Sunday, March 8, 2009

Inside and out

A while back I wrote a post about the odd effect of having one's worldview skewed because of a book. (At least I think I did -- can't find it in the blog search just now.) And just a few months ago, prompted by a conversation with a colleague, I wrote about not feeling life I have an interior life that's different from my exterior behavior.

Today those two ideas collided while I traveled home. I finished reading Washington Square, and experienced again the sensation of a mind full of ideas and emotions while alone in a place where nobody else shares that experience. And I realized that this is an important recurring occasion when I do feel as if I have an interior life.

So all of a sudden, I remember what it's like to feel your self overflowing its shell -- the depths of the self invisible to outside observers. It's like having a secret. Something is happening to you that no one else can see. You want to live inside your memories or your fantasies. When a moment comes back to you with a rush of emotion, you have physical sensations -- your gut twisting, or your skin tingling. The power of the internal to overwhelm sensory experience is suddenly, undeniably evident.

It's a troubling sensation for me only because I've come to rely on my externally-focused self in order to get things done. When I'm in these reveries that are so rare these days, provoked by memory or artistry, I can't imagine resurfacing for ordinary tasks. But my interior journey passed the day of travel for me in a pleasant haze, and serves as a reminder of that adolescent sense that my self was bigger than anyone could know -- something I haven't felt, or at least noticed, in quite a while.

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