“Roshi [his Zen Buddhist teacher] said something nice to me one time. He said that the older you get, the lonelier you become, and the deeper the love you need.
Which means that this hero that you’re trying to maintain as the central figure in the drama of your life— this hero is not enjoying the life of a hero.
You’re exerting a tremendous maintenance to keep this heroic stance available to you, and the hero is suffering defeat after defeat.
And they’re not heroic defeats; they’re ignoble defeats.
Finally, one day you say, ‘Let him die— I can’t invest any more in this heroic position.’
From there, you just live your life as if it’s real— as if you have to make decisions even though you have absolutely no guarantee of any of the consequences of your decisions.”
Stranger Song on Once More with Felix, 1967
Honestly, the way these two look at each other – it almost makes up for the whole Susan Sarandon/Tim Robbins travesty.
When he performed it in Johannesburg a few weeks ago, they couldn’t get through a line of the song without giggling at each other.
As long as they, and the Lamontagnes, and Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan are fine, I think we’ll be alright.
Are folk singers just really clever about love?
I haven’t stopped thinking about this piece of dialogue in the carriage scene since I watched Midnight in Paris.
Corey Stoll was magnificent in this. Magnetic. And Woody Allen’s screenplay was just luminous – his best in years.
“I believe that love that is true and real creates a respite from death. All cowardice comes from not loving or not loving well, which is the same thing.”
There are lots of ways for great sadness to manifest itself. You can experience love and loss as soon as it happens, and you can wear it in plain sight on your face and swim in it so that, as Paul Simon says “Everybody sees the wind blow”.
Something less often acknowledged is the fact that, once you’ve truly sad in the deepest sense, it never quite leaves you. You’re stained with the memory of something enormous that’s inhabited you, and the stain remains after the grief has gone.
It’s never about what caused the sadness to begin with, because that becomes meaningless over time. Grief is always bigger than its cause.
So you get up, and you walk around, and you love and live deeply, perhaps even deeper, but your every action after that sadness is coloured by the fact that you have that capacity for terrible, terrible sorrow, and you felt it completely. And that awareness is a fearsome thing.
What I’m saying is, sometimes, despite the smiles, despite the fact that the songs we sing are upbeat, the words we’re singing are no less tragic.
And just when you want to tell her
that you have no love to give her
She gets you on her wavelength
and she lets the river answer
That you’ve always been her lover