Sunday, December 22, 2013

Capturing the Elusive

'Tis the season for the Christmas tree to reclaim its corner of the living room. Admiring the decorated fir from the couch, I'm enraptured by the tree's cozy glow. Hazy golden lights; twinkling reflections across strands of garland; familiar ornaments, remembered from childhood. It's like having a silent, steadfast friend by your side - calmly smiling, pushing against winter's chill.

Elusive beauty...
A fully dressed and lit up Christmas tree looks nice; and this prompts many of us to take a picture of it. I do this every year, and every time I'm disappointed that the Christmas tree picture never does justice to seeing it with my own eyes. Is it a lighting issue? Lack of proper photography equipment and/or the expertise to use it?

Camera aside, it was also impossible to write the first paragraph of this post without it coming across as overly sentimental and possibly, I don't really think the Christmas tree is my friend :) The words above don't come close to the intangible way I feel looking at the tree in the evening - all cozy in my PJs, wrapped in blankets. The radiators sputtering heat; napping pets and a loved one nearby.

Maybe the Christmas tree is so alluring because its essence cannot be captured or defined.

Sometimes I think about how the novel and other written forms have existed for hundreds of years, and wonder how it's possible that there are still any stories left to tell.  Even though the same themes have fueled artistic works for centuries - love, death, betrayal, existential questioning, etc. - these topics have been explored in a myriad of ways. Each writer's unique perspective undoubtedly plays a part. But beyond that, perhaps the reason why our art circles around the same big topics is simply because the "basic" aspects of human existence are impossible to pin down.

We are drawn to the elusive, and search for the grain of knowledge buried within. We take pictures of our lovely Christmas trees, and desperately write about our pains and triumphs. Trying to capture a mysterious meaning, to uncover a slippery truth. We strive to create something tangible that we can look back on and say yes, I was happy then. Yes, I understood, and this will help me understand again.

Happy holidays!!! Cheers to the stories of 2014 - and beyond.