Saturday, March 17, 2018


We have a dear mutual friend in Canada who is in the throes of completing an important artistic project.  The absolute deadline is March 31st (though she hopes to surface successfully by no later than March 26th).  Several weeks ago she announced to us and her other close friends that she wished to sequester herself in her studio and that during that time she would no longer be available for interactions. Though naturally I cannot speak for the deportment of her other friends, I can readily report that for our part we have remained withdrawn and therefore permitted her to do the same.  This particular project has been on the books for the past four or five months at least.  However our friend has during that same period unhapply encountered innumerable personal conflicts which obviously have done nothing to expedite or facilitate her required attention to the project.

What makes the project so compelling is that it is the story of a person's self-expression.  Our friend has the unfortunate quality of being often more generous to others than she is to herself.  While the failing is easily advanced as a strength in many circles, it has the regrettable corollary of diluting what are sometimes one's equally important personal characteristics.  It is after all no small matter to look after the interests of others and oneself at the same time.  But in this instance, our friend knew that the time had come to opt for the less altruistic choice.  Perhaps part of the resource for the motivation was the disagreeable events which had recently transpired in her life, events which may for example have paradoxically encouraged the jaundiced view that selfless concern for the well-being of others is not all it is cracked up to be.  In addition I suspect part of the evolution arose from the mere effuxion of time, an awakening to the necessity to manifest one's duties by fulfilling one's personal obligations and ambitions. This may be nothing more than part of the aging process, a worthy result which I for one consider to be a distinct advantage over the uncertainty of youth.  Though I cannot pretend to comprehend the complexity of our friend especially profoundly I nonetheless fathom that this direction is both healthful and necessary.  Our friend meanwhile stylized the process as one of rejuvenation and discovery, not the least of which was distancing herself from past models of behaviour which, sometimes for purely commercial reasons, had dominated her.  Of course it is understandable that one's conduct is at times governed by the realities of production and commerce; but when the time at last arrives to free oneself from the shackles of retail in preference for the delight of one's unadulterated idiom, the choice is clear.  It was I believe in this vernacular that our friend attacked what was at hand.  We vicariously joined her in the laudable endeavour.  Indeed I confess that my objective involved an unabashed degree of both interest and intent.  We became involved together in the outcome. To a degree our goal was no less manifest than hers.

The material world readily surpasses the influence of even the most sophisticated agenda.  Whether it is food, constipation or poor weather, it requires conviction to sustain a preoccupation with what are other than life's mirthless and elemental features.  As so often happens I too have lately undergone recent misadventure which has serendipitously succeeded to preoccupy my own existence. These disagreeable events transpired during the same period of sequestration of my friend. I am not suggesting that I became overwhelmed by my own misfortune at the expense of my friend's aspirations - indeed there hasn't been a day go by that we haven't contemplated the goings on of our friend during her sequestration - but at least we had the fringe benefit of diverting ourselves with the necessity of my own recovery from health problems.  This meant that every morning we propelled ourselves along the beach for a one-mile walk to and from the nearest Lifeguard stand. As trifling as the exercise may sound I nonetheless afterwards found myself willingly prone upon a chaise longue beside by the pool, lying in the sun, for an hour or more.

This unglamorous routine was repeated again today.  Interestingly our own plans involve the date of April 2nd which is very close to the fruition of our friend's arrangements.  And before long thereafter we shall be reunited in Canada, enabled to speak to one another in person and to recollect what has taken place in the past winter.

It was in this context that this evening we received a telephone call from our friend.  She advised that she could no longer endure the isolation. Significantly our conversation went on a full hour.  Essentially we both got "caught up" on what had happened in the past several weeks. Pointedly much of what our friend reported involved various exemplifications of her current higher purpose; namely, to fulfill her own desires in her own way.  Our accounts were far less esoteric, involving a description of familial reunion and a battle with a bank.  But all of us felt fulfilled by the sharing.  Before signing off, we resolved to continue the erstwhile sequestration (until March 26th that is).  The predominance of the purpose has not in the least evaporated with time.  It remains critical to observe whatever is required to fulfill the project.

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