Conversational Outline Part 3

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Won't Make Sense Unless You Read Part 1
Part 2

The crevice that once contained your now-decomposed body had plaster poured into it by an archaologist called Guiseppe Fiorelli. This was 151 years after that farmer first sank a well and hit upon the theatre at Herculateum. The discovery of that town led to the discovery of yours. The archeologist poured in plaster and out came you and the others in all your horror. The agony on your poor faces.

I saw the woman whose tunic had ridden up her back because she was stuffing it in her mouth trying to escape the ash and the fumes. And I saw you, the outline of you. Were you a prisoner, or were you a slave? What sort of a life did you lead before you tried to escape after your owners had fled, the ones without fetters on their ankles?

That volcano, old Mount Vesuvius, has done a lot of damage over the centuries that exist between you and me, hasn't it? Did you know there are three million people living within its vicinity now? Just in the most recent hundred years, it erupted massively in 1906 and killed 100 people and buried nearby towns. The most recent one was 1944. There was a war going on then. It destroyed a few more towns (will they ever learn?) and a bunch of bomber planes to boot.

Ahhh, that war. I wonder how you would see it from your perspective? Would it have horrified you, you who lived in an era that admitted its penchant for violence more openly than ours? The people of your era watched gladiators maul unarmed men, or men attack beasts for sport. That war is probably one of the biggest things to arouse cynicism about the future of the human race in recent times. The whole Hitler thing. The atomic bomb that killed more people in a couple of drops than your volcano has done in its history.

Maybe that's the biggest difference between you and me. Our toys are so much bigger now; it would terrify you. It ups the level of mistrust. And it's not just the destructive stuff like bombs and planes and ICBMs. It's the stuff too like Facebook and computers and mobile phones and all that innocuous stuff that keeps us away from each other in the other direction. But the ICBMs add that nice little touch of paranoia to everything, don't they. A bit more big-time than your shields and bayonets. I really wish the peace message of the man-god had caught on a bit more instead of what has transpired in-between us. Perhaps next millennia.

But you know, apart from all of those things and maybe even overarching it all is this: I find it easier to talk to you as an outline than I would if you were standing in front of me. I felt the tears well up seeing your outline, but would I cry so hard at your death in person? If you stood before me with all the stupid little fucked up bits that go into making up a human, I would be tempted to fear you, dislike you, distance you in my mind and my heart. The annoying things about you. The evil things that scare me. The propensity you would have to steal and kill regardless of whether you were a prisoner or a slave or a rich free man. The ability to demonise that we all indulge in (the deeper, the less aware we are of it) to feel okay about ourselves.

Maybe because of all the bad stuff, we need the distance, it helps us see the good clearer. We can love him as the King of Pop again when he's Wacko Jacko no more. Maybe it's so painful, all this iron rubbing up against iron that in some ways we don't really see the colour of the heart of the other until it's in outline.


  1. Hi Sue, thanks for stopping by. I agree that it will be wonderful when we can fellowship and engage in conversation, sharing our different perceptions and view points without animosity, offense, or strife.

    Iron Sharpens iron, but it has to touch in order to do so.

  2. Sue, this three part post is brilliant. I really enjoyed reading your response to the Pompeii exhibition. I miss having access to such wonderful expos in the city.

  3. No probs, Daveda :)

    Kel - you deserve a medal for making it through the entire 3 parts, LOL. Thanks for the feedback. It feels nice to have written 2000 words and finished them! :)

    Yeah, I am very grateful for being so close to things like this. I do not take them for granted.

  4. Sue, I don't know many people that think so deeply and are able to articulate it so honestly and clearly. All this is sad and true and gives me a lot to ponder.

  5. Only just read these, Sue. Good grief girl, you can write! Beautiful, heartbreaking, full of love and truth... the real thing. Thank you!

  6. Barbara - you know, it would be nice to stop thinking deeply about things. Conversely, if I can't stop doing that, it would be nice to publish and get paid for it ;)

    Mike - aww, thank you :)

  7. You rock, girlie!

    And some things never change. Us idiots are still living in the shadows of volcanoes. That darned nature, always in our way.

    I know that wasn't the point, but it's what I'm thinking about.

  8. Erin - yeah, we just got no respect for them damn volcanoes :) We wanna climb mountains, we wanna live in front of volcanoes, dammit! :)


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