tornado love

(Reposted from Facebook cause I like this thought and want to hang on to it.)

Had big fun at the MSI today with Amber! :D We saw the Omnimax version of Tornado Alley. It was directed by, and partly starring, longtime storm chaser Sean Casey. Dude built a homemade tank for the sole purpose of driving into the center of a tornado and filming it. One of the shots early in the movie showed him fitting the tank together and you see a wedding ring. I said afterwards, "he's married to his wife, but he's in love with the tornado."

It made me think, do I love anything the way that guy loves the tornado?

After a movie's worth of near misses and a lot of good science, the storm chasing team finally dooes it. You see a brief shot of Casey's face--helpless, weeping, but filled with a kind of awe and gratitude and pure raw love that you can't fake. Like a storm, that kind of love can rip through a life and devastate it in an instant; it can gather passionate people together and send them out racing in the rain hoping to catch a glimpse of it, hoping to brush up against it.

For me, getting to see someone have an experience like that--that's my tornado. The loves we build our lives around, the dreams and passions wherein we feel a slight inkling of the kind of relentless joy God must take in his creation, must have felt to have formed it in the first place, these things fuel us and shape who we become. Your driving love in a sense is your name, the touchstone on which your being rests. Sean Casey is a storm chaser, and in the climax of that movie, he caught one.

I live to see names come true. Like a storm, I can't make it happen. But I can do good science and look for the signs and hang on through long dry seasons for the hint of a glimpse of it. It doesn't happen in a place, and it doesn't leave scars across the landscape as such. But it's getting to see in people, just for a moment, what God must have seen when he first imagined them, what they know themselves to truly be in that secret place beneath all the pettiness and worry.

How do you chase that? Where do you go to find more of it? There's no Tornado Alley for the human heart; one place, one social group, one endeavor is really as good as another. But I'm glad to have that image for it.

what it takes

So I haven't actually "spilled my guts" in this thing in awhile. It really is, and always has been, my online diary, though I did go through a phase when I wanted to gain wider readership for it. Far as I'm concerned now, that's not what a blog is for. It's where I stash that portion of my poetry and song lyrics which are not too private to keep hidden away in my notebooks at home, but a little too edgy, let's say, to post on Facebook.

Forget which movie this quote comes from, but I hear in my mind some British fellow saying "it's been a topsy fuckin weird year." That about sums it up. I still kinda have no idea where I am right now. Scratch that. I know exactly where I am--my neighborhood has become a part of my identity in a way no place ever has been before, my home in the sense that I've chosen to feel it so in addition to the fact that I reside here. But as for who I am and what I'm going to do with my life, that's still up in the air. Settling slowly like leaves in a light breeze.

Note to self: "settle groundward, slow" would be a great phrase to use in a poem.

A great sign of increased mental stability, though, is that I'm getting back both the urge and the ability to write. Not quite up to my four thousand word a day habit from former days. But Mom actually gave me a great metaphor for this yesterday. I was telling her how I'd been worried because lacking the fear motive which used to drive me towards writing, as a form of release from the internal pressure, had left me sort of adrift, hard pressed to find other sources of motivation. And she said, "If you've been driving a car 90 miles an hour in reverse and you want to go forward, first you have to come to a full and complete stop. Then you can start going forward--but at first you go slowly."

We also spoke about our family and the past in a general way. And I got to say something to her that I'd been meaning to say for awhile. Forgiveness means it's over. There were a lot of dark and scary times in our lives, but whatever happens in the future, the past will never return. Even if only because we're all different people now, tempered and matured through experience, and the things which were once unthinkably scary because there was no frame of reference for them will never be new again, never again be totally unexpected.

For a good thing to be familiar makes the joy in it deeper, richer and ever new again. For a bad thing to be familiar actually weakens its power. Even if you confront a terrible event from which there is no escape, if it's something known, something you understand, there's a place inside from which you can laugh at it. Not, of course, because it's any less terrible. Rather that even the terror of it can't eradicate you, can't take you away from yourself.

This, I think, is why I've always gone running towards the things that frighten me. To know, to have made the acquaintance, of anything in life, is to understand yourself in relation to it. And with this understanding comes the experiential boundary between self and threat source, the knowledge of just what it can and cannot take from you. Ultimately everything can be taken except the naked spark. Consciousness, soul, will--names sort of collapse into it--that part of ourselves with which we choose. But the sense in which, as I see it, we are made in God's image, is that a whole self can be built from that spark, just as in Genesis the whole universe is spawned from a single fiat, let there be. And there is is. And here I am.

Even now I have a problem with this, have trouble believing sometimes that I'm really here. I keep seeking out ways to strip myself down to it, as if to reassure myself that it's still there. Which can be as disturbing to anyone who's close to me as it is destructive to myself.

did it right

Feel like this song isn't finished. It rose in part from a dream I had, which was disturbing because it was (as I described it to a couple friends) my first-ever torture dream in which I was the perpetrator and not the victim.

The desire to wreak devastation on another person is what happens to the desire for interpersonal connection when one gives in to despair. When I believe, deep down, to the point where it's something I
know and have tested many times and proven factual, that there is a depth and flavor of understanding which other people will not or cannot give me, there is the temptation to despair. If I give in to that temptation, then I desire to hurt others as I feel I have been hurt, to force a connection that can't or won't be given voluntarily.

I'm uncertain of the song in part because it doesn't go far enough. And it needs guitar chords. And some of the rhymes feel forced.

Also I'm wrestling with my ability to feel self-generated purpose to the degree that I'm asking myself, with some irritation, why I want to bother.

[did it right] 10/6

when the eyes roll back
when the breath croaks out
when the spine goes slack
then there ain't no doubt
when the bitch can't run
when the kid don't fight

that's how you know, that's how you know
that's how you know, that's how you know
that's how you know, that's how you know
you did it right

when the vomit's dried
when the knife grinds bone
all the way inside
then you're left alone
with the heart's last beat
though you're their last sight

at least you know, at least you know
at least you know, at least you know
at least you know, at least you know
you did it right

baby please don't speak
you'll dislodge the hose
I'm the one who's weak
I know where it goes
when you understand
you will smile so bright

cause I never let you go
never let you go, never never
never let you go
cause I hold your heart so tight
never let you go, never let you go, go
no, no
that's how I know you know
that's how you know I know
that's how you know I know you know

I did it
I did it right