April 03, 2014

Diaristic Wanderings


So the day was maelstrom-y, though with a crazily juxtaposition of peace during which my mind bloomed with the agate of sleep; I pictured a luminescent blue sea that became caramelized as stone that I could carry in my pocket. I drifted off, drifted in....

Great was the much-needed exhilarating run, a good half-hour, running free. The first five or ten minutes were great. The last five or ten minutes were great. It was the middle, oh, fifteen that sucked. In mid-stream I was too tired from the beginning and had not yet reached the fabled runner's high. Perhaps a metaphor for the spiritual life: we start with consolations galore, we go through a long period of grind, then we achieve the Beatific vision. If all goes well.

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I feel like I want to subscribe to The Paris Review permanently, such is my affection for something so refreshingly apolitical and free of news. It's likely a phase, an infatuation, but I'm certainly picking it more than I ever did the New Yorker. Life's too short to read about politics and there seems a greater depth to fiction, suffused with a dreamy quality.

The story by Rachel Cusk has been riveting. She seems a pessimist by experience; she's recently divorced and her writing is suffused with that sensibility of loss and suffering.
“Sometimes it seems that life is a series of punishments for moments of unawareness, that one forges one's own destiny by what one doesn't notice or feel compassion for; that what you don't know and don't make the effort to understand will become the very thing you're forced into knowledge of. While I spoke, [he] looked more and more aghast. That is a terrible notion only a Catholic could come up with…”
But really, is not the paragraph above a pluperfect retelling of the moral of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus?

A character in her story says he writes everyday of his childhood in order to “recall it piece by piece, every little detail.” In the character's case due to his happy childhood. Funny but I don't know if I had a happy childhood or not. I think back and it seems a mixed bag. I felt certainly a lack of control and autonomy. I had a perfectionist mindset that bedeviled me at certain times, of frustrations. I recall of course many fights with my sister, the cutthroat world of high school popularity that seemed just beyond my reach, just elusive enough to tantalize. If I just tried harder perhaps I could be popular, which was the take of my cheerleader (and uber-popular) cousin Kathy. (Who was in my class and thus in the know.) Glen DuBruck (always teased as “Glenda Bruck”) was a case study for popularity; he transformed himself between 10th and 11th grade into a social climber and climb he did. From nerd to bird.

I suppose childhood doesn't include adolescence and thus I'm mixing memories. Childhood, well, who doesn't have a happy childhood? Even those who suffer often don't think of it being suffering at the time given they have nothing to compare it to.  The famous line about being poor but not knowing you were poor. The resiliency of youth is apparent - how many pre-teens get diagnosed with depression or commit suicide? Almost none, suggesting childhood is a special state of bliss.

I remember clearly the speed of childhood, of moving fast, of unadulterated joy in the simple game of tag, of sprinting! I miss sprinting, sprinting with legs of freshly made sinews, of the sheer and present joy of motion unimpeded. I miss feeling like a dolphin in water, of how simply diving off a two-foot diving board was a craved feeling. Oh did we exult in movement as kids while the elderly spend their dotage in dread of it!

Still, I like the idea of recording my childhood perhaps because it is a perishable resource, perishing in my mind as we speak. Already I've forgotten so much … I wish much I've have recorded what I could recall years ago. I would love to recover at least a chronology of major events in my young life: to see where the “markers” of deep feeling occurred.

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