Jan 19, 2003

How Tiresome It Grows

I wasn't sure how I was going to spend the day, but somewhere along the way, the itch to be with friends and family made itself plain, and that swayed me. I've had too many drinks for a girl who hopes to maintain her complexion. And I've had a night that was mostly fun and adventuresome. But I am tired again. And lacking in poetry. And wondering if the secrets are hiding somewhere just below my surface.

The weather makes it difficult to get any sense of what January usually means. The dratted coastal fog wreaked havoc on my progress. I wore a cute sweater that was woefully too warm. I cooked dinner and hoped the scent of it wouldn't linger too long in my hair, like it does.

I had a chat today with a close friend, and I found myself making the assertion that -- while I am ever so open to influence -- I am not what I would consider to be intellectually or spiritually impressionable. And I usually find those that are to be sort of disappointingly weak-minded. I'm all for being changed by a book. But if a book is able to change your life, what is that saying about your life? I like movies. But I've never had one alter my world view. I have been devouring a heap of challenging reading material lately. And even the stuff I despise is fodder for the mill, as far as I'm concerned. I'm thrilled to be adding to my lexicon. I glide over the works of other writers in a sort of dance of Braille, sightless fingers interpreting meaning as rote and racing for the end of a page without any assurance about the actual end of anything. I am as open-minded as they come. Anxious to accept and to be affected. But I think there is a strict distinction between openmindedness and tongue-lolling apathy. However great the prose, no one will surreptitiously convince me to suddenly subscribe to fascism or some form of religion or a vegetarian lifestyle. I'll make those decisions separately, thank you. And I'll reserve a special form of judgment for those who do otherwise.

I asked my friend if this makes me despicably elitist. He said no. But I wouldn't have minded if he had said yes. Elitisim has always been my bag. In a very welcoming, come-on-up-and-join-us sort of way. I believe in exclusionary evaluation with an underlying desire to include. If that makes any sense at all.

I think I was impressing someone tonight. But he clumsily tried to pay me a compliment and ended up insulting me. In a very jejune fashion, of course. It has no lasting impact on me. But it was amusing to watch him flounder as he realized that his flattering intentions had gone awry. That his bar-side instincts had served him poorly. It was a convenient ushering in of an exit, and thank all that is holy for that.

Last night, I was talking with a pair of friends and letting them in on the not-so-secret secret that so many artists usually create most fervently when they are abjectly dissatisfied. It was intended as a comfort. A mark that the lack of creative productivity in their lives might be a sign of contentment. That one might have to work specifically to find a path to creativity that immerses itself in bliss. I recognized that in myself. That the years when I had considered myself most happy were also the years when my writing nearly stopped altogether. There were other things, of course. And even in my happiest times, there were travails to contend with. I can't say the experiment is scientific, in my case. But today, when I can't really put my finger on the size of things -- when I'm not certain whether I'm fine with it all or flailing about in the frenzy of malcontent -- it's difficult not to be pensive about how my path will form itself in the coming days and weeks. So much that I can do. So much that I must do. So much that I want to do. And no longer a story about the absence of time or the inconvenience of ill-timed inspiration. It's all there. It's all mine. I'm grateful and fearful and occasionally just numb. The girl who never sits still does so for a reason. All that sitting is murder on the back.

posted by Mary Forrest at 3:10 AM | Back to Monoblog


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