Sunday, December 09, 2007

imagination, the beautiful danger

many, many years ago i had a crush. oh to have a crush. to imagine the other, so perfect and wonderful. sometimes i think i should really love my imagination more than anything or anyone, because it can play such tricks with me, and i do love a good trick. in this case, i met this person again, years after the crush had faded, and all i could wonder was "what were you thinking, imaginative omar?" likely this has happened to you too!

but at the time, what a soothing balm. i remember a crush once got me through a boring, lazy summer at the cottage (along with drivel about elves by terry brooks). i'm coming around to the feeling that a crush, or strange inflation, is a carrot my imagination dangles in front of me, and i leap and grab and almost have my arms around the crush, to crush its foolishness, when my imaginations pulls up, and i fall back into the water, to come around for a yet higher leap, thrashing and looking increasingly comical, a fish out of water. so then, imagination, to what end do you employ this carrot?

orhan pamuk, a wonderful writer, gives me a hint in his book "my name is red":
[Shekure's face] was thin, though her chin was longer than what I remembered. So, then the mouth of my beloved was surely smaller and narrower than I imagined it to be. For a dozen years, as I ventured from city to city, I'd widened Shekure's mouth out of desire and had imagined her lips to be more pert, fleshy and irresistible, like a large, shiny cherry.

Had I taken Shekure's portrait with me, rendered in the style of the Venetian masters, I wouldn't have felt such loss during my long travels when I could scarcely remember my beloved, whose face I'd left somewhere behind me. For if a lover's face survives emblazoned on your heart, the world is still your home.

here is a graph giving my own interpretation of this passage (using the google charts API!):



the red X denotes the sweet spot. that's where you want to let reality take over. in the novel, perhaps that's when the character needed a portrait, and not his imagination. the odd thing is that a portrait, if sufficiently real, can halt a person, in the viewer's eyes, and then be its own bag of worms.

ok. of course i'm being a bit facetious with the graph. i just wish i had a better check on my imagination and its wily ways. you think i should be able to control it -- but you don't know it personally, now do you?

ps my friend lara has a great post on crushes that you keep in your back pocket. check it out, though i warn you that the color scheme is not for the faint-hearted.

3 comments:

Lara said...

I will state for the record that on MY computer, the color scheme is vibrant and warm, which is how I'd like to leave my readers feeling. Your hatred for this atmospheric approach makes me sad. Maybe your monitor and mine need to grow more similar?

James said...

I liked this post Omar. But I'm totally staying away from crushes these days... i've always found them to be more torturous than fun.

daisy stanton said...

you all are frickin nuts. maybe i'm orders of magnitude more OCD than the rest of the world, but my crushes have historically tended to kill me.

if i'm not actually invested in the outcome i'll stay the happy side of sanity -- as in, i can handle that sanjay ghemawat will probably never love me. (notice i say 'probably' -- sanjay, if you're reading this, CALL ME 555-5555!!!!!!!1111111) i get a little frisson when i pass him in B42 (oh -- i'm passing your desk for the fifth time today? what a coincidence!), and you're right -- thass nice.

as for the rest of the crushes that fit under the big hunk o that mercilessly tall and skinny bell curve. they've crushed me. i become obsessed, unable to work, unable to sleep, a groaning, maniacal mess. fever won't break.

the last time this happened i watched myself closely. i experienced every prick of every needle sweating out that fever, consuming me and killing me and burying me alive. i saw the fever and watched it pass. very zen.

now i am an androidi, so i simply observe the falling rain and breathe through the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

fever fever
break
break
fever
break
break
break
break

...broken.

i'm the operator of my pocket calculator.
i am adding
and subtracting

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