Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Disappearing Acts / Sabbaticals
Two totally unrelated things. Firstly this, the tragic and strange story of a doctor who vanished from work six months ago, and who's body was discovered in the Lake District yesterday. Nobody knows why or how he vanished. All that is known is that he parked his car as normal, put his jacket over the back of his chair, and then disappeared. I remember hearing an urban myth about someone who 'disappeared' from Newcastle to Middlesborough and wasn't seen or heard of by his family for twenty years, despite extensive searching on their behalf. 30 miles for a new life?
I've always been intrigued by the idea of people just dropping things and leaving, and the more they 'drop' the more fascinated I become. The interest is increased in cases where the disappeared seems to have no reason for undertaking such drastic action; for example I'm not interested in Richey Manic's tragic flee from modern life, or whatever it was.
Obviously disappearing, like suicide, is an intensely self-centered act, emotionally damaging for anyone close to the disappeared by giving rise to guilt/doubt etcetera, not to mention the intense pain of speculation, of simply not knowing what has become of someone you loved. But at the same time I see the decision, especially the apros of nothing decision, to leave behind your life completely and utterly, almost as an an ultimate affirmation of the realisation of the existential self, the discovery that one can do anything, that one needn't be tied to place or object or even people. How powerful you must become if you realise, fearlessly, that wherever you go you will encounter people you can get along with, find a job of work that you can do in order to sustain yourself, find a new circus game to distract and entertain you? (I hesitated to use the word 'powerful' as I'm not normally concerned by it, but I really couldn't think of another, better alternative, and a synonym for 'powerful' would have been a cop-out.)
I guess this almost ties in with the whole idea/myth of the wanderer/ranger/drifter type person who is never anything more than a fleeting moment in people's lives, but it's not the same, because the wanderer is always object rather than subject; you (or one) is never a wanderer; it is always someone else, and the idea of the existential (wo)man realising his/her capability of upping sticks and leaving with nary a goodbye is a very much more personal thing. Or at least it is for me. To the family of the doctor above, and, I guess, of anyone else who has ever vanished mysteriously, the disappeared is always other.
Search; Grosse Point Blank.
The second thing is related, in a way, and is a simple question. What the fuck did Terence Mallick do between 1978 (and Days Of Heaven) and 1998 (The Thin Red Line)?!
1/07/2004 01:54:00 pm