Saturday 11 December 2010, 11:00 am
The temperature continues to drop, with it comes rain. In the past week, I collected my notes and observations on Trent. Two things remain clear: his behavior and mannerisms suggest a person secure in himself, yet at the same time there appears to be much which remains unsatisfied. He has a natural tendency to charm yet consciously works against his own tide. What must it be like to be so deeply disillusioned, where even sadness is deemed inadequate? Last week we left off with a poem, which speaks of a yearning to connect, but is it what he reflects? It is during this second meeting I explore this side to him.
Oh, to be born ardent and sad but,
summoned to this life,
to be the one who, tender and
well-dressed, is present
at the multiple surprise
in which he’s not involved
and, well-off, smiles
at a well-off woman from afar
— Rainer Maria Rilke
Trent, good to see you again.
[he appears more relaxed and with a playful smile]
Were you concerned I wouldn’t show?
Not at all.
Ah, I see we are switching seats.
I’m a creature of change. Would you like to maintain the original seating from our last meeting?
Uh…no…I suppose you can say I am a creature of habit.
I did order you an Americano.
Ah, thank you, I see you are having something different.
In the winter I prefer a bit of sweet to go with my caffeine.
A creature of change…no notepad or notes today?
[he sometimes repeats words as if an indication of his attention]
I do have both in the case, if I need them I will bring them out.
What’s on the agenda for today?
Getting to know you; the same as last week, and for however many weeks to follow.
How many more times will we do this?
We can stop whenever you like. Would you like to end these meetings today?
Not yet, no. Interviews. It is interviews, that make me uneasy.
What keeps you returning?
I said I would….and you don’t seem to have a hidden agenda.
[a man of his word yet seems to question motives of those he meets]
As I said, we will do things at your pace. With that in mind, tell me more about what makes you a creature of habit?
[there is a slight grin across his face, definitely more relaxed than the first time]
Well, so I moved from the city of Bridgeport, where I was born, to Monte Vista and for the last decade my days are similar. Each beginning with the sunrise, a wander into town, to the art gallery, to a café, reading Rilke, composing music etc.
I took notice last week you wandered about the shoreline before our meeting.
Ah, yes. Last night as I had a look at the forecast for today, I decided to have my walk about then. It really was a clear night. Clear and quiet.
Wandering about sounds peaceful.
It can be, yes.
Are there moments when it is less peaceful?
When are those moments?
When I stop and think about Bridgeport.
How often does that happen?
[there is a significant change in demeanor, the friendly, warm look on his face becomes less apparent]
Not a day goes by.
It sounds as if Bridgeport is something you would rather not talk about.
[he has this thing where he answers questions with a look rather than words]
All right, so, last week, I noticed four women greeted you all in a matter of a quarter hour.
I noticed that too, yes. It is the inherited Roger effect.
I believe in some circles temperament and traits are considered inherited, Roger, my father, has a charming temperament.
What does that mean?
Women find him charming and in a way he wanders in and out of the lives of every woman who ever paid him attention.
How does that charming temperament translate on to you?
I do the opposite with women. I don’t wander into their lives…so…you are married, yes?
For how long?
Almost as long as you’ve lived in Monte Vista. Is marriage something that interests you?
It does not, no. Though I am curious about how people connect with one another for long periods of time.
What is it you wish to learn about connecting with another person?
The ability to build a connection.
What does it mean to you, to build a connection?
I…would imagine it means one invests time in another person. To learn about them, who they are, what moves them…
Is building a connection to you strictly reserved for marriage?
Well, no, but I suppose it ultimately leads to it…or be expected.
Who are the people you feel most connected to?
No one, really. Well, I mean, there is Hank. An old friend of the family, who raised me. It is a type of familial connection.
Is there a family in your life?
There is only Hank. My mother, Josephine, passed when I was four. Roger, well, he disappeared.
The poem you shared at the last meeting, it seemed to end with a certain yearning to connect, what does it say to you?
It speaks to me of the journey a person born of a passionate and sorrowful temperament. Two ideas that might seem opposite of one another.
Ardent and sad are seemingly at odds. I don’t believe it would cause a person to become apathetic as the title might imply.
What do you think being ardent and sad can lead a person to be?
To retreat within oneself which is not the same as becoming apathetic. It is what I saw in Rilke’s work. He retreated into his own passion and sorrow.
Is that something you are familiar with, retreating?
Well…I suppose…I do that.
What about the last stanza, what does it say to you?
By retreating, a person may avoid unearthing certain truths. But it can lead to yearning for something more. The metaphor of the woman in the distance, it speaks to me of a longing for a genuine connection.
You composed a song to this particular poem?
I did, yes.