Tag Archives: 2012

You’re following the life you’ve been given, learning who you are

Mostly what I remember of that wedding is how I brought two outdoor chairs wrapped—unstylishly, awkwardly, ugli-ly wrapped—in plastic bags. Not smooth, Matt. But, eh, it’s clearly not what I was thinking about at that time.

Just start reading through your journals from 20 years ago? In order? Is it possible that, if I can look past my awkwardness, my embarrassment of my past self, that the writing was decent? Not all of my writings from then, of course, but …

I’m not so sure I want to go to this reunion, this 20th high school reunion. I mean, sh!t, last night I started thinking how the people who don’t see Rochelle every day, how they might be eager to come back, but me, eh. I was starting last night to think those thoughts, the same ones as before: That I should’ve left Rochelle, that these others’ lives are better than my own, etc.

But then I caught myself and said to self, you don’t have to come up with these “I hate my life”-type excuses. Your life is what it is; you are not in control, you’re following the life you’ve been given, learning who you are (as I say in less-negative moments). So, I don’t want to dwell on those thoughts—though it seems easy to do, especially lately—and instead I can just say (I was writing the last couple of lines with kitty on my lap. He purred, then leapt off. Before that, he’d been play—and is now again—playing inside my shirt that’s hanging over back of chair) instead (I paused here to hold Sam from barking at meter-reader lady), you can just say, “eh, maybe I just don’t feel excited about the reunion.” You don’t have to justify or build on/from those feelings.

[From journal of Fri., 3 August 2012, Journal 163, page 94-5]

Speculative nonfiction: “Silence 104—We play nothing, all the time”

Came home. Read some. M and I were up ’til about midnight—then there were what sounded like firecrackers outside. Dog panted by side of my bed. About 12:34, we got dog onto the bed and I kinda hugged him, spoon-style, and M said I fell sleep before Sam left.

Old Man Show’s back on [the radio]—he said #1 on 26 December 1942 was “White Christmas.”

Had an idea while outside: how if I quit [my subscription to newspaper] RRStar (“I don’t give a sh!t. It’s not like I ever read it,” M said just now, at 11:10, when I asked her if she’d mind me canceling RRStar), I’ll be out of that conversation.

How people get excited to see people they know on TV (Mom even used the term “Tebowing” to mean going down on one knee—I was surprised she knew and used that term.)

M and I joked about a radio station without talk or songs: “Silence 104—We play nothing, all the time” and “We’ll be back with more silence after these words from our sponsors.”

We joked at Copy Center counter about “Fiction on Demand.”

20 years—”Enter Sandman.” I heard that on way to New Year’s party. It’s been out 20+ years, that song. I played it at my graduation party 20 years ago.

Mom: there’s less pressure now on young people to get married than there was in her time.

Me: I don’t like life, being alive, well enough to bring someone else into it? My life’s not so great that I need to bring others to life. Mom: We don’t give life, we force it on people. Me: Maybe people don’t think about it this way? Maybe they just selfishly want kids, or didn’t want kids but had them.

Mom: Having kids is wonderful, but fraught—worry, disappointment. One invests in other humans, but bad things happen. Being a parent can be wonderful, but it can also be the opposite of wonderful.

People growing up to do their people-things.

The wrong beast: M said she was talking sweetly to Sam as I held him, and I fell asleep first—the wrong beast fell asleep.

Mom: “I love learning things—new ways of looking at things.” She said this when she was telling example of perspective, how an artist told about how important things in Eastern art are larger in depiction—a mountain is top or bigger (not distant as in Western art).

M liked “speculative nonfiction” as a term. (It helps explain stuff her parents say.) M said all nonfiction is an argument. Nonfiction makes a claim for truth, so fiction either claims falseness, or makes no claim. Every nonfiction statement about the future is B.S. (as Wendell Berry said, the future doesn’t exist), whether it’s an expert’s prediction or an idiot’s. It’s just that some predictions are less likely than others.

I was saying last night that the possum we almost hit in Chana at railroad crossing a couple years ago—the possum I advised to “pick a direction”—was maybe a “hobo possum,” ridin’ the rails. M said, see, you make up things all the time—why not write fiction?

[From journal of Sun., 1 Jan. 2012, Journal 152, page 16-8]

And here’s the thing: Even Shakespeare said a rose

And here’s the thing: Even Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would be as sweet. And too he said nothing’s good or bad but thinking makes it so—and these two thoughts together might be all you need to make a freedom creed of E__’s thoughts: E__’s world is E__’s creation.

Let go of thoughts. Be free, have open mind with which to see just what there is to see.

Have your thoughts—it’s fun to think, to know, and then let go of thoughts.

You’ve joined our lives, our world, already in progress. Other have said things before you got here—but it’s beautiful how free you are to say your own things!

[From journal of Thurs., 7 June 2012, starting to write the Baby Philosophy book, Journal 160, page 120]

Recognizing patterns & following whims

Words are always symbols, never immediate, always representations.

I’m avoiding representations in my coloring work. Mrs. ___ said a swath of yellow looked like a banana. OK. Sure, if you say so. I mean, that’s what it reminds her of, that’s what it matches up to in her brain. My brain figured out the bottles left on my porch were acid (or base) bombs pretty quickly last Saturday. …

Representations—recognizing a pattern— … how I didn’t think of the possible meaning of bottles at first—not immediately, or I wouldn’t have picked it up. Well, actually, I had sorta recognized it, but thought I’d be OK, I guess. But still, it was a radical change of context, from passively watching a movie inside to figuring out what to do (being active) outside, in a dangerous situation. But my brain did adapt pretty quickly, you know. It apprehended the anomalous, odd, unusual situation: the doorbell, nobody there, car down street, bottles, stay away, bottles blew up, car left.

And as I drew/colored last night …, I followed my eye, my visual sense, and my feeling of what should be/could be done next to the page.

Do our art teachers encourage abstraction? I sorta doubt it—they’re mostly about representation, kids starting from an idea and carrying it out. How tedious that seems to me—though maybe I should explain the larger context of my creative writing assignments to those kids—how I don’t really have a large theory to teach them, just the idea/attitude/posture of openness, and a willingness to follow impulses, to try whatever idea comes—follow whims. There’s my creative philosophy, my instruction, now let’s try different things.

[From journal of Fri., 9 March 2012, Journal 154, page 133-4]

and it’s disheartening if you think getting attention matters

… and it’s disheartening if you think getting attention matters, an attitude I occasionally fall prey to but then I remind myself that that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m writing to write—and I do like that I’m—I like that I’m explaining some things

(change that metaphor about processed food to the one about taxidermy? maybe? maybe not? It’s a metaphor, so it’s not truth anyway)

Pulling Sammy back into the house from the yard, he’d come back with me a few steps, then arc around back toward the north, barking—and—yeah—so, that bit I read last week about wealthy people at Hamptons throwing money around to, at least partly, it seemed, impress their friends. People in that situation think money matters. This must include P_____, who works for a hedge fund or something, so I’ve heard. It’s a little disappointing, actually, that he had these altruistic motives, then went into hedge funds. Ah, well. I shouldn’t judge. Sometimes, even to observe and write one’s observations is to judge. B___ wrote in her journal that she judges people—and she had even judged herself as not too pretty, not too skinny, stuff like that. I wrote next to that, that “what I’m about to say may be one of those obnoxious things adults say, but that eventually, you’ll see what a great person you are, and a few years from now, you may read this and have some sympathy for the sweetness expressed here,” something like that, a little sappy, perhaps, but … She also wrote abut worrying so much she can’t sleep sometimes.

[From journal of Tues., 28 August 2012, Journal 165, page 58]

One finds oneself alive

Maybe life just is—one finds oneself alive—some of us get to live longer than others of us do. And that’s my other thought that makes not having kids seem OK—it’s not the case that all adults have same experiences. We diverge, from our high school peers or college peers or any other peers. Some of us won’t marry, some won’t have kids, and that’s OK, you know. You don’t have to do anything—my dad died suddenly, never had to suffer illness like Charlie did. Which is why it’s ignorant of me to think [my cousin] could benefit from this bad experience: #1, bad experiences are sometimes just bad—we may learn from them, but we don’t need to seek these experiences out, and #2, sometimes we don’t learn. Sometimes stressful situations get worse, not better.

[From journal of Mon. 2 Jan. 2012, Journal 152, page 26-7]

They had to be careful—they were writing for publication

Kitty just sorta stood on back paws to swat at dog, and left, and came back to attack dog’s tail. Dog paid little attention.

How loose were these words over time—shapes changed, etc., but we’ve got pretty specific spellings, etc., nowadays.

And the sports scores in Rockford Register Star—say, lately, the results of NCAA tourney—see, I don’t —they’re so much data to me, since I don’t follow the teams or, now without TV, I’m not even aware they’re happening—not that I attended much to these things—boys basketball—I’ve used a couple times lately the line that “I stopped paying attention to basketball when they took down the cage and disallowed body checking”—maybe not exactly that wording—”disallowed”?—but that brings up a couple things—one, how much more paper I fill than a medieval scribe would have filled—but then, they had to be careful—they were writing for publication (now that I’ve got this great hand-made book, I’d like to make it into some fancy illuminated book—maybe a “Sayings” edit).

Sh!t, I’m tired. I could close my eyes right now—not buying new things—#2, back above—how nimbly my brain can deal with sounds & letters & words—and can even take these lower-level symbolic/representational things somewhat for granted (though I have spend time sounding out the consonant sounds, etc.—I’ve been aware of the sound similarities between how our tongues make “T” & “D”—I learned that somewhat, partly, not fully though, on my own.)

Sarah Palin’s 40-something and more ambitious than I am. Romney’s aide’s Etch-a-Sketch comment—that he can erase all his extremist positions once the general election begins—has been widely mocked by the online mocking/cleverness classes.

[From journal of Sat., 24 March 2012, from Journal 158, page 18-9]

Image 10, Journal 157

Image from Journal 157, dated 26 March 2012

You might not always want to mine your own life

And an idea this morn for Magnetic Poetry: provide some blank magnets on which new (not-present) words that come to your mind can be written.

But was there more to say—somehow it seemed clearer to me today than some days that my journal is for my private meaning-discovery, meaning-making. And I recall a story about MagPo maker, that he wanted to write songs using random words and how as a songwriter (or poet or any writer for a public audience), you need to create a certain amount of texts, and you might not always want to mine your own life or your personal writings (private writings) in order to get material for the public. And that both are OK, and that sometimes you can take private writings public, but maybe you don’t always want to use up your private writings in that way.

Dog’s rolling on his back in the yard, just living’. We give him a pretty good life, I’d say. We didn’t bring him into life, but we’ll care for him now that he’s here, as long as we’re here, too.

A cool, fall-ish morning—50s, probably—sunny, not humid, highs in 70s today.

Mouse or vole in window well Friday. I put one of the white stakes in window well for him to crawl out on. He was gone later.

Why a parent would tell a kid not to be critical—how M’s mom seems to defend others against M’s criticisms, rather than taking M’s side. Maybe the parent doesn’t want the child to be or to sound so judgmental—though arguing against the child may not be as effective as not engaging criticisms?

[From journal of Sat. 11 Aug. 2012, Journal 164, page 58

People will probably hang with their friends

… Being picked for Freshly Pressed– I’m not sure if general public gets to see that or not. I emailed Doug but the link I had when I could see Fresh. Press. didn’t take me to the same place later when I put that link into address of a blank browsing window. Oh, after WordPress told me my browser was not only out of date but also a security risk (the news this week about a new hack-path into Internet Explorer), I downloaded Firefox & set it up on this home computer.

And it’s 6:07. I’ll stop at 6:15. … And what else? It is Homecoming week. I told M Tuesday at Beef A Roo that I’m not really looking forward to having to see all these people at Reunion. … I don’t want to have a lot of awkward conversations. … Ah, well, I probably won’t have too many of those, really—people will probably hang with their friends. … And what else? I ate late, after 8, cottage cheese and a salad I made, while watching M.A.S.H. Cat was absorbing pets without getting bitey this morning.

Krugman gets a 100+ comments for every post, or every other post. Yeah, I’ll just hold off a few days, don’t force yourself to write if you feel drained and whatnot. And you don’t always have to be philosophical or serious—light stuff is OK. I’ve been blogging for a year, with hardly anybody noticing. Now other bloggers at WP are noticing. But don’t think about that too much.

[From Thurs. 20 Sept. 2012, 5:36 a.m., Journal 166, page 95-7]