Saturday, May 19, 2007

‘The Spirit of Delight’

Virginia Woolf speaks of visits by the ‘spirit of delight’, and my friend Carol Gibson of the same experience. As does my partner in ‘magic moments’. And I am reminded of it by Proust’s ‘madelaine’, the taste of which sets off ‘A la recherché du temps perdus’ (‘Remembrance of Things Past’). And I am occasionally and unexpectedly found by this seductive phantom. And wait and long for more.

Yesterday - remarkably - there were several calls.

The first was brought on by the perfume base of the cold cream worn by a tall slim elegant late thirty-something woman in a Cuban restaurant, ‘Café Havana’ in Malate, one of the districts in the former night life (i.e. sex industry) area of the city. Which is now re-constructing itself as a trendy hip Paddington (Sydney) Chelsea (London) Soho (New York) shopping, dining out and clubbing scene.

And then twice later in the evening in ‘The Library’, a gay karaoke-Comedy Café venue. Similarly evoked by the same scent.

The delight was in the intense and vivid sensations associated with passively imaging, in a random fashion, the very specificness of the ordinary day-to-day lives of each of these people. The actuality of the feel, colour and odour of their clothing, and of the objects in the rooms in their houses. The essences of their children, partners and lovers. The particular way they moved about. Their gestures. And the manner of conducting the events of each day in their social roles. Particular to and defining them.

There is no effort in undertaking this imagining and no need to consciously direct my thoughts. I am simply guided, unexpectedly this way and then that.

Curiously, and like a shape-shifter, the spirit assumes many forms, almost as many at the number of visitations. Which is integral to the pleasure it brings. At least for me. It has been the still recognizable smell of the paper of my first ‘John and Betty’ Reader in primary school. And the cool hard finger touch of the surfaces ad edges of the large cut-glass beads of my grandmother’s costume jewellery. I guess if there is any underlying continuity, it’s something visceral and emotional. But the sensation is not that first experienced – it’s the remembrance of it. And through the passage of time, the emotion has in some way been distilled and intensified. Like a good stock.

I need to be ready for these moments to be able to fully appreciate them. Cos they are so fleeting. Maybe five minutes if you are very very lucky. I drop everything and, perhaps like Bernadette of Lourdes, and many of the Catholic saints for that matter, drift into a near dream-like state to fully immerse myself.

Mmm. Better take my medication!

But seriously, do any of you know this?

No comments:

Post a Comment