Monday, December 19, 2016

water, water everywhere...

Yesterday, I whipped out a newspaper column that focused on the columns I had not written in 2016. It was the best I could manage. Where have all the ideas -- and more important the succulence with which I could imbue them -- gone? I feel like one of those p.r. pix for global warming ... the polar bear standing on a great slab of broken-away ice. Nothing but water in all directions. I can't seem to find the caring and the oomph.

Not that I begrudge anyone else their cares. It's just that I can't seem to find them any more. The importance, the meaning, the associations and hook-ups -- all of it has a slightly vapid feel: Do I really need to follow that train of thought? Why? Isn't the richness rich enough without investing it with richness?

There was a time when I would lullaby myself to sleep with one thought-weaving or another -- some spiritual or sociological skein perhaps -- but now I drop of the cliff without any humming necessary. Only god can pray to god, so it seems sensible/inescapable just to let the prayers be spoken without my lookit-me additions.

It's kind of strange and vaguely lonely, but it seems to be the way of things.

Once, when I was acting as an intermediary between a Smith College student and my mother whom the student wished to interview about one of my mother's novels, I asked my mother how she felt about the interview. My mother was hard of hearing and it was a long time since she had written and won an Edgar for "The Horizontal Man," a book many considered a roman à clef about the college. When I asked my mother about the interview, I thought she might play the age card as she declined. Instead, she took another tack: "I can't really remember what it was about," she said simply. She knew she had written it. She knew it enjoyed a small patch of literary sunlight. But ... well ... what was the fuss about?... I can't quite remember.

A column should bear some stamp of "importance" or "meaning" or "relevance," right? But now there is more water and less ice. An odd kettle of fish.


  1. It's ok to retire to do nothing but occupy yourself with whatever distractions seem attractive. It's ok to let others worry and fuss about the things that were once our responsibility. A time comes when the matters of this world are no longer our concern. It's ok to let go and just float downstream.

  2. Charlie -- I get a little dizzy swirling around the downspout... :)

  3. Circling the drain, whether slowly and outside of the awareness of the imminent or rapidly and soon to go down, it's just what happens and really we're on our own schedule, but on schedule all the same. Enjoy the strawberry anyway. It's what we can do between tigers.