Friday, January 10, 2020

The Thing with Teeth

I'm having a very hard time getting through Johnstone's book Impro. I'm about halfway. I found the section on creativity that references Schiller which inspired me to read it in the first place. I carry it with me everywhere, put it on the to-do list, but it remains peripheral.

Peripheral may be the wrong word. Or am I more confused than I realize.

I am mostly turned off by the resolute physicality proposed by the text. It is about the body, about using the body, being in a body, and I can only manage the body in terms of sex and enduring pain. Literally every other thing a body can do feels stiff and unfamiliar and awkward to me. Outside of torture chambers and bed I am basically crippled. I don't like thinking about this, or reading books that bring that kind of thinking forward.

The thing about enduring pain is that I had to take it because of who was giving it and the only meaningful - the only possible - rebellion was not to give them the pleasure of seeing me cry.

And the thing about sex is that I am able to be vulnerable in it, and I am also constantly grateful in it, so it becomes a space of incredible openness and healing. It has to do with going slowly, wordily, finding some rhythm that is not only in this or that act, but the overarching whole comprised by all the acts that make "making love."

With the one with whom you are in that particular relationship, when are you not making love?

[There is - for me - no  place for physical pain in sex. Sex is where you go to be safe from physical pain. Sex is the body helpfully wholly.]

As a nontrivial aside, when I teach, I am very physical. I move around a lot, often dramatically. Flop on the floor, sit on desks, windmill my arms. Always pacing, shifting, relocating. It's performative energy, not nerves. It doesn't always work but it mostly always works.

I really enjoy teaching. Not just the performative aspects but the sharing of ideas - how they shift, light up, fall away, expand, morph I miss teaching when I am not teaching (as now), and am sad that my life got so messed up that I can't teach full-time somewhere. And more in alignment with what interests me (i.e., constructivism, monism, new age spirituality, et cetera). What a hash I made of that with which I meant to be more elegant.

Oh well.

Yesterday I wrote about something rising through a lake in Vermont (Champlain, connecting to all those old poems from the late 80s and early 90s, Denise coming and going, Albany in the distance, homelessness, playing guitar in Europe, et cetera). I think Johnstone's book is part of that - is related to that, albeit in a nebulous way - and so asks for sustained attention (was that phase the last time my body worked?).

Always worth giving attention to the thing with teeth.

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