Sunday, April 13, 2003

One Month Hiatus from Bla-Bla...

Certain things draw me to the web...The illusion that I am reducing household waste by not buying a newspaper and reading the NY Times and Washington Post online (actually, I'm just cheap and too lazy to take out the recycling).

Sometimes I come to the internet hoping that Salam Pax will say that he is OK

On occasion it is the mere hope that the answers to life's mysteries lie here. That God has started a blog and he would be posting the whole truth.

(I thought of it first! And even tried it for one day but suddenly realized I would be engaging in blasphemy and sacrilege. How the internet corrupts you!)

Sometimes I am under the illusion that there is something magical...magnificent...mystical...out there floating in cyberspace. The philosopher's stone for the tormented and confused.

Is this why I succumb to the siren call of the information landfill?

It reminds me of the day I realized I should stop watching television: When I realized that I in fact sought tips for living an adult life from sitcoms, Oprah and dating shows. Not that I was crazy enough to ever regard anything there as useful. Merely that I thought that if I sat through the next set of commercials what came after would be deeply enlightening in some way.

In other words what keeps me coming back? The idea that I might be missing something...something important.

It is hard to free myself from the grip of this hope. Nevertheless, if the past is any indication of what the future will be like (it is, a little but obviously not an exact one) then what I will 'miss' will ultimately be rather trivial.

There is a sense in which virtually everything we care about and spend our time doing might be trivial.

Then I just stay to bla bla...The one thing I am under no illusions about: My bla bla always seems trivial to me. (In general, I struggle with this uncomfortable detachment from my life itself. It is difficult for me to care about 90% of what my life is about. Maybe that's why I'm always looking outward--How do other people do this? How do they maintain this conviction that what they do is truly significant? Or even if they know that they are mostly keeping themselves alive how do they manage not to lose interest?)

But composing my blather takes time. Sometimes lots of time. And I am struggling with myself to recognize the value of each moment. I'm either in la-la land (or bla-bla land) or filled with a nameless terror that I am doing everything wrong and wasting my life. (This sort of thing has been going on for over 10 years...Ever since I realized the future actually becomes the's that say? I guess: I can't expect to get over this in the next month--or maybe ever.)

No, actually, I'm realizing that I am letting my life go to pot these days but the comforting haze of meaningless activity cushions me from full confrontation with this fact. A recent pregnancy scare made me realize that settling down in the cozy nest of avoidance could have dire consequences.

So I am going to go into the full and frightening sunlight of the 'real' world for a whole month...It is unlikely that I will break my addiction to fiction. I counted the number of pages of fiction alone that I've read in the last 5 weeks. It is over 2,500 pages. Holy shit.

I'll try, though.

Anyway, I read some good stuff lately. So much better than anything I could make up. Here's some stuff from Isak Dinesen's Seven Gothic Tales. The story is: "The Dreamers":

"Well, yes, alas," said Lincoln, turning around on his side, "what is life, Mira, when you come to think upon it but a most excellent, accurately set, infinitely complicated machine for turning fat playful puppies into old mangy blind dogs, and proud war horses into skinny nags, and succulent young boys, to whom the world holds great delights and terrors, into old weak men, with running eyes, who drink ground rhino horn?"

"Oh Lincoln Forsner," said the noseless story-teller, "what is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with infinite artfulness, the red wine of Shiraz into urine?...But the tales which I made--they shall last."

"What do you do in the meantime to keep so good a face toward it, in this urgency of life to rid itself of you?" Lincoln asked.

"I dream," said Mira...."Yes, by the grace of God...every night, as soon as I sleep, I dream. And in my dreams I still know fear. Things are terrible to me there. In my dreams I sometimes carry with me something infinitely dear and precious, such as I know well enough that no real things be, and there it seems to me that I must keep this thing against some dreadful danger, such as there are none in the real world. And it also seems to me that I shall be struck down and annihilated if I lose it, though I know well that you are not, in the world of the daytime, struck down and annihilated, whatever you lose..."

So dreams are stickier than the world wide web. And I have no choice but to check my email. You can tell me later what I missed. Probably the amazing things will happen when I am gone?


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