Back to Living.

There’s a trade-off between career and quality of life, here. A conflagration of academic might and a passionate experiential delight. Both can’t happen together, and if you’ve never known my plight, you know it now. This is not a complaint, because I’ve had golden opportunities to enjoy both – but not at once. When you’re in the archives, the waking world ceases to exist. Long-dead ghosts of once-important people become your favorite bedfellows, and moldy manuscripts, dusty tomes, and leaf-like letters become your daily informational upload. Your concerns change to things that already happened, rather than on things that will or should happen. Your pulse changes, and so does your humor.

You become a willing concubine of the discipline of History.

With this highly-esteemed and intellectually-masturbatory position comes great responsibility. It isn’t popular history, accessible to the unwashed and unrefined masses – the ones with great opinions that are not-so-greatly informed or meted with theory, background, and perspective. You’re making a serious contribution to the living work of humanity, and the Humanities. Your day is centered around meetings, correspondence, and presentation. You dream of golden publishing opportunities, radio interviews on the BBC, and long, glorious nights in the pub with your university fellows, hashing over newly-birthed notions of timeline comparisons, and ruthlessly appropriating the voices of deceased gentlemen as if they were your very own. You transcend time, and connect the Then with the Now through your own interpretation and synthesis. You make a difference, and your life is forfeit to the Modern Age, but majestically coalesces with the aeons-old corpus of scholarly epiphany.

StudyRoom1
Have you ever been buried alive by dead men’s tomes?

Historians2
With great, labored pondering, we bring the dead to life again.

DrunkHistory
And the three cavaliers shall regurgitate no evil.

That is a world away now, but the memory lingers sweet on my lips like that the soft, first kiss of an awkward lover – the one you never forget but always try to repeat to no avail. I exchanged this passion for another one, which shares nothing in sentiment or process but its host. That other one is what I could not attain while suffocating in the acrid dust of the past: a progressive, colossally active and well-informed Modern Life. There was no time to do it then, and certainly no funds with which to flirt. The old discipline was all-consuming, and though it filled my dreams and thoughts, a pinpoint of light shone through to remind me of what could be, should I choose to return to humanity. So I traded in humanity for the Humanities, then. And now I celebrate the transition back, and what is built on the other side.

Now it’s a life full of action – full of technology, laughter, and inner growth. There is money to purchase delectable foodstuffs, tactile sartorial wonders, and astounding electronic gadgets that seem to transcend the established limits of humankind’s ability to manufacture. And, most importantly, there is time to enjoy them all. My dreams are no longer of temporal transposition, but rather of unwrinkling scar tissue and mountains of leisure reading that edify neglected parts of my mind, body, and spirit. And, of course, of porn. There’s always time for porn.

BeachSunset
And the world shall end with skies of fire and streets of sea.

BeachGhosts
And the dead shall rise and shamble toward the living, emerging from the mists like carrion crows.

FrescoUs
Sometimes limbs just fit, and serendipitous dreams blend together at the edges. Sometimes PR is simply unnecessary.

RedTie
Texture, form, elements of style for which we feel a great affinity. They often can’t be denied.

Swap1
Baked goods from delightful friends are more than simple affectations of kindness – they are armor and substance, and smiles can go even farther.

Swap2
And sometimes James Brown just deserves ejaculate in his mouth. Sometimes we all do.

My point is that with two separate lives that hold two separate goals and destinies, I have twice as much joy from their enterprise – and twice as much pain from their loss – as many others who are fortunate enough to cherish even one. But I am so, so happy to be alive and awake and aware. To be back where I’m comfortable, and yet to be able to forge ahead to the future. If the other dream should beckon tenaciously enough, there will be a return to old pages and old pints, but now I have to drink it all in exactly as it comes. My mouth is open, from wonder and anticipation. And mixed with that snide, confident smile is a tender grimace of melancholy memory…from what came before.

But I charge toward the light of the moment, lest I be eclipsed and overtaken by that which I try to control: Time and Tide. So I won’t try to fight it anymore, and there will be room for both in my life – just not at the same time.

Thank you to hermiston for helping me craft the old, and thank you to thistlelurid for assisting me with figuring out the new. You’re from two different lives and two separate dreams, and I hope beyond hopes that e’er the twain shall meet.

9 Responses to “Back to Living.”

  1. seolta Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 5:38 am

    ah such skies……

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 11:48 pm

    And how.

  3. defenestr8r Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 7:45 am

    all my comments this morning seem far too snarky for your delightful entry. i must be back in the south.
    you know i am familiar with this tug of war.
    **

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 11:49 pm

    Oh, so familiar.
    Sometimes I feel that I'm writing to you when I'm writing to me.

  5. thistlelurid Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 11:48 am

    my noggin looks funny in that pic bah :*) …but I guess worse things could happen! :*)
    your happiness makes me happy….and that james brown pic nearly had me
    wet myself……danny's talents bringing joy to the world!!!

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 12th, 2005 at 11:51 pm

    Your noggin looks completely normal in that picture. Don't get your bloomers in a bow.
    There's no resemblance to Ol' James, so don't think another thing of it.
    🙂

  7. noire_blanche Says:
    January 13th, 2005 at 3:49 am

    'So I traded in humanity for the Humanities'
    I love how one can get lost in the world you're sketching so adequately with words. Thank you for conjuring.
    The way your senses and sense coexist in your writings, you seem to have such equilibrium.
    An inspiration, truly.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    January 14th, 2005 at 2:44 am

    The equilibrium that you perceive is a perfect, delicate fabrication and not unlike a hearty ruse designed to attract supporters and affirmers, all.
    Thank you for falling prey to my wily ways.
    Hehe. But really, thank you kindly, as always, for your input and your good words. I get happy when I know that you're reading.

  9. noire_blanche Says:
    February 10th, 2005 at 11:01 am

    I gladly fall prey to any fabrication you can come up with, dear Darren. ; )
    <small>I do very much enjoy your writing. I regret not having more time to spend here in LJ land. There are so many inspiring thoughts to be enjoyed and gathered- like a bouquet of sorts. : )
    The feeling is entirely mutual by the way, and you have made my day indeed. *blush* </small>

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