Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Run Like Hell

I am thinking of the Pink Floyd record Run Like Hell. It's not one of their best, IMHO, I'm more of a Dark Side of the Moon kind of guy or even Piper at the Gates of Dawn even though I have slightly terrifying memories of the latter. Run. Get out. I guess Updike wrote a whole book on this theme though I never got very far in it, last I remember the policeman was discussing with Rabbit why he could not engage in the activity of drinking with his wife.

The pendulum swinging between fear and trust. Both and. The people I know may know what I need better than me and I am an expert on myself, knowing things that are only part of my experience. (I think of the Johari window.) The terror one might feel upon discovery that someone one trusted is not who he or she seems to be, does not have the same interests, we are working at cross purposes, the rules of the game were not apparent. Maybe it is like that in divorce and raising children subsequently. Someone has everyday insight but may be too close to the situation, or may have primarily his interests, his secrets, his squalor, his inability to admit difficulty and accept help. The other may not have the courage, a condtioned response not to argue and say the truth, quickened by fear, tossed about by multiple perspectives, trying to decide what's fair rather than assert what he wants.

I don't know. I cannot reflect. This hasn't been very specific. I am thinking of an early Monty Python episode where John Cleese plays the cliched version of a cowboy and tells the ineffectual Michael Palin character "There's a time when a man has to stop running." Then there's the amazing story I heard at the Monti in Durham, NC last year, listen to the ending.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"But I haven't got anything to say!"

I am thinking of the Peterkin Papers, a children's book from the late nineteenth century. I read it to my kids when they were younger. An evidently well-to-do family seems quite befuddled and their friend, the lady from Philadelphia, shows a bit more sense than the rest. For instance, the Peterkins have a piano delivered, and it is placed with the keyboard facing the wall. So the daughter sits outside on the porch in all kinds of weather and plays the piano through the window. Then the lady from Philadelphia suggests the family turn the piano around. Most of the stories are like that and some are more interesting than others. My thinking and acting, throughout my life, has been much like the Peterkins. Find the most complicated, convoluted way to do or say something. My ex-wife once said, regarding this behavioral pattern, "it must be difficult to be you?"

The one incident from this book that sticks with me today is when John John, one of the sons, decides he's going to be a writer, and goes out and buys a fine writing table, fine paper, a handsome pen and other accoutrements (probably a comfortable elegant chair, too.) Then he's seated at his desk with all his new things, pen freshly inked and raised, with a sad look on his face, and he says, desparingly, "but I haven't got anything to say!!!"

I often feel like that when I log on to this blog, or even meeting an acquaintance on the street, I fall into a strange blank space and don't know what to say. However, upon further review of the play, there is something to say (and sometimes it's OK to say nothing.) I read a fine blog post by Victoria relating her experiences teaching writing to students at a community college, and one of the guidelines she mentions hit me between the eyes: "A writer is someone who writes." Everyone has a story to tell and not everyone has to listen to everyone else's story. "Listen to all sides and filter them from yourself," Whitman wrote. Or as Ornette Coleman wrote in his notes to Body Meta, "if you can read or write, but don't write or read, why?" The thing is to make a beginning. Now. As Tony's quote of Goethe urges me: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Looking at #LoveSparks

I'm amazed at Jasmine's Love Sparks Blogging Festival and it will take me some days if not weeks to read the posts and probably more will be added meantime. However, two, among others, catch my attention at this moment, Kristin's Love, a How To and Christa's Lonely hearts/loving hearts. Kristin's is a whimsical and effective reminder to not let ego get in the way ("push the pause button" she demonstrates in her drawing") and turn one's attention toward others. Christa's, mindful of those who may be lonely today, gives us permission for self-acceptance, kindness towards ourselves, loving ourselves and then sharing that love with others. And I read somewhere else today, someone saying the best part of life is something shared with someone else. It's been years since I read Emerson's essay on love, but if I recall the zenith of it is not the person we love but the spirit within that ultimately connects us to the divine from whence we came. I don't know what I am talking about; nevertheless, this is a worthy and awesome project. Happy Valentine's Day.