Her Favorite Critics

She checked out Wuthering Heights from the library because she just couldn’t make herself labor through trying to read Jane Austen any longer. For all the hoopla so many make about her, she really wishes she could make herself — read some of it — but it just isn’t in her good sense and sensibilities to bother with. She typed in to her browser, “why do people like Jane Austen so much” and the only thing that made any sense was a comment following a raving post about her that said “if she was writing in these times, she would be writing for General Hospital.” It wasn’t that she even got that much out of whatever she was able to read because all she got out of it was a similarly draining convoluted narrative like reading the book of Genesis in the Bible — just too many begets — begets for Jane being all the convoluted lines of relations of who knows who knows who or which of them might be married or intended or hopefully intended and far too many words in that doing — no economy whatsoever it seemed — seeming to take forever to get to any weight. Now, the Bronte sisters, they look a little more promising — at least the introduction by Charlotte in the second edition of the publication of Emily’s book where she is disclosing how the publishing of it came about in the first place — even that was more compelling than Jane Austen. 

So, what she figured by the popularity of Jane and the comment revealing what she might have discovered if she’d been able to endure, people want common. They want General Hospital or a romance novel like what they might find at a checkout counter before boarding a plane — most people — and any that don’t are rarer to find and certainly probably not sufficient to make a living on and why so many might write things that are common.

“I watched a movie about Jackson Pollack and you know what? When he finally got to a point in his tortured life of painting where others thought, ‘now there’s an artist’, he didn’t want to paint anymore because everybody from that point on wanted him to spit them out like he was a machine or something. The doing lost all of its value and any meaning for him as an artist.”

She had just read something she’d written to one of her favorite critics — a friend, an old boyfriend, who wrote a story with her once upon a time. Actually he wrote it and she expanded upon it because he gave up to easily, letting the story of a little Christmas tree end by the poor little tree lying in a ditch somewhere. She had wanted the little Christmas tree to have a better ending than that so took what he had written and enlarged upon it — taking the little tree to a recycling facility and back up to his forest family and friends. He loved what she wrote — not quite at first because at first it hurt his feelings some — and that silly little story became their child, something that kept them together, at least on a string, for many years thereafter, even until now — “When are you ever going to finish The Little Christmas Tree and send it off to a publisher?” he’d ask on just about every occasion he used it as an excuse to call her.

Anyway, he loved the way she wrote even when he couldn’t understand the meaning, so she decided to read Floating Dress Dancing to him to see what his reaction was since not one single person bothered to read it and it had been like a Jackson Pollock moment to her — a moment when you finally get something out of yourself that you’ve wanted to get out and it comes out just the way you want it to and even though you love it, no one else gets it. He didn’t get it either but still said he loved the way it sounded. “There’s something in there and I want to know. And even though I don’t understand it, I love the way it sounds and the way the words make you think about other things.” That was enough — actually what she wanted. She told him the story behind it. He understood it more but what she really wanted was for him to understand why no one getting it or liking it should matter anyway.

“You know how you love to sing and would be a singer writing and singing music if you could make yourself do the difficult work of pushing through the artistic barriers but you don’t care if anyone hears it or not, you just have to do it because it is a thing inside you wanting out? Well, that was Jackson Pollock but he pushed through the barriers and arrived to where he saw a thing and knew that it was good. I want to push through those barriers,” she said and hoped she could whether anyone ever got her or not. She just wanted to know that she could do it — get to a place where the getting to is felt in all it’s magical measure. She was hoping though that the getting there wouldn’t have her wanting to end it all like Jackson Pollock did.

“Yeah, I understand,” he said. “Do you want me to sing the latest things I’ve written?” he asked.

She let him sing — over the phone.

“You’re my pillar,” he said. “You’ll always be my pillar. Do you know what I mean when I say that you are my pillar?” He went on to explain. They were still connected by some kind of string but The Little Christmas Tree still wasn’t published. Maybe it never would be.

Wuthering Heights

 

 

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