Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Is The Story That I Tell Myself So That I Can Begin

This is the story that I tell myself so that I can begin to write, to love, and to live.

This is my office gargoyle*:

As you can see, he -- and for some reason I think of him as "he," but occasionally as "she" -- sits in my window of my home office. As I write, we contemplate one another with the same expression. In fact, I've come to insist that we always sit in a position in which we can maintain eye-contact when I look up. I think of him -- or her -- as quite helpful. As an ugly but benevolent being, she -- or he -- embodies something that enables me to write.

I've come to imagine all of the nasty, hateful voices that I have internalized and expanded upon as ugly little gremlins of varying sizes who undermine all of my ambitions, passions and successes. In fact, they feed off of them. They have voices that have multiple tones, much like a piano chord, with each note being the voice of a specific person, but all somehow sounding just like me. They keep me from writing.

I'm trying now to imagine the good voices, the ones I want to claim but somehow won't let myself. What do they look like or sound like? How can they fight off the gremlins. I like to think of my ambitions and passions and successes as the better angels of my nature. I just can't quite imagine them as angels. Angels have too much baggage and seem too foreign to my own mythology, which seems to be populated with monstrous beings. Yet, I still imagine these better angels as creatures with wings. The gargoyle seems to be the solution. Stuck as I am between the gremlins and the angels, an ugly creature with wings, who scares off evil spirits, has become my totem.

The office gargoyle sits there, as we contemplate one another with the same expression, and reminds me to tell the gremlins to shut the hell up, just in case I forget.

*Actually, he -- or she -- is a grotesque. Gargoyles are water spouts, creatures who "gargle," but I like the sound of the word, so I call grotesques "gargoyles."


Ink said...

Love, love, love this concept. I have some grotesques around too, but I've never thought of them as helping to quell the critics' voices. Nice!

And may I say how cool your office gargoyle is? Like the looks of hir.

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Yep. This is what I needed this morning. I had another one of those transitory epiphanies last night where I realized that if I wanted those voices to shut the hell up, I needed to stop hanging out in the place in my head where I was likely to hear them. Don't know if it'll stick. I could probably use a gargoyle too. Hell, I'm a medievalist, so why not?

(word confirmation: phoot = the noise you make blowing all those little gremlins away with a strong puff of air: phoot!)

life_of_a_fool said...

I also *love* the gargoyle/grotesque. I have one, but it never occurred to me to put it in my office. I so need another one!!

Digger said...

I love your gargoyle (I call mine gargoyles too, even though they don't gargle). I've never thought of them with respect to writing; maybe it will help!

profacero said...

Excellent, excellent, just what I needed to read today! :-)

octopod said...

Damn fine idea. I think I will move my little bronze statue of Durga into my office -- so fierce, so heavily armed and mounted, and yet so blissful, because she knows she can win. Thank you for the inspiration.

Jennifer Peepas said...

I really love the idea of personifying your muse and your demons. Gargoyle is fantastic!

Clio Bluestocking said...

I'm so glad everyone liked it! This was just a throwaway type of post, simply to post.

Also, thank you to Shakesville for the link!


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