tales of the gods and their awesome, death defying or unnatural feats performed with such panache. The gods, under our lens, are the great philosophers in illo tempore. You just had to be there.
Love and knowledge may have many of the same symptoms but love is the stronger ailment. In Tales From Ovid Ted Hughes translates “Echo and Narcissus.” Echo was cursed by Juno for stopping her with conversation from catching Jupiter with a nymph, saying: “Your tongue/Has led me in such circles,/Henceforth/It will have to trail/Helplessly after others, uttering/Only the last words, helplessly,/Of what you heard last.” (Ovid 69-78) Later in the story, Echo sees Narcissus and falls immediately in love with him. He rejects her love and falls in love with his own reflection. Meanwhile Echo fell apart, hiding in a cave, “Sleeplessly/She brooded over the pain,/Wasting away as she suffered,” (Ovid 69-78) her body disappeared, her bones turned to stone and “Her voice roamed off by itself,/Unseen in the forest, unseen/On the empty mountainside-/Though all could hear it/Living the only life left to Echo.” (Ovid 69-78) She wasted away but could not die for her love of Narcissus. Even when he fell in love with himself and melted from his hubris she was angry but it makes no mention of her falling out of love with him. Why should it? Since she never attained him how could she not still be in love with him?
Echo’s love for Narcissus was powerful enough that she changed without any help from the gods; she became immortal through love. Even Hercules, when his jealous wife Deianira unintentionally poisoned him, needed to use fire to help him burn away his mortality before being placed in the sky as a constellation.
Echo has become one of the strongest characters in Either Greek or Roman mythology. There are relics, reminders and forces left over from the ancient literature that were created for or because of some purpose by the powers that were. None of which made themselves what they are today. None who fought as Echo fought; to remain, to love and keep loving, to abandon all else but the struggle for that attainment of something so unattainable.
To say the Greek and Roman gods have died may be a little rash considering they live on the outskirts of our imaginations, but Echo has easily surpassed and outlasted their power. Echo is to this day a self-made empirical force, no weaker than when Ovid finished his tales in the Metamorphosis Before the Common Era than this morning.
Echo has outlived the gods through her undying love, and dedication to love. I believe this proves that love is a stronger force than knowledge. If a person is attempting to drink from the well of life and maintain their youth, I would most likely recommend them to simply love. This recommendation would come with the warning that loving is something that one must never stop doing. Should one attain their youthfulness and believe that they have it they will have fallen out of love and thusly resume aging. The more afraid of aging the person is and the less they are concentrating on loving, the faster and harder the years will catch up with them. At least that is what Diotima told Socrates. Socrates in turn told Aristodemus, who told Apollodorus who told a man on the street. Apollodorus then told me about this encounter on the street and regaled me the same story as the man. I’m simply the messenger.
Ovid, "Echo and Narcissus." Tales from Ovid. Trans. Ted Hughes. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Giroux, 1999. Print.
Ovid, "Hercules and Deianira." Tales from Ovid. Trans. Ted Hughes. New York: Farrar, Straus
and Giroux, 1999. Print.
Plato, Symposium and Phaedrus. Mineola, New York: Dover Thrift Editions, 1993.
Connecting An Imaginary Life to Classical Foundations of Literature
An Imaginary Life is a perfect demonstration of our class theme, "all that is past posses the present.” The lack of history based around a classical authors demise fascinates a post-modern author “and then one day something happens…” The post-modern author becomes possessed and enthusiastically writes a fictional novel depicting one of his favorite classical writers possible final years. He writes this for people to read eternally, in reflection of the way he has read Ovid’s Metamorphosis. He is not trying to compete but rather trying to introduce a novel length introduction or guide to reading Ovid’s tales. In this he gives us two instances of the past possessing the present and one example of a person reading the eternities and not the times, hoping to write a continuance that will become, itself, eternal.
Publius Ovidius Naso was the author of Metamorphosis, which is, thankfully, one of the main choices of Classical Literature professors when discussing Roman mythological literature. Metamorphosis is entirely filled with stories depicting transformations. As such, the book itself has a fitting title since many of the stories are altered versions of Greek origination. “The names have been changed to protect…” those who had delicate cultural and religious sensibilities.
An Imaginary Life by David Malouf is fitting for Classical Foundations of Literature because of the way Ovid connects with the Child as a representation of nature, as Jillian said in class “…nature as a constantly changing force.” Ovid’s past Child existed only for him unlike his present Child that is very physical and existent to everyone. This Child is an element that seems to have spanned the ages, unchanged by time into Ovid’s final years. He is a guide or even a metaphor for something lost in the time when, as the Sphinx would have said, we are two legged. He is a knowledge of something innately naturalistic. He is as Jesus in Footsteps, the guide carrying Ovid full circle. Akin to one of his stories, he comes to a completion where everything empirical is cast aside and every cause for enthusiasm is cherished. The very Ovidian moral subtly inserted into An Imaginary Life is this: remember that which is truly important.
It is interesting to me that Ovid tries so hard to capture and tame the Child even though it seems that on multiple occasions he feels the wrongness of his attempts. Ovid is in many parts worried about what his actions are doing to the Child, as one might have felt hearing about the mother who had signed away her child as a surrogate parent. We connected with the laws like Socrates, choosing society over the natural and instinctual love of Phoebus and what he would, since I’m “speaking Greek,” represent: life; to walk in the sunlight. Ovid finally is placed in a situation where he has to release himself from his understanding of life and relents to the elemental knowledge, wisdom and world of the Child.
Ovid’s troubles, desires, challenges, failures and successes in An Imaginary Life are likewise demonstrative of Classical Literature. They are all moving towards a goal of Ovid’s that is eventually shown to be ignominious. Since that is the case at the finale of so many of Ovid’s own tales one might wonder how his character would not have caught on to his own fate sooner. Though if he had, we would not have had the story, and the law of the past possessing the present would have been broken. This tribulation Ovid endures in order to bring meaning to his story in the end is a fantastic time spanned representation of Classical Literature.
The final thing I will point out that connects this reading in relevance to our class is that it is an amazing and eternal piece of literature which one must read “…as though they are reading George Steiner,” which is exactly how all of our assigned readings have thus far deserved to be read.