Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time writing about other people’s ideas, their works of art or their beautifully written stories, thoughts and inspirations. I wonder if I can ever be original myself? But there are other times when I realise that all our musings and opinions and expressions are combinations of many things we have heard before in all sorts of places, from all sorts of people and at all sorts of angles. They pour into the melting pot processor that is our brain and from deep out of somewhere we each mould and create our own, individual perspectives.; perspectives which will pour into others’ melting pot processors to be diced up, rolled out, recombined with bits and pieces and re-presented.
Just this evening I was listening to the radio and heard 2 pieces that really touched me, which I reflected on consciously for a while but which have now sunk down to a chamber somewhere, all ready to start the dicing process!
The first was an interview with Francisco Goldman, the author of ‘Say her Name’. He chose to call it a novel, even though it is a sort of memoir to his young wife, Aura. At the beginning of the book, the reader is told that Aura died by jumping into a wave with a body board in the Pacific Ocean in Mexico. They had been married less than 2 years. Aura’s mother and uncle blamed Francisco for her death and do not speak to him to this day. For many months after the accident, Francisco drank heavily until he was told he was killing himself. He decided he needed to do something with his life that wouldn’t embarrass Aura and the book, described as a beautiful love story and an extraordinary story of loss, became his life for the next few years.
I don’t know what the book itself is like. In fact, I’ve read a none too flattering review of it! But it was Goldman’s deeply personal reflections in the interview that set me wondering. He questioned why, out of all the people in the world, one person should come to fascinate and captivate us so much that they should fill up our whole life? And when that person dies, where does that personality go? Sometimes he felt he loved Aura so much that he wanted to be her, to know what it was like to reside in her brain.
The only way he could comprehend and accept what happened on that beach was to see every moment of Aura’s life leading to, and culminating in, her leap into that wave. In the same way, all the twists and turns of his own life led to that heart-beat. In some way, all their moments were bound up in that moment.
Goldman spoke about the importance he felt of conveying Aura’s mother faithfully and well because of the close relationship she had had with her only daughter. And this despite her grief stricken accusations against him and his own survivor’s guilt, having so recently vowed to protect his young wife in any way possible.
The second radio gem was a preview of Julian Lennon’s new song, ‘Looking for Love’. It was one of those lovely moments when I turned the radio on on an off chance, not expecting to hear anything special and then something beautiful was just placed in my lap. There were so many truthful lyrics but one line in particular struck me.
‘I need to find someone with the purest heart and mind, it’s the hardest thing to find’.
It was such an unusual, unexpected, simple sentiment. How often is purity the quality that someone in a popular song is searching for?! Isn’t it usually the opposite? The beauty of the phrase was that just for this line, all instruments were stripped away leaving just the simplest piano notes (and I’m a sucker for the piano!). The music itself was clear and pure for a short moment.
Well, that’s what touched me.
You’ll probably be touched by a completely different line. Or a whole other song. Or maybe a scene in a film. These things might not be originally ours, but when they touch us, they blend and integrate with all our other inner swirlings. And sooner or later originality shows itself.