Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Readers may be divided into four classes: 
1. Sponges, who absorb all that they read and return it in nearly the same state, only a little dirtied. 
2. Sand-glasses, who retain nothing and are content to get through a book for the sake of getting through the time. 
3. Strain-bags, who retain merely the dregs of what they read. 
4. Mogul diamonds, equally rare and valuable, who profit by what they read, and enable others to profit by it also. 

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, poet, critic (1772-1834) 

I dunno. I think some of us are a bit of all four. I can rarely remember the details, just the generalities. And I am prone to sharing ...

I have been sad for these last few days, although there has been quite a bit of pleasure and fun in there, too. On Friday afternoon, I woke up from a nice nap and set to work on Friday Night-Pizza Night. I don't even remember, now, what they were except one was vegetarian for AKA and had brussels sprouts and butter-toasted hazelnuts. The other was meat-related for JA and they were both great. MMA, AKA, and I sat around the kitchen table for a couple of hours eating pizza, drinking gins-and-tonics, and planning MMA's birthday cake, Nigella Lawson's Nutella Chocolate Cake. We then retired to watch Jenny Slade in Obvious Child, which was really pretty good.

Tuesday now. Back sitting by the window overlooking the Lake Mahopac and a stormy sky. I am also overlooking a marina where boats are being prepared for the winter. I don't have a lot of music on my laptop, and I need to move more off of it, but I was listening to a song I downloaded off of Noisetrade by a fellow, Neil Halstead. I decided to look him up to get some biographical information and I found this: 

Neil Halstead knows what all of the different ways are to feel comfortably bummed. He’s studied them and has made it part of his songwriting expertise to get as intimate with those variables and conflictions that lead to a dynamic that just lets the blemishes and the disappointments play a part in the decoration of a space, to offer their own specific tastes as integral pieces of the ensemble, like the legs that keep a table level enough to host the gravy train and a pitcher of water or a pot of coffee. He lets his music take its shape sometimes through the advice of a chemical haze and the visions that begin their wavy ascents to the eyes, when there’s nothing to see in front of them but a hallucinogenic rambling, a smear of frozen darkness suddenly waking up and getting loopy and demented.

and I had to laugh. It is dizzying in obsfucation (another word this dictionary does not know) and Williamsburg-worthy emo-hype. Except that he is British. But here's the rest if you want a good chuckle and a head shake.

I'm in a dark dark place and I hesitate to chronicle it for you. But among the "amusements" here is being part of the unemployed library culture. And there are some characters. I tried to get a picture of this, and perhaps I mentioned it before, but in this area of the library, where there are tables large enough for groups to sit and work, there are numerous signs saying "FOOD or DRINK is permitted in the CAFE AREA only." There is a fellow there, of indeterminate age, but not young, who sits there often his boxes of Special K and Fiber One 90 right next to the sign. 

The best window table was occupied when I got here so I chose another table. Not too long after, I was joined by another "regular", a man who I would call old, but what do I know? He uses a PC and is grizzled. He and the cereal fellow just talk, as if they were sitting in a coffee shop. They know one another. Cereal man is on the 'phone again, perhaps talking to a doctor or something, he seems special needs (as if I'm not?) but I can still hear him though I am wearing earbuds.

Ah well. the clouds are not moving at all. Kind of how I feel: dark, threatening, and stuck.

One of the books that is taking me forever to finish as I get continually distracted is Seven Lives and One Great Love: Memoirs of a Cat. It's not that it isn't a good book, it is. Things just take precedence because of other factor, like book group or research. But here is a taste. 

Nature, see, has blessed us with living in the present. Whereas you, stuck in the past and therefore unceasingly anxious about the future, are unaware of the freedom of the present tense.

They sit as we do, for hours and hours on end in the same spot, unmoving, unspeaking, undoing. They are thinking, they claim. I very much doubt it. I think that they eventually get abstracted from all the thinking and fall asleep inwardly, the way we do. I don't want you to misunderstand me, I count this in their favor. Doing nothing is, in all seriousness, one of the hardest things in the world. Plato and Aristotle even pointed out to their students that the principle of nonaction is one of the most spiritual in the world.

Okay, back in the fray of trying to make a life. (Get a life?)

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