Tuesday, July 8, 2014

(To continue on with post family vacation thoughts...)  The highest form of love, the reason why we're here, the mark of a real human being, is to help with the realization that life is suffering, always a dissatisfactory quality to the moment if you think about it.  If you can show that a relationship bears the same thing, that there is always some suffering to life, then I think you're being real.  (And maybe that's the beauty of sex, done properly.)

I think of Platonov's short story "Amongst Animals and Plants," the simple tale of a railroad worker that begins with him walking in the forest, somewhere far away from important people, except those who whiz by on a train sipping something pink and sparkling.  Insignificant everyday creatures, a rabbit playing in its litter.   To my reading, this is a great and final portrait of a writer, a kind of insignificant idiot, a worker at some pedestrian thing as far as the sense of making money in the world.  Through a knee-reaction, thinking of the well-being of others, the character of the story acts.

In a country steeped in reality, Russia, let's say, for the sake of argument, given the general origin of Platonov, to write about such a person in such a way has value, literary importance, acceptance as a form of teaching which deserves serious attention and respect, even if the writer is never going to be rich from the duties of his caste in life.

In a less real place, who would bother with such a story about an insignificant person, plain as a growth of moss on a log, who does something of a significance beyond himself.  Platonov's characters, many of whom can barely bare a relationship, are real;  they speak of the universal unsatisfactory quality of existence in a way the people on the train, living a higher life, favored by the party, cannot yet appreciate, as if distracted.

It would be no surprise to me if a real writer were an insignificant person, almost an idiot, who works at a job so utterly mundane that people would wonder what happened to him.

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