Thursday, December 21, 2006

Having Come out of the Dark Tunnel, We Enter a Timeless Truth

When I began to write the letters of this letter to you, they melted into the page like water into loose soil, and I had to coax them back out of obscurity by enacting an intense pressure on my eyes and mind. Writing (and reading) is becoming very difficult. I think it's some symptom of our communicable disease. Somehow, in the rhythm of this task, the music of language has been preserved, but its specific content escapes me. And, while I continue to write, to pin down and entrap meanings in these marks, I feel as if I have no vanquished foes to send to pay homage to you. I feel as if I have nothing to say. And instead, I can only listen to the music of the pen waltzing mechanically across the parchment, immerse myself in the cacaphonous ballad of the words as they clatter together in my imagined ear, as I imagine they will do as they speak to the spheres behind your eyelids. What is this disease of illanguage I begin to suffer? Perhaps the solution, as I so often propose to you, is to throw myself all the more into the fray of life, that I might be counter-infected by its haleness.
Before so doing, however, I will, as seems perpetually necessary, linger a moment to advise against your present course of action.
This particularly on the subject of your melancholia, the diagnosis of which I have withheld from you for some weeks for the sake of decorum, though having suspected it, and from which you have recently sought succour. A symptom of foreclosed grief? What love are you unable to mourn? What loss of your own ideal? Where your self is made victim of your split ego's critical faculty for having come too close for comfort in its perceived similarity to some improper object. It was never Polonius. Perhaps his noble son, possessed of the simple but righteous passions of a dull youth of mediocre birth, that has a certain appeal to it, I can see. Perhaps the atmosphere of the field camp and your R and G.
Still, whatever your astute observer and too-close analyst of the infamous initial ("M.") reads in your person, I shall be skeptical. His mein is sinister, his methods maniacal and I dare say magikal. It is as if he were the voice of the very phantom I myself am hounding (or that you are that composite phantom in your newly twain psyche of analyst and and analysand, critic and critiqued). Only you seek him for your salvation, and I seek him to provide for the salvation of those, like yourself, under his spell.
Perhaps my low assessment of his talents and his character (and my desire to see him as a part of you) are the effect on my rhetoric from the other half of my own dichotomous persona, the emotional faculty. For I do sense that, while my opinions so expressed are no doubt an accurate description of my feelings about him, they are salted with a bitterness one does not often taste on savoring my letters. Probably I feel jealous that, having found my own commentary on your sorrows, desperation and other neuroses less than sufficiently insightful, you have turned to another ear you find more appealing.
Still, do not, on account of finding the hallmarks of this jealousy in my words, think that my admonition is therefore unfounded, for I fear that in your turn, you have alit on a dark course, one in which your more destructive urges will be unbound, even if only with the intention of rebinding them in other, stronger ropes. One can never truly contain the demons one has summoned to do one's bidding, whether they are of the hoary realm below, or the hoary realm within. Be warned.
I think that, so far away here in La Mancha, occupied as I am chasing down those who wrong my honor or Dulcinea's, I shall be unable to come to your aid, the distance from Spain to Denmark (or wherever you have been cast ashore after being battered by the stomry seas of your somber proclivities) will be too great for the sympathy in my heart to o'ercome, no matter the strength of the will, or the speed of Rocinante's worthy hooves.
In any condition, I feel your man "M" must be leaving important things out of these "notes" he sends me crumpled into tiny packets with your letter. They seem fragmentary, and either he has a remarkable memory and does not need a complete record for his purposes, or he is merely stringing you along with the appearance of therapy while padding his purse with the rights of Denmark's youth, for which purposes he would not desire a complete record. Or, thirdly, they are meant only for my benefit, to tease me or make me curious without creating a full account of a subject of obvious interest. No matter the reason, they are more grounds for suspicion, and I hope to make an infection of mine that it might serve you, who are in the most danger from this shaman.
Still, the wound you have dealt me in this infidelity of confidants will probably hang with me. It will be one of those hardened scars my portraitist will have to gloss over. If he can. The blows you are wont to deal me leave their marks on the soul, and can be read in the eyes and the gait and the posture, and their manifold expressions cannot be obscured, even by the most skillful brush.
To say nothing of the hypocrisy in your sending another's letter with your own. There is a certain parallel in your inviting him into our discourse and the much decried letter to your mother I sent so long ago. And then again, the unjustice I suffered on your discovering a letter penned by Sancho Panza in my stead. How, then, I on receiving one from Mesmer?

On to a more reasonable account of recent business, though I find I have little heart for it.
Sancho Panza and I continued our surveillance of the monstrous Baron of the local realm (I call him Odvallo, though I learnt yesterday that I have been mispronouncing it, and not according the surname the proper Andalusian twang, since the Baron's family hails from that area, though they have been in possession of their current plot for some generations--in local mouths, the middle syllables are swallowed or mangled in the epiglottis, and the word comes out as a strange sort of garble between the initial and final vowels; I can hardly pronounce it, much less devise an orthographic representation of this assault on the ears for your edification--perhaps this difficulty, or the infiltration of the one dialect into the other is a cause or symptom of my linguistic infirmity, mentioned above).
The Baron Odvallo haunts, as I said, the twixt hours, and during the day and night retires to an interior room with no windows in a large and stately manor house on the north side of a small hill, round the base and up to the crest of which grows a thick hedge on three sides. This hedge is formed into an intricate geometry and stands higher than a man's head, making it into a labyrinth, at the center of which is this minotaur, Odvallo. I have, these past weeks, been making forays into the maze during the safe hours when the lord is withdrawn, for the purpose of tracing a map of the correct path, so that when the time comes I should be able to penetrate the house without announcing my approach unduly with wandering and cursing, and then, after, I should be able to retreat without muss. I am, shame, without a long enough bit of string for the conventional approach, and so this method will have to suffice. The constant need to draw, strike out, and redraw this diagram is, also, the reason that I have been without paper enough to write you. And so a longer interval than you are used to elapsing between receiving envelopes from me has had to pass. I apologize for that.

As always in humble service
Don Quixote De La Mancha


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