Friday, October 21, 2005
I’ve decided I’m going to forego the annual “I dislike winter” parade. I think it’s gotten old. I should go back in this journal and look at the last five late Octobers and I believe only the dates have changed. Whole lot of whining. Yes it’s getting darker and colder and I have very little vacation time to make up for it. Whose fault is that? Why do I use up my vacation time when it is warm and sunny? Oh, yeah, probably because it’s warm and sunny.
The mornings are dark now, just like when I rode a bus as a kid. I’d wait on the corner and watch my breath in the cool morning air and then board a big yellow bus. One time I heard the song “Seven-oh-seven o’clock!” and it was pretty near that time. I thought it amazingly ironic.
I can’t believe how impossible it is to slow down September and October. A big part of it was the consecutive Boston/Toronto trips. In fact that’s probably all of it. But the Quarterhorse Congress is in town this week and it just melts my memory, it sounds the nostalgic chimes, those dusty years spent wearing cowboy boots and listening to Randy Travis music. Time slowed then or likely I slowed then. I’d like to go and see a barrel race or two.
I’m mindful of Jeff Culbreath’s grand experiment out there in the dusty plains of California. I’ve always been attracted to the movements to simplify, and to get closer to the land. We miss much in enclosing ourselves in our homes, which is part of the reason I dislike winter. I read somewhere that the average hunter/gather worked 15 hours a week, and that has a kind of appeal to it too. But I suspect Jeff is working much longer. I’ve no doubt that the hunter/gatherers were as happy as we are, but also no doubt that we would not be as happy as they were if we lived like them, since you can’t undo the knowledge of the comforts of modern life.
And the blog is a wonderful outlet, though too much of my writing has the Editor-in-Chief too much in charge. The blog is too public to go wild but too private not to want to sneak in something daring.
Writing for real works in only a couple distinct ways. One way is if you get off on obscure bits of meaningless history. If you have sufficient curiosity to care what King Edward VII ate for breakfast, then you might be the writer of history. Most history books I see out now weigh twenty pounds and major in minutiae.
The second way to write is to experience life widely, and to write about it in the form of a novel or travelogue. A novel must have a strong sense of place and this is acquired either naturally (i.e. Walker Percy, born in the gothic south) or unnaturally (Tom Wolfe, who researches his novels with a historian’s carefulness). Being born in Ohio lends itself primarily to comedic writing.
Friday, October 14, 2005
And so goes another week o’er the dam. And with it one of those Predictable Crisises in the Christian life. Gail Sheehy should write a book. Salvation is precarious and if it’s by God’s doing only it feels arbitrary and unfair, but the unpleasant otherwise is that if it partially depends on man then to trust any man (including oneself) is utter foolishness.
Friday, October 07, 2005
The sun figures in too much. I feel like I have to get every last ray, ride that bike while there’s still riding time left. The summer is wonderful but eventually she begins piping the tune, which, to a certain extent she does due to that seasonal affective disorder thang. One tends to rearrange the schedule for mental health purposes, even when one suspects it's merely a superstition.
The week was supremely busy. Tuesday was a travel day from Canada, an adrenalin-ride of nearly missed connections. Wednesday was work-heavy, but got a lot done. Thursday was Carol’s goodbye party, and she seemed to much appreciate that I was there (and took notes on who wasn’t) so it was good I was there, particularly since she associates me with Catholicism. Rushed off from there to bingo, which I really wasn't in the mood for. The hours they did drag, which was perhaps proof that I’d gotten too used to vacational self-indulgence. I was grateful for the crucifix in the bingo hall, it was a warming sign.
Feel a deep need to resuscitate in the dust motes of a good volume of fiction. But feel the same sort of scatterminded, restlessness that most resists what is most required. Sat down to read, or rather prepared for sitting down for reading by doing a thousand little chores, including, if you can believe it, watering the plants. I finally sit down and gape at the libraries in the “At Home With Books” picture book. Ahh…pictures…. (say like “Ahhh…donuts” in Homer Simpson’s voice).
My desire for order is so pronounced that it greatly relieves me that I relieved this desk of all those pesky receipts and Visa statements, which stand like mute reminders to update Quicken but which I fail to do repeatedly, just as I consistently fail to acquire sufficient beer or gas or groceries. I’m so tired of nearly running out of things, including money. (Must go to ATM.) I swear I can’t keep Quicken updated and am wondering if it’s even worth it.
Worked bingo with new bingo workers and I asked the sort of questions that I shouldn’t have. Of the thin, attractive tall brunette I asked: “Are you 6-foot?” (she was 5-10). I also asked her if she played basketball. She played volleyball she said. She was kind to me, in the sort of polite way one is kind to the mentally disabled.
Desperately Seeking Retirement