You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2009.
You start a conversation; you can’t even finish it.
You’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything.
When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.
Say something once, why say it again?
Talking Heads: “Pscho Killer”
No, I’m not quite sure why I’m leading with that quote. But I felt that I had to. The potentially sad thing is that I love this song and I will reflect upon it again. But there are far worse things than your being overexposed to the frenetic, syncopated wisdom of the Heads.
I live on the Writer’s Block. That could mean something delightful. I mean the less hopeful thing.
I have so much to say–or at least so much that I think I should say (yes, I acknowledge that I might be wrong). That is the irony of this blog where I never write.
It’s just that the things that are important never seem quite ready. So I sit and wait or even strive for something that is ready but still meaningful–meaningful enough. Or I forcefully roll around the important stuff again, hoping to stumble across the turn of phrase or structure that might finally work.
It is sad, and I might shouldn’t (Lord, I don’t know why that construction so amuses me) admit this, but: I probably spend more time thinking about writing, thinking about words to throw out at an unsuspecting world, than I do most anything else. Sometimes I even practice my conversations with God. That’s probably not uncommon, but it is wonderfully ironic. We laugh about it together, God and I; of course, He’s laughing before I’ve settled upon how I want to say it to Him.
What’s sad isn’t so much that I rehearse my words (at least I don’t think it’s sad; I don’t think that any more at least). What’s sad is that I have so little to show for it. My words are not brilliant, honed by practice. I am not stunningly prolific, the fruitful volume a product of my obsession. I’m just another mediocre wannabe (please, let me at least bask in that). Who doesn’t write. Or who writes but hasn’t yet found a way to shake the foundations of the earth.
What’s funny is that the words I rehearse are rarely those that make it to the page. I’m pretty sure that, whatever joy they bring me in the moment of their conception, they are only a warm-up, or maybe the calisthenics whose application isn’t obvious until the time of crisis. “Wax on. Wax off.” Actually, that’s kinda hopeful.
Maybe I’m pushing it too hard. I’m a firm believer in the process of fermentation and in the truth beheld out of the corner of the eye. Maybe I should stop stirring it so much and just let it sit. I do need to find some quiet, empty spaces. Maybe I shouldn’t stare so long at what I hope to see.
At the same time, I know that I do lack discipline, focus and genuine commitment. It doesn’t seem that one would have all of these problems at once–that one could be both undisciplined and obsessive–but I’m pretty sure I am. And it does make sense. It makes too much sense.
But this isn’t meant to be an exploration of my problems writing, or, um, not writing. Ha. That’s too important. That post isn’t ready.
Oddly enough, what I mean to say is this: I’m not quitting. I think my meaningless words do matter. I think there is hope in my hopeless rambling. I will make noise. However inconsistent I am still committed and I am at least hanging on. I am a writer, goddamnit, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. And there are moments when I don’t even care whether I am a good writer; likewise, there are moments when I do care. No, I’m not sure which is more important.
Horton, can you hear me? Can they hear me?
New Year’s resolutions annoy me.
For that matter, so does so much of the marking of the New Year. It’s like that whole birthday thing. One of the stupidest things we ask each other (and, I admit, I’ve asked it myself) is “so, do you feel a year older?” You shouldn’t. The same time 24 hours earlier, you weren’t a year younger; you were 24 hours younger. You were–in annual terms–pretty much the same age even a month before your birthday as you are on your birthday and will be a month after your birthday. It’s just silly.
Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s great that we celebrate people, and their birthdays are as good a time as any. I don’t so much know about celebrating the progression of time. I find “time” a troublesome abstraction, to be perfectly honest. Yes, abstraction. But that’s another digression for another day. And don’t even get me started on entropy. Oy.
But, no, what really bugs me is the artificiality. New Year’s resolutions are at once compulsory and melodramatic. Let’s be honest, most New Year’s resolutions will fail. Most of us enter into them knowing (somewhere deep inside if nowhere else) that they won’t last, but we do it anyway, because we feel that that’s what’s expected. They are a lot like marriages.
If you’re going to do something, do it. If not, I think you and we are better off with your not making such a big deal out of your tepid commitment. As so many half-assed marriages are merely the prelude to divorce, so many “commitments” made for the New Year are more dissolution than resolution. If we were truly resolute, I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t need the histrionics. But, in any case, what we need less–and not more–of is the pretense of commitment and the pretense of change. We’ve got plenty, thanks.
Janus is a two-faced bastard and we rightly honor him with our lies. But let’s not.
Change. (That’s an imperative and, therefore, a complete sentence, and not a fragment; not that I don’t do fragments). Go ahead. And grace to you as you do.
Exercise, eat better, balance your checkbook, love your family, upend the world, make sense of your life, whatever. Do it. Ask for help even. Announce it. But mean it. And count the costs.
And, no, I’m not advising that we not take chances. What I’m suggesting is that we really take them, instead of just going through the formality.
And I’m not damning us for our failure. We will fail. We can be forgiven. We must get up and try again. But we shouldn’t just play at it. For that matter, some folks play with more commitment and passion than most of us live. Let’s not let them have all of the fun, eh?
I resolved a long time ago to stop making New Year’s resolutions, and I’m proud to say that I’ve kept that resolution. But I don’t mean to be a legalist; if New Year’s works for you then more power to you. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who perceives this time as fundamentally duplicitous. I do. But though it be dark and foggy it is not unredeemed. I am, amidst the shadowy mists, preparing, perhaps, for purification in February, battles in March, etc.
I’m pretty sure that God isn’t bound by the Julian or Gregorian or, for that matter, Maya calendar. We tend to be, but we can be free. Will the world end in 2012? Hell if I know. But I do know that we could usher in the end of the world as we know it today if we chose to.
Oh, and–coincidentally or not–I would like to exercise some more, so I’d like it if all of you January posers would get out of my gym. You know you don’t mean it anyway. You know who you are.
I like prebeginnings. My favorite time of day is the dark before dawn. I prefer to approach it from sleep, though I quite often find it from the wrong direction: the end of the night.
I like Spring. But I love the Winter that precedes it. And, most especially, the Fall that promises Winter and looks forward to its own eventual redemption. I love Fall and Winter more intrinsically, but I love them for their relationship to the life they usher in. Summer, I have to say, almost always feels like a great disappointment.
Maybe I’m weird that way, but I’m okay with my weirdness.
When I first decided that I needed to write this post, it was as a sort of apology: I realized that I had started a bunch of things and otherwise manifested a strong predilection to introducing and prefacing maybe more than completing. And what you don’t know is that I have several more that I really need to post: prefaces, introductions and such.
The more I thought about it, the less I felt like I needed to apologize. Sure my tendency to preface works with some of my dysfunctions. But so does my writing; for that matter, so does my thought. And–whether I should or not–I’m getting really tired of apologizing for how I think and speak.
I have lots to say about the predawn and my love of it. And, of course, I’m not going to say it here, now. Yes, this too.
But there are two things I want you to know:
1. I take my titles seriously. They’re a kind of preface. At the very least, they pose a perspective that, though I may quickly veer from it, I hope that you’ll let intermix with what follows. Sometimes they’re silly, but that’s part of the point too. On more than a few occasions I’ve anguished over repeating the title as the first line of the post just to make sure that you got it and paid attention to it. Part of why I’m writing this is so that I don’t worry about that anymore.
2. Though I’m not writing sequentially or systematically, I’m conscious of what I’ve written and, like that little blurb (the title, I mean) at the top of the page, I mean you to take it all together somehow. You don’t have to. I’m pleased that you’re even reading a single post. And, really, I do believe in taking a thing as itself–even taking a thing deliberately out of context–and I believe that we are more than the sum of our parts or the culmination of our histories and genetic inputs. But, still, context helps. So, especially if you’re confused. The category links are very helpful that way.
So, yeah, more later.