Wednesday, April 1, 2015

a productive day?

Suddenly, spring seems to be in full flux.

The birds (grackles? blackbirds? -- hell, I'm not an ornithologist) that crap on cars are out in swarms. The bunny rabbit whose placid ways make me want to add the word "bunny" nibbles at patches of grass that show no obvious signs of greening. The spindly, naked etchings called "branches" seem to be changing colors ... or is that just wishful thinking? It's impossible to tell, but even the wishing seems to be part and parcel of the springtime ritual.

Yesterday felt like a 'productive' day in my generally unproductive life. Felt good, somehow. Off to the supermarket to get a couple of days worth of supper fixings since I generally do that bit of food preparation. Naturally, there was a prescription to pick up, so I did that as well.

After storing the goods, there was a TV interview seen the night before that crept into my mind and whispered ... an interview by Charlie Rose who is one of my least favorite interviewers -- the man simply cannot seem to realize that he is not the reason anyone might watch his interviews. He was interviewing Bill Nighy, a British actor who did a superlative job in one of my favorite English dramas, "Page Eight."

Nighy said at one point that he was always drawn to the unremarkable man who tried as best he might to do "the next right thing." No high-profile characters, just -- and Nighy tried not to use the word "ordinary" -- ordinary men. It took courage to do the next right thing and Nighy said he admired it.

The thought lingered -- despite Charlie Rose and his self-referential chitchat -- and I realized that I was happy that someone else -- anyone else -- felt what I too felt.

That happiness led me to bat out a potential newspaper column that allowed me to include one of my favorite interviews -- a 1939 talk with Charles Monroe, a mail clerk in New Marlborough, Mass., and a man of character and what used to be called "substance" or "sand."

Generally, I am hugely suspicious of writing in which the writer uses the thoughts of others to bolster his or her own persuasion ... as if his or her own conclusions were somehow unworthy. Further, I suspect that quoting Freud or the Bible or whatever is more a way of burnishing the writer's imagined status ... by association, dontcha know.

But yesterday I was willing to hand the reins over to Charles Monroe and let him help me express my satisfaction with a point of view. I batted the column out in about  40 minutes and will go back to it when column-writing time comes in the middle of the month. Maybe yesterday's satisfaction will hold water. Maybe not. But for yesterday, I was pleased and wore an interior smile.

After that, there were a couple of only-mildly-suspicious hard-boiled eggs for lunch, a few pages of "Foucault's Pendulum" -- a ludicrously ornate intellectual thriller that feels like an intellectual lullaby and helps me to sleep -- and then a nap and then cooking dinner.

Not a very productive day, as the crow flies, but it seemed enough at the time. When there is no one else against whom to place the yardstick, productivity (which habit says is somehow desirable) is hard to assess, let alone apply.

But it seemed to be a good day or felt good inside or something.


  1. I guess some names are mentioned to promote self. But promoting a name because you think it's worth sharing it something else.

  2. I too listened to Nighy and felt refreshed -- in spite of the narcissist asking the questions and interrupting the answers. Then browsed and found 'The Girl in the Cafe' on youtube. Can't hold a candle to 'Page Eight' but not bad.