Friday, 11 October 2013

The Word-a-day Writing Challenge

Day Nineteen: Worthy

On Trying to Write a Comparative Analysis of Neoclassicism and The Restoration:

Where's the spark? The fire? The passion? The sweet rush of flooding words, purposeless and without direction. The just go of a good stream-of-consciousness.

You don't have to be a runner to run, you just have to—                                           Run.

Certainly there are things to say about it. But where the hell is Mike D when you need him? He and his whiskey. He and his bass guitar. His microphone. His meaning. Sweat. Biting. At the corners of our poems. The grit and tarnish of keeping it real. Shy grin behind a curtain of match smoke. Inhale. Exhale. I am waiting for someone to share all this with, he said. His microphone. His meaning.

Aren't we all? I thought.
And aren't we always? Like Ferlinghetti.

For a rebirth of wonder.


The eggs fry
The toast pops
The butter—oh the butter! Are we even worthy? 

The sun gets lost in your hair 
The dust settles 
The sheets wrinkle 

The wind


Neoclassicism, if you must know, needn't be so formal. Grab a beer; pull up a stool; picture it: late 17th century England. France too. And the colonies to a lesser extent, yes, of course. A sort of frantic obsession with order. Aristotle's Poetics becomes the baseline for what art ought to be, skewed by a gripping fear of chaos following years of bloodshed and political turmoil. The Restoration was Charles the Second, restored to the throne; and Neoclassicism was what he brought with him. Fuelled by a general weariness for war, he returned from France with peace, a monarchy, and a flair for foreign style, albeit a formal one.

Literature, theatre, architecture and a stifling sense of order—that was about the gist of it—along with concentration, economy, utility, logic, restrained emotion, accuracy, correctness, "good" taste (whatever that might mean), and decorum. All this was complicated by religion—Protestants and Catholics, still at each other's throats—social position, gender, and differing points of view in general. But all's well if you follow along.

The birth...perhaps not of wonder exactly, but at least of libraries and literacy at large. The birth of the information exchange, macro- and micro-scopic research, investigation. Without all that warring and hating, one could think. One could observe.  One could study. Perfect. Create. The wait 

was over.

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