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Ugly Muse: Part 2

Ongoing reflection on the power of impartial and broad-minded ideation on dissimilar domains, disciplines or objectives, as well as how such can be inspired by most unlikely Muses.

Over time, while gaining global experience, I have come to learn and believe that imaginative outlook and creative thinking are not exclusive to arts, design or media but pertinent to extremely diverse realms.  And so, despite the fact that projects I was introduced to were totally outside of my sphere of knowledge or past experiences, I found them exciting, and challenging to my mind and imagination. After all, life is short, and hence what is the point of restricting oneself to the safety of what has been done before? The true thrill is ignited by novel challenges one has not faced or risked prior. While, admittedly, such a way of living can be unnerving, it is intellectually and creatively stimulating and extraordinarily motivational.

For in an open, flexible, hungry and imaginative mind everything, however dark, dismal, or incredibly attractive, can transform into an unexpected and potentially vast and even endless canvas for creativity. Yet I soon learned that realities can be shockingly sobering, repulsive, revoltingly smelly and perplexing.

Just a couple of days after an endless flight from California to Singapore, we are off on a yet another red eye, this time to China. After several hours in the air, witnessing the birth of a brand new day, we descend into the first of the two cities, this particular one in the Yunnan province, known for diversity of cultural minorities which result in their society being uniquely rich and multicultural. The hotel we arrived at was unexpectedly posh, yet with accents that I find rather typically Chinese. For where else would one find opulent and prosperous golden flowers or beautiful arrangements of lilies entrapped in metal confines?

After a brief shower, followed by an unexpectedly delicious coffee, we are gathered and head off to a meeting. Immediately upon arrival at the destination, in what initially appeared to be gardens, we are presented with colorful construction helmets and led on for a tour of the painful realities hidden behind the bushes.

Parading through the landscape of what clearly used to represent rather magnificent gardens, which in the passing of time have been allowed to deteriorate into highly disheveled greenery, we emerge out into an enormous open clearing. There spreading before us, stands an immense, no, GARGANTUAN would denote a much more appropriate a term, abandoned warehouse. What treasures might it hold within?

Its vastness is now reflected only through its rusty, decaying skeletal structures, still clearly reminiscent of its bygone glory, and an almost regal importance in the lives of those whom it housed and protected against outwardly elements. Once upon a time, now overshadowed by new technological advancements, it provided their secure livelihood and seemingly never to be doubted and questioned stability and future.

Yet now all of it has dissipated in the winds of progressing and furthering times. Desolate, empty, filthy, rusting in the winds blowing through its giant broken windows and missing gates, it still projects a distant memory of the glorious bygones. Yet, despite its deteriorated state or decapitated identity and pride, it is begging, no, screaming with all of its soundless might, for a new purpose, brand new mission, meaning, reincarnation and yes, a second chance on life, life that shall reignite its past calling, glory and pride.

Feeling for it, saddened, touched by its lost life-force, I realized, and instantly was deeply moved by how such seemingly lifeless, or rather “comatose” might express it best, entities can project emotional stories that not only make us humans listen and feel but also identify with. Makes one wonder whether one day we might discover a means for inanimate entities to communicate their experiences, stories and feelings? Just imagine what amazing tales of forgotten realities through time and space would unveil before us…?

For now, though, even without these futuristic technological advances, it is my deep instant impression, emotional connection, profoundly intense appreciation for its glorious past that, like “love at first sight,” has turned into an inspiration, a Muse emerging out of the dusty ashes of the adrift nowhere.

Oddly, despite the mythological tales enriching her sensuous depictions, here the Muse did not take on the shape of a stunning female fondling our imagination with tantalizing touches of her willowy fingers, by doing so igniting and steering intoxicating emotional arousal that inspires a creative mind and soul within which the vaporous hopes and promises magically transfigure into visions of exciting potential, prospects and possibilities. Here, in the most unexpected of backdrops, she emerged out of a shattered and gaunt skeletal graveyard of the forgotten past, able to inspire thrilling visions of and for the plausible future.  Her hot flaming and fiery appearance was hypnotizing in the most startling of manners and demeanor.

As our odyssey through the dusty bygone came to its end, we are led to a meeting in which the past was to encounter the eminent reality of the unavoidable future. As soon as I found myself within a belly of a conference room, filled with officials of whom none spoke any English, I remembered yet another fact.

Truly deep emotions need no words. They cannot be confined within any known verbatim. As fate had proven to me on many previous occasions, encounters with foreign cultures whose languages I did not understand or spoke, here too I instinctively felt, sensed and was able to distil the meaning and even the most emotional intricacies of the highly poignant and rather stressful exchanges which began to swell all around me. It became obvious that those who represent the past are unwaveringly determined to protect it against those who act as the agents of change and progress. Yesterday confronting tomorrow. Yet I also intuited that the truthfully dominant and determining players are not present, at least not physically. They remained hidden above it all, skillfully pulling the strings of the puppets in this down below hollow.

Confronts such as this make me wonder whether language, similarly to religions that set us apart, was not intentionally conceived by humans to restrict, constrain our instinctive abilities to feel, sense, even emotionally understand and connect with each other, whoever we are or wherever we derive from?