Sunday, January 22, 2012

Editor's Choice

How vivid the memories of the Bedtime Story. Nestled under the covers, my mother would come and read from a marvelous leather-bound and gilded edition of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories. Kipling revealed the secrets of how things came to be as they are. Many times a question of survival, often linked to behavior, but always about adaptation. And there were subconscious lessons to be learned in the tales of how the elephant got his trunk, how the leopard got his spots, or how the camel got his hump.

I recently finished Saul Bellow's Henderson, The Rain King. I share this passasge from King Dahfu of the Wariri:

"...he began to talk again about the connection between the body and the brain. He said “It’s all a matter of having a desirable model in the cortex. For the noble self-conception is everything. For as conception is, so the fellow is. Put differently, you are the flesh as your soul is. And in the manner described a fellow really is the artist of himself. Body and face are secretly painted by the spirit of man, working through the cortex and brain ventricles three and four, which direct the flow of vital energy all over. And this explains what I am so excited about, Henderson-Sungo.”

This struck me as an important idea if one finds oneself in a situation where a change is desirable. You do not have to play out the story that may seem written for you. You can be both the editor, and the artist of yourself.

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