Thursday, July 27, 2006

The European Experience # 97

The myths of Greece, Rome, and Egypt informed all aspects of their great civilization from religion, to art, to science and agriculture, to all aspects of domestic, political, social, and creative life. Europe, is influenced and inspired by these great ancient civilizations. The artchitecture, art, and science of these great civilizations have been the motivating force behind the most admirable achievements of this place. The most recent 'great' human achievements of the past century, such as nuclear power, the automobile, and the computer, only seem to succeed in causing harm to this earth or humanity itself, through violence or alienation. The truly great and beautiful achievements in humanity's recent history seem to be born from the Renaissance in Europe. The renaissance was in essence the re-birth of the ideas and practices of these ancient civilizations. How can ideas and practices of a virtually extinct ancient civilization be able to lead humanity's in its greatest endeavours? Has all our great innovations of the reason past merely be leading us to our self-destructive doom? Was civilization perfected over two thousand years ago? Is progress the motivating force of our time? Has this progress been ineffective in producing new and innovative human achievements that have a positive impact on humanity? Is progress merely a myth?
Examining the fruits of humanity's progressive innovation in recent history, one can draw undeniably negative conclusions. Progress has brought us great advances in technology, but this technology is being used as weapons of war, tools that destory the environment, products that harm the human body, and modes of communication that alienated us from one another. If we can imagine a world without these double-edged innovations, we are left with a world, inspired by the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, that was re-born during the Renaissance.
No matter if our current ideal of progress, mired in greedy capitalism, is failing at making the world a better place without getting its hands bloody, humanity is caught in the inevitable passing of time. We will never truly know if these great ancient societies were the pinnacle of human civilization: We can never go back. A return to the ideals of these ancient civilizations would not help us escape the influence of all that has happened in the past two thousand years or so. Progress may be a myth, but because the clock is ticking and always will be, it is a myth we must believe in. And unlike the myths of ancient civilization, maybe this myth will reveal itself to be true.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The European Experience # 96

You do it to yourself. Or at least I do it to myself.
My love affair with the writer has come to it's expected end.
This could be love, but I don't know what love is. Instead of capturing 'love' to put it in the straight jacket of 'definition' in order to ever-so conveniently place it between 'like' and 'lust' in the dictionary, I would rather do as the poets do and drown in possibilities of the word's manifest presence in this wide wide world. If this is love, it is not the love of marriage or commitment, but the love that lives and dies within the metaphorical life span of a gasp for breath: quick, short, intense, and a necessary act of life.
It is not an external force that exists in this wide wide world that, upon coming across the shimmer in the corner of an eye in a night club or the warmth of lips curled into a smile from across a class room, shakes a person to their core. It is a product of an inner ineffable need. It is an innate idea born in the darkest, most hidden recesses of a soul with no reason or logic to substantiate it's existence: It is a product of the imagination. "Every kind of love, or at least my kind of love, is an imaginary love to start with..." (Some may argue for Darwin or Freud, but science and psychotherapy only aim to kill the beautiful mysteries of life such as the 'true' nature of love.) Mr. Humbert Humbert, the world's greatest lover (and being so he, of course, is a work of art) enveloped himself in a completely selfish love affair. Our greatest romantic hero loves the perfection of the idea of his Lolita but not the flawed, but human Dolores Haze herself. Mr. Humbert Humbert a puts it aptly: "mirage and reality merge in love". He loves the imagined idea of Lolita as he sees her in the real and present Dolores. Such is the case with all 'true love'; it is a need that gives birth to an idea that we project onto an unknowing victim. Yes, some random stranger that smiles at you as you saunter past a cafe in some European capital may inspire love. But, as this wide wide world has the power to inspire, it is a need within which arouses the artist to create something beautiful. The creative construction of a lover is an art.
My love affair with the writer has come to it's expected end.
Did I tell the writer how I felt? How I "love" him? Of course not! Saying the word would destory the poetry of my reality. And love, or at least this love, is utterly self-indulgent and selfish. It matters not if our feelings are reciprocal, only that they are requited. And even if he did not shower me with his affection, I would still revel in the existence of my imagined love, which reveals its mysterious to me, manifest in this wide wide world.
I am sad to completely understand the true nature of our temporary tryst.
But, alas, I have done this to myself.
And though such experiences can never be reproduced,
I would do this to myself over and over again and again.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The European Experience # 95

"Sorrow, betrayal, jealousy, and hate are what we think will kill our love, but it is Hope that kills it in the end," he quotes from a short story he has read. (I am paraphrasing of course. It is not the words, but the idea, that cuts me to my core.) I am not sure why this has come up in our conversation. In my amorous euphoria, the details of my dream like experience is his overwhelingly intoxicating presence are hard to conjure. Yet, this quote from an obscure short story only a writer could have ever read seems apropos to describe my current fast-and-hard love-lorn once-in-a-life-time experience. Maybe these words have that universal power that applies to all moments of life...
"Hope is what kills it in the end." It would be foolish to hope for more than what is offered: He must return to Berlin, and I must return to Canada. He has a life with a boyfriend and a career, and dreams and goals he must pursue, and I have a life with friends and family, and dreams and goals, I know I must return to. It is foolish to hope for anything more than the next breath.
I shouldn't aim for anyone to bend their life in order to merge it with my own. To hope for that is selfish. To hope for that is not an act of love. I can not hope for the future, I can only hope for the present. And if that present includes a breath shared between us as our lips meet in a kiss, I shall treasure that moment for what it is in the present, and refrain from projecting an impossible future upon the simple beauty of such a loving act. All I should hope for is my next breath, and with that, I only hope for life.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The European Experience # 94

My hands are frozen above the key board. I can not write this story because it isn't a story at all. He was sitting at a cafe eating lunch. I walked by him and our eyes connected. I smile. He smile back. I sat down for a beer. We continue looking, and smiling back and forth. I order another beer. He gets up to leave. I get up to leave. We meet in the street. We go to buy cigarettes, return to the cafe for another drink, get up and go for a walk along the river, and we end up gratuitously making out on a riverside bench. That's the story. Nothing new.
He is new: He is something I have never experienced before. Dark, and masculine, with olive skin and soft penetrating eyes. He is a published writer (a book of short stories) and is an associate editor of an Art Lit magazine in Montreal. He speaks French. He has had articles published by the CBC, NOW, Maisonneuve, and The Toronto Star. He currently lives in Berlin: he received a grant from the government of Quebec to finish a novel. He loves Woody Allen movies (we both love "Bullets Over Broadway" the best). He has interviewed Margaret Atwood and tells me she is a cunt (She does look like a Cuntish woman, doesn't she?) He loves "The Hours" (as I do) and knows about the directing career of Stephen Daldry (an Artist who's career I would die for). He knows and loves Elaine Stritch: He saw her one woman show, and Bea Arthur's one woman show, in the same week while he was living in New York City getting a Masters in Creative Writing. He is applying to be a professor at a university here (A erotic professor fantasy is just as hot as a sexy T.A. fantasy) He has an incredible body: just enough defined and tone muscle, just enough dark hair on his manly chest, a round small ass, and soft kissable lips. He knows how to kiss my neck and run his fingers across my back. He is an incredible kisser. He makes me want to do dirty things. He is going to call later tonight and we are going to go out dancing.
I can not stop smiling. I can barely catch my breath. I feel like I am going to vomit. The thought that my experience here, including my experience with this man, is transient and far too temporary makes me want to cry. I exist both between and simultaneously in the world of amorous Eurphoria and love-lorn despair.
My fingers froze over the key board with good reason. I have written nothing. None of this adequately captures this man, nor the way he makes me feel. I fell fast and hard. To say I am living the Romantic Cliche European Love affair is true but insufficient in expressing this experience. You know mere facts, and not even all of the facts that I could tell you. I could go on and on about the weather near the river, or the dirt that covered the white toes of his black Converse runners, or recite our conversation regarding Shakespeare and the theatre, but there is little point.
This is something... Something... This is. And, damn, does it feel good.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The European Experience # 93

Here I feel I can hardly understand the language.

Ignorance doesn't breed bliss.

Ignorance breeds suspicion.

The European Experience # 92

Some Museums are Graveyards.

Some Graveyards are Museums.

The dead are History.

History is dead.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The European Experience # 91

This is a place of memories.
Not Memories of a Grand Historical Past, but my own memories.
All those horrid embarassing memories of the follies of my adolescent.
All those depressing memories of the mistakes of moments of stupidity.
All those ghosts of people and projects I have left behind.
"The Good Ole Days Weren't Always That Good, and Tomorrow Isn't As Bad As It Semms."

The European Experience # 90

I am sad.
In Europe...
So I played Moonlight Sonata on the Antique Piano in the Salon.
Oh! How Romantic am I?
Oh! How Melodramatic am I?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The European Experience # 89

You never think it is going to happen. Or at least I never think it's going to happen. I was walking along the street in this beautiful foreign city, the last city on my European itinerary, and I swear I see a friend whom I met in a previous European capital walking toward me. I stop and watch her pass. It couldn't be! Why would SHE be HERE? I consider yelling out her name in hopes that she will turn, but I don't risk the embarrassment if it isn't her, but just one of those "I swear I saw your exact double" episodes. I decide I will email her and ask her if she happens to be here. A much less risky option.
She resonds quickly and lets me know that I am not crazy, I did not see her exact double, and yes, she is in town for a couple weeks. You never think it is going to happen. She is staying with a friend of her family named Eddie. Eddie is here doing reserach for some Ph. D. he is working on. We quickly makes planes to meet for a drink at her (well, actually Eddie's) place later in the week.
She is waiting downstairs outside of her apartment with her two lesbian friends. I am feeling bad because I am unfortunately late. She leads me up the winding stairs and up to her (well, actually Eddie's) apartment.
Eddie is beautiful. He is tall, with broad shoulders, and strong legs. He is wearing plaid shorts that hang low on his waist to reveal the waist band of a pair of sexy, masculine, blue cotton boxers. He wears his shorts and shirt and glasses, as well as his hair, in that haphazazrd academic way that says "I am too busy being smart to care about what I look like". Such casual confidence and aloofness is incredibly sexy. His shrt just happens to have the words "Mr. Perfect" written in big red letters across his manly muscled chest.
I begin to make converstation about the nature of Academic social life with my friend and her guests in order to keep my self from staring at the Post-Graduate hunk sitting at the computer in the next room (he has a pen dangling from his mouth in that oh-so tittilating way that the intellectual elite do when they are lost in thought). Trying to keep the conversation moving in order to keep my attention diverted from my new found crush, I tell a story about a lesbian I knew at University who, without my glasses on, looked like a gorgeous boy.
"Well, you see, as a gay man with glasses", I begin.
"I'm a gay man with glasses", my T.A. fantasy of a academic casually remarks as he walks by on the way to the kitchen.
(What! How perfect for me, Mr. Perfect) This can not get any better, hot, smart, academic, and a FAGGOT. You never think it's going to happen!
My friend, the two lesbians, and the homo intellectual and I leave the apartment to go get ice cream. The academic and I make conversation as our group makes our way down the street. The ladies get some ice cream, but the two fags refrain from fatty deserts. We stop off at a bridge to enjoy the view. My conversation with the intellectual is awkward, but not painful. I am afraid of saying something stupid, and the fact he is so intelligent makes me very cautious. I don't want to come on too strong, but am afraid of not coming on strong enough.
The ladies have to go back to the apartment for a second to pee. The Academic and I are left alone. On a bridge. In a beautiful European City. (Kiss me!) He doesn't. The Ladies return.
The academic suggests we make our way back to the apartment. He has to call his mother in the states who is out of the hospital today.
On our way to back to the apartment, I mention to the lesbians that I am smitten. They laugh. Appartently it is obvious...
The night has come to an end. The lesbians leave. I start to leave but am desperately hoping I will be asked to stay awhile longer. No such luck...
"Nice meeting you", he says as he shakes my hand (Why does he not embrace the cultural practice and kiss me on both cheeks?), "We should wander the gay neighbourhood sometime if you are interested." (Of Course I am!)
You never think it's going to happen. And it doesn't. Not like how you want it to, and not how like you expect it to. But what is important is not that it doesn't happen like you expect, but that something unexpected does happen. If everything turned out like our dreams, fantasies, and fairy tales, the world would be boring. So what! he didn't kiss me on the bridge that moment we were alone? So what! he didn't aske me to stay longer and so we could spend time together? These are the fairytales of Hollywood romances. These are fairytales of the past. You never think it's going to happen and it didn't. At least not like the fairytales of the past. But who know what comes next in this fairy's tale that is being told in the present... Possibility.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The European Experience # 88

I hadn't noticed him at first. I had walked by him and his friend before sitting down. After glancing them over thoroughly, I quickly concluded his friend had mediocre features and an uninspiring physique while, on the opposing end of the spectrum, he was beautiful. He was an adolescent Adonis; he lived at the moment before loosing innocence, but still exuded the charm of youthful confidence living life laissez-faire. The moment I saw him was the moment I saw him see me: We both smiled.
I had come to sit near the fountain in the park to enjoy Oscar Wilde's "The Artist as Critic", or is is called "Criticism as Art", I can't remember,I was finding it difficult to concentrate at that moment. The fountain came out of a large wall and poured into a wading pool that ran a length of about twenty five meters. There was a small path with chairs running along each side of the wading pool. The attractive youth and I happened to be sitting along the same side of the wading pool, ten meters apart.
I attempted to read, but my eyes kept on wandering over to my Personal Adonis and his eyes seem to meet mine as I stared. Neither of us having the courage to do anything about our unspoken desires, this continued for some time.
Finally, to my dismay, he and his friend got up to leave. As he passed, our eyes made the most intense contact they had thus far: We stared eye to eye for a breathless moment that seemed to both last forever and for only a mere instant at the same time. But all good things must end no matter how long or short they seem, and my muse passed me by.
But he and his friend soon returned. They sat down at two chairs right next to mine before I could see them coming. His friend sat with his back next to me and Adonis sat facing his friend directly. This allowed for Adonis to look directly at me, over his friends shoulder, as they were conversing. Without appearing downright rude, Adonis and I stared back and forth while he seemed to be deeply and sincerely engaged in the ramblings of his friend.
Again, neither of us had the courage to make the first move. Adonis was trapped in the conversation with his friend, and I didn't want to rudely interrupt. We both were cowards.
The time had come again, and they got up to leave. Adonis kept looking over his shoulder at me as he walked away.
Seeing that I had refrained from eating while keeping very distant company with Adonis, I got up to grab a bite shortly after they left.
After lunch, I had returned to the fountain to read (maybe this time I would be able to get through that first sentenced I had read over and over again). This time I sat on the opposite side of the wading pool. Again, Adonis walked by where I was formerly sitting, but because I had chosen a new local to sit and read, five feet of water separated us. Instead of very inconspicuously walking down one side of the wading pool, to walk up the other side of the wading pool only to not-so-subtlely sit right next to me again, they walked down the side of the wading pool, crossed the width of the water at the opposing end of fountain, and sat themselves ten meters directly behind me in the park.
I adjusted my chair so I could easily turn my head to make eye contact. It was mid-afternoon, the sun was high, and it was hot, yet I continued my warm-waiting-watching game. Now that he was not so close, he was boldly staring at me and making his intentions known. I still did nothing.
How long could this go on?
Finally, I do something. I reach into my bag, pull out a pen and my notebook where I write dates, phone numbers, and any other little bit of information I don't want to forget. I turn my head to look at him, turn back, and then... I begin to write.
He is currently sitting behind me as I write this. Occasionally, I look over my shoulder and our eyes meet. I do not have the courage to act, only the courage to write, and that is not much courage at all. But now that I have recorded the events (or lack there of) in the immortal realm of the written word, there is nothing left to do but do. My life will not be a life of words, but a life of action ( that is, 'action' in both senses of the word). Words are dead. Action is living.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The European Experience # 87

I want to have five children. Two in which are twins.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The European Experience # 86

I always treasure being a part of something good and bigger than myself.
From family, to past lovers, to a cirlce of friends, to sport, to theatre...
Give yourself over to something good.
Be a part of something.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The European Experience # 85

They are twins. Identical. They are the same height. They have the same hair and eye colour. They are physically identical. Yet, when F______ is interested, when he is engaged, when he is excited, his eyes light up. No, "light up" is misleading because that would suggest that they illuminate something. No, when he is excited, you can see something within his eyes. You can see him see, not only the world, but something about the world that is beautiful and new and inspiring. Maybe his eyes do "light up" and illuminate; they illuminate the possiblity of something extraordinary in this world. Yet, when his eyes light, I would rather forsake this world and watch only him, because in that moment, he is beautiful and new and inspiring. His eyes reveal depths so mysterious that he does not even know their truths. Such mysteries piques the curiousity of my soul. The way his eyes reveal the unknown recesses of his person evoke awe and wonder. I could watch him 'see' forever. But only him, not his twin. They look the same, but they don't look the same.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The European Experience # 84

I am tired.
The pressure to accomplish is overwhelming.
I am tired.
The body can not be ignored.
Can pleasure not be derrived from just being?
The culture of achieving is overwhelming.
Does this have to be called being lazy?
I am tired.
If it wasn't for all this going, I wouldn't be so tired.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The European Experience # 83

They are twins. Identical. The same, but different.

I met them three days ago.

They both wore sneakers, jeans, and t-shirts. The t-shirts were exactly the same, with a white lining around neck and sleeves. Except, one was red and the other was blue. Their sneaker were white, except one pair were Puma and the other Converse. They are the same, but different.

I have a difficult time telling them apart. The following morning they had changed colours: One wore a red shirt (different from the day before) and the other a blue shirt(also a different shirt from the day before). I think they also swapped sneakers, but having difficulty telling them apart, they might not have exchanged shoes. Yesterday the one wearing red was wearing puma runners, the other wore blue and converse sneakers. Today the one wearing blue was the one who was wearing red and he is presently wearing the puma runners. Ok. They did not switch footwear. They are the same, but different.

They both enjoy shwarmas. They both eat their french fries before they eat anything else on their plate. They both prefer ketchup over mayo. Except one doesn't eat onions and the other doesn't eat tomatoes. They are the same, different.

They both are very active and do well in school. Though, one wins essay prizes while the other is on the national youth football team. The football player carries a wee bit more muscle then the other, but the other has a better grasp of language. You can hardly tell the difference between them physically, only if you look very closely. They are the same, but different.

Today the twins taught me how to play tennis (again, a new sport in a different language). Tennis and golf are the same, but different. Both require using a specific implement to hit a ball in order to win. The ball of one game is hard and the ball of another is flexible. The implement of one game is a long stick with a small surface for contact with the ball, the other is short with a large surface for contact the ball. One game is won by the player with the lowest score, the other is won by the player with the highest score. The are the same, but different.

Between here and there, and then and now, I have discovered that I have grown. I now play golf and tennis. I am a twin of my former self. I am the same, but different.