“I really think I write about everyday life. I don’t think I’m quite as odd as others say I am. Life is intrinsically, well, boring and dangerous at the same time. At any given moment the floor may open up. Of course, it almost never does; that’s what makes it so boring.” ~ Edward Gorey

cc by-nc-nd Bruno Monginoux www.photo-paysage.com & www.landscape-photo.net
Paris in the Fog
by Bruno Monginoux (cc)

                   

“I mused for a few moments on the question of which was worse, to lead a life so boring that you are easily enchanted, or a life so full of stimulus that you are easily bored.” ~ Bill Bryson, from Lost Continent: Travels In Small-Town America

Saturday, late afternoon. Overcast and 50 degrees.

Well, guess what. No, really. Go on. Guess who has come to visit me again . . . My old friend Insomnia. Got to sleep somewhere around 5:30 this morning only to be awakened a few minutes later by Tillie the Lab who deemed it time to go out. When I was finally able to roll out of bed, my head felt as it if was contained in a vise. Still sitting here squinting, so I’m not sure how far I’ll actually get today.

Hot shower and lots of steam loosened the tightness a bit, but not enough for full relief.

Early Morning Fog, Audubon Park by Paul Couroux CC
Early Morning Fog, Audubon Park
by Paul Couroux (cc)

So I’ve been pondering some odd things lately, like life, in general and my life here, specifically. Quality of life, as in how would I describe the quality of my life. And more specifically, temperament of life, as in how would I define the essence of my life.

For one thing, Corey asked me how I can stand it not to have left the house in weeks, and I really had to think about that. On the one hand, it bothers me a great deal, much more than it did say two years ago. I miss getting in the Rodeo and driving. I miss seeing Olivia on a regular basis, but do I miss those things enough to cross the threshold to venture into the open air, the wide world beyond my doors?

I’m not sure. I know that’s a cop-out answer, but for now, it will have to do.

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” ~ Donald Miller, from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life

Two days ago I had big plans to take Tillie for a walk, only to find it raining when I looked outside. I’m not made of the kind of stuff to begin a regimen in the rain, at least not a walking regimen. So that’s on hold, and unfortunately, I may have already lost the momentum. Sad, really.

But these things lead me to my real question: Am I a boring person? I know that I certainly wasn’t boring when I was younger. And I also know that growing older does not necessitate a move into boring land. So what gives?

Chicago Fog at Night by Emily Barney FCC
Chicago Fog at Night
by Emily Barney (FCC)

Have I lost that ineffable spark, that je ne sais quoi that made me the kind of person around whom people gathered. I’m not talking about popularity, the kind that makes everyone want to be your friend, as I was never that person. But I remember those days during which I always had a circle of friends, and we were doing—talking, arguing, laughing, pontificating, whatever. And we seemed to end up in my car or in my office or at my table.

I’m not sure if I am describing this accurately, so let me back up here. I was never ever mainstream, never ever the girl who attracted all the boys because I was pretty and sweet, never ever the Homecoming Queen. Instead, I was interesting, which is such a nothing vapid word, really. Mysterious, maybe? One of my former teachers wrote something about me being the woman of mystery. I liked that. It fit.

So where has that woman gone?

“Life is like topography, Hobbes. There are summits of happiness and success, flat stretches of boring routine and valleys of frustration and failure.” ~ Bill Watterson, “Calvin and Hobbes”

Has that woman become so sedentary, so sedate, so tedious? Am I now just humdrum?

It pains me even to consider this, but I think that I must. And if the answer is yes, what do I do? Do I do anything? Do I simply keep this to myself and hope that no one else notices? Surely other people have noticed, say, my family, my spouse? Am I the last to know?

Manhattan Bridge in Fog by merlune FCC
Manhattan Bridge in Fog
by merlune (FCC)

Is this just a phase?

Or, and she pauses here for dramatic effect, is it life that’s boring and not me? Are we both boring? Am I bored with life? Is life bored with me?

I have to tell you that until a couple of days ago, I really didn’t think of myself as boring, nor did I believe that I lead a boring life, but now, I have to admit that perhaps both are true: I am boring, and my life is boring. Of course, I must also admit that this is how a racing mind works, tricking itself into believing things that may or may not be true.

Let’s back up, once again. I know that there are many things that I want to do; many, many things that I want to see; many, many, many places that I want to experience. The bucket list, remember? I also know that on any given day, I have many, many things to say, to share, to impart. So perhaps I now find myself in one of those valleys, one of those expected but unwelcome forays into—shudder—normalcy, and because it is normalcy, I am thoroughly at sea . . .

“There are a lot of things I wish I would have done, instead of just sitting around and complaining about having a boring life.” ~ Kurt Cobain

I know that my children must find me boring. After all, what do I do, really? Do I go out and greet the day with a smile and open arms? Hardly. Do I saunter about, full of self-assurance and charisma? Once upon a time maybe. Do I sit around in black yoga pants and white cotton sweaters and pour my life out onto a screen for anyone to see?

Yep. That would be me. Is this boring? Admittedly, some days it really is, but more days than not, it isn’t.

Flight in Fog by Christmatos FCC
Flight in Fog
by Christmatos (FCC)

I think we get bored with life when we are hating life, and there were many times in the past when I hated life, hated my life, but this isn’t one of those time. I do not hate life. I do wish that some things were different, that, for instance, I were sitting in my office pretending to work but instead writing this blog, that I had on real clothes, that I had people in the offices next to me, some of whom I liked and others of whom I detested. You know, real life.

If I could change just one thing, just one, it would be that I still had a career. But wait. If I were smart (and we know that there are many times in which I am not), should I not embrace the freedom of not having a career and all that is entailed by the supposed free time? Of course I should. But one thing they don’t tell you is that freedom is so much more interesting when you have money.

“We must never, ever be boring.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, from Invisible Monsters

By money, I don’t mean rich. I just mean enough money to go places, see things. Enough money to sit in a coffee shop and read a book.

So I suppose what this lull boils down to is the essence of my life at present: Our income has been cut quite a bit, we are in the post-holiday monetary slump, Corey is between hitches, our utilities are in jeopardy. Oh, and add one other thing: I’ve been stretching out my anti-depressant to make it last until payday. That little detail there.

Bodiam Castle in the Fog by Dean Thorpe FCC
Bodiam Castle (UK) in the Fog
by Dean Thorpe (FCC)
*replaced to include watermark on original

But all of that aside, one thing I have never ever wanted to be is boring. I have never wanted to bore those around me, but I think that I am, and this concerns me. How do I fix this? I’m going to have to ponder this whole thing a bit more, preferably once the headache is gone, and I’m not squinting, and my serotonin levels are back to what they need to be.

Perhaps I should just trash this entire post, but because I like to keep just about everything, I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to put it out there so that I can share my boringness with the world.

I think that I need some dragons to slay. Heh.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ane Brun, “The Light From One”

                   

Walking North

No matter how I turn
the magnificent light follows.
Background to my sadness.

No matter how I lift my heart
my shadow creeps in wait behind.
Background to my joy.

No matter how fast I run
a stillness without thought is where I end.

No matter how long I sit
there is a river of motion I must rejoin.

And when I can’t hold my head up
it always falls in the lap of one
who has just opened.

When I finally free myself of burden
there is always someone’s heavy head
landing in my arms.

The reasons of the heart
are leaves in wind.
Stand up tall and everything
will nest in you.

We all lose and we all gain.
Dark crowds the light.
Light fills the pain.

It is a conversation with no end
a dance with no steps
a song with no words
a reason too big for any mind.

No matter how I turn
the magnificence follows.

~ Mark Nepo

“Peace, serenity, and integration are unknown to me. My familiar climate is anxiety. I write as I breathe, naturally, flowingly, spontaneously, out of an overflow, not as a substitute for life.” ~ Anaïs Nin Nin*

"Sea Mist" (nd, oil on canvas)by Sir Kyffin Williams
“Sea Mist” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Sir Kyffin Williams

                   

“I change every day, change my patterns, my concepts, my interpretations. I am a series of moods and sensations. I play a thousand roles. I weep when I find others play them for me. My real self is unknown. My work is merely an essence of this vast and deep adventure.” ~ Anaïs Nin

Saturday afternoon. Sunny and cold, 40’s.

Sir Kiffin Williams Barclodiad Y Gawres
“Barclodiad Y Gawres” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Sir Kiffin Williams

Well, the world didn’t end. Boehner didn’t get his Plan B. Westboro creeps were kept from grandstanding at Sandy Hook funerals by Hell’s Angels. And the NRA didn’t disappoint in the “We Know You are a Bunch of Myopic Assholes” category by suggesting that having guns in schools would keep violence out of schools.

Yep. The world continues to turn on its axis, and the inherent stupidity of people marches on.

Heavy sigh . . .

My other boy dog Alfie is dying. We used to refer to him as Mr. Muscle because of his swagger; he walked like a European body-builder in a Speedo. And I am once again filled with guilt because I know that I have not loved him as much as I loved Shakes, but I have loved him still, in spite of the fact that he’s psycho and goes off at the drop of a hat. How to resolve the guilt and the anguish? Probably not possible, nor should it be as it never is.

“I have no confidence in myself and great confidence in others. I need love more than food. I stumble and make errors, and often want to die. When I look most transparent is probably when I have just come out of the fire. I walk into the fire always, and come out more alive.” ~ Anaïs Nin

And because I am bereft and gloomy, I have chosen to populate today’s post with quotes from Anaïs Nin. You’ll forgive me, I hope.

Sir Kyffin WIlliams St Davids Head
“St. David’s Head” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Sir Kiffin Williams

Guilt is an insidious creature. It compels us to make bad decisions, to pursue avenues we would under different circumstances never trod. Guilt wipes from our consciousness any semblance of logical thinking. Its tentacles wrap themselves around our cerebellum and squeeze until the frontal lobe is incapable of choosing between good actions and bad actions.

Guilt resides within the brain but is born in the heart, where it develops on a continuous diet of losses and betrayals. Guilt is weaned on slights and slurs, and it festers on perceived injustices and imagined iniquities.

Guilt dusts the edges of every planned revenge and gilds each false sentiment that leaves our lips.

Guilt is perhaps the progenitor of imbalance in the heart, the mind, and the soul because it works against the Aristotlean Golden Mean. It is impossible to ride the middle when consumed by guilt, and so we fall prey to extremes.

“I think life tragic, not comic, because I have no detachment. I have been guilty of idealization, guilty of everything except detachment. I am guilty of fabricating a world in which I can live and invite others to live in, but outside of that I cannot breathe.” ~ Anaïs Nin

If I had to choose one overriding emotion to define my life, it would most certainly be guilt:

  • I have not done enough
  • I have not loved enough
  • I have loved wrongly

    Sir Kyffin Williams Morfa Conwy
    “Morfa Conwy” (nd, oil on canvas)
    by Sir Kyffin Williams
  • I have lived cravenly
  • I have put myself before others
  • I have not considered myself enough
  • I have not considered the consequences
  • I have been paralyzed into inaction by the possible consequences
  • I have hidden behind false modesty
  • I have worn the cloak of aggression
  • I have watched when I should have acted
  • I have acted when I should have watched
  • I have proclaimed impartiality when it has not existed
  • I have decided when I should have bided

“I am apparently gentle, unstable, and full of pretenses. I will die a poet killed by the nonpoets, will renounce no dream, resign myself to no ugliness, accept nothing of the world but the one I made myself.” ~ Anaïs Nin

And no, this is not a timely post for the holidays. I know that, and I would apologize, but that would be unseemly as I am not at all certain that I would be sincere.

Sir Kyffin Williams Porth Dafarch
“Porth Dafarch” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Sir Kyffin Williams

I am sorry if you have come here expecting folderol (falderal) and instead were met with oblique attempts at rationality. I have no control over the trails my mind will take on any given day, or even at any given hour. The term flighty is especially fitting on days such as these.

I began this post thinking about how the big Mayan prediction (or rather interpretation of the Mayan calendar) did not come to pass (as I never thought it would) and how life continued to march on inexorably, how the madness of our society continues to spiral, how the cheapness of a human life continues to be met with indifference. And then I alit on my other boy dog, which took me down an entirely different road, and unfortunately for you, that particular road is well-trod for me.

And so, I do apologize for that.

“I create a myth and a legend, a lie, a fairy tale, a magical world, and one that collapses every day and makes me feel like going the way of Virginia Woolf. I have tried to be not neurotic, not romantic, not destructive, but may be all of these in disguises.” ~ Anaïs Nin

And so Christmas will be here in three days, and I am completely without the sense of wonder and delight that I hope to capture each year, which makes me wonder when I will grow up and realize that life is simply what is and not what may be.

Sir Kyffin Williams Sunset, Penmon nd
“Sunset, Penmon” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Sir Kyffin Williams

And in spite of my misgivings, I will plant a smile upon my face come Christmas morning, and somehow, I may be able to move from a false face into a real one, if I can just let go of my guilt long enough.

You must wonder how someone such as myself can possibly move through life, how someone paralyzed by deep emotions can traverse the minefield that is life, and my reply is that I try, and on some days, I succeed, and on others, not so much, and today is a not so much day, but life insists on being attended to, so I will leave this page in a moment, and I will spend the next several hours wrapping presents in beautiful paper and adorning those packages with ribbons and bows because that is what I do, and I hope, I really and truly hope, that I can forget about myself for a while.

More later. Peace.

All quotes are taken from a December 1946 letter from Anaïs Nin to Harper’s Bazaar editor Leo Lerman who had asked Nin for a short auto-biography to use in a profile feature. She declined. (as found on Brain Pickings)

Music by Ane Brun, “The Light from One”

                     

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

~ Robert Hayden