Friday, June 13, 2014

The library and tricksters

I am finding I am not posting to Blogger much because I hardly use the desk top computer anymore.  These days, I am attached at the hip to the I-pad, and it is a machine only good for some things.  Our habits seem to change as the technology evolves.  Our communications, too, seem to change as the programs and platforms change.

Oh, well, back to the good old days:  my husband and I actually cycled to the library together, last night, met friends in the foyer, cycled back, and had the neighbors over afterward in the garden for late night snack.  Maybe someday, soon, we will be fed up with all the technology and the sitting before screens on our butts. The computer era will be over!  Maybe.   My husband marveled that he had not been to a public library in decades.

Anyways, the library had kindly brought in "The Trickster Makes this World" (Hyde) for me and I have finished reading it.  I don't quite know whom I would recommend it to.  It was interesting and I know some people who think it is incredibly meaningful.  There were some ironies for me.  One was that I am reading a book that deals in part with native cultures and trickster mythology in a place still settled by native peoples.  In the summers I have been to native reserves in the north and seen and heard things first hand.  Also, at night in this country we listen to CBC radio, where such treatment of ideas is commonplace, and such stories are actually told by actual first nations people on air. Ironic, too, is that the book came from inter-library loan from the library in St. Albert, as stamped on the side of the book.  St. Albert was Father Albert Lacombe, a pioneer worker and evangelist with the native peoples in the times of the building of the railroads, etc.

Hyde, the author, wants to make a connection between the trickster and the artist, show the archetypal connection between consciousness, creativity and mischief.  Ok.  We find that the trickster is always male, operates in polytheistic settings, has an insatiable appetite, but never fathers children, or else he is coyote or raven, carrion eating animals. We hear about preoccupation with excrement and Jung's vision of the turd falling down onto the roof of the church.  The trickster is not exactly like Satan.  None of this is particularly fruitful ground for my imagination or pleasure.

I would also expect that there are different approaches to art than this, which are also very legitimate, but Hyde does not go there.  He wants to explore the borderlands of the trickster.

I can't say that I enjoyed the book overly much, though I would not say that I did not enjoy it, at all.  It surprised me, too, that the book was completely lacking in any kind of levity or humor.  You would think in a book about tricksters something could be funny.  There should be in everyone at least a small vein of at least self-deprecating humor.  What kind of trickster can't laugh at himself?

Most interesting for me are always things to do with real lives.  So I found the story of Frederick Douglas fascinating, as well as the recollections of the Chinese-American as they related to shame and guilt perception.  I might like to read their books.

Hyde's book on Tricksters reminds me of a real life trickster, Casanova, whose auto-biography I have been reading in spurts from free I-books.  He also was full of intrigue, insatiable appetite, quite creative, charming, manipulative.  His mischief knew no bounds at times, resorting even to violence.  He was amoral and immoral.  It would be good to never meet him in real life.  But he does describe real people and places in vivid and sensitive detail.  In that sense he becomes interesting to me.  He is a trickster who writes real stuff. I am getting quite intimately acquainted with him through his incredibly long and thorough accounts (which are not particularly erotic, if someone cared to note that).

Ah.  Just never fall in love with such a guy.  Nothing but trouble.

I love art, too.  But I don't particularly care for trickster's methods.

No comments: