tagReviews & EssaysOn Being 'Special'

On Being 'Special'

byEmeliaBell©

Do you ever hear a piece of music, a song, or see a picture that is so beautiful it almost makes your heart break with the poignancy of it?

Hallelujah came on the radio today, whilst I drove through damp green-grey fields and the limp winter hopelessness of the view combined with the music to create a great swell of achey sadness in me that rose up and choked me.

It was that particular kind of sadness to which there is a sort of sweet pleasure when you indulge it. You wallow and revel in the strength of your feelings and the powerful sense of melancholia. This proves it, you think to yourself, I am a living, feeling being with powers of sensitivity and empathy far beyond the norm. I must be truly special to be so moved by art.

You feel the same when you sit down in front of your keyboard, or your easel, or your computer. Surely a soul so moved by art must be able to create something that moves other, special human beings like yourself?

You feel turgid and swollen with emotion and ideas and the passionate, painful longing to create: to make a lasting testimony to your specialness, something that will make sure you are never forgotten.

This, after all, is what inspires so many to create, whether it is art or the next generation of snotty-nosed humans -- the longing for perpetuity. You are not so special, after all, for everyone wishes to live forever in some small way.

I might write my heart and soul onto the blinking screen of a computer, certain that something I say will strike a chord and connect: that children in generations to come will be faced with my books and essays and told to seek out hidden meanings in my choice of terminology.

You might choose to compose a ballad; a love song that will have more resonance than Yesterday, or I Will Always Love You. Someone else might try to photograph key moments of human interaction -- those precious seconds when the human subject drops the mask we all wear from day to day and lets some of their soul and spirit shine through.

I still have an image burned into my memory that makes me melt and I am furious at myself for not super-gluing a camera to my hand so that I would have been able to capture it.

The man I love, all muscled, six-plus foot of him, sitting stock-still on the sofa, face suffused with love, whilst his tiny nephew lies belly to belly on his front. His round, baby face is slack and flushed with sleep, a small stream of drool trickling down from his rosy, open mouth, his fat fingers clutching a handful of best-shirt.

The uninspired (or inspired depending upon your personal viewpoint) might consider the production of rug-rats to be the most worthy way to gain a little immortality, their genes passed down through generation after generation.

It is, however, only in the raising of these little miracles that genius can shine through: if you can produce a truly useful human being at the end of eighteen or twenty years then perhaps you have succeeded -- or is that success theirs to claim? After all, each of us can, in the end, only be responsible for our own self.

Such musings make me both smile and grimace, for whilst this diatribe is no doubt thoughtful to some extent, it doesn't express half of what I had hoped it would when I was driving.

Goodness knows why being in a car should inspire me to such profound thoughts anyway -- well, more profound than wondering what to cook for dinner tonight which is what I am more usually occupied with.

The last essay I wrote on a similar vein - though something tells me it was both more revealing and more profound - was also conceived during a short car journey, whilst the trees and people rushed by in a blur.

Perhaps it is that temporary sensation of isolation that occurs because you are so close to others, but enclosed within the separate sphere of a car, or perhaps it is the transitory feeling occasioned by the nature of a car-journey: a neither here nor there thing. Trains do something very similar although, perhaps it is the rhythmic motion of a train on its tracks, train journeys more usually inspire me to poetry.

Some days my emotions seem so very close to the surface that they must be expressed and repressing them leads to a sort of mental constipation that is as unhealthy as the physical sort.

As stream of consciousness writing goes, this is an elegant example, but seems to express an entirely different consciousness from that I was thinking. This is, perhaps, more a stream of unconsciousness...

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