Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You Know That Feeling

Regardless of how you voted or how you feel about the outcome, today you have to find yourself thinking, "This is important." I'm a little speechless* and exhausted, and I know others who specialize in such things will blog about last night far more eloquently than I can. So I'm going to stick to what I know, writing, though I get back to history eventually.

I used to direct plays, in high school and college and just after. One technique actors sometimes use is an emotion memory exercise, where, in order to put themselves into the shoes of a character experiencing a certain emotion, they remember a time when they themselves felt that emotion, and try to recall all the sensations associated with it. The joke is that any time anything happens to an actor, it's material. So when your actor friend gets dumped and he's miserable, you tell him, "Use it."

You can see the connection with writing.

Today I am wondering how I would write this feeling. You know that feeling? When you're shocked out of your everyday existence and you feel un-ignorably part of history. You come out from behind your sinking into the sofa with your laptop self and find yourself part of the world. There's a physical sensation: faster pulse, quicker reflexes, you're quick to tears or to giggle. There's frustration with people who don't understand,** with having to eat or drive to work or make lunch. How can I have to pick up the dry cleaning when All This is going on? All you want to do is talk about it, process it, celebrate it, in part because you're shocked there's not more to it. Why does life seem so much the same, when Something Bigger is afoot?

I can't write it. I can't even think of the word I want. It's not quite "shocked" or "important" or "overwhelmed." We may need to invent a new word. Can you help?

* And by "speechless," I obviously mean "able to blather at length."
** Who, say, upon hearing about the historic moment in which she is living, ask, "Is that whole English muffin for me or do I have to share?" She came around later, after some calories. No use trying to explain anything to an empty stomach in my house.


Candace Ryan said...

Sounds like satori to me.

J. Thorp said...

I know the feeling, J -- and I'm not sure I can describe it either. My feelings were complicated by the desire to be a part of, to soak up, the history; apprehension regarding the fringier elements of our society; a few fundamental disagreements with the president-elect, etc.

Ultimately, I did post a blog about it. It doesn't do justice or precisely hit upon what you are asking about, but it's here.

Jacqui said...

Mmm. Candace, it's like mundane satori, I think.

Thorp, going now to see it.