Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Want I Want I Want...


Saul Bellow wrote all about a bloke called Humboldt, unable, despite his travels around the world, to find the answer or the cure to his perpetual inner voice saying 'I want' without naming what.
Just 'I want'.
I read this when I was about fourteen and thought it was a rather long-winded trifle, something about nothing.
I was able then to say 'I want' and make it stick.
I may have wanted the wrong things; I may not have got them; but I knew what I wanted when I wanted it.

After being forced to spend yet another year in Britain, a country which has become, long ago, entirely foreign to me, I find the pressure to co-relate, that chain which has other prisoners of this place at its end, is forcing me to understand the 'positivism' which infects critique of the realm, the idiotic optimism that tries to make the best of a thoroughly bad thing; I caught myself comprehending what was meant by all those 'qualities' of Englishness, the 'thorn-ridden roses' among women that are really just yellowy nettle-beds that sting the hell out of you, but will, if absolutely essential bear you children.

What for I can only guess.

But this is what struck me in a spare moment today:
I don't want the rose. I don't want sophisticated banter. I don't want humour if it is a stand in for despair, not joy. I don't want wit. I don't want all the curlicued fenestrations that block out the light and surround us with black weeds choking the life out of us by petty degree on a day-to-day basis.

I want plain speaking people in a place where the plain speaking people rule, or are so numerous that 'sophistication' (needless twisting) would be wasted on them; I want plain beauty where beauty isn't sacrificed or slandered as soon as it appears.
I want honesty.


And I won't get it here, of that I am quite sure.

2 comments:

Graham Cragher said...

Bellows seems to have been echoing Schopenhauer.

Pietr said...

That fact is something to which I am profoundly indifferent.