Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm aghast I haven't updated this for so long. Moods change. Not in the same mood. Cannot articulate current mood. Probably has to do with the aging process. However, recent visit to parents' abode indicates that I, myself, am not OLD yet.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Stone soup and other delicacies

Perhaps I make a mistake when I try to communicate what is actually going on in my mind and “heart” rather than try to create art that could manipulate reader or listeners into feeling and thinking those things for themselves. But art is so hard to make, especially with words. I’m taking the easy way by simply telling me like I am. Or as I’d like to be (which is part of what I am). At the same time, I’m superficially disgusted by all this “I” and “me” stuff. I’m no one special, and yet, I’m everything to me. That’s a joke. I think.
I’ve had this longish life that kind of moves inside me now as if I were an overfilled pot of soup, and when someone tilts me a little bit, some of my life spills out. They have to jump out of the way to avoid getting greasy spots on their clothes. Rarely do they thank me for a delicious taste of something unusual. Maybe that’s because my soup is quite common, and only the inexperienced think it’s something new. Most probably think it’s something to be avoided. People don’t have much conversation these days, or listen to each other’s stories, unless it’s presented as “art.” But I know there’s more to art than off-the-cuff storytelling. And knowing that, I despair. Who has the time to really perfect something? And who has the time to appreciate art?
Sometimes I wake up in the morning feeling like my brain is too small to form concepts, let alone comprehend existence. It wants to, but it fails. This is when routine comes in handy, but still, it leaves me feeling empty. My morning exercises soothe me as if I were autistic; my breakfast gratifies me as if I were a domesticated raccoon. The comics in the paper give me a sense of community and continuity as if I were a nun in a convent and needed news of the outside world. And then I go to work, which is just another trap. I’m looking for an escape hatch, but not very hard.
The older a woman gets, the less likely there is to be an escape hatch of the romantic kind (which is a favored kind of escape for us culturally-deranged females). There’s almost an inner compulsion to “give all of that up.” Even the daydreaming (if indeed there ever was any). But what’s to replace it? Here’s where living in a convent could have come in handy; surely such women understand how to deal with life directly, without romance. I’m thinking of Julian of Norwich, an old favorite literary figure of mine, who hallucinated upon a crucifix, and made a career out of it in the 14th century or thereabouts. Got herself a little house next to a church; didn’t have to do anything but daydream (about Jesus) and dictate. Oh yes, and receive visitors occasionally who were seeking her wisdom and trying to imitate her piety and get a special soup-stain upon them that they could see a vision of the Lord in. But prayer is a selfish thing. Prayer is not action, that I can tell. Prayer is meditation and navel-gazing, even if you think it’s the Lord’s navel you’re looking at.
I’m feeling some anger at the moment. Not sure what it’s about. Could be many things, or just life. Maybe my soup needs salt to make it complete, and I just can’t find any.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Whenever I want to DO something, I have to yank my will and brain around. Therefore, I'm not sure whether or not I'm supposed to DO anything. I only have old paradigms to rely on. The sense of "duty" of a Catholic. The sense of "professionalism" of a long-time administrative person. The sense of aesthetic completion of an article-writer. What's new? My most recent REMEMBERED dream is also a DISMEMBERED dream. Another corpse, another era? My unconscious brought in an old friend to take responsibility for a murder; but I had to help cut the body apart, rather like sushi. It wasn't so bad in the dream--not bloody at all--it's just that afterward, in telling it, one thinks how bizarre it might seem to others. The body represents the psyche, so it's not really murder in the legal sense. It's just killing--or attempting to kill--various aspects of "the Shadow" a la Jung. However, these aspects return, because some of the body parts became "alive" again, although they were hidden under a bed. Uh-oh, fingers twitching! I am getting so tired of these corpses and body parts, alive or dead. They've been showing up in my dreams for decades. When will I allow my entire self freedom?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Unfortunately, this recession/depression comes just when I feel like pulling back--not putting as much effort into my work. I understand the game is to make oneself indispensable, and that can be done either by doing more work than anyone else for the employer's bucks; or by controlling information (keeping certain procedures secret or confusing so that one is the ONLY person who can do a number of necessary things). The trouble is, it's all so boring--other people's priorities. I, personally, have ideas for poems, performances, outings, long letters to old friends and relatives, do-gooder activities. I claim no great MEANING for these things, but they are important to me, and they spring naturally from me. But none of these can be implemented right now due to time constraints and exhaustion. Other people (my boss and her boss) confuse their own career-related projects with genuinely humanity-helping efforts, and pull me in to assist them. This is NOT what I want. I have done this for years, and I'm sick of it. I want to promote my own views for a change. These views are not going to save anything or anyone, but at least I'd have them "out there," wherever "there" is, and it's possible I might amuse a few souls. Having to (essentially) grovel to make a living is really getting to me. But I WON'T take it out on my few students, come Fall. The classroom is where, maybe, I can get my point of view across. Please don't make me ponder whether or not my "viewpoint" is useful to these students. I'm transferring it anyway...it's my last chance.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cheering up the world while sitting in my chair

Yes, that’s what I’m doing. I’m interacting with people (or their virtual representatives) from China, Taiwan, Sweden, Portugal, England, Australia, France, and who knows where else. I’m taking care of their virtual animals. Oh, what a warm feeling it brings. I earn money by stroking these virtual pets in a Facebook application called “Fluff Friends,” in a kind of innocent virtual affection trade. Then I use that money (or “munny”) to buy various types of “food,” with which I gift the strangers’ pets now and again (admittedly, most of the “food” is consumed by my own virtual pet, a Land Giraffe named “Madame Y.”) I also buy “habitats” and “decorations” for Madame Y, as well as a series of “Minis,” or little friends to keep her company. These “Minis,” like most children, slaves, and real pets, cannot earn money, even for other people. They are not pettable. They are dispensable, and can even be given away as gifts.
Though I do have access to a vast number of virtual pets, and thus, a vast number of glimpses into the virtual decorating, eating, and commenting habits of their owners, I nevertheless am not “free to be me.” I must keep up with the virtual Joneses. Many pet owners change their habitats for the holidays: every holiday from Hannukah to Fourth of July. New decorations must be purchased; new gifts must be distributed so that one’s pet page won’t be sporting an empty Easter basket or Christmas stocking. One, in fact, gives in order to receive. That’s how it’s all set up.
For those who simply MUST shine, there are credit card options available for purchasing an “artsier than thou” environment, or fancier decorations and minis, with one’s REAL MONEY. Some folks buy multiples of things in order to create interesting background patterns on their page. Some use the application to create art, pictures that can be glanced at for a moment and appreciated, or possibly transmit something about another culture’s visual preferences. Some of these pages are missing the Fluff Friend entirely, the virtual pet originally chosen, and feature only myriads of Minis in starry skies, or feasts of flowers and hearts.
I don’t believe a Fluff Friend can “die,” although those who have not been “visited” by their owners for weeks may plead for others to send the owner a reminder. Peer pressure is encouraged here, I am not sure to what end. Now that I have my Madame Y, it seems a shame to abandon her, but others feel no such shame about abandoning their virtual Racoons, Pigs, Puppies, or Chicks. Many of these languish unvisited, unpetted, and unfed, providing neither munny nor joy for their owners, who apparently have “real” lives, or are playing more active/violent virtual games.
The idea of being able to “give” something, to make others “happy” with a few clicks of the mouse and a few minutes of time is irresistible, however, to some. It takes the messiness out of real-world charitable giving or volunteer work, and provides instant feedback. One is THANKED, one is petted, one is connected, one is able to identify with others on the safest possible level, from the privacy and comfort of one’s own home. I am reminded of the Buddhist meditative practice of breathing in the evils of the world, and breathing out love. What is really happening with this practice? Is world suffering eased? It can’t be verified. Neither can the “benefits” of Fluff Friends. I rest my case.