"Style, in the broadest sense of all ... "
Since I don't like the confines of the word "idea" - a little tic I got in the Korean war, I think - seems tyrannical, ready to imprison you with strictures - I call what come to me 'visions.' That's truer, anyway, since what comes to me isn't only - or sometimes ever - verbal. Anyway, my vision lately has had to do with Quentin Crisp's take on the word "style" -- as in: "Style, in the broadest sense of all, is consciousness." I quote that a lot; I've quoted it a lot on FB I think. But lately it's really taken flight for me - given me the most reliable jolt of great good gladness any quote (up there with "the word made flesh") has ever afforded me.
It's this. The WAY we do things - anything - laugh, speak, move, write, eat, navigate thru our lives in any of its minutiae - bespeaks our 'style' - our consciousness - and it is always inimitably our own. This may seem obvious, but it seems to me now an occasion for joy. How we're brought up is to imagine outside measures are some sort of ultimate yardstick of our worth -- what we learn over time, I think, if we're attentive and humble and lucky and can sustain a sense of humor, is that the real prize is how WE do things: the marks we make on a page, or in a heart - those inevitable expressive aspects of ourselves which place us in the world - allow us to FIND a 'place' which is inimitably our own.
If you 'do art' this is especially gladdening. Cultivating craft is a private business: you take what is in you and you play with it till it makes your pupils dilate and you breathe out a "yes!" That inner sense of "yes!" is the only mark you have to 'hit.' Then you do it again. And again. (Or you curse in frustration when you can't & then laugh & do it again.) And it grows very much as a nurtured plant grows: into what its seed had in it to be. I'm now taking real delight in recognizing that I've got a "style" in everything I do -- which in a way has its own life, is sort of what leads the business of me around. That is, I have a very particular consciousness which seeks as much freedom and range to express itself as it can acquire. It creates its own precision, its own nuance, its own trajectory, its own bumbling over itself, its own 'place' and light - all of which make it instantly recognizable!. You have a style, too. So do we all. (So did Judy Garland and Henry James, cf. my little outburst about their influence on me http://guykettelhack.blogspot.com/…/judy-garland-henry-jame… ) Outside measures of success or beauty or whatever now seem like thin torn flapping posters on a wall in the rain: shreds of somebody else's 'ideas.'
Quentin shows me this is so. (Roland, this is what I was trying to say at lunch yesterday. Roland Tec, by the way, wonderfully bears all of this out - a writer, composer, filmmaker unbounded by the constraints of 'ideas,' flushed through with vision. He may not think so, but he is. But I bet he thinks so.)
So thank god it's Friday. Or Tuesday. Or whatever day it is.
(pics: Quentin & Connie Clausen. Roland Tec. Naked Orange Man writing.)
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