The first time I tried to write, it occurred to me that despite my strong conviction that I am a writer, I could not describe an object; anything at all. All I could do was replace simple words for fancier words; but let’s not fool ourselves. That's a trick, not writing. Say, for example, that I have imagined an object. The object lives nowhere but in my imagination and I am thus, the only being having knowledge of the existence of the said object; of its properties, its looks, its functions. A description would therefore be the only possible way of transmitting my impression of the object (my idea) to someone else. In my mind it shines as if it were real as if I saw it (or experience it, for the object could also be a concept) but it doesn’t matter since I ‘d have no way to communicate nor describe the object-concept.
Jean Paul Sartre in his autobiography mentions how some writing-teachers leave their students alone with a tree and instruct them to describe it. Imagine the poor writing student left alone with a blackberry bush trying to create an interesting and creative description of it. Say the student was given ten days exactly to submit ten different descriptions of the bush. The first day, the student would probably describe the bushe's looks; it's leafs, where it is. Then during the following days the student would probably try to experience the bush. By that I mean, lying under it, tasting its fruit, touching it... But what if the bush's blackberries were poisonous? The student will be tasting a poisonous burry every day, for a week or so until they realise that their assignment is killing them. By the end of the week, in their drawers would lie ten descriptions of the poisonous bush; every one graver than the previous one as the helpless student would be realising that their wish to write has somehow killed them. The descriptions would slowly be transforming to reflections until they are but very vagely related to the object ' bush'.
What information is worth mentioning in describing a tree or a bush? How tall it is, its colour? Leo Buscaglia describes how he enjoyed observing a tree for hours until its every detail became important, apparent; until each detail had a life of its own. But he never describes what it is that he sees in a tree; does he observe the leaves; one by one? The bees around it? The people that engage with it in any way? The notches on its trunk? Its branches?
I can’t shake off the impression that one cannot describe an outer object; take the poisonous bush. What is the bush? What else if not the death of the writing student? How else could the dying student describe the murderous bush? What can it be for any of us if not its taste and smell if not our human experience? I doubt the bush would describe itself the way we do. We don't know what the bush would think important for itsown description. That is why I always keep in mind that whatever I try to describe, the only thing I am able to describe is myself.
There it goes... a whole page of rumbling just for me to justify that I want to describe two insignificant moments of my life; just to justify myself for writing whatever insignificant incidents led me to obscure thoughts which I shouldn’t like to forget.
Insignificant Moment 1: The Dancing flies
I swear these flies are dancing around the lamp. They were really shook when this song started playing. They are doing it again! It seems like they move to the frequency of the music; not the rhythm. The higher the note, the higher they fly and when there is a sudden melodic drop they drop down violently, to my face. Chances are this is an illusion but I can’t unsee it! 'The spectacle of frequency-dancing flies' presents itself before my impressed eyes with (perceived) clarity. I fall into the trap of questioning whether I am now synched to the collective consciousness of the universe; the cosmic consciousness where the flies and I share this experience. Another title for this experience could be: ‘internalised pretentiousness’. That is, pretentiousness that even I take for honesty. My taking it for honesty somehow takes out the 'pretentiousness' component; but not entirely. Well, my experience is rather stuck in a strange purgatory between spirituality and 'spirituality'.
Is moving to frequency ‘dancing’? Strictly speaking, it shouldn’t be, as far as I can tell one dances to the rhythm. Well, let’s just say one is moving to the rhythm of a given tune. The form, style and texture of movement (dance) is determined by the music as a whole: by the frequency, timbre, style, context etcetera. This can only be understood by extreme examples. Imagine the lowest keys of a piano moving down with a twisted, four crotchet chromatic 7th interval sequence. What kind of twisted move would accompany this sound? Heavy body, bent knees, the devil. On the other hand, imagine four beats on the highest notes of a flute playing a minor third staccato sequence. That’s a sad ballerina on her tippy toes, a fairy, an angel. . . and there is no possible way to dance any of these in a nightclub, except if you add a syncopated beat on the background and a drop before the modulation. But one thing is for sure, the devil, the fairy and the kid in the nightclub all moved four steps... (oh alright, alright four or eight or two).
That is not what my flies are doing there. They move higher and lower depending on the frequency (or so it seems). Maybe they are just flying around the lamp... are they specifically sensitive to John Cage’s ‘Amores’ ? Were they sensitive to the stylistic change when Cage’s ‘Amores’ played right after Shakira’s ‘Hay amores’? It's kind of funny that the titles are so similar . Are the flies Sensitive? Scared? Shocked? Taken by surprise? Do I still talk about flies? I just hope I don’t swallow one of the dancing flies in my sleep tonight.
I haven’t said anything at all about the flies, about the actual incident, their regular cyclical movement around the lamp, their looks; no, they ain't exactly flies (they look like a hybrid between a fly and a bee), their manic spirals up and down. Even though I 've proclaimed 'describing' trivial and meaningless, I wish I could do it better.
Insignificant Moment 2 : Satie and Monet’s Lilacs
Yesterday, I rode around the park of the neighborhood on the bicycle while listening Satie’s ‘Once upon a time in Paris’ through the earphones. One of my earphones wasn't working properly . The impaired earphone was the one responsible for playing the melody. As a result the music was downgraded to 'background music'; I could only hear the accompaniment - solid chord sequences which mocked the concept of tonality.
As I flew drowsily through a densely planted passage, the downhill pushed me down. I stopped pedalling. The, almost secret, valley was no longer dull and creepy, no longer sad and grey, no longer wet as I remembered it being in the winter. The bicycle carried me down the hill ; elated. Ecstatically, my eyes refused to blink despite the increased amount of breeze finding its way in - a result of the bicycle's accelerated speed rolling down the hill. Refusing to not see the coloured valley; the lilacs and branches and weeds so beautifully arranged without human intervention (probably); placing themselves in a version of Monet’s lilacs; united with the music of the impaired earphones.
The trills of the music completely integrated into the lilac colour of the flowers into the melancholic undertone of the short, discreet English summer. The nostalgic trills are green and lilac, there was just no other way to perceive them in that moment.
That was when I realised what description is for. When I tried to tell you. I took so many pictures; but in the pictures there is no Satie, no bicycle, no downhill, no impaired earphone…