“Let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.” ~ Sylvia Plath, from The Bell Jar
Tuesday afternoon. Sunny, hot, and humid, high 80’s.
Today marks my 1000th post. I am simply agog. How did I get here? Why did I come here?
And since this particular post marks such an auspicious occasion (really?), I shall not fill it with running commentary about the ongoing plumbing saga in our sole bathroom. I shall not comment on how the attachment to the water source popped off not one but three times last night. I shall not comment on how I finally succumbed and kept the main water valve shut since last night around 10 p.m., and I shall not state that I finally gave in and called a plumber this morning, nor that I am now sitting here waiting for said plumber to arrive out our house sometime before 3 this afternoon, nor that the proposed bill will hover somewhere around the $300 mark (there go my new glasses again).
No. None of that from me.
I shall not go on and on about this situation because this is supposed to be a celebratory post. Right?
“Thought is the greatest of pleasures—pleasure itself is only imagination—have you ever enjoyed anything more than your dreams?” ~ Gustave Flaubert
So getting back to the whole concept of having posted 1,000 times—truly, it boggles the mind.
When I first began this venture in 2008, I never dreamed I would reach this milestone. I mean, I was dabbling those first six months or so. It probably took almost a year (more) to reach a format in which I truly felt comfortable: a mixing of quotes and images (loosely tied to the post section in which they appear), a related poem, and a companion song. I’m sure there are countless other people out there doing something similar to what I’m doing here, but I like to think that my combination approach gives readers a taste of what they like.
You like quotes? I’ve got plenty of them, everything from the lyrical to the cynical, from the political to the comical. You have an interest in words? I try to find new words to post, obviously words that other people have fleshed out before me, but I also try to incorporate a broad vocabulary within my posts because I love words. You enjoy photography? So do I, which is why I spend a lot of time looking for commons-licensed and fair use photographs to complement my words. Art? I try to find artists with whom not everyone might be familiar, and in looking for them, I come upon some real treasures.
And of course, there are the reviews, which, granted, have been quite sparse of late, but I’m hoping to get back to that, and then the political commentary, which I have moved away from in the past few years but still occasionally am compelled to post because of some ongoing stupidity.
I aim high, I know, and sometimes I fall short. I know that as well.
“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.” ~ Khalil Gibran
By the way, I found the Nin quote below on a new site that I discovered today: Literary Jukebox, which is all about marrying a literary quote to a song. It’s the brainchild of Maria Popova, who curates Brain Pickings, a self-described “LEGO treasure chest, full of pieces across art, design, science, technology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, sociology, ecology, anthropology, you-name-itology.” Now why didn’t I think of that?
I like to find new sites to visit, and it’s wonderful when I stumble upon a site that is very much in keeping with my own way of thinking, however obtuse that may be. If I get excited by a new find, I hope that by including a link, my readers may enjoy the site as well. I try to update my blogrolls regularly, but unfortunately, if I realize that someone seems to have disappeared for several months, I remove the link. It’s my own way of trying to offer timely content. I mean, why have a sidebar if it’s not going to be relatively current?
Speaking of the blogrolls, admittedly I have not been the best visitor in recent months, but now that I’m back on my own computer, and things seems to be working well (hope I didn’t just jinx myself), I’m trying to get back into the habit of visiting and commenting regularly. I don’t actually subscribe to the blogs that I visit only because I’m terrible at checking my email, not because I don’t want to support my compatriots.
My four blogrolls appear as they do simply because I want to give visitors an idea of what they are clicking on: Photography? Visual Stimulation. Politics? Left-Leaning List. Like-minded bloggers? Perhaps you might enjoy someone on my Recommended Reading blogroll.
“You are most powerful when you are most silent. People never expect silence. They expect words, motion, defense, offense, back and forth. They expect to leap into the fray. They are ready, fists up, words hanging leaping from their mouths. Silence? No.” ~ Alison McGhee, from All Rivers Flow To The Sea
On those days on which I post something from someone’s else blog, usually Tumblr, it’s not that I don’t have anything to say. Sometimes, there just isn’t enough time to sit here and go through the whole creative process, which is a major cop-out, I know. Sometimes, though, I really have nothing to say, or perhaps, I have something to say but cannot find the words. Other times, unfortunately, I am feeling a bit too poorly for the process.
Normally, a post takes at least two hours to complete, from start to finish—writing, finding the images, choosing a song, proofing, and revising. Sometimes it can take as much as four hours, and sometimes, all day, that is if I stop in between sections to do things around the house, oh, say like plumbing or other such stuff.
I’m not complaining. It’s a good way to spend my time. I don’t want to become one of those individuals who, because she no longer works full time, becomes addicted to the fodder of daytime television: Maury Povich, Judge Judy, and all of the rest. I would rather be sitting here writing, if for no other reason than to keep my mind limber.
Admittedly, since spending so much time at Alexis’s apartment, I have found myself sitting in the rocking chair with Olivia while some idiot on television is blathering about her baby daddy. Truly, have you seen these shows? It’s one long litany of unfaithful partners, DNA and lie detector tests, and countless bleeps to cover the cursing. These individuals, the ones who expose their darkest secrets to the world on a television show, they know nothing of the concept of less is more.
“It is true that I create over and over again the same difficulties for myself in order to struggle over and over again to master them [but] to continually struggle against the same problem and to continually fail to dominate it brings a feeling of frustration and a kind of paralysis. What is necessary to life, to livingness, is to move on, in other words to move from one kind of problem to another.” ~ Anaïs Nin, from A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953
Perhaps you found that last statement a bit ironic? So did I.
What am I doing here if it is not exposing the deep, sometimes dark minutiae of my life to anyone who happens by? Yes, I know it to be true. But at least I’m not picking up chairs, or taking off my shoes in preparation to jump on the man/woman who wronged me in front of a crowd that is nothing if not a recreation of the spectators in the Colosseum. These people are zealots in their quest for a good fight. They (the audience members) boo, heckle, chant, and put their thumbs down. I wonder if they realize how close they come to reenacting actions of people who lived millennia ago?
And the hosts? They, too, resemble the lanista (owners) who created their individual Familia gladiatorium. These men and women cull from the loudest, most foul, most fearful and most feared. Maury et al. realize the fortunes that can be made from such spectacles, much like their ancient forebears. According to one site, “The lanista made a profit by renting or selling the troupe. This was a very lucrative business, but on the other hand, he was viewed as among the lowest of the low on the social scale. The objection was that these men derived their whole income from treating human beings like animals.
Sounds familiar? Ah well, yes, but with this extended metaphor, I have done one other thing that I try to do occasionally: impart a bit of arcane or unfamiliar knowledge that I have come across in my wanderings. And I suppose with that, I’ll close for now.
More later. Peace.
Music by Ani Difranco, “When I’m Gone”
Selected Sections from “Mercury Rising (A Visualization)”
soon you see that you’re coming to the center of the forest
and there’s a wide clearing with a house there.it’s your house
and it’s exactly the kind of house in which you would most like to live.
you take out the key and open the door.
you can close and lock it behind you if that makes you feel safer.
you know that your favorite room is in the basement.
you find the stairway and begin to go down:
first step, second step, third.
when you get to the bottom,
you know which door opens to your favorite room
and you go in there.
in that room is exactly what you would want in a room:
the kind of light, the temperature, everything is what you want.
in the corner is a comfortable couch.
you lie down on it and ask yourself what are your goals,
what do you hope to accomplish and create.
and you know the answers.
eventually, you get up from the couch, out of the room, and back up the stairs.
first step, second step, third.
you unlock the door, let yourself out, lock the door behind you:
you will be back.
there will be three parts that first appear separate but then form a connection of liquid silver. breathe deeply. in through the nose, out the mouth, release your metal breath into the air. control your emissions within the limits of law. the power plant incinerates coal and gold in particulate mist that is your breath. the volcanoes spike the atmosphere. you’ve come to a house of exploded debris, an emperor’s tomb; he died from the pills of eternal life. your breath is carried by wind and mixes with snow, rain, dust. in your hand is a key and you unlock the door and step down into the depths. there is light streaming, a connective world with multiple paths. your breath alloys with silver, gold and tin—but not iron. so you trade your exhalations in an iron flask for a reduction of mineral cinnabar. the room is exactly as you like it: a comfortable couch in the corner, rotating liquid on a disk that silvers the mirrors, arc rectifiers. the snow, rain, and dust layer the lakes and streams and sink with your aspirations. you think about your goals and take the jump test to check your weight. the fish absorb and swim away from the lure. you measure the temperature with thermometers, barometers, thermostats. a spider bites your silver skin. you ask yourself if you are safe in an inoculation of light. the sparrow eats the spider. listen carefully. you can hear the illegal miners refining gold and silver ore. and their fishing lures: violent poison. cumulative poison. separating the fur from the pelt. the fish return your breath as liquid silver. look at yourself in the mirror. you get up and leave the room, lock the door behind you. first the tremors in the hands, then eyelids, lips, and tongue. you take the path back into the forest and walk toward the river. vivid dreams delivered, restless sleep. you pass the clearing, now on your left, but the animal is no longer there. memory loss. you send your thanks to it anyway. cough. you pass the other clearing, now on your right, and although the animal is no longer there, you send it your thanks. psychotic reactions, delirium, hallucinations. when you emerge from the forest you look up at the sky and you can see that the light has changed and a little bit of time has passed.
~ Jena Osman