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….
It’s kind of like a second date. We took the same route as last weekend. And this time the veil of fog was gone. A steady, small gale blew over the stretches of open landscape. Catching us from side, front or pushing us as we made the circle of the trail. The sun had half-set:…
There would be images of me (taken by God-knows-who) alone on the porch, wrapped in a hand-made blanket, a mug of boiled coffee in hand: the poet looking wistfully over the landscape. There would also be images of candlelight dinners with glinting wine glasses, my lover and all my laughing friends: all on Instagram.
… I know that isn’t the real world.
There is no one left to ask who it was that read to me. But someone did. Someone must have held me close, and helped me make all those neural connections between books and comfort.
Books are the one, safe place to confront your fears. A book is a therapist office. A confessional. And the stories sprawled over the pages offer absolution for being human.
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.
I need a definition of necessary, as well. …
Even if I subscribe to a faith that deems every person’s existence as integral and meaningful in a cosmic whole, it sort of follows that even worrying about the necessary-ness of things would be unnecessary.
Clearly, I need to find something better to do with my time.
I can’t function with Geller’s mindfulness guidelines.
Standing on the edge of any conversation and then trying to casually take part—a sudden, disconcerting, change of topic: I experience the question “Where are you from?” as roadblock. A reminder. An unintended declaration of, “We know you don’t belong here.”
More than that, the question makes me feel diminished:
I remembered handing one full-length script to a director who weighed it in his hand, smiled and said, “You must have put a lot of work into this.”
Clearly, he had no intention of reading it.
I was never under the delusion that I was the Next Big Thing on the Great White Way, but I had enjoyed the privilege of being taken seriously.
A pseudo-scientist has to know when to call off the experiment for the sake of the health and well-being of the subjects involved. It is best for everyone.
What I will take with me?
The darkened rooms, and the candlelight after 8 pm.
Life is unfair. . . Most of the time I think I have this figured out.
I make choices. Sometimes with risks. And when the consequences are not ideal, I do know God is not punishing me. I know that.
So why then, still, these accompanying feelings of shame?
I find myself nearly every week telling at least one hurting teenager that it does get better. That these are definitely not “the best years of your life” for everyone. I hated high school. Even college was a struggle. But I love my life now. Every year, things got better.
Except that, well, maybe they didn’t.
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.
I once went to London to attend a “master class” by a famous writer. It was actually a lecture in a room with 200 or so folding chairs. When the writer was finished talking about her dog and her cottage in the woods, she opened the floor for questions. Someone asked, “What kind of pen…
I have no idea what this woman’s story really was. But I chose to assume that she was under stress. Maybe she’d just come from the doctor with very bad news. Maybe the elderly companion was her Alzheimer’s-stricken father, who had just beaten her mother, who was now in the hospital.
(I have always had an active imagination, and can quickly tweeze out the intricate dramas.)
I seriously doubt that these are the kind of compassionate thoughts that Buddhists want us to have when we are focusing on loving kindness for all people. I mean, I see that it is almost fantasising as a form of revenge. Not even “almost”. It is.