So You're Dating a Swashbuckler...

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Few things compare to the love I have for the creative process.  Being in the moment of creation and not letting yourself think is a moment when you find yourself, even if you don’t have the time to notice.  It is a healthy love because it is mutually beneficial.  As the understanding of the creative process grows – be it in writing, film or otherwise – so too does the understanding of yourself.  It is a phenomenon rarely paralleled by romantic love.  It exists, but not often, and for good reason: no matter how poorly I may sometimes write, the writing can never hurt me.  No matter if I abuse my talents for self-indulgent expression of anger or depression, the writing will continue.  I can only gain understanding – if even through humility. 

It doesn’t work that way with people.  Most of us are blind to our willingness to relive the same things. Sometimes it appears we do this just so we can talk about it repeatedly, describing each new relationship to our friends, forever searching for an answer that we could probably find if we paid attention.  But, to find the answer is to be somewhat personally accountable for the pain we’ve felt.  No one wants to believe we are capable of repeatedly hurting ourselves.

On the other side are those who simply don’t know how to try, or are unsure if they should.  Or maybe it comes down to knowing how we really feel (any moment can be charged to feel bigger than it is) and waiting cautiously as to not stir things prematurely.  It is a matter of timing.  None of this is easy to see clearly.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are our pasts – a complicated amalgam of all the things we’ve learned, observed and loved – and even loathed.  We are each cast in a skin that has developed scales or tenderness, balanced on the two feet that enable us to both approach and run away.  Occasionally we approach and flee only to approach again and parry with the clanking and sparkling foils of a swordfight.  It is dazzling entertainment and perpetuates when, as the skilled emotional swashbucklers that we are, are content to parry without strike.  We know to strike is to expose our vitals and risk taking one through the heart.  More often we tire and walk away in stalemate.  At night we think back to that dance (where one or both parties sway between indifference and excitement), remember the clanking and sparkling, and although we may be entertained by the memory, we have to wonder why we didn’t just make a move.  We wake up alone and write about it.  We think we’re clever for coming up with a metaphor about sword-fighting.  It entertains, but we know it is linguistic evasion.  (People with insight are just as full of shit as everyone else.)

To bring this back to my first point: someone once told me that they felt they could never live up to the love their significant other had for writing music.  She felt this way, because he told her it was the case.  I suppose any truth of that would be in the music itself.  Did he ever write about her?  Maybe her casual thoughtfulness?  The strength she seems to produce at will?  Her effortless encouragement?  Or any of the little details I assume he never felt lucky enough to observe – which I am not willing to divulge here, save the cute thing she does with her lip at the end of a nice kiss.  I’m curious to hear the music.

We are all swashbucklers.  But there’s a point in the dance where the parrying must stop, the dance discontinue, and the guard come down.  But, who will be the first to take down the sword and stand vulnerable against attack?  


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