“To survive, you must tell stories.” ~ Umberto Eco, from The Island of the Day Before

Reblogged from theparisreview:


theparisreview:“I don’t believe one writes for oneself. I think that writing is an act of love—you write in order to give something to someone else. To communicate something. To have other people share your feelings. This problem of how long your work can survive is fundamental for every writer, not just for a novelist or a poet. The truth is, the philosopher writes his book in order to convince a lot of people of his theories, and he hopes that in the next three thousand years people will still read that book. It is just as you hope that your kids survive you, and that if you have a grandchild he survives your children. One hopes for a sense of continuity. When a writer says, I am not interested in the destiny of my book, he is simply a liar. He says so to please the interviewer.”—Umberto Eco, The Art of Fiction No. 197
 

 

**********

“I don’t believe one writes for oneself. I think that writing is an act of love—you write in order to give something to someone else. To communicate something. To have other people share your feelings. This problem of how long your work can survive is fundamental for every writer, not just for a novelist or a poet. The truth is, the philosopher writes his book in order to convince a lot of people of his theories, and he hopes that in the next three thousand years people will still read that book. It is just as you hope that your kids survive you, and that if you have a grandchild he survives your children. One hopes for a sense of continuity. When a writer says, I am not interested in the destiny of my book, he is simply a liar. He says so to please the interviewer.”

~ Umberto Eco, The Art of Fiction No. 197

“And as you promised that if you didn’t come back, the river would whisper to me about the strength of your kiss—and about you, about us.” ~ Consuelo de Saint Exupéry, from The Tale of the Rose: The Love Story Behind The Little Prince

Tvanas IX (from “The Flood Cycle”)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1904-05)*

“Someone spoke to me last night,
told me the truth. Just a few words,
but I recognized it.
I knew I should make myself get up,
write it down, but it was late,
and I was exhausted from working
all day in the garden, moving rocks.” ~ Dorianne Laux, from “Dust”

Friday, earl afternoon. Sunny, hot, and humid, low 90’s. Hoping for thunderstorms later.

Well, Corey is scheduled to arrive in Brooklyn today, but I haven’t heard from him in a few days, so I’m not sure if they are still on schedule. I’ve had so much nervous energy that I’ve been cleaning myself into a frenzy. Of course, the result is that by evening, I am walking like the crooked man in the limerick. Don’t know why that popped into my head, but it seems very appropriate.

Zodiakas Mergele (Virgo from the Zodiac Cycle)
Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

Yesterday, my goal was to clean my desk, which, because of the lack of computer, tends to become the repository of all things tossable: magazines, mail, clothes, whatever. I went through all of the paperwork, made myself a nice big pile of things needing to be done (can’t wait, truly), and wiped everything off.

Then I decided that I still needed to do more, so I tackled the fridge. I pulled out the two vegetable drawers, and scrubbed inside and attempted to clean all of the bunk that tends to settle beneath these drawers. Somehow, not really sure how, a mass of what appeared to be caramel was pooled in the bottom. When I couldn’t melt it with chemicals, I finally had to take a spatula and try to scrape it out. I got most of it, but there was one spot that refused to budge.

All of this deep cleaning takes me back to my OCD cleaning days, which makes me realize that I’m back there. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s nice to have a very clean house, but I pay for it with such pain I cannot even describe.

“There is never a later, but for most of my life I have believed in later.” ~ Donald Hall

Last week when Brett and Em and I were out running around, I stopped in Sally’s Beauty supply to purchase yet another nail hardener. The woman at the register assured me that the one that I bought was a good one as they (the employees) had all been given samples, and she said that it worked on her. Right . . .

Saulelydis (Sunset)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1908)

Anyway, after purchasing this nail hardener, I have spent the last week doing the kinds of things that absolutely destroy one’s nails. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had remembered to wear the gloves that Corey bought me for just such occasions, but I always forget, which means that when I cleaned the double ovens, I didn’t wear gloves.

The nail hardener may work, but I won’t be able to find out until my nails come back. Granted this is not terribly important in the huge scheme of things, but it’s kind of lame to have a nail polish addiction and not have enough nails to polish. I’ve never had naturally long nails like my friend Sarah, but I really don’t want to go back to acrylic nails. I’m over that phase. It costs money that I would rather spend elsewhere, and besides, I’m not working any more.

Oh yeah, that.

“In a dream everything is pregnant with a dreadful and unfinished meaning, nothing is indifferent, everything reaches us more deeply, more intimately than the most heated passion of the day. This is the lesson: an artist cannot be restricted to day, he has to reach the night life of humanity and seek its myths and symbols.” ~ Witold Gombrowicz, excerpt from Diary

This past week has been filled with strange and wonderful dreams. A few nights ago I dreamed that I was on this journey, and somehow, I ended up in Middle Earth, but it wasn’t anything like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I was with a group of people, and I think we were on a tour. We went into this room, and it had been retrofitted to look like the 1950’s: the same kind of yellow Formica everywhere. There was a coffee percolator that I was particularly enamored with, but after I poured myself some coffee, it disappeared. We were told that we couldn’t eat the food and that we had to go back to our own world. I didn’t want to leave and begged to stay.

Tvanas VII (from the Flood Cycle)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1904-5)

Last night—and this one is really weird—I was driving down a main road in our neighborhood, and a man dressed in a Spider Man costume was lying in the road. I swerved to avoid him, and then I stopped the car. I was driving my old Isuzu, Izzie. I ran to the man just as another car stopped. I asked them to call 911, and I got a blanket out of the car to cover him even though it was hot. He was alive, but very shaken. Someone had hit him and left, and I kept asking him if he was on a bicycle.

Then a few night ago—and this one is very, very weird—I dreamt that I was in a dark bar, and there was this man of whom I knew I needed to be wary. I knew this man, except he didn’t look like anyone I knew. I knew that he was a sexual deviant. Then I was fleeing from him, and I ended up going through these rooms, and behind the doors I could hear people having sex, and I came around a corner, and he was there just smiling at me. I told him that I was going to call the police, but he didn’t seem to care. I walked over to the bar manager, but it turned out she was a, em, Madam, and she told me that I knew what I needed to do and that I never should have come into that bar.

“There are days that haven’t arrived yet,
that are being made
like bread . . .” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “We Are Waiting,” (trans. William O’Daly)

I’ve been buying a few plants here and there, nothing like the massive plantings I used to do every spring. Although, I would probably have better luck with so many plants now with all of the shade in the front yard. Yesterday, I bought two more from Wal-Mart, and I have to say that the pickings were very slim. Their garden section looked like there had been a collective wilt in response to the oppressively hot, humid air. The ones I brought home I soaked and left over night. I’ll move them into pots today.

Zodiakas Svarstykles (Libra from the Zodiac Cycle)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

I had thought about going to the chair yoga class this afternoon. Still haven’t made up my mind. I have this incredible desire to do sit-ups, which makes no sense at all. I used to have one of those rolled bars that helped to take the stress of the back when doing sit-ups. I’m not sure if Corey threw it out or if it’s somewhere in the mass of things in the garage, but I sure would love to have it now.

I’m not really sure where this desire to work out is coming from, but I really should go with it while I can, don’t you think? Well, can may not be the best word, but perhaps want? I mean, I want to work out, but I don’t know if I can, or maybe I can work out if I want it enough, or perhaps, I won’t workout if I can’t, but I will if I can . . .

Sheesh.

“Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough.
Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away,
Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren.
We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.” ~ Marin Sorescu, from “Fountains in the Sea”

So I just spent about 20 minutes looking for an ab roller online. Seems I can pick one up via Wal-Mart and have it delivered to the store without having to pay shipping. My love/hate affair with Wal-Mart continues . . .

Saules Sonata (Scherzo from Sonate of the Sun)
by Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1907)

Speaking of online ordering, I ordered the replacement hose for the pool. Perhaps (maybe, please maybe) it will arrive today, and eldest son can get the pool working. I mean, on days like today and yesterday, slipping into the pool would be heavenly, and it would also help to keep the dogs occupied, another bonus.

You know, I was thinking about that comment I received on an old post, how outlandish it was. I’ve decided to try to keep politics out of my blog as much as possible this election season. I know that I won’t always be able to do so because sometimes it’s impossible to ignore all of the stupidity, but during the last presidential election I allowed myself to get so worked up over the rampant racism. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that such things do not still bother me, because of course, they do. Rather, I’m going to try to remove myself as much as possible from the fray. My blood pressure will thank me.

At least that’s my position for now. Talk to me when it gets closer to November.

More later. Peace.

Music by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “Box of Stones”

*All images are by Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, whose works were considered to be representative of the fin de siècle (end of the century, end of an era) epoch. Fin de siècle is a French term that usually refers to the end of the 19th century in Europe.

                   

The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

~ Deborah Digges

Why sir or madam, I’m obviously from Pluto, the planet that no longer exists . . .

Just received this wonderful comment regarding a particularly politically-charged post that I wrote in 2010 called, “’He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.’ ~ Andrew Carnegie”  (June 30, 2010). I enjoyed the comment so much for so many reasons that I decided to share:

Not sure what planet you are from but if you can’t tell black from half-black, or magically forget the First through the Fifth Amendments–a specific requirement as part of the job Obama, or whatever his real name is, the pretend law professor and illegally elected so-called “president” and perhaps you have never read–or did I miss one of your quotes? should be aware that these Rights are not negotiable and cannot be bypassed, even if the person doing so has the get-out-of-jail-free race card.

A further distinction, if I can call it that, that Obama (or whatever his real name is) has over all our former presidents is that he is genuinely, perhaps even criminally, insane–based on the past four years of personally observing some very clear diagnostic criteria presented by this man–I can give you the DMS-IV numbers if you wish–and the fact that he demonstrates an IQ level of 85 or less does not help the situation as he is unable, as we have seen, to even learn the job of president, even if he were legally elected which he has as yet failed to do.

And by the way I do actually like some of your quotes, although I have to say that from the standpoint of a voting citizen what your “black” person in the white house is pulling on Americans is not Delusion (although I am open to discussing his plethora of delusional comments and conduct as observed and commented on by high-ranking politicians all over the glob) but more correctly ILLUSION. I’m sure you can guess what some of his best lies have been regarding those illusions he wishes us to believe.

Lastly, I am always interested in how quickly liberals deny others the right of free speech, while demanding that right for themselves. If you don’t like some the inferences to the ineptitude, malaise, lack of concern for critical issues and his overall inability to function under stress, you are definitely not going to like what you hear about him when he’s dragged before a Court and forced, for once, to admit the kind of charades he’s been playing with our government, our money and freedoms.

Now, once upon a time, I might have actually engaged with this person, but not today, dear friends, not today.

Peace to you and yours.

Can think of nothing more appropriate than Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner”

Just a thought . . .

You know, according to Pat Robertson, I should be a practicing lesbian witch who hates my family, wants to tear down capitalism, and promote a socialist agenda. Well, I suppose one and a half out of five isn’t bad.

Hmm . . . things that make you go hmm . . .

(I have no idea what happened to this little post. I hit publish, and it said that it published, but then . . . not)

Two things that go together in a weird way . . . unfortunately.

Mr. Robertson,
You, sir, are a douche-bag.

                   

Reposting this as it’s too good not to pass along:

An Open Letter to the Guys Who Told Me They Want to See Lara Croft Get Raped

By Alyssa Rosenberg* on Jun 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

In last week’s conversation about the fact that Lara Croft will be threatened with sexual assault in the latest release of Tomb Raider, commenter Yitzhak Ben-Moshe wondered “One wonders how many sick puppies will let it go and watch the rape happen. Disgusting.” No sooner had he said that than two people showed up in the feed to validate his fears. “As long as you get to watch Lara Croft get raped uncensored, I’ll pre-order the special edition right now,” wrote Jordan Cunningham. “I been wanting to see that foe nearly a decade.” And Eric Ericsson chimed in “Rape in my tomb raider? Oh boy, I cannot wait to raid her tomb.” This letter is to them.

Dear Jordan and Eric,

I have a lot of questions for both of you, but let’s start with this one: why do you want to see Lara Croft get raped?

I ask because I’d be willing to bet it’s something you hadn’t considered much before Ron Rosenberg and company laid out the scenario (one they’re now walking back) for the new Tomb Raider game that will give Lara Croft a backstory. And once you heard that Lara Croft was going to be at risk of rape in the new game, you jumped on the idea. But I still want to know why. It’d be one thing if you wanted to see the character have fairly explicit consensual sex—Lara Croft has been marketed to us as a hot, adventurous woman for years, and all manner of non-exploitative fantasies can come out of the way she’s been sold in-game and on-screen. But no, what Jordan wants is to see her get “raped uncensored,” and Eric wants the chance to do it himself.

So, in all seriousness, why do you want to see Lara Croft get raped?

Do you think she has an obligation to be sexually available, if not to you in real life, to someone else in-game, and if she violates that obligation, that it should be enforced upon her? One of the hard, immutable truths of adulthood is that no one owes you, and there is no mechanism to guarantee that everyone gets some mysteriously-allotted fair share of happiness and sexual satisfaction. I get that there’s this fantasy of a time before feminism when women were more broadly sexually available to men, when some men think they would have experienced less of that pain of loneliness and that fear of rejection that is baked into modern life. But I’d bet if you think about it carefully, you’ll acknowledge to yourself that it’s not really true, that participation in that fantasy was limited to certain very powerful and wealthy men, that it probably wouldn’t have served you as well as you think it would, that then, as now, you would have been required to exercise persuasion and charm and negotiation to get what you wanted. This fantasy of yours, it’s a fantasy. And nothing, not pretending you’re owed something, not seeing a video game character get raped, is ever going to bring it back.

So if it’s not that, is it entertaining to you to see this powerful woman reduced in some way, made vulnerable to something whether you’re the person enforcing her powerlessness or not? Because if that’s the case, really, what are you so frightened of? Lara Croft is not some sort of proof that men have been replaced as adventurers, or that men are unnecessary. To paraphrase Orson Scott Card’s Piggies talking about their desire to participate in the full life of the universe alongside humanity, feminism is not about being there first, about rendering men irrelevant. It’s about being there, too. I’d think that needing to see Lara Croft, or any other strong woman, made vulnerable isn’t pushback against misandry, the unicorn of oppressions. It’s evidence of fear, proof of John Scalzi’s theory that relying on patriarchy is really playing the game of life on the easiest setting rather than being willing to collaborate, and in some cases compete. If that’s what you really want, to be spared the presence of women in your lives because you find us threatening and upsetting, you may be able to find a way to do that, for a little while longer. But I don’t think it’s going to last. You can’t put all of us in whatever it is you perceive to be our places. There are too many of us. And whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there are a lot of men who will tell you that having women is a value add to their lives, not a painful surrendering of territory. You can fight for whatever barren rock you want to make your last stand on. But why not check out what men and women are building together? If you like what you see, then welcome.

Or are you at that point in your life where you think there’s something inherently exciting about violating norms, and so the fact that women are upset about the prospect of seeing Lara Croft get assaulted lights up some part of your brain and makes you want not so much to see it happen as to see them upset? I sort of suspect that this is where you are, that you aren’t so much deeply angry or afraid as amused by the idea of eliciting a reaction from people like me and from guys like Yitzhak. And to a certain extent, I get that impulse. There’s a lot of censuriousness in our society today, particularly around video games. I’m as much a fan of anyone as picking apart hollow moralism and self-righteousness. But it’s a mistake to assume that just because some things are specious that nothing means anything. And wandering around smashing things indiscriminately doesn’t make you smart, or clever, or brave. It just makes you a blank shield, without cause or metaphorical country. That sounds more lonely than liberated.

Honestly, I don’t feel particularly threatened by your comments, because they’re so predictable. But I do feel profoundly sad that you would leave them in the first place, and that you’d leave them under your own name, in a form that means those tossed-off, ugly sentiments show up in your Facebook stream. Maybe you assume that the only people reading them are on your same wavelength, that this is a joke you can share on the uptight feminist blogger. But you may be wrong. There may be someone reading your comments, someone you love and who you wouldn’t want to hurt, who has been raped or sexually assaulted or harassed, who you may be wounding all over again without you even knowing it. There may be someone out there in your future who will stumble across these comments, someone you’ve gotten close to and come to care about, who will read these words and have their sense of you rearranged in an instant.

I don’t really care if you don’t care about hurting me. But I suspect that there are people in your lives that you don’t want to hurt, whose respect you’d like to maintain. And if you don’t care about doing damage to other people, I’d hope you’d at least care about doing damage to yourself. There’s a world out there you’re cutting yourself off from by saying things like this, perhaps without ever having seen or experienced it. Having some basic respect for women, being revolted rather than gleeful about rape culture, these things won’t automatically make life easy. But they’re a precondition for certain opportunities, a whole range of conversations and interactions. Publicly embracing patriarchy isn’t just playing the game on the easiest difficulty setting. It’s committing yourself to not playing all the way through the game.

Alyssa

*Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture blogger for ThinkProgress.org. She is a correspondent for TheAtlantic.com and The Washington Monthly.

“I have not, nor will I ever, completely lose the longing for that something, that thing that I believe will fill an emptiness inside me. I do believe that the emptiness was made greater by the things that I did to myself.” ~ Marya Hornbacher

haizearen orrazia-1 by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Haizearen Orrazia
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)*

                   

“Ah, the sun will catch me, in my disturbing transparency.
What am I but an awareness of the dark, forever?” ~ Edmond Jabès, The Book of Questions I, (trans. Rosmarie Waldrop)

Monday early evening, low 70’s, a bit humid.

No offside by Sergio Tudela Romero (sergiotudela) on 500px.com
No Offside
by Sergio Tudela Romero on 500px (cc license)

Once again WordPress thwarted me. I had all of my quotes, hit save, got an error message, and the post frame was gone. I spend a lot of time in choosing my quotes and images, sometimes more time than the actual writing. I see all three parts as integral and important to the message that I want to convey. To say that I was highly perturbed is a vast understatement.

It really does no good to tell an inanimate object to do biologically impossible things . . . but it makes me feel better. Actually Eamonn’s computer was well nigh impossible to deal with earlier, so I stopped, did a few chores, and took Brett to campus. He only has two more classes after this session, and his next session (Pre Calculus II) begins next Wednesday, so no break for him. I remember all to well how exhausting summer sessions can be—both to take and to teach.

Anyway, now I’m on his computer, and it feels akin to magic, just how fast this computer reacts. I guess I am so used to working on the dying POS that I forget that most functioning computers do not take several minutes to perform an action. Seconds rather than minutes, what a concept.

“I will wait and you can follow alone
and between us the night has come and gone” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “To Lili’s Walk”

In the past 24 hours, Corey and I have had an argument via e-mail. How utterly stupid. I freely admit that it was my fault. I read one of his e-mails while I was exhausted, had a migraine and was near to tears. Hence, I took offense when none was there. I feel terrible. The last thing he needs to be dealing with is my moodiness across an ocean. I have tried very hard not to let him know how down I am as I do not want him to concentrate on anything but his job while he is on the ship. I have succeeded in that goal until yesterday.

ilunabarra luarcan by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Ilunabarra Luarcan
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)

Damn.

I feel so bad about the whole thing, and an apology e-mail is kind of lame, don’t you think? I suppose that it’s better than nothing, but it just doesn’t really encompass all of the emotions. Hence the Doctor Who apology gifs for yesterday. Seemed appropriate, even if no one else knew what the hell was going on with it.

Anyway, the ship is supposed to hit Brooklyn around June 22, and a Coast Guard inspection is scheduled for June 25. I’m not sure if he’s staying on for the inspection or beyond; that is entirely up to the company. He needs to come home and have a break, though. Everyone misses him, especially Tillie.

“I keep remembering—I keep remembering. My heart has no pity on me.” ~ Henri Barbusse

Last night I watched the finale to “The Killing” on AMC. It was a really good show, but I was disappointed in the ending. It seemed kind of rushed and anticlimactic. I stopped in reading “The Executioner’s Song” long enough to watch that and a show on Discovery ID. Then felt tired so I turned off the television. My sleeping time has crept back towards 2 a.m., and I don’t want to get into that habit again.

zurriola ilunabarrean-II by orkatz go (orkatz_go) on 500px.com
Zurriola Ilunabarrean
by orkatz go on 500px (cc license)

Unfortunately, while awaiting sleep, memories of Caitlin suddenly popped into my head, seemingly out of nowhere. I am resolved to the fate that I will never be rid of these memories and the accompanying emotions, but I wasn’t prepared last night. I actually had to take a Xanax to calm myself down. My doctor prescribed them to me for my anxiety attacks, which, luckily, abated just as soon as she prescribed the Xanax, so I have probably only taken three pills since getting the prescription. Believe it or not, I really try to be conservative with my medication. I have no desire to be hooked on anything.

Anyway, I was finally able to get to sleep somewhere after 3, but it was uncomfortable, and I awoke more times than I can remember. Chalk up another bad night, but hey, what’s one more in the infinite trail of bad nights?

“I’ll always be the one who wasn’t born for that;
I’ll always be the one who had qualities;
I’ll always be the one who waited for a door to open in a wall without doors” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from “The Tobacco Shop” (trans. Richard Zenith)

I debated shortening the quote above by removing the second line, but then I thought that it was too true, and Pessoa doesn’t say good qualities, just qualities, and I think that that’s deliberate on his part.

Reflection Of A Golden Sky by Garry Knight (garryknight) on 500px.com
Reflection of a Golden Sky
by Garry Knight on 500px (cc license)

In the past week or so, I’ve gotten more paper work from the Social Security administration, and a couple of voice mails from my long-term disability provider. Bear with me. This is connected.

Social Security wants me to fill out yet another description of my daily life. The disability provider wants to touch base to see if there is any change in my status. Really? Seriously? Do you really want to know how I feel?

I feel like taking a really thick Sharpie and writing all over the questionnaire:

I’ve completed this thing at least four times. Leave me alone.

But I can’t because it’s a bureaucracy, and they don’t remember what they do from one day to the next.

So instead, I feel like completing the questions in a more ethereal tone. For example, tell us about how you spend your day . . . My answer could be more of a description of my quality of life: Well, I spend a great deal of my day contemplating my existence, its worth or worthlessness, depending upon where I am on the continuum of my mental state. I consider my successes as compared to my failures, and I realize that the scale tips depending upon who is looking at it. I often spend a few minutes each day just staring at the sky and my dogs in amazement that such things exist, and then, more often than not, I have sleep filled with tormenting dreams. The next day I get up and do it all over again.

What do you think? Would they accept that?

“We do compose a soul for ourselves, I think, an inner biography that has this grace of selection—the poem of ourself, if you like.” ~ Les Murray, The Art of Poetry No. 89  (The Paris Review)

If you like to read about poets or like interviews with writers, click on the Paris Review link above. Yet again, tumblr has introduced me to another poet with whom I was unfamiliar—Les Murray, who is from Australia. It’s a good interview.

Puzzle by Sergio Tudela Romero (sergiotudela) on 500px.com
Puzzle
by Sergio Tudela Romero on 500px (cc license)

If I ordered every poetry book that I have put on my wish list, every new poet I have discovered through the poetry lovers at tumblr, I think that I would increase my poetry collection by about 50 percent, and that’s saying something.

My friend over at Titirangi Storyteller and I were discussing Charles Bukowski. I adore him, especially his attitude towards life, yet like so many of the writers of the 20th century, he had a major drinking problem. So many of the writers that I adore had some kind of drinking or drug problem, or even better, some kind of mental illness: Bukowski, Sexton, Carver, Plath, Fitzgerald, McCullers.

What does that say about me? Do I even need to ask? But interestingly enough, I have a real distaste for people who imbibe too much. I don’t like being around drunks, and I know that comes directly from my ex. So why am I perversely attracted to the writings of those who drank themselves to death?

I do not have an answer to that question.

“I dream of perfect concentration; if I found it
I’d surely stop breathing.” ~ Adam Zagajewski, from “The Room I Work In”

I’m considering calling my psychiatrist who prescribes my medications for my disorders, but I’m afraid that she’ll want to add another medication, and damn, I just don’t want that. I’m hoping that this pervasive cloud of despair will dissipate once Corey comes home. At the same time, I do not want to be one of those women who depends upon the man in her life for happiness.

Passing Storm by James Wheeler (JamesWheeler) on 500px.com
Passing Storm
by James Wheeler on 500px (cc license)

Don’t misunderstand. I love how Corey makes me happy, but I also want my inner joy to come from . . . well . . . inner. You know? I never want him to have the burden of thinking that he must provide me with peace of mind. I know that one of the reasons that I feel that way is because both of my parents (surprisingly) drilled into me that I should be self-sufficient, never depend on a man for support.

I know that they were talking about financial support, but over the years I expanded that. Having been married to an individual who was emotionally bereft, I needed to be self-sufficient emotionally. It was not always possible, and it is still not always possible. Yet I still feel that way. I want Corey to be my partner, my lover, my friend, but not my emotional crutch.

I’m going to have to think over whether or not to call the doctor because this black mood does not seem to be lessening, or it lessens but then rears its ugly head even more pervasively than its previous incarnation.

Things to ponder.

More later. Peace.

*All images are taken from the creative commons section of 500px.com. Clicking on the image should take you to the page on which it appears.

Music by Thurston Moore, “Benediction”

                   

The Room I Work In

To Derek Walcott

The room I work in is as foursquare
as half a pair of dice.
It holds a wooden table
with a stubborn peasant’s profile,
a sluggish armchair, and a teapot’s
pouting Hapsburg lip.
From the window I see a few skinny trees,
wispy clouds, and toddlers,
always happy and loud.
Sometimes a windshield glints in the distance
or, higher up, an airplane’s silver husk.
Clearly others aren’t wasting time
while I work, seeking adventures
on earth or in the air.
The room I work in is a camera obscura.
And what is my work—
waiting motionless,
flipping pages, patient meditation,
passivities not pleasing
to that judge with the greedy gaze.
I write as slowly as if I’ll live two hundred years.
I seek images that don’t exist,
and if they do they’re crumpled and concealed
like summer clothes in winter,
when frost stings the mouth.
I dream of perfect concentration; if I found it
I’d surely stop breathing.
Maybe after all, I hear the first snow hissing,
the frail melody of daylight,
and the city’s gloomy rumble.
I drink from a small spring,
my thirst exceeds the ocean.

~ Adam Zagajewski