Photo by Lopolo
About a week ago, a friend and I were talking about feelings, and how difficult they can be to embrace. It’s hard to let them simply be, and we think we have to do something about them, or wait for them to disappear, never to return.
These are thoughts we have about what we perceive as negative feelings; it’s never the ones that bring us joy. We’re glad to keep those, and we invite them to return often. We search for new ways to bring them back to us.
The conversation prompted me to think about something that happened years ago when a small group celebrated my grandmother’s birthday. She was well into her 80s, and although we didn’t know it at the time, she had only a short time left to live. When we gathered to sing to her around a cake with candles burning, she started crying and talking about visions she had of a daughter who had died many years before, 15 months after her birth. The atmosphere in the room sharply shifted. Everyone seemed to be holding their breath, and not like a person who is about to blow out candles on a birthday cake.
Photo by kavram
It’s funny what a little introspection and journal-keeping will do to awaken memories and echoes of insights and breakthroughs from the past. Not long ago, I found myself digging out a song that spoke to me the last time I spent this much time looking inward.
It’s from the band Orleans, and it’s titled “The Path.” The song comes from the band’s 1976 album “Waking and Dreaming,” the LP that gave the world the song “Still the One.” You can sample a short section of “The Path” by clicking on the link above.
(I’ve caught a lot of grief over the years for liking Orleans. For one thing, some have designated the album cover of “Waking and Dreaming” to be one of the worst ever, something you can easily read and see in detail with a quick Google search. Also, they’re from the ’70s, which is routinely regarded as a lost decade musically. But, every now and then, their songs contained wonderful nuggets of wisdom, or at least something thought-provoking. A World Literature class I had in high school was a de facto philosophy class at times, and much more than that, and our teacher encouraged us to bring in music with lyrics that spoke to themes we discussed in class. “Waking and Dreaming” was one of my take-to-class LPs. But enough of the disclaimer: I do get teased for enjoying Orleans, and I’m OK with that. If it’s a guilty pleasure, I don’t feel all that guilty about it.)
Photo by Sergieiev
There are several formidable challenges in my writing and editing life right now. One that’s surely on display here, despite my best efforts, is the difficulty I am having editing my thoughts as I work to put them into words.
When I decided to start blogging again, which led to the creation of this site (which will eventually feature much more than a blog), I promised myself the blog would not be a place where I felt the need to make sure the writing was always “tight.” But even given the relaxed editing standards I’ve allowed myself here in the early stages, I see how bloated my first drafts have been. That’s one of the dangers of not having written regularly in a few years, and of not having an editor. My writing has lost muscle tone, and I always had the tendency to be a bit wordy anyway. It’s clear to me this will be one of the biggest challenges as I continue writing different types of pieces.
But one aspect of it I’m starting to love is what I realized not long ago: It’s a byproduct of the way my mind is exploding lately, how by questioning much of what I’ve taken for granted, I’ve started seeing the world in many different ways. If the worst thing that happens because of that is my writing loses some of its sinew for now, I can live with the trade-off. The upside is too encouraging for me to worry about that too much at this part of the process.
It’s a work in progress, as is this website. As am I.
Photo by topnatthapon
A line I heard today brought me here to post this. I’m certain there are several variations, but the version I heard is easy to remember.
“The faintest ink is better than the best memory.”
Going through notes I’d jotted down, long ago and more recently, reminded me that false memory is a real thing, and that misremembering something can be as troublesome as completely forgetting it. I’ve experienced both in the past few weeks as I’ve stumbled upon notes, whose details are not the way I’d remembered — or of which I had no recall.
Even now, as the world around me distracts me, I’m losing focus about the points I wanted to make in this post. Ideas fade so quickly sometimes. But my main post is: Write it down.
On a piece of paper. On a receipt. On your hand. Or dictate it and record it. Get it on the record, so to speak. Preserve it. Now. Before you forget it.
Photo by QueSeraSera
This blog post, and others on that site, played a significant role in convincing me it was probably time to get back to blogging and what I sometimes call therapeutic writing.
Past time, probably.
There’s more to the story, including why I chose a photo with a snail on hydrangeas, and perhaps that story is destined to be told here later, but I wanted to be sure to say this: The simple, yet powerful, courage and grace of that slow bloomer gave me comfort regarding my own fight with growth in fits and starts. I wanted to share it with you.
And I just did. Hope you are well, or moving closer to it.
Image by Fine Art
They say the young question everything, and there’s enough anecdotal evidence to support that contention, but I find the longer I live the more questions I ask — of myself, and of the world.
Just now I was thinking about baseball. A friend of mine is a serious fan who knows the new statistics and the old. He loves good stories. He delves deeply into the game’s metrics and seems to understand the math and the poetry behind it.
Another friend just loves the game, and he doesn’t want to have to think about it too much. So I found myself pondering whether the world of baseball fans has more of the former or the latter. I felt the need to quickly answer that for myself, as if I could not leave it hanging like a curveball waiting to be hit out of the park.
Then, I heard myself think, “I don’t know.”
And I felt how liberating an admission it was, and is. It’s okay to not have the answer to everything. It really is.