Friday, September 10, 2010

autobiographical sketch, "my style"

My Style

Between I and eyes

Hums the workshop

Of my garden study


Winged words

From heat and fever

Spring from the boldstar ruddy


Bent my glance,

Broke my care

I dance this field alone


My writing pours

Image of

Antechamber song.


Style and personality are the same thing – identity of expression. The style of expression is determined by the shapes of a person’s focus. Behind the screen of the world is the antechamber between I and eyes, the workstation of the mind. The way thoughts move through this mind determine also how we will think and talk.

            This is the real world of the person, the external world is the screen we throw it upon. The manner of the focus determines how the world and ideas will be realized: this is where reality is made.

            My style, which I hear often is a difficult one, has been informed by a few incidents in my life, building upon the naturally predispositions of my birth. As a baby I desired to be held constantly, and yet I would let nobody feed me but myself. This bifurcation between the need for affection and the demand for autonomy became the crux of my personality. With my parent’s divorce at age six, I bewailed that I “wasn’t daddy’s son anymore” and hence after stood aloof from parental affection, and finally from the affection from friends, since I preferred to hunt insects in the ditch and spend time alone.

            The feeling that I was different from other kids, and so could not be close to them, may in itself have been the only real difference between me and them. But I started into books early, into fantasy novels, and I loved monsters and creatures of all sorts. I wished to be a writer like Piers Anthony, who wrote adolescent fantasies. In fifth grade I wished to write an epic wherein the monsters of Greek myth overthrew Olympus.

            The feeling of being something monstrous explained to me why my father left and I could never get close to other kids, and yet the desire to prove myself superior to them, and prove they were at fault for excluding me, budded finally into a bald ambition for greatness.

            Moving schools a few times seperated me from the friends I’ve made, and isolated me from making new friends. But I kept old friends as penpals, and explored my style through experiments and games in letters. At one point I was writing five letters a week; and I considered myself writer bound. I started writing verse, and impressed my teachers.

            Being bullied in middle school accentuated the feeling of being different, of something being wrong with me. After a year I beat up my bully, but I had no friends to share the victory with. But I had determined not to live in fear.

            Poetry in highschool helped transmute the angst and loneliness. The ambition to be great sought expression in my studies, in tennis, and in playing guitar, never with steller success. The original dynamo between independence and affection had become a desire for greatness and a feeling of being different from others, and being unable to get close to them.

            When I had my bipolar breakdown at age 17, I humiliated myself and lost my friends. Now the feeling of being different from others was irrevocably finalized. With the manic passions, which burst like flash floods, I had to use my mind to stabalize myself. My mother said I became a philosopher overnight. I was constantly trying to figure out my heart, my feelings, my thoughts, books, friends, the world, it became my fulltime occupation.

            Thus the original crux of my childhood between intamcy and independence became exacerbated as passion and intellectualism. My mind became categorical: I wished to discover patterns in all things. At 18 I decided to write a perfect book, which later returned as the Idius. At first it was to summarize my religious beliefs as a Christian, but finally I outgrew that. Later with the help of Mortimer Adler, I aimed to make a Great book, and with bipolar, I became grandiose and wished to replace the Bible.

            The graph I composed at 17, the “map of the universe,” the founding idea of the idius, and this before the breakdown, became the archetype for my new manner of thinking.

            Now all the after-class discussions with teachers about my views on the subject were coming to the fore. I began to read exclusively nonfiction, though I became an English major, ostensibley “to learn how to write” since I had no concept of a career on the other side. An immersion in Nietzsche, first, and Emerson, later, became my great influences, with Emerson teaching me what I now know must be my next step in style change. I call him my literary father.

            I live in a world of private abstractions, and do not feel comfortable about anything I do not have a personal theory about. I like to map out patterns, and so my style is abstract, and yet that passionate intimate poetry, which I had loved before, breaks through, with the sheer love of language and words. I hate any theory that I can’t reclaim as my own, and distrust anybody else’s ideas if I can’t see for myself how they are true.

            The bridge between passionate overflow and intellectual abstractness I wish to replace with a rhetoric that offers illustrations, examples, sensual images, shown ideas rather than merely told, quotes and quotations, anecdotes, and many demonstrations set in parralel instance. This is “the human element” I find lacking in my thinking. I hardly think of people at all, unless to theorize their motives. And yet that passion for intimacy remains. I shall try for exact metaphors spun in countless examples. The heart and mind I have, but the personal and practical I have not. I have not mastered my lips nor my hands, only my mind have I developed, and my heart was always her own monster.


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