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Private and Public Detachment
Michael O'Connor
Copyright © 2016 by Michael O’Connor
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No images or text from this volume may be reproduced
without exp...
Here then, we have the visual recollections of a time in
Shanghai China 1946, owing to the visit of merchant
sailors well ...
Have I mentioned the vain way in which I hint at self-
reconciliation; purely for the sake of clarity of a
cautionary tale...
Yes, I speak not of our service here but of this dance
with no other purpose then specifying our rules for
engagement, a s...
Nothing is less certain than boldly exercising one’s
imagination over diversions that include seducing the
opposite sex. D...
I suppose I was still a bit innocent with regard to the
amusements allowable for rejuvenating the body and
then the mind. ...
Thus the dancer will move agitated by the thoughts
which can only give him one focused expression of
posture: charged with...
Let the movements of these two spirits be carried as a whole,
gentle and agreeable, and let the attitudes of everyone else...
Even by contrast this view I have upon returning to the top
deck has a dubious effect, whereas most of what I see
glancing...
Content to while away I reward myself with activities while
staring across stations and wires. My keeping busy topside
is ...
I must trust that these internal observations will also serve
as a warning to save me from the experience of falling in
lo...
Over each figure I divine a petroglyph, expressing how to
conquer my fears, my internal eyes connecting I suppose
to the o...
Fortunately at sea interruption can never be avoided. In those few
minutes when the mind lets passions take over, inventio...
The subject of composure is not without special meaning as one
transitions again from ship to shore. We have weathered tha...
My plan was conceived without ceremony; it took place at the
end of a very tedious shift. Here on board I maintain a very
...
The composition of a trimaran is so suiting of the ears; waves
slapping upon its hulls seems so obvious to me. Here it may...
In truth I am the smallest but not the least significant thing on this bay,
the question naturally as to why I had not tho...
I began my next exploration by scouring this port to regain
my visibility. I soon found common ground with two others
for ...
No mater who we were then, we were peaceful beyond a
shadow of a doubt; three faces drawn in the sand;
indicative of a onc...
Then again some of us might be nominated as candidates,
assembled as the embodiment of those chosen to live among a
civili...
In order to complete this ordinary idea of an extraordinary
few, these views and their photographs were hidden for
one hal...
In circumspection this ship left this port behind out of
prudence: guarding itself carefully to clear both bay and
sea bef...
Transmedia narratives in the making.
New Releases 2016
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
Shanghai china 1946
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Shanghai china 1946

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A transmedia narrative with intensity: Before the Mast, Shanghai, China 1946.

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Shanghai china 1946

  1. 1. Private and Public Detachment Michael O'Connor
  2. 2. Copyright © 2016 by Michael O’Connor ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No images or text from this volume may be reproduced without expressed written permission from the author.
  3. 3. Here then, we have the visual recollections of a time in Shanghai China 1946, owing to the visit of merchant sailors well before its closure to the outside world. These watery inhabitants took advantage of a small opening in history to conduct pleasure before business. Little could be yielded by these scattered few, beyond the habits of visitors from far away lands evidently bent on cutting a rug or two. These steps must be remembered by the artificial impacts they provoked to entice their temporary dwellings, when stricter examination was made, and that which was borne out of accidental discovery. One can find great analogy between them and those who visited one half century before and one half center thereafter. While surveying this bay they extracted a vivid picture of a culture ready for subsequent change.
  4. 4. Have I mentioned the vain way in which I hint at self- reconciliation; purely for the sake of clarity of a cautionary tale of neglect at an age when muscles are flexed more often than brain, my mind at its most docile consequently and susceptibly at its worst, that I pretended that it made a permanent impression. It wasn’t; it was just a bad choice that young people make when they are first exposed to a wider world in contrast to where they grew up; finding that impulse is more the tool than knowledge; and conscience as a resource is sensibly scarce on matters of performance. At that time I had a long way to go to trace the outlines of my form of excellence. To this day it still haunts me: our ship casting itself on that ghostly bay..
  5. 5. Yes, I speak not of our service here but of this dance with no other purpose then specifying our rules for engagement, a set of guidelines for attainment, in that any attempt to deviate would be almost impracticable. Who knew then as we steamed into her port and tied off at that pier that the individual traveler would require any other set of instructions. There was already a layer of stress from the storms we weathered getting here; a particular motion hovering around us which should be recommended to no one, and forbidden to all others. My nature need only be called into the foreground and officially checked as I gained permission to leave the ship and explore this new outside world in which my intent became a defect which was ultimately incurable.
  6. 6. Nothing is less certain than boldly exercising one’s imagination over diversions that include seducing the opposite sex. Dancing with her then, entering her special sphere to engage in rhythmic movement more naturally than this, was an opportunity of supreme value, where only the gentlest entry is requisite to attain the greatest effect. When I first saw her I could see myself as a celebrated dancer with all of the agility and power of pleasing her, so long as I aimed at excelling in originality. As such she was blessed with a graceful and moving shape, receiving my own while at the same time maintaining a convenient distance. Imagine if you can my need to bring her in closely; to be admitted as the most inquisitive character to this licentious union.
  7. 7. I suppose I was still a bit innocent with regard to the amusements allowable for rejuvenating the body and then the mind. And when we were granted shore leave, we were ever so self encouraged to partake in another type of diversion which in principle we took our fair share. In striking contrast to what you were just thinking, I was thinking of dancing with regularity. The course I took on shore was that of a vagabond scenario less licentious in manner, my head head high scanning both sides of the street for signs of big bands, noisy merriment and of course shouting while synchronizing with the music. I can now see it well: orderly dancing in frantic agitation, and a thrilling treatise of movement giving the impression of warlike people imitating notorious unrest.
  8. 8. Thus the dancer will move agitated by the thoughts which can only give him one focused expression of posture: charged with that character, adapting to the music, executing his moves to counter her own, stronger and more surely alive, transporting them both back home under the cloak of a better time. It is now darker outside yet the lights inside give no indication that midnight was that well advanced. They were expecting more and expressed a sharing of two souls eye-to-eye; consider this nothing less of an art, all that was left behind by their natures; should this carry them both forward it will become all the more of an expression of love and far less the pantomime that had carried them to this accomplished connection.
  9. 9. Let the movements of these two spirits be carried as a whole, gentle and agreeable, and let the attitudes of everyone else around them deflect. Her instep counters his own, and all of this is done with regularity and headed toward perfection. Tonight this is an indispensable genius of propriety gestures and motions; those who would make any considerable movement to interfere cannot repeat it successfully because these two are the most original dancers of all. There is but one careful accountancy of flaw, that if either one dare exceed the remaining time off base, it would become impossible to undo by unshakable resolution. Returning to duty is a requisite of their nature. But who shall wipe away those tears to improve the deficit where morning attests to this reality. Only the hope of a lively imagination enjoined by assiduous practice shall flatter either one of them if they fail to follow these examined rules. Plotting a track back to base is an eminent and infallible discretion.
  10. 10. Even by contrast this view I have upon returning to the top deck has a dubious effect, whereas most of what I see glancing on the water reminds me of the dance floor: polished, calm, confirming that affinity we shared gliding across its smooth surface. I am not at all melancholy and I have found a convenient spot to gaze back at shore wondering where my partner is right now. Is she paired in good company? The subject of this makes me somewhat distraught with infirmities of loss, of knowing that after being exposed to me she is able to be in the company of anyone. Why is this my only objection; in design it exhibits one immature point of view, perhaps it is my age; this objection of distance should not be at all suspected; I mention this only because I cannot come to grips with my own introspection. Now my only diversion is that of the spectator; and it requires effort and strength and a more calculating smile.
  11. 11. Content to while away I reward myself with activities while staring across stations and wires. My keeping busy topside is due compensation, plainly superficial: it cannot be too much nor too little. I must take advantage of the distance in space to get to the truth of what else qualifies for my time. Busy work is a serious business because it diffuses all else from the lines which bisect my view in imitation. This is a kind of genius redirecting my stares, and everything else I sense seems to make survival possible; it is an extravagance that will undoubtedly build character. I know how to observe my memories: passions and mannerisms not too plain, not so obvious: half serious corrections to the nature and beauty of suddenly wakening and knowing that I have survived love at first, second and third sight. But to give into this sentiment, I must let it diffuse over my entire body, my mind and now certainly my soul.
  12. 12. I must trust that these internal observations will also serve as a warning to save me from the experience of falling in love too young. Having relieved that state of consciousness I look back among those other interesting female figures and compare them as a whole collection of experiences. First and foremost I must stay mentally strong, sitting on this deck, holding onto all such images that are pressing on my mind: an American explorer obliged to do his part for national prosperity in a land previously unknown. The similarities of these thoughts remind me of how I ascended to a spectacular plateau with one bottle of dense and robust wine to drink, and when it began raining I savored its multifarious attributes: earth quenched, the air washed and refilled with sweet perfumes, and the sweet melody of song which entered my heart blocking the extremities of loneliness. How that afternoon sculptured my today.
  13. 13. Over each figure I divine a petroglyph, expressing how to conquer my fears, my internal eyes connecting I suppose to the outer world. This intriguing supposition seems borne out of the idea that I somehow considered connecting a sacrifice. On the surface of it I was the next victim; dexterously opening my heart to the subject’s razored edge, and allowing her to hold it toward a common good, my unwavering adoration. But sacrifice is ceremonial, originated from an error of the mind rather than predisposition. Whatever reason I imposed to climb onto this Jeep and ready to drive it over the side, I am also witness to its ghastly details of passage. I erected another possible gateway, one that can be transversed to another point of honor. Rather than thinking of death, I would be satisfied with all of the guilt held as ransom, to lift this enormous weight. There was no doubt, too much of this had been exaggerated.
  14. 14. Fortunately at sea interruption can never be avoided. In those few minutes when the mind lets passions take over, invention and then projection rebound extraordinary disposition toward survival, hones the mind for a more critical movement. One thought seems to permeate my misgivings: love for her was just an imitation. I had discovered that the essential differences between love of a person and the love of objects is slight. The beholder sees nothing of the same after the transition takes place between the incoming sets of swells; the replacement composition beginning that of a storm. No one better than I knows how to render those differences: the smell in the air and the tingle on the skin coupled with the timing between sets is discernible is a warning that things will get a whole lot worse before they get better. The studious sailor knows these demarkations and never complains, he just acts. Not acting is the fault of the performer because something of it was not connected in time, seen as indispensably necessary, and a piece of machinery or personnel may be lost as a result. “Batten the hatches,” someone yells down. This is not custom as much as it is a sure sign of impending survival; looking up at the mast one can only be reminded that this means his survival equates equally to all others on board.
  15. 15. The subject of composure is not without special meaning as one transitions again from ship to shore. We have weathered that storm and now I am searching for her because time did not let this pass unnoticed. The custom of want has surpassed desire and even need. What I can no longer hide is the seriousness of my adulteration and its tragic remix of a dramatic composition turned inside out. To avoid its continuation I need to exit to a whole different drama. I know of no other place where I am so deficient. The quickness of my shift must be precise and finish with assistance to me over her; anything less would be an illusion. The expected consequence of this is grounded in the notion of voice; unless I can concentrate on what I have to say as interesting indeed, then the application must not be the worst for the wearer. There will be loss and it will be sustained, and hopefully mine will be strengthened by exactness and the more imaginably sublime. Yet internally, I feel a numbness insensibly diffuse, and I am left wanting another kind of quicker diversion. I do not like being a shadow of my former self.
  16. 16. My plan was conceived without ceremony; it took place at the end of a very tedious shift. Here on board I maintain a very natural place enabling concentration and understanding of subsequent events. On shore my life becomes a festival of rekindled fire, of which there is no tenable resolution. In transition my despair requires a contingency, to ensure that all fires can be put out, to avoid being their victim: in place and consumed: the inhabitant of human sacrifice. And suffice it to say I had a sudden clearing of the mind: a gigantic step, head and body erect, substitutions embroiled to a plainer relief. I would take my next leave to building a boat. I must turn to a particular respective of my ship-board duties, owing to what could be distinguished as a complexion so clear, that a sailor retains a more intimate connection to thing that can remain afloat. This is my object to prove; this becomes my steadied course of work.
  17. 17. The composition of a trimaran is so suiting of the ears; waves slapping upon its hulls seems so obvious to me. Here it may be observed that the lines of this craft will out perform any past dancer; it adapts to its environment exactly to the countering motions it is exposed to absorbing more character. It is the subjective beauty of this major waterway. The truth of this pairing is not an exaggeration but rather a greater probability of the inventiveness of merit of creating a new thing out of the old; cast off materials fashioned into hulls, cross members and even the paddles; a requisite accompaniment to greet my desire, and I should never lose sight of the fact that it will preserve something of my affinity toward adaptation. Paddling is the most lively thing imaginable. Without the fatigue of loss my mind has been opened up to spectacle embellished by nature in an intelligible manner, that desire exceeds the boundaries prescribed by the calmer mind for want of change with an ever enlarging view. This bay is that vast and I am all the more capable of learning to understand my gracefulness in motion; or so I am ordered.
  18. 18. In truth I am the smallest but not the least significant thing on this bay, the question naturally as to why I had not thought of this beforehand. Having suddenly reached the zenith of power of both mind and spirit, this watery expanse extends to hundreds of miles framed by outlets between the highest plateaus; it is a flourishing empire anyone could envy. To this end I chose the next eddy and paddle against the strongest winds with due pomp and circumstance. It was these elements that I was after and by which I contest with skillful arrangement. Mine is a passage to end all passages providing that I can maintain my horizontal heading in an upright position. There are far greater means of impending death that one can contend to with appreciation, but when waves overlapped me I considered it an answer to a question definitely settled. It pours meaning into my every pour while I paddle as silent dignitary intent on making it around the next bend. And when I am in another kind of channel I witness an abundance of others floating around me, so much so that I could straddle them to the opposite shore. Every aspect of human is contention here, yet as a matter of course no one notices me. In fact I am too small to be an explorer let alone a conqueror; in short I gain both private and public detachment.
  19. 19. I began my next exploration by scouring this port to regain my visibility. I soon found common ground with two others for which was shared a curious thing. Personal bits of us gave rise to a whole civilization. I was the first to discover the fortune of our common ground: Americans, Australians and subjects of the United Kingdom flock nevertheless to to places and enclosures of the highly probable. Here this less likely trio combed the never-ending piers seeking command of a larger vessel to inhabit. The vessel we unearthed is entire, and its hull and structure in tact, nevertheless it is called a junk by its strategizing hosts. It bobs like a rounded selection of wood, projecting three masts of near equal size of its length to its height, and on its stern it sports a golden plate that invents a brand new game for the three of us: Jealousy’s Gain. Daemons tried in vain to stop us, but the vessel has captured our collective imagination.
  20. 20. No mater who we were then, we were peaceful beyond a shadow of a doubt; three faces drawn in the sand; indicative of a once upon a time conquest, yet easily erased on the next incoming wind storm. We had entered into the trust of this bay by military order, perhaps by entitlement, bestowed on distinguished visitors and celebrated invaders for services rendered, finally forgotten because so many would come behind us. We felt that we had a peculiar set of privileges while sailing on these waters initiated in part because we were nearly invisible outside of the waterfront nightclubs. And when we landed that craft on the beach we barely got notice from those sets of eyes which received us. I was never so happy to be invisible as back then, nominated by those who never assembled to greet us, doing no more or no less then generation after generation.
  21. 21. Then again some of us might be nominated as candidates, assembled as the embodiment of those chosen to live among a civilization that would close its doors to the world for a quarter of a lifetime thereafter. For every day we were there a society changed for an even larger one, Those who followed before those giant gates were shut to the outside world were henceforth to be distinguished, because after that this vast part of the world deprived itself of the comic outside. At night I would think of this only for an instant while trying to get some sleep. My life still had as many entrances as it did exits. But the ceremony held in dreams should end with a far different discourse as this: at one time we all aimed to pay attention to life’s freedoms to advance, conquer and dance; doubtlessly remembered and exaggerated; that we were more influential than seemed indicated by those pictures we brought back with us, though early enough to have had ample opportunity to exploit the collective materials of a never more interesting history, now celebrated more for our own ceremony because it may find interest among our readers.
  22. 22. In order to complete this ordinary idea of an extraordinary few, these views and their photographs were hidden for one half century. It was not until all of them had passed away that I thought it would be appropriate to display them, admiring them for what they had stumbled upon in complete simplicity and the attention it brings to reminding me of this world of continuing reorder. I am not sad or disappointed because I was not there, as I have my own stories and pictorials. But this does remind me that in a world sometimes steeped in turmoil, people more often act in modesty and with full attention to compensating themselves where they can with simple enough pleasures of the mind, body and spirit. To this I can say I was never a dancer, but I have motored, paddled and sailed just about everything that could remain afloat, in an equal and moderate tone.
  23. 23. In circumspection this ship left this port behind out of prudence: guarding itself carefully to clear both bay and sea before being recalled for a crime never committed before the mast. The end of a tendered service held in reverence there are too many other ports of call around this world, as the ever presence of strangers in new ports will readily agree: invading them is a perpetual round of delight so long as one can dance. To a degree, the culture of one invader to a place is still notable for life. The discourse of one’s advancing noble serves as aspiration of what can truly be endured if wholly perpetuated as legend over graver matters. Subsequently we are all loosely connected by our migrations, and the peculiar character of the world is moving continuously, cautiously enough.
  24. 24. Transmedia narratives in the making. New Releases 2016

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