Submissions for Algiz have closed but like the continual seasons, the next Rune rises from the bloated, bubbly, babbling of Drink Write Drink.
Mannaz– The Self
The starting point is the self…essence is water…right relationship to your self is primary…Be in the world but not of it…an ordinary live lived in a non-ordinary way…Remember at all times what is coming to be and passing away, and focus on that which abides. (Blum, 2008)
I think I loved transcendentalism since I first understood the (basics of the) concept – one shared soul. I loved the idea that the sense of self is an illusion and we are just one. It becomes difficult to investigate the self without understanding how that is defined by cutting away from what we dislike, disown in ourselves and others. Rarely is a sense of self seen as a way to connect yet is a demonstration of what we are connected to.
The language of self too is bottomless. A name, for example, can be triggering. If someone mispronounces your norm, calls by an incorrect name, suddenly we are offended – that’s not me. Nicknames change as we grow through phases and establish this sense of self. It’s challenged when we are asked to act outside of our usual understanding of self. And on and on…
One of my favorite conversations back the farm in Plainfield was about the author vs the self. The delineation is assumed for fiction writers and poets but for non-fiction memoirists, essayists, even journalist, where does the self end and the character begin? I discovered through these ruminations that I had been attracted to fiction because I was a coward and could shatter my soul-pieces, paint them, name them, and reconfigure them on the page. There are still pieces of fiction I won’t publish because I don’t feel the paint is dry; I don’t want anyone to see through to an obvious truth or revelation. I prefer the revelation happen within the reader, about themselves as a subject, instead of about the author.
For the visual artist, too, we have that nagging concept of gaze, attention, absorption. What part of our work reflects our vision and internal landscape? Even when we feel it is not autobiographical work, our subjects stem from our sense of self within (or without) community.
Is everything in some sense autobiographical?
Moreover, I am itching to pull this Rune apart away from sense of self to looking at what has been attached to the sense of self: what we consume, what we donate, what we hoard. Even the funhouse mirror that is social media generates a sense of self – whether or not it exists in the flesh. Is it possible self is shaped less by our age than by what we choose to share and what we choose to keep locked in?
I’ll be deep-diving the philosophy until a story breaks, an image rises, or the pitter patter of a poem passes by.
What does Mannaz evoke for you?
Blum, R. H.. (2008) The Book of Runes Twenty-fifth Anniversary addition. St. Martin’s Press: New York (pg.93)