50 Comments

  1. So important to be/feel functioning.

    As someone who’s been on meds for over two decades, I concur that it’s a bit shocking that a pill “helps” more easily and effectively that all the work I tried to do myself 20 years before that. But I think my work was worth it; I learned much from trying to solve what may have been hormonal or neurological or endocrine-based “issues” and I also learned much from being on the meds.

    I also recognize that tiny worry in the corner of the mind about crashing. Yep. And there are days I do crash, but fewer days and the crashes are shorter in length and not as deep a plunge. Good luck with the changes. Changes mean we aren’t dead yet.

  2. I have a special fondness for the wild critters of my neighborhood. A brown rabbit, a silent coyote, raccoons, stray cats, one white butterfly. SO, old contrast, the naming of things, yea, language – necessary but inherently flawed. We do best we can. Ultimate translation is always inside ourselves. Like all things, carry it lightly.

  3. Ah, it always comes back to Plato’s Cratylus dialogue and Chomsky’s Language Acquisition Device. Cratylus looks at the way in which we ascribe meaning to words, words that are abstract labels of something (does a word sound like the object it describes looks?), so a pencil could have been named a skunk if someone’s mind had worked some other way. And Chomsky’s LAD idea was all about kids being able to learn languages in an unencumbered way up until the age of 7 (kind of mirrors what Ignatius Loyola said about boys and men). I know that when I lived in Norway and spoke Norwegian, I didn’t feel like the English me, that there was this second person inside me talking and trying to express what the Ur-me was feeling. A very strange sensation, but sometimes to be out of ourselves is a very valuable way to be. Apols for this long comment – I must be in a very wordy phase this morning.

  4. Fascinating to think about the affect of language on our perceptions and vice versa. I am what I say I am? I see what I say I see? Rilke’s French poems seem more concrete than his German ones. There are fewer angels in them too…

  5. I love music of all sorts – that’s why I do a new music show every week. BUT I still believe instrumental classical music is the best way to heal and calm and be. That is the Ur-me. I find sounds in the dark of my closed eyes (door slamming, car revving, someone talking in another room) have texture and colour. Weird, huh?

  6. I had no idea you were very ill, in the fairly recent past. I’ll probably have to go back on your previous journals to get the story, sometime when I have less going on. But soon!

    Your writing is beautiful …. I’m sure I’m not alone to say we feel we know you and it’s a privilege. I’ve noticed in life, (in person) sometimes we are so guarded and engage in dreaded small tiny talk. Some small talk is necessary, but sheesh…. You remind me that there are ones out there that have depth, and is kind enough to share it.

    I have a few extra things I wanted to share with you about your writing. I’m going to DM your Twitter. Thanks for sharing with us again Ren.

  7. Oh, the language in this post is delicious, and this idea that the future is behind no in front is such a striking point to make. The passing of time does this to us, that we think we can somehow still get to another place, further ahead in our past (to use the way you have turned it around so beautifully), so that we forget to accept that which we do still have. I don’t agree with some friends of mine when they say people of my age should deliberately slow down (even if they’re still capable of much), but I don’t think we should push ourselves as hard as when we were 25 when all we’ll do is damage not good to ourselves. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with schmaltz!

  8. Just when you think you’re “big”, something comes along, says, oh look, you’re small. Me in middle of blood issue currently. Mid-stride only so far. Reality can get pretty raw when inclined. May we all make friends with these boats we inhabit. I don’t know your big picture Ren, but all your words in this wind I have so so much appreciated. Maybe I’ve learned some by listening. I think so.

  9. I am slowly developing the ability to accept lazy Sunday as part of my existence, to understand that it’s ok for me not to rush the blog, not to rush out of bed but have a decent lie-in, to spend time doing nothing at all. It’s still not easy to do so, but I’m learning to meander (although I feel guilty about when M is full of energy and wants to clean and tidy everything – the other side of this constantly maturing marriage coin is that she accepts much more now that my words aren’t a hobby but a necessity).

  10. As for B, I bet you just showing up and being as tender as you are, will be just what she needs.
    You have a lot of experiences ahead. Each experience will have it’s own lifes ‘ring’.
    I bet you’re gonna be a wonderful, thoughtful mom-in-law.

  11. Sounds as if you have a full itinerary. Enjoy! You are obviously going to have a great family occasion when your son gets married. I look forward to reading your upcoming posts. 🙂

  12. Love that phrase – the geography of sunshine. There are no social conventions for love of any kind, nor for saying good-bye when you can’t really and don’t really want to – and you won’t really, not in your souls. That may sound trite to some, but I happen to believe it’s true. Let me know when you’re in London and if you have time. It’s been too many years.

  13. I think you’re right about this living in the moment. The thin line between love and hate exists because we can’t feel or share them at the exact same moment. I have started trying to live in the moment, too, and am finding that it seems to be giving me more courage to say no to things that will take me away from it. So glad your new meds aren’t blunting your emotions. Rx

  14. I used to have that feeling about throwing tantrums and saying “It’s not fair.” Still do sometimes. But I also had an epiphany along the way – saying something is unjust (and I’m thinking mainly about the injustices in people’s lives imposed by outside forces) takes away that emotional, tantrum edge and it becomes a fact. Life might be unfair in general, in emotional terms, but there is never a rational excuse for injustice, in my view. Saying something is unjust can’t just be batted away by politicians and other people in power. Injustice is a crime. Unfairness is just that – a breach of spirit, not a breach of the law.

  15. There may be similarities in everything under the Sun, but there is only one of you. Snowflakes are distinctly different but step back just an inch, they look like each other. You have a great attitude. And you make me think. Grateful.

  16. “We think the minutia of our lives is so singular. While simultaneously praising the “universal” that reveals truths. There is a tension in the arts that has to do with this contradiction.” Never a truer word. I battle constantly with this when facing the empty page every morning – what’s so special about my life that I dare even write about it? But I do anyway. We do anyway. Because we speak the truth.

  17. This is lovely. Congratulations to your family, and I’m sure your speech was appreciated deeply by the people who care about you. That feeling of lifting up and holding a small child–yes, it evokes a teary nostalgia, an uprush of love.

    “I am not the first parent to be overwhelmed by an atmosphere that has somehow accumulated years of experiences, emotions, ambitions, hopes, disappointments, and failures. Short-comings and (undeserved) pride. ” Yep. I got tingles reading this. So true.

    By the way, it appears to me that you’ve long outgrown being white trash at the ball. It doesn’t mean you “fit in” but neither are you “less than.” I hope eventually you find ways to revel in being a bit of an oddball. (Just saying, it took me years…)

  18. Beautiful! I am at a different stage. All kids over 40, youngest grandkid 10. Too many things the last few days. Grandkids stayed with me, now son’s family in Scotland. Anniversaries and holidays and birthdays put off for trip preparations. Then sweetness of alone time which is a mixed sweetness. Summer and birdsong today and missing youth’s energy.

  19. Glad you are taking care of yourself. Rest is as important as accomplishment when one is a creative. And you surely are that. Best wishes.

  20. What are the choices? Some days they are what has already been chosen. Right now, more body than me choosing I think. Your voice, more than familiar, is welcome back. At your pace and choice, yes Ren.

  21. Wonderful to hear your voice again, dear Ren. After 3 hours sleep last night, your holiday to me sounds like heaven. Keep looking after yourself. There is nothing more important, after all. We need self-care to be able to care for others. Rx

    • We must have been riding the same witch’s broom Sunday night. 3 hours for me as well. I hope you slept well last night! Can’t wait to catch up – or rather – catching up at a quiet, easy pace actually.

  22. to live a beautiful life, what does that mean? is it necessarily pleasant from the inside going out? still, what a sight to see. you said yourself, “confronting the wonder of it all”.

    to me, to me, that has meaning in its bones.

    I try, I’m learning I hope, to sing that back to you. two whale songs in the far far sea?

    been a stack of months, my legs dangling over a precipice. I think my wisdoms not all so wise as I thought. not bad, but life has something more real, more dear. I’ll settle for being a decent man.

    • Maybe living a beautiful life means noticing these beautiful moments of listening to whale songs from far away? Your wisdoms dear and as close to real as words can come.

  23. Holding Life Loosely
    I have this “image” in my mind. Except it’s not an image—I think it’s a sensual memory. Indistinct. Life of some sort in the palm of my hand. I curl my fingers inward to hold it, but carefully. This thing is delicate. Easily disfigured.

    We all here have missed your ‘thoughts’. The above excerpt…. is why. My brilliant American friend who lives so far away!

  24. Late to this, as always. Your voice is so ethereal. That’s why I’ve missed it. That’s why you’ve always been my mentor (although you describe me as one). Your voice is that soft touch on the harshnesses of life, like a petal touching skin is the only way I can think of to describe it.

  25. Loving the optimism. I overslept this morning after dreadful insomnia on Sunday, and felt rotten. But within an hour, I felt new. Maybe this is what sleep does, and perhaps the best moments are those we dream.

  26. it’s right there, unhidden I think. does beauty come from the physical, no matter how deep, but from the life itself? or if we do focus on the physical, then grant grace to everything. do we see less beauty in a tree broken by chance or age? my own line here rephrased for you – is your life not poem enough? that’s how I’ve always seen you Ren.

    another notion I feel ripe – mosaic. how a broken thing can be made anew, repurposed from the pieces gathered up. emotionally especially that seems right to me. (go read “Finding Beauty in a Broken World”, Terry Tempest Williams.)

  27. Wonderful that you see older women in the gym…I never go to a gym! But I have noticed that I no longer examine myself for “flaws” the way I once did. I abandoned that scrutiny long ago, around the time I had toddlers (they are in their 30s now). There’s something like beauty but other than the beauty-norms we are fed through various socio-cultural outlets. I embrace my inner crone, but no one sees me as a crone. Yet, anyway.

    If I live long enough, though–the time is coming. I may as well accept that. You, too. Learn to love her: the Ren-crone. 🙂

  28. good, purposeful wondering. but I understand. all transitions can seem difficult. all of them. and that other side of sight, it hasn’t fully arrived, not yet. if wishing counts, always, I wish you well.

  29. As always, I love the way you shape your words and sentences an thoughts. I hope Leonard gets better soon. I hope that you will be able to immerse yourself in those oases fully without worrying about what’s around them. The change of seasons is upon us soon, and that’s always a difficult time for minds and bodies.

  30. I have so missed you and your words. That unique voice that flits about exploring, finding new ways to say things, new ways to show us things we never notice so deeply. Welcome back.

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