Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

bathing in the banality

I love that when I am hunting for a meaningful song lyric, to be an inspiration for the start of my day, the art work that springs to my mind is not Dylan, Leonard Cohen or even Trent Reznor, but instead the musical Guys and Dolls and the immortal lines "Got a horse right here, Name is Paul Revere".

One if by land, two if by sea. I keep wanting there to be a third alternative. "listen my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere", only, if you ask me, I'd rather hear about that chestnut tree where the village smithy stands, even if I did imagine that the smith was the blacksmith and not the smithing building in which he worked.

As the morning dawn greets a new generation of Smiths fans, I think of that passage in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited in which Julia reflects on the phrase "living in sin", exploring how it is to "eat in sin", to "drink sin" and to "bathe in sin". I imagine uttering the same phrases, yet replacing the word "sin" with the word "banality".

The word "banality" conjures up for me "bane", which conjures up for me "wolfsbane", which has all sorts of Eastern European mountain imagery in my imagination, only the "wolfsbane" I see hanging in my mind is really a lot like a huge piece of bacon, and somehow bacon seems more "nip" than "bane".

Since we landscaped our yard this Spring, we attract birds and butteflies to our yard. But I have megalomaniac dreams of far more winged friends. I am puzzling through my new book, Attracting Butterflies and Hummingbirds to Your Backyard and thinking about how it is far more satisfying than books with titles like Against Art (inevitably written by someone who is for art, and holds an MFA in the field) or anything with a derivation of the word "dialectic" in the title. On the other hand, I have in my car the copy of the book about eluding representation, which I hoped would be about people who turned down assistance from their lawyers, but actually is about the difficulty of capturing experience in literary and artistic work. I can sympathize. The Summer before 10th grade, when I had to
do the butterfly collection in order to pass biology, there was something stifling about putting the butterflies in the little mason jar filled with arsenic or strychnine or some other foul green poison substance which would no doubt be banned from schools today. Bathing in banality. Eating it. Breathing it. Pinning butterflies onto styrofoam mats of it. Covering it with glass.

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