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   Enigma Of The Soul

How often do you use the word, ‘Soul?’ How often do you think about your ‘Soul?’

Mirriam-Webster defines ‘Soul’ as:

1. the immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life

2. a: the spiritual principle embodied in human beings, all rational and spiritual beings, or the universe

So, that’s enough, right? The two definitions pretty much say it all, and there are more definitions there in the dictionary if you want more.

‘Soul’ seems to me, though, such a huge word to be so small. Writers likely get the most use out of the word than the people who really work for a living — no anger, please, just adding a little levity here. Really, it seems to me that ‘Soul’ is not in too many mundane conversations. ‘Soul’ is usually saved for the philosophers, poets, preachers, Romantics, sentimentalists, and writers.

You can almost envision the literary expatriates who gathered in Paris between the period of World War One and the onset of World War Two…wtiters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Sherwood Anderson, James Joyce, Ezra Pound, John Dos Passos, Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Gertrude Stein to name a few — okay, okay, I’m name-dropping — but these were the people I read and studied in college and their lives got somehow interwoven with my own, with my ‘Soul.’ I can see them sitting at the sidewalk cafes talking in the afternoon about their writings, about how the devastation of war had impacted their lives. I can see them drinking the Bacchus liquids and debauching in the evenings, pausing in their fun and frivolity for serious and sober moments to discuss the condition of the ‘Soul.’

These were the people Gertrude Stein referred to as ‘the lost generation.’ Certainly, why not Paris? Why not gather in the great city of lights with so much art and beauty? It was the place to be if you were disillusioned by a world intent on war and destruction. It was the perfect place and time to discuss matters of the ‘Soul,’ and these great writers held those discussions in the finest style and with some of the most celebrated erudition prevalent in those days.

So, why do I post about ‘Soul?’

Guess it’s easy for me, an oldtimer looking back on his life, how he’s lived, somewhat of an anachronism in today’s fast moving digital world. ‘Soul’ is such an all-encompassing word. It holds such a fascination for me in these sunset years, but it has always held that fascination for me — guess ‘Soul’ for me is what writing is all about. We live, we pay taxes, and we die, but the ‘Soul’ offers us so many delectable scenarios of which to consider and ponder.

‘Soul’ is that defining part of us that we can’t pinpoint, can’t know exactly where it is, but we have to know that it is there. ‘Soul’ is everything Mirriam-Webster says it is, but so very much more. There are times when the directions we take as a world concerns me greatly. It is my hope that we can still take time, Paris or not, to discuss the implications of such an enigmatic and beautiful word.

‘Soul.’

Billy Ray Chitwood – 12/10/17 + 8/23/19

-Still Relevant-

(From the Archives, 8/12)
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25 comments on “Enigma of the Soul

  1. Mae Clair says:

    A fabulous post. I enjoyed your look back on Paris and that previous generation of outstanding writers.
    I think all authors are in love with the concept of the soul.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mae. Your comment means a lot to me. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It would be nice if the world leaders took a moment to examine their own soul. They might find room for improvement. Enjoyed this, Billy Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, I thank you, good John. Turn up the A/C! ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful, Billy Rae…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bette. So very nice of you. Best wishes. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Soul is such a powerful word and you’ve done a great job in defining it, Billy Ray. Writers, if they are effective at all, work from a place of soul. How can they not? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Gwen. Happy weekend! ♥♥

      Like

  5. jaysquires says:

    Your post almost had me booking my flight for Paris. Some eleven thousand miles and a whole lifetime in a time-warp machine and I’ll find myself sitting at Hemingway’s and Gertrude’s table, feeling a little self-conscious in my diapers. I loved this post, Billy Ray!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, my good friend! I’m sitting next to you on the flight. Happy weekend. ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Sitting next to you on the flight, my good friend. ♥♥

      Like

  6. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    I love your post, Billy! I can only image the discussions back then and would have enjoyed hearing them in Paris. To me soul is simply everything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise. You are such great support, and a dear lady. ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Well said, Billy Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tim. Have a great weekend. ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  8. markbierman says:

    A deep and thought-provoking post. Well done, Billy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mark. Wishing you and family all the best. ♥♥

      Liked by 1 person

  9. eden baylee says:

    You are always thoughtful, Billy Ray. 🙂 xox
    e

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Old age and Time! ox ♥

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Jennie says:

    It’s no wonder that soul music was dubbed soul. It has every tentacle stretching to your soul, not just your heart. Because soul is much more than heart. I know you understand. Great post, Billy Ray.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie. Enjoy your ‘Labor Day’ weekend. ♥

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        You too, Billy Ray.

        Liked by 1 person

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