The fog boat
finished my fog boat today. The heavier the fog the higher it goes.
Until it was finished, I was trapped on the foggy bottom.
I bumped into earthly dimensions.
But now… Such joy.. such fright…anticipation.
I’m rowing into an unknown murk, no ups, no downs
Looking hard rather than hardly, I can’t see a thing ’til it’s here.
My eyes ache.
Suddenly a hazy form,
the mist thins,
I draw near until…
the whole of it becomes crystal clear: shocking; stabbing…
Ren Huntsinger March 9, 1977
And Lying the Truth
Novelist Dorothy Allison once casually noticed, probably in one of those softer epiphanies when we writers get nudged by our subconscious, and sometimes the nudge begets a story, “Literature is the lie that tells the truth.”
If you really want to feel absolution deep in your bones, and you want to speak the truth in public — two not necessarily coordinate plots on a map of life — you need to learn to tell the lies that are truth.
A truth of a truth I’ve experienced regularly goes clear back to kindergarten. None of our national narratives apply to the actual experience of finding oneself lost and adrift in search of the answer to: who am I?
People tell what they like to pretend are factual stories about who they are all the time. But they are not necessarily stories of truth. They may try valiantly to live those stories every day. In so doing, they are trying to tell, by their own actions, the factual truth about who they are.
While the factual truth is one thing, nothing they actually do embraces that. In fact their whole life is one long effort of denial.
And that one thing is the truth of doubt.
One of the ways I keep my own nebulous awareness positive is I remember how ignorant we all really are. Recognizing our commonality cuts through the sense of disconnection, and the isolation that follows. I remember, after certainty after certainty collapses, that what we think we know comes from our very limited ability to translate the world through our own mental processes, not someone else’s, and each one of ours is limited, at times to the point of blindness, and prone to emotional distortion.
Of course, that’s no reason to stand on the tracks and tell yourself the approaching train is an illusion. In certain circumstances I’m willing to take the risk I’m wrong and get off the tracks just in case what I’m perceiving is a real train.