by katefantastic

‎”Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.”

–Jhumpa Lahiri

What I have been thinking about, lately, is bewilderment as a way of entering the day as much as the work. Bewilderment as a poetics and an ethics… There is a muslim prayer that says, “Lord, increase my bewilderment,” and this prayer is also mine and the strange Whoever who goes under the name of “I” in my poems–and under multiple names in my fiction–where error, errancy and bewilderment are the main forces that signal a story.

Bewilderment is an enchantment that follows a complete collapse of reference and reconcilability.

Bewilderment circumnambulates, believing that at the center of errant or circular movement, is the axis of reality.”

–Fanny Howe, full text found here


This is what I have to say about bewilderment today: BE-WILDER-ment.

To say it with more words: I have been tossing & turning in my sleep, waking up six times in the night, waking up with my arms crossed under my body like lying face down in a straight jacket so the muscles in my shoulders were almost too stiff to move. There is pain, yes. I have been feeling bewildered by it, bewildered in general, a state which Lahiri & Howe so beautifully articulated for me.

& what I am holding on to now is that word of Howe’s: Enchantment. At the center of the energy, the collapse, the wilderness, I will find the wildness in me. I will be more wild for it. & it will be its own magic, “an enchantment that follows…”

I have also been thinking about bewilderment as an ethics. I have been thinking about ethics in general, about my values. I think bewilderment as a moral code is an interesting & perhaps brilliant idea. How would I approach situations if my ethical stance was to acknowledge that I come to each moment a wild & long-lost learner? As always, I hope I would approach with kindness.

I am working on accepting & embracing bewilderment–I am being wilder.