August 29, 2010

Late Summer, Turning to Fall

On the budding greens of campus again, soaking in the temperate sun and indulging in memories of the great book sales they used to have here. Over hill and dale I would fly, returning to my car with muscle-bending quantities of books. In some cases whole sets of encyclopedias! And at a price close to free.

The scent of vacationese lingers here, the languid motions of bodies not yet in school but preparing. Oh how holy those old abultions seemed, the gathering of groceries into one’s first “home”, that tiny dorm-room. The all-important furnishings… Oh how it felt like one long summer camp, even in winter, when I’d head to the gymnasium and do my imitation of a gym rat, playing basketball with that fabulous 20-year old body I used to have.

Ach, but isn’t autumn always a time rife with retrospection, fueled by the narcotic of looking back? And yet now I watch the ducks swim against the current at Mirror lake, the waters where in cold November Buckeye fans will take a midnight dip!

The most freeing notion in recent days was reading Caryl’s advice about how we should let go of the sins of the past and not focus on them. It’s familiar, even trite, but so true. Too often I try to motivate myself by looking back on past sins, but wouldn’t it be better to motivate oneself by looking to the present, to the gift of Christ, and our union with Him? Or if we must look at our past shouldn’t we look at our Baptism, our latest sacrament of Penance? The attitude must be gratitude, and Fr. Terry pointed that out on Sunday, how if we grumble about going to Mass or volunteering we know we need a “course correction” and a spirit of thankfulness.

Sitting high off the hog, up on the 11th floor estuary in Thompson, a flood plain of knowledge. The day is cool and breezy with intermittent sun, a day as autumnal (in a late Septemberish way) in every way but visually, where the trees still carry their green camo. I think I’ll miss this weekly trip to the library, this “other world” so near and far from work. If last week was overkillian on beer this week underkillian. The daily ration of sun has been ratcheted down. From a minimum of 2 hours a night (6-8) to the new normal of 20 minutes (6-6:20).

Both Betty Duffy and Heather King emphasize that their journals are not their blogs, and that there is much shaping and editing that goes on. It's suggested they are more mean-spirited in their journals, more frustration. Heather said recently she is not a fan of stream-of-conscious renderings outside the journal. I wonder what makes it okay for a journal but not for a blog? Is it the negative influence we may have on others? Is it for privacy? Is it that it would undermine their real or potential writing careers? Is it some combination of the above?

Blogs are often a half-way house between serious writing and a journal. They house the momentary thought fragments of the author. A distinguishing characteristic, for me, is the personal nature of blogs, the way they can read like the personal letters of a public figure.

1 comment:

BettyDuffy said...

Just thinking of that last point tonight, that the blog is somehow, by it's public nature, and it's interactive nature, and in my case, it's Catholic nature, and familial nature--by virtue of all those things--it is inevitably also a bit dishonest. No one really wants to open their lives THAT much, to the potential dangers of a relatively accessible readership.

Not too long ago, I was pretty excited about the possibilities of the blog to do a different kind of writing, epiphanic writing, solve a conflict in one minute or less--but I'm currently seeing the blog's limitations. A conflict in one minute or less? No conflict worth it's salt can be solved in that amount of time. And if the conflict has been published with my name on it, and hence prettied up for all to see, is it really worth writing at all?

But I think any public writing (not just blogging) contains an element of fiction. Save the truth for the journal; it's usually not all that riveting to read anyway.