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  • I remember when I loved to be sad. I could feel sorrow coming on like a cold, which I also had my fair share of in those days. I would wait for it, ready myself with Schubert's Death and the Maiden, luxuriate, a glutton. Unafraid of experience, I wanted to plumb the depths of melancholy and mine the reaches where great writers (to my mind all dead) had been.

    I congratulated myself for my willingness to "go there," to become substantial--figuring if the heights are equal to the depths, I was laying the invisible groundwork for the pedestal of my future self.

    Having passed through my brother's death, my mother's brush, and many perceived failures, I can recognize the pleasure I took from those forays, which may have prepared me and may have been merely clinging to what would seem enough. Sorrow is heavy; it doesn't take much to feel its abundance.

    Last night I watched Melancholia--a film my best friend wrote on his blog changed his life. He said he didn't know if he could ever watch it again, but he was glad he had. He dared his readers to risk that.

    Not many movies give me an experience in my body, so I tend to forget them. But the long cinematic montages--of Kirsten Dunst's heart-shaped cleavage in her bridal dress, of the horses tussling in their stables at the approaching planet's death dance with Earth, of the many angles cut by Charlotte Gainsbourg's sharp chin--displaced me from thought, the smallness of the body. I was broad existence.

    There are so many facets on this mirror ball, and I keep turning and turning to catch a few.

    I have a painting of the sculptor Camille Claudel--better known perhaps for posing as a model for Rodin. It was my graduation present to myself. The painter is David Iacovazzi-Pau and the portrait is painted from a photograph of Claudel that captures her fire. What he added is as powerful as the Mona Lisa, for her eyes are as mysteriously alive. Even choosing the above frame from a series of stills, I found her expression changed sixty times. How can I admire such range in a portrait and not myself?
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