Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

What is it we’re supposed to make of life? There is so much suffering–my own is a tiny stitch in a vast tapestry and many, many people suffer so much more than I have. What is it that keeps rising up in us even when we feel crushed? What keeps putting one foot in front of the other, or looks at the vague blue smudge of a sloe bush and is reminded of a truth that doesn’t even have a name? What is that? It isn’t me. It isn’t me that gets me up this hill each morning, but rather an irrepressibility that must be called life, life itself, a force working independently of my brain, body and mind. I don’t know what it is… What is it that is leaning forward in me now, towards the world? … What is it that dares to want to get back down this hill and go home and write? Or that wants to find out why things in nature are rarely blue. What is it that triggers the synapses that call to the muscles to work the body and keep going on? What is it that still insists on being happy? What is it that refuses the call of defeat?

— Samantha HarveyThe Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020)


Book Review in The Guardian: “The Shapeless Unease by Samantha Harvey review – a good night’s sleep? In her dreams

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s Been A Long Week

It isn’t about peace, a quiet life, not feeling things, not experiencing things. It’s about the shit hitting the fan, and having the courage to sit with yourself, not hide, not deny–to observe the tumult from the end of the snake’s tongue.

— Samantha HarveyThe Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping (Grove Press; May 12, 2020)


Note: Photo by NB Hunter

It’s been a long day

That night on the show, there’s an expert giving advice about how to survive disasters, natural and man-made. He says it’s a myth that people panic in emergencies. Eighty percent just freeze. The brain refuses to take in what is happening. This is called the incredulity response. “Those who live move,” he says.

~ Jenny Offill, Weather: A Novel (Knopf, February 11, 2020)


Notes:  Photo: Nirav Patel.  Related Posts: It’s been a long day

It’s been a long day


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

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There is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know. Who can say what it is that’s going on? But I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: “You’ve turned up in the right place at the right time. You’re doing fine. Don’t ever think that you’ve been forgotten.”

– Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC


Notes:

  • Inspired by another quote from Whiskey River: “Perhaps I’m old and tired, but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied. ~ Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 
  • Painting “Swallow” (2011) by Nicky Loutit (via Your Eyes Blaze Out).
  • Quote via Whiskey River

Riding Uptown. Man on Venus. Man on Mars.

“How long to Grand Central?”

“20 minutes, maybe 30, it’s Rush Hour.”

Uber driver. Black Toyota Camry. Leather seats worn. Dashboard tanned with thousands of hours of direct sunlight.

“Your English is good. Where are you from?”

He glances at me in the rear view mirror. Reticent.

“Ethiopia, Sir.”

“How long have you been here?”

“9 years.”

“And your family? Are they here or back in Ethiopia?”

“Oh, they’re all back in Ethiopia. I’m here with my wife.”

“Do you miss home?”

Long pause.

“People think it’s easy. Here in America.” He pulls up. Polite, respectful.

I shift the conversation. We’re a few minutes out.

“You have a 4.94 (out of 5) driver rating. Wow. That’s something. How do you do it?”

“I don’t know Sir.” He smiles.

“I’m curious. Out of 10 rides, how many riders tip?” [Read more…]

It’s been a long day (from ~ A.D. 409)

Bryan-jones

I live in town without all that racket
horses and carts stir up, and you wonder

How that could be. Wherever the mind
dwells apart is itself a distant place.

Picking chrysanthemums at my east fence,
far off, I see South Mountain: mountain

air lovely at dusk, birds in flight
returning home. All this means something

something absolute. Whenever I start
explaining it, I’ve forgotten the words.

Colors infusing autumn chrysanthemums
exquisite, I pick dew-bathed petals,

float them on that forget-your-cares
stuff. Even my passion for living apart

Soon grows distant. I’m alone, but after
that first cup, the wine jar pours itself.

Everything at rest, dusk: a bird calls,
returning to its forest home. Chanting,

I settle into my breath. Somehow, on this
east veranda, I’ve found my life again.

~T’ao Ch’ien, No. #3 and #4 from Drinking Wine in The Selected Poems of T’ao Ch’ien


Notes:

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Source: For animated gifs

It’s been a long day


It is not always clear
these days whether between here and there,
I am supposed to break or
hold the line.

Cynthia Dewi Oka, from “Elegy with a White Shirt


Notes:

It’s been a long day

failure-is-an-option


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