Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Rare Moment of Lucidity in an Otherwise Chaotic Mind-Space

I should apologize, then, most sincerely for having damaged not only your gentle emotions, but our fragile friendship. My interest in having Sancho Panza write my promised letter certainly was not to divide our twin spirits further, but to ensure that the still-emerging bridge between them should not suffer from a gap in time. For it was my understanding at that moment that it was not only candor, but duration and repetition that spelled friendship. That the writing of letters--however mediated--was not solely a method for transferring presence over distances, but for forming that very presence. Thus, I did not want my absence (in the form of indisposition) to damage the structure of that friendship we are building by obstructing my role in its construction, and in my absence I enlisted the skill of a trusted replacement to fulfill my duties. I seem to have won the opposite of my desire effects in so doing. I hope my apology and excuse can serve to splint the damaged beams of this bridge we are either building or traversing (however it is conceived, by myself or you). Perhaps you can find my absolution in your conjecture that Sancho and myself inhabit the same person. If this phantasy were true, then there would have been no crime; it would have been I writing the offending letter in another guise, and not, therefore, an interloper allowed into our congress of spirits.
And yet, I fear that my words my be taken in by your alchemical eyes, perhaps immune to vision. I worry more now that you are dabbling in this odd sorcery which bewitches your faculties. While you describe splendid sights, it must be remembered that the firmness of reality is the most fertile bed both for happiness and prosperity, both of which I wish for you.
And while you say that your current state inhibits your describing narratives, I must implore you to enter into the task for its therapeutic purposes. Not only can a good story elevate you from your dismal surroundings, its telling, I suspect, holds the power to allow the mind to construct and communicate its hidden motives. Truly, when it comes to the mind, an artful tale--like a dream--tells more truth than the most sober description. Speak sense man, and it will infect your soul. Speak madness, and you are already there, fox or no.
Perhaps marriage would soothe you (both). Be careful in seeking such a union, for while I do not doubt the sincerity of your feelings, I fear the violence of your passions.

Your metaphor of a horse calls to mind a most striking event of which I was a witness and an actor of late, and which I will relate to you. It is, I think, something I should have related earlier, because it has had a great effect on me since.
Upon being waylaid by my mount's having thrown a shoe, Sancho and I were wandering without aim through the gypsy camp where we had been forced to stop. It would be some time before a smith could shoe the horse, on account of his having to forge nails for the purpose. This particular band of gypsies, it seemed, was in the business of staging spectacles with animals on the outskirts of towns and cities for the benefit of the populace (and a small fee). It was a sort of traveling circus. When we encountered them in the middle of the countryside, their only performance was in training and practicing for the better part of the day, and our walk was ornamented in brief moments in which we would dally to watch the exercise of some great feat.
One act, in particular, caught my attention. Under a large tent, a kind of ring-master was training a young maid to do acrobatics on the back of a muscular black stallion that was racing in broad circles. As the man stood in the middle of the large ring, he drove the girl's horse endlessly with cracks of his whip that assaulted our ears. The young woman was obviously possessed of a remarkable talent in addition to her stunning beauty, but the training went on ceaselessly despite the perfection with which she carried out each of the ringmaster's commands. In addition to the feats of agility, he was also barking at her harshly, telling her to remember the audience and to smile and wave at them as if the whole thing were simple and pleasant. And to see such a sight, as the girl made a great show of happiness and whimsy, blowing kisses to the audience composed only of Sancho and I, and at the very moment tears were streaming down her rouged cheeks because of her exhaustion--it made my heart break. For truly the greatest injustice is not to be unhappy, or tortured, or driven on into a superfluous routine whose very pointlessness erodes the fine elements of the soul--no, the greatest injustice is to be subject to all these things, and to be made to act as if it were not happening.
Sancho stood with an odd mixtures of looks on his face, now laughing, now frowning, now crying out in pleasure or in offense. Yet above all, he was transfixed, merely bringing to life the myriad horrors or delights of the spectacle in the features of his face, while the rest of his body remained petrified. I resolved at that moment to break in, to assault the ringmaster or snatch the girl off the horse. Whatever it was, whatever action I conceived, I had to put a stop to that unholy tragedy.
And no sooner had I resolved to act, than my actions came into being. As if animated with some other-worldly power, my body, independent of my own control, surged forth, killed the ringmaster with a swift thrust of my dagger, and, grabbing the horse's reins, brought the beast to heel. The girl, even prettier close at hand than she had seemed from afar, thanked me and fell immediately feinted into my arms.
There is, essentially, nothing more to tell after this point.

And so, here, at the end of my tale, I leave you again in darkness, again alone at that great distance which forever separates us.
Your Friend
Don Quixote De La Mancha


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