The Rite Of Spring
You may only find a thing if you are looking for it, one might say. But chance and self-proclaimed fate do not match up at times. Life. Art. Life. Imitation. Art. If you like art, you’ll love the imitation of life. Or is it vice versa? To make a thing takes knowing a thing. How do you make a thing without knowing a thing? Without knowing anything? It would probably be a paradox if not for time’s passage, error’s allowance, practice’s necessity. Practice makes mistakes before it makes perfect. It’s okay. What you need to do, the weight you must add to your own investments (think: long-term), the trials you must suffer — they are okay. It’s okay. No one, no one, and I mean no one is watching. Pick yourself up from the trippings, the trimmings. No one is watching you fail. So you, you self-conscious freak, you stop watching as well. All you can do now is release every which waything until there is enough dirt to sift for some grit and an idea.
Every writer I’ve personally known, every writer that writes about a woman (that I’ve known of) writes about ALL women (that they’ve known). Is love exclusive? Is it limited to a single, solitary, isolated emotion expressed and focused towards a single solitary, isolated instance of Woman? Towards an individual? What do we seek? If only—
Typing. T-t-t-typing. To the rhythm. Of the piano. I once sketched the nude figure of a sixty-something-or-older man named Henri. Henri was a French ex-patriot spending his days and making his living as a proud and professional nude model for art studios and workshops in Houston. His testes were entirely too massive and the bloated tip of his penis would drip involuntarily with semen although he never appeared to be aroused by his own exposed movements. Once, he sat regally upon a cushioned seat, hunched back leaning against the studio wall, feet planted firmly upon the cold concrete floor, eyes straight ahead over the spray of students sketching and sitting Indian-style before him. His bulbous nose blared like a beacon, a clenched fist, or a royal French crest. One student felt inclined — as I’m sure we all felt inclined — to ask: “So, do you paint or draw at all? Do you make art, Henri?” He replied, with chucked laughter: “No, no. I do not paint. For, you see, you have your piano players and you have your dancers. And the piano player cannot dance so long as the dancer will not play piano.” Every time I meet a new person, on the street or in a cafe, I wonder to myself: “Are you a piano player? or a dancer?” The answer doesn’t matter. What matters, however, is the interpretation of the question. I want to write a song considering a blind dancer and a deaf piano player, the one depending on the other to produce their art.
There is another story, inspired by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: in an older Russia, young virgins would ritualistically dance themselves to death as a sacrifice. The prize for payment was a much-valued spring in Russia. One year, a girl named Olga is chosen for the occasion as the dance-to-the-death virgin, mainly because the village reasons that she is hardly attractive anyhow. Olga is designated her bare patch of dirt. The village elders adjust the wraps of their fur coats as they nod for the girl, young and naked, as she was, before them, to start. A boy taps a solid beat with a calf’s dry thighbone. Olga bends and her belly heaves to the ground as if she might faint. She begins to dance. The entire village has its eyes set on her and its hopes set on the possibility of springtime. Olga’s toes twist awkwardly at first. Her calves turn and lift and extend as her heels rise from the ground in rhythm, her knees seem to buckle before retracting firmly, her thighs spread and expose their inner sides and then press together, bumping her knees together, her waist jumps and churns within and without itself, her torso pounds, her breasts wave, her arms waft the crisp Russian winter air, her neck circles, her eyes never open. Olga’s hair catches the wind and tames it. Olga danced because everybody wanted spring. But Olga danced and everybody wanted Olga. “Oh, Olga, darling, forget spring. I’ll spend a winter with you, Olga.” Olga kept dancing. My friend, if you thought she looked beautiful dancing, you cannot imagine how beautiful she FELT while dancing. Olga’s every joint caught fire, she was a perpetual piston churning and yearning for the first time, she was living and thriving off of her own freedom, the grace in her movement radiated so deeply that even she, in each humble feature of her looks, could not deny it. No, Olga could not- Olga would not stop dancing. Not for the life of her.
Springtime was never so haunted by loss. It came, as it would have, as did the rest of the year, as it would have, but no elementary sustenance, no amount of fortunate weather, could fill or erase the void Olga left behind. She was eventually, after nearly two and a half decades of trial in the Eastern Orthodox Church, canonized as a saint. No further miracles were necessary as proof of her holiness: Olga destroyed spring.
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