3.15.2011

Speaking and Being Spoken

I love when the words come to me, when they surge through me, when they give me the urge rather than the other way around. All I want is to be spoken — not by the media or some other unsavory force but by the cosmic winds of delight and articulation.

This is my affinity for the rant — it is a temporary possession that takes hold and, ventriloquist-like, makes me speak. It is my predilection for taste notes — the way a sensual experience grabs hold of one's elan vital with one hand and words with another and voila: this tequila is rambunctious, peppering the tongue with spice before finishing in a subtle vanilla finale.

Too often, I feel a different compulsion to speak, a need to articulate some kind of social or professional discourse — "How are you? Great" followed by some witticism; or else, "Great to be here; this is an interesting project" before turning on the inevitable PowerPoint deck. In these instances, I feel less like I'm being spoken and more like I have to speak, summon the right words in order to maintain my place in this less-than-desirable social contract.

This may seem ironic. After all, I'm saying that my inspiration — which is not as much my inspiration as much as it is inspiration in general — is a kind of passivity: my greatest eloquence — or greatest joy in elocuting — comes from being spoken by the world. And when I am in fact compelled to speak by the terms of the social, I am not being spoken but being made to speak.

And being made to speak is exhausting work. This is why I spend a tremendous amount of time alone.

Ah, but being spoken is glorious — it's a kind of exquisite molestation by the cosmos, words and affect working in conjunction, making my mind and body and mouth and fingers move just so, a generous choreography. And all I have to do is lend the cosmos my body, my thoughts. All I have to do is reach out the universe with tendrils at once visible and invisible and invite the cosmos in.

Spinoza says that power is the ability to be affected (at least I think that's what he said; I might have made that up). The more generous one is, the more generous the world is and the more powerful, the more articulate and articulated, one becomes.

8 comments:

Daniel Schealler said...

I've been making a point of trying to look away quickly whenever Charlie Sheen's recent escapades come into view. I'm the kind of person that feels bad gawking at train wrecks, so I try to avoid the practice.

However, occasionally a piece of Charlie's antics bubble up past the surface. The majority is drivel.

But sometimes, for very brief moments - paragraphs, sentences, clauses - I'm struck with the full force of the insanity that Sheen is riffing. In a recent interview, he's challenged on "What does that mean?"

He responds simply that he likes the way those words sound together.

Of course, he'll turn around and spoil it with sitcom-y drek a few moments later. But despite all that, for a few brief moments there's a sense that Sheen is letting loose and just letting the daemons flow through him.

I envy that.

Daniel Schealler said...

I just re-watched some of that interview.

I take back all mentions of drivel and drek.

I don't have the appropriate vocabulary to describe how I'm seeing that interview.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Daniel: I have to admit: When I saw my only Charlie Sheen interview, I had the same reaction — admiration, and a tinge of jealousy, for how ardently and beautifully his demons spoke through him.

I've often felt this for lunatics on the streets (not the CS is necessarily a lunatic): I watch as they ramble, their words compelled from someplace else, from somewhere else, the cosmos streaming through them.

Chad Lott said...

Being a fan of the Alex Jones Show,I caught the Sheen-anigans pretty early. If you're unfamiliar with Jones, he's basically a conspiracy theorist podcaster. He's also a personal friend of Sheen.

That this venue, this medium is where Sheen chose to go off the rails is pretty awesome since the rest of the networks are just trying to catch up now. I mean, he basically says fuck you to the whole media system on his pal's internet show.


As soon as you have some smug and polished TV anchor trying to steer the conversation and you get a glimpse of thse crack head chompers, death pallor and Hugh Heffner physique the effect is totally different. It's predictable. Just another boring drug story.

For a moment it felt like he had the ghost of Hunter Thompson or Old Dirty Bastard running through him.

Daniel Coffeen said...

@ Chad: I watched one interview with some sanctimonious idiot trying to get him to apologize or admit drugs were bad and he never relented. "Doing drugs is awesome," he said without a hint of apology. It was beautiful and, well, inspiring — inspiring to see someone in the public eye so defiantly, so thoroughly, deny all the bullshit terms of the media. He gives me hope.

drwatson said...

If you scroll down to the 3/2 date Chuck Klosterman and Bill Simmons have a really entertaining discussion about Charlie.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/archive?id=2864045

Chad Lott said...

Brett Easton Ellis says what I was trying to get across:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2011/03/bret-easton-ellis-on-charlie-sheen.html

Daniel Coffeen said...

@Chad: This is great. It is why I didn't write about Sheen when I saw him: I knew someone would do it better.