Saturday, August 24, 2013


"Obviously I need courage to deal with my current dysfunctional body. And religion? The bible says that the kingdom of God is within you. If so, I haven’t noticed it lately. I’m not making light of devotion or a mother praying to bring her baby back to life after it’s been cut out of the stomach of an anaconda in Venezuela. Human suffering has to be the largest of all question marks. You must beware of hope, a radically dangerous emotion. Hope can roll over and crush you. I went to a dozen doctors last winter in Tucson for shingles relief and each time I had a wide-eyed Midwestern hope and faith that was promptly smeared. Hope is a bourgeois Tinker Bell toy that can transform into a guard dog of the most vicious nature. You raise your expectations then are gutted like a deer. However, if you need to say a little prayer, go ahead and moisten your lips for the deaf gods, although it’s like fly fishing in a sewer: 'Raise your chin, o son of man, your doom is around the next corner on the left.'"
— Jim Harrison

Cooder's evening position on the back of the couch while I work.

The days are beautiful, but the mornings and evenings are sharp, acidic in their way. I have already seen leaves blowing around. I'm still back in February in my mind, the year and possibilities stretch before me. I still have time to get it together. Um. Not so much.

Emmylou keeps an eye on me as well.

As I mentioned, I finished Tom Bissell's book of essays, Magic Night. The final essay was about a writer I guess I am not supposed to like as he is a man's man writer. But I do like Jim Harrison. I can't remember offhand what I liked so much about Sundog (n.b., not a glowing review there), but it is a book I will buy as a gift.

A bon mot or two here:

Until that point in my life, I had heeded the inadvertent lessons of my English classes: literature was something written by the dead for the bored. ... I was fifteen years old and for the first time in my reading life I underlined a phrase not to retain its information but to acknowledge its mystery.

... I do not recall much of the night after the second bottle's splendid arrival, and by the end of the evening I felt as though I had been beaten up by our meal.

Sometimes politeness was just a way to escape what needed to be said.

— Tom Bissell

No matter how acute, the pain of hangovers can't rise above farce.

A creek is more powerful than despair.

— Jim Harrison

And this one is difficult to quote so I will paraphrase a bit, "Harrison's belief that a writer is someone who 'consciously or unconsciously takes a vow of obedience to awareness' ..."

And so it goes. I'm struggling. Not in an overt way, but I can feel myself all balled up inside, steeling myself, protecting myself, generating worry, and maybe some discontentment. On my walks, I try to remember to relax my shoulders, let out some of the tight energy, kind of ... um ... flow ... a bit. I try to escape myself by eating Smarties and Gummy Lifesavers and more than I should. I want to drink although I know I sleep better if I don't. Maybe I just need a good long bath or a massage. 

E has returned from Europe and had to move back to Stonybrook for her senior year. M and J packed up the SUV and off they went this afternoon. They haven't returned. I worked on Monsterwood with Louise for a good long time and have quite a bit to rewrite tomorrow, but my head was too full to write this evening. So I tried watching the Keira Knightley version of Anna Karenina. Strange. Interesting, but I don't much like KK, so I couldn't get into it, notwithstanding that Tom Stoppard wrote the screenplay. I caught up on Borgen. And now to bed and maybe more Brothers K (closing in on the end, I swear it). I couldn't sleep last night so I just listened until I did fall asleep and I will try that again.

Breathe deeply. Sit up straight. Relax your shoulders. Good night.

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