Today on my walk home past the iron-spiked fences and the rainbow umbrella-ed tamale stands, I considered the problem of excess emotion. I also bought a pair of day-old pork tamales from a man who, if he's going to continue selling food products, probably needs a hairnet for his mustache. Some time later, I considered the problem of excess nausea, heartburn, indigestion...upset stomach, diarrhea.
My strategy for empathy in reading or listening -- close attention to the words, feeling the tone, holding it inside like breath -- doesn't work for authors too skilled or experiences too intense or complex. I reach a fullness, then the excess emotion begins to spill over. I've found that in order to avoid getting badly spun, I need to open myself to the collective, give of that pain or pleasure, let it go, then ask myself why I'm humming in monotone. To internalize explodes everything. It all goes to goop. I fill with jelly, or maybe preserves. Preserves are just a coarser jelly, right? Like jam is a smoother one?
To better understand, I want to expand, maybe through interpretive dance, like a cloud of smoke or the mist that rises from certain sewers. Where does that mist come from? Nausea, heartburn, indigestion... upset stomach, diarrhea. And maybe worms. Can you still get worms from pork? Can I?