When you can’t go far, you go deep. – BR. DAVID STEINDL-RAST Oh, Di, you wrote: “…you don’t presume to know me. A gift beyond rubies!” Isn’t that true? Writing today, when across the ocean from me there are events taking place that I don’t know how to think about – much less talk about….
Isn’t there a culture that conceptualizes the future as something that comes at us from behind to overtake us? Maybe they are the only ones to have it right. All this planning, all the mirages we see ahead of us. The clump of earth that should be frozen, but that rushes suddenly from behind to slip into the present, under your foot, in the form of soft and giving mud. And there you have it: the irretraceable moment that is a wet sock.
Being busy, being occupied with the ordering of things gives me an illusion of control. Once that flurry of activity is over, the illusion is broken. I feel vulnerable.
I think that is why, content as a I am in so many ways, I have flashes of envy when you share your experiences of arranging your new life. I want to move house again. Which is absurd. Instead: yesterday I decided on a new bookshelf for the living room. So you see, I need a healthy adventure soon.
Yesterday I went to a friend’s theater production downtown. It was an evening of storytelling by seven women, from seven countries. So, I thought about you.
Some of these women were war refugees, some economic migrants, and some came for love.
In regard to casual sexism, “Imagine how you’d feel” is never going to be a persuasive point in this discussion. But I don’t think it’s because of a lack of empathy. It’s because of a lack of perspective.
On both sides.
I believe it’s extraordinarily rare to find a person who doesn’t long to be the object of someone’s desire. (On one’s own terms, of course.)
The question I had put to myself all those years is what do you want to be? Rather than what are you going to do?
In some ways, I am grateful for that. For what spontaneity has added to my life. The unexpected is always an adventure. I think it has made me braver than I might otherwise have been. I learned lessons, some very hard (some very hard on the people in my life).
But regrets are a waste of time. Even in hindsight, one can never really know what the results would have been from having made a different choice, at any juncture.
This is only the 10th night of biphasic sleeping. The first week I woke easily at midnight. Sometimes right before the wake-up music started playing on my phone. I could think of it that way then. Tonight it very much felt like an alarm.
Don’t they say that if you build a routine, create a ritual, the muse will just show up?
Well, right now, there’s no one else around.
But the weekend is coming, and with it the obvious anti-social aspect of this whole concept: to go out for a glass of wine after work is like shoehorning an elephant into a toolbox. Who crawls into bed at 8 p.m. besides toddlers and hermits?
I sometimes wonder if I will ever stop measuring my life in school terms rather than calendar years. But I do like the extra, nearly obligatory, reevaluation that a new term brings. It’s a natural time to begin new projects, set new goals.
I can honestly say I have much less fear and anxiety when it comes to what other people think. (Notice, I did not say “no fear and anxiety”: we all fear the trolls, I think.)
Yes, I’m the only mature adult on the slope with her arms out “like an airplane landing” – but that is not “childish” or “child-like” – it is fearless, make no mistake.
“I’m too old,” is what people say when they haven’t found the courage to say, “I don’t want to.”
I know what I want.
I am not on my way out of the world. I think I see much more of it now than before. I am also far less concerned with how much of the world sees “me”. I am not any more invisible than I was at 20. In fact, I am probably increasingly visible as an individual, rather than a knock-off of a stereotype for someone’s consumption.
I was probably 6 or 7 when I first remember making something. I made my grandfather a birthday card; rhyming couplets in my own handwriting, and a watercolor of the two of us fishing from the side of a lake. It was on thick, cream paper. I can’t remember where the paper came from. I remember the…
Every time I hear the phrase “ruined for life” about sexual abuse, I feel diminished. Do I speak up? Being seen as a “victim” sometimes results in losing one’s standing as a rational adult. Compassion can easily slide into pity. And pity is never a good thing.
Holding up victims as examples of ruined lives stops people from daring to speak out in the first place.
Poetry is a “made thing”. But it’s not just a pleasant rhyme, not a pretty little story with tidy conflicts and a reassuring resolution. Poetry demands a representation that somehow conveys living consciousness. It’s transcendent of its own artificialness. And it is necessarily awesome, in the sense that it is also tinged with fear; if something conveys a true sense of life, it must also convey a sense of mortality. Poetry, as an art form, is not escapism. It is a confrontation with our truths.
There’s no reason to think that they were among the more interesting of the people living then, the most intelligent, the most clever.
But they built the bridge: the object, conduit, magic portal that made this connection. Through some fluke of archaeology, this anonymous bit of humanity endured.
What I have to keep in mind is that I may not have yet written the chapter that the person I am here for needs to read. Might be my boys. Might be a student. Might be a stranger. But it is arrogant to censor myself out of feelings of inadequacy. (Still not sure I’ve completely convinced myself of this one.)
If a mean, little god were to take me, as I am now, to any time period in my life and drop me there, I would experience shame in regard to my actions. It seems simple to me: if I were the product of those actions, if those actions created my essence, I would not be ashamed of them.
Unless the essence of my being is bound with shame in some way.