Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Forgetting...

Some things, gentle reader, are easier to remember than others. Memory, like poetry, is a tricky thing indeed. We don't remember pain, not real pain. We know it happened, but we don't actually remember it. Oddly, we still remember bad things more than good. Maybe we think the good is ours by right, and remember the slight of the bad, or maybe the good is to engrossing in the moment for us to cement memories.


BY E. E. CUMMINGS

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is more mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

I don't always get cummings. I'm a big fan of the double negative to express a positive, don't get me wrong, but cummings has me beat for sure. But maybe he's right about love. Maybe it is thicker than forget. Do we remember love, Gentle Reader? Is it thinner than recall? Maybe we don't remember it as much as we remember the bad, the hurt, the shadow of the pain. Love is grand, boys. It is big, it is bold, and if you are lucky, hang on to it. It's a grand thing for sure. 
Careful, though. Love is not the all and end all. cummings might be right in making love less bigger, less littler, less always, less never. cummings might be wrong about forgive, though.
Love is...Less littler than forgive.
I'd bet forgiveness is bigger than cummings allows for. It's often harder than love, is forgiveness. While I occasionally support the use of clich├ęs, Forgive and forget is one of the ones I'm least fond of. Too trite. Too smug.
We don't remember pain. But we remember the cause of it, the context of it, the why of it. And we learn. Forgiveness is harder than most might suspect. And maybe it should be.
Forgive me, Gentle Reader?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

On Nature...

Not long ago, I posted a poem, ostensibly a nature poem, here. Poems are tricky things, At first glance, I wouldn't have called that one a nature poem, but the internet tells me it might be.
Eh bien. I am not overly concerned. Nevertheless, I has led me to thing about nature poems a bit.

BY ROBERT BLY

No one grumbles among the oyster clans,
And lobsters play their bone guitars all summer.
Only we, with our opposable thumbs, want
Heaven to be, and God to come, again.
There is no end to our grumbling; we want
Comfortable earth and sumptuous Heaven.
But the heron standing on one leg in the bog
Drinks his dark rum all day, and is content.

I'm not convinced this one is a nature poem, either. Poems are slippery things, as I said. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On the Future...

Idiosyncrate is a strange beast, to be sure. Lately, it's been rubbing me the wrong way, and, like that proverbial cat everyone seems to talk about, I do not particularly enjoy it.
Bit of a dry spell, lately, on the writing front. Here, there, everywhere. I've made these complains before, true, but they remain relevant. So much about what I read as advice to academics is about how to keep writing. I am not, it would seem, alone in this.
I told myself, "Self, you need to update Idiosyncrate more". And so, I tried. And the posts were not always good (Even the ones that weren't forced were not always good, it is true. Still...)
In any case, what was a nice thing in my life, a space where I could express something, explore the written word, let slip the wild images conjured in my head by the magic of my Muse, became something of a chore.
I have other chores, other writing schedules, and other places to write of the profane, if need be. I forgot, somewhere along the way, the essence of what Idiosyncrate had become.
Woe is me.
No more, Gentle Reader. It is just you, me and my Muse, now. No schedules, no pressure, no formula, no format. A few rules, perhaps, unspoken. Tacit agreements for propriety's sake.
What is that you ask? Is it that I have lacked inspiration? No. Too easy. Lots of inspiration out there. Here's the secret, Gentle Reader: I wasn't paying attention.
Horror! It is true. Things got good, and I got happy, and I just wanted to be there, not here. Cuz, baby, words can be hard sometimes, if you let them get to you, but cake is easy.
A good while back, one of the many fine websites, blogs, or feeds I happily skim every day presented a fine little story about Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator. It was not long after I had watched, for the first time, Where the Wild Things Are, in what can only be described as pleasant circumstances. Context is everything. Great film.
The story quotes Sendak as saying that, "We've lost the knack of living in the world with the sensation of safety."Maybe we have. And maybe I felt too safe. Cake will do that to you. But the cake, it very well might be a lie.
In any case, I'm back, and thing are looking up, up, and out. I'm still happy. Let's not jump to conclusions. The happy is not gone.
But I've opened my eyes again, pushed myself away from the table, thrown down the dessert fork and napkin.
But how do we live, if not with this sensation of safety? What, Gentle Reader, are we to do? Well, Sendak maybe our saviour here too, among others. The author of the aforementioned fine little story introduces Sendak as,"The man who imagined escapes as romps that ended with warm suppers". Sendak was right. Escapes, romps, dancing russe before the mirror, or running naked in the woods may not be strictly safe. But they can, and often do, end in warm suppers. And even if they don't, we have not really lost much in the romping, I don't suppose.
So long as there is not too much cake.