Music and theater and opera and art and the whole damn thing.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Time and Space and Wagner (and my apartment)

The real wealth, the thing we spend and cannot renew, is Time. Yet so much of it is wasted. (How much time did I spend dwelling on the beauty of a certain painting in a museum, vis-a-vis the amount of time I spent purchasing tickets, making reservations, packing, getting to the airport, flying to the destination, getting to a hotel, recovering from the trip, eating breakfast, seeking out the tourist office, finding my way to the museum in question. What will come to my mind when I let my mind drift, unfocused, back to the trip? Rouen Cathedral by Monet or the cab up to Montmartre? Or throwing up dinner?)

So I look around Thangorodrim East (my flat in Greenwich Village; Thangorodrim West was in Seattle) at the heaps of slag, unsorted paper, books, DVDs, VHS tapes (someone in the building just threw out 300 movies – I only took thirty I swear), clothes I never wear, and all that unplayable vinyl. There isn't Time to make proper use of it all and the Time I've got I piss away, not even writing, blaming it on depression. Stymied I tell you. And I'm not getting more of it. I've asked my broker, Catherine, what to invest in to get more Time; she had no suggestions.

More Space would be nice too. Those are the two things I really need (and self-esteem, and good conversation, and more travel): Time and Space. Space I can perhaps do something about. I gave a brunch party a couple of years back for four well-built athletic gay men; they moved my furniture around, and then I fed them. (They'd never heard of cornichons. How gay can they have been?) If I could throw things out (the VHS tapes get tossed after one viewing – except I'm keeping the Astaire-Rodgers ones; the opera DVDs get sent to Maggie in northern British Columbia for six months on average, but they do come back; I'm beginning to toss whole crannies of vinyl, much of it unplayed in twenty years; undershirts also get tossed) I might have some space. It's a small apartment, I admit. I've almost filled the Gulag-Around-the-Corner, as I call my storage closet on Vandam Street. (Things vanish to it in the dead of night, sometimes never to be heard from again, sometimes to reappear years later – hence, the Gulag – there's a painting in there that I'd love to find, but it would take two or three muscular people to find it.)

It's small, but it's New York, and it's rent stabilized, and I should be able to make it work. For one person. (Don't even think of moving in with me. Or spending a night with me.)

Reflecting on Time and Space makes me think of Act I of Parsifal. Parsifal, who hasn't said anything much except "Das weiss ich nicht" (I dunno), suddenly notices the landscape is moving although he and Gurnemanz are hardly walking at all. Gurnemanz replies (with most unusual - for him - concision), "Zum Raum wird hier die Zeit" (Here Space becomes Time). Will Berger (author of Wagner Without Tears) tells me, "He means to travel thru time is to travel thru space, so there's no need to walk in a "spiritual" place such as the land of the grail." He attributes this to a vague understanding (by Wagner) of the Rig Veda (which he'd been studying, casually), and in which a union of Time and Space in perfect godly aeon had broken down to produce the present imperfect age. Parsifal has strayed (that is, been mystically invited by the Grail itself) into the one place where the union is preserved.

This relates, perhaps, to Tolkien's Lothlorien, preserved by Galadriel's Ring from the passing of swift human time, and therefore revealing a glimpse (Tolkien's favorite word) of the Eldar Days, the golden First Age of Middle Earth. Tolkien loathed Wagner's take on Norse mythology - and even more his take on Christianity - but linguistically they connected to similar sources of lore, and the revival of ancient mythic systems was a great inspiration to both men.

Now in what ways are Time and Space equal? Space evidences the movement of Time, which otherwise we might not notice, and certainly not worry about so much. Time gives Space a scope in which to operate.

Perhaps if I moved to someplace in Queens....