“With that introduction, then, I’ll just jump right in,” Moxie said with an impish grin.
“By all means,” Blue Poorman responded, making a faux bow and wave of the hand. “The floor is all yours, Ms. Keener.”
“Why thank you, Mr. Chairman,” Moxie replied with raised eyebrows, still smiling her same rascally smile. “I’ll waste no time, then, in first complimenting you on your work, Mr. Poorman, and, of course, thanking you for allowing me the privilege of reading the manuscript; I’m more than halfway through already and enjoying it thoroughly.”
“Well, thank you very much,” Blue answered sincerely … and sincerely a bit surprised. (For all of his gifts, talents and truly likeable personality, he was quite insecure and overly critical of himself. Consequently, it almost always startled him when someone complimented him.)
“I knew you’d like it,” Able looked at Moxie with an irrepressible sparkle in his eyes. “Right up your alley.”
“True enough, my love; true enough. But as far as this particular alley is concerned, you practically own it, Able Dilettante! I certainly appreciate the arts, but I’m by no means an aesthetic, at least in the more technical sense of the word.”
“You are, however, very intuitive and discerning, and make an excellent critic, so by all means continue … especially since Chairman Blue has given you the floor.” They all chuckled.
“Well, first of all, I would say that, from The Chords of Cilicia, you have personified Beauty – that is, ‘beauty’ with a capital ‘B’ – and that, consequently Beauty is active. If you had not personified, or perhaps even deified, Beauty, then I would have ventured to say you were making an almost Platonic argument in which Beauty is one of the universal Forms that emanates, or shows forth, itself in an amazing variety of ways. Of course, as I said, you do personify Beauty so that Beauty is actually not only active – and we could question whether Plato’s Forms were active, per se – but Beauty is also actually alive.”
“Touché!” Blue sat his empty cup on the table. “Although I don’t know that I quite deify Beauty but, perhaps, that’s another discussion for another time.”
“Still,” Moxie continued, “from what I’ve read so far, and from what Able has shared with me from his own personal experience, I take it Beauty is an active, personal … force, shall we say, that acts upon the human, so that Beauty is the subject, if I may apply a grammatical construction here, and the individual is the direct object, that is, the one acted upon. Am I right?”
“Here, here,” Able agreed. “That which innately resides in the Soul of Humanity in turn acts upon the human, or humans, both individually and collectively. In this case, we are talking about Beauty … or so the great guru, Blue Poorman, effectively argues in The Chords of Cilicia.”
“For now, I’ll pass by the idea of the ‘Soul of Humanity,’” Moxie didn’t give Blue time to respond. “The whole idea seems to at least lean in the direction of Carl Jung’s ‘collective unconscious,’ but… If we are right that Beauty is an active, personal force acting upon individuals – and, yes, groups – as direct objects of the action, I strongly suspect something else fundamentally important is involved here.”
“And what would that be?” Blue queried.
“Well, this element, if ‘element’ is the right word to use, is actually threaded throughout your work, at least so far as I’ve read, and it is quite simply the element of choice.”
“You mean choosing whether or not to appreciate Beauty, or so many of the faces of Beauty,” Able offered.
“Not quite … or, well, I suppose, but this leads me to one critique I was going to offer anyway, and that is that the concept of appreciation needs to be more … hmmm, tightly defined, I think. I know the two of you know very specifically what you mean by ‘appreciation,’ but I think the average reader would just naturally have an indistinct, general idea in mind because ‘appreciation’ is just one of those words that, you might say, covers a lot of territory but only thinly. Does that make sense?”
“Actually, yes it does,” Blue agreed, “and your critique is gratefully received. Obviously, by ‘appreciation’ I have something deeper and more concrete in mind.”
“O.k., so Beauty acts upon an individual, and that individual apprehends whatever face or expression of Beauty, and then that individual reacts … that is, she or he makes some choice. Ultimately, in the whole of life, she or he must finally at some point make the choice.”
“The choice?” Able asked.
“Yeah,” Moxie looked over at him, “the choice of whether or not to go on and live Beauty or, perhaps better put, to allow Beauty to live in and through her. In which case, the reprehensible, malevolent Rev. Fen Sloughheart, surrounded by myriad faces of Beauty all of his life really, somewhere along the line chose, consciously or not, to bar the door, so to speak, of his heart and soul to Beauty; consequently, he chose, and again consciously or not, ugliness.”
“Wow! I never quite thought of it that way but, my oh-so sensual philosopher, you’ve hit on something very important, indeed,” Able responded, nodding his head. “Or as you said, another fundamental element, and I take it that would have something to do with morality, or ethics; the choice is an ethical one. Beauty as an active, personal and, I would certainly say, powerful force only pushes, or leads, the individual to that point … the point of making the choice.”
“Speaking of choices and ugliness, I think the three of you have crossed the line in choosing to publicly malign Rev. Sloughheart; not a very beautiful action, to say the least,” an unknown figured delivered his indictment from the table behind Moxie.
Moxie swung around in the blink of an eye, on the ready with her fully loaded quiver, and gave the man a razor-sharp, drop-dead look. “Hey! I don’t know who the hell you are, but if you wanna jump in the ring and go a few rounds over the character of Sloughheart and whether or not we should be making what you consider unwarranted, public comments about the miscreant, then I’m ready to go! Just ring the bell, man!”