Thursday, February 26, 2009

Embarrassing imature twaddle

sorry, but I've yet to grow up that way . . . 

I haven't really worked out what a blog is or should be. I think when I first heard of them, I simply wondered why anyone would be interested at all - so, you can publish your daily thoughts? You could already do that. HTML isn't very hard. Then I kind of got how it was being made so very trivial. How young girls at the age of narcissism just wanted the whole world to know what they were thinking. 

Then, seemingly overnight since I almost always have my head too far into whatever I'm doing to notice, blogs became serious, and covered what serious writers want you to know on a minute by minute basis, apparently in a way to deepen the published and editorial coverage of what's new but not new enough. 

In any case, I am finding the process transformative in a way which interests and intrigues me. I take it as given that letter writing is dead and gone and never will return. As with all transformations, I find this more than a trifle sad. Letter writing, when practiced, aspired to a kind of elegance and turn of phrase which was lovely in its compact precision. 

I'm certain that there have been people who write their letters starting with a rough draft, leading ultimately to a clean copy, but I certainly never did. Almost precisely as when I used to dictate letters into a tape machine for my secretary to transcribe, I developed a simple discipline which made it possible to contain the structure whole in my mind, and in the dictating - or in the letter writing - get it out.

I somewhat mourn - and it is a guilty mourning - that my daughter does not get letters from me the way I used to from my parents. And I don't get any from her. We are really no less in touch than before she went to college, since her cell phone number is the same; and the need to know precisely where one is and what one is doing is long attenuated

So I get calls for advice on rare occasion, and we exchange emails on occasions still more rare. But it surely is not the same, any more than neighborhoods full of children playing outdoors among neighbors who actually knew one another can still survive our sprawling wombs with views. 

Sure, I do try to write emails as though they were letters, but truth to tell, as rare as truth telling is, they don't get read. Email is far too hoppy for someone to tuck into quite. Emails have to be almost bite sized. 

I had long distance when I was in college, but it was costly, and entailed some permission or trade for beer money (when beer cost a quarter). So, I think I was energized by simple heartstrings, whether of loneliness or fond familiarity, there was simply a desire to let my folks know what was going on and what was new and what was on my mind. I surely didn't tell them everything, but it was pleasant enough and almost entirely without guilty pressure that I would sit at my desk to compose my thoughts.

And in almost the same manner did I devour the letters from home.

I do remember a transition to typed letters. This must have been some while after college note-taking destroyed my script, and college paper writing trained my fingers to fly across the manually hammered keyboard.  It was after my handwritten letters from my backpacking spring and summer across Europe had been transcribed by my Dad's secretary, probably so that they were legible. But I knew there was some pride in the compilation.

Much of our history is recovered from letters, when they aren't destroyed from too fine a sense of what is private. When discovered - these very private letters not destroyed - we get a sense of in to some truth beyond the scripted and edited version of history.   Though surely many epistolary writers wrote in full consciousness of private now and eventual public archival significance then.

So, for me for now, that is where the bloggers' art comes in, if art it can become. Maybe just beyond the verge of embarrassing if your friends or workmates were to know what you're up to. More like what you might disclose to a benchmate in the train station (if there were train stations anymore), but of course don't anymore in the airport, so anxiously nervous lest you be delayed and bumped or can't find some space to relax amid the noise and too much informality of dress and of behavior.

I wonder where is the space for those truly private thoughts which should get burned. What can happen to the art of making love long distance? Never mind. 

So, for me, this practice, while far removed from keeping in touch, might yet provide some energy back to a mind itself grown jumpy and disconnected and distracted and oh so very abstracted. It is distressing not to be able to coax a thread where once there was actual correspondence. 

I still do have, on my actual desk at which I seldom sit (laptops actually work better on the lap I find) a series of now ancient letters which I myself never could respond to. From China, say, or from a very close friend who moved away, and whom I actually did try to visit motorcycling through Little Rock. Something had happened to me. I was too busy for sure, but also inwardly there was nothing left with which to press a write. Only a vague sense of guilt and want. I think it was simply that the leisure space in my life, and perhaps in all of ours, had been squeezed away. There was too much on my mind and too much to take care of. 

Or maybe it was simply the fuss to set up the typewriter? The awkwardness to tame my hand? A simple habit lost? I was fooling around with how to compose Chinese on a computerized word processor, well before the GUI. My Chinese hand is well beyond execrable, though that can hardly be the whole excuse.

I think rather, and this is quite extravagant be warned, that in the very way that holographic films contain the entire image across their whole - such that when broken in half each part contains an attenuated version of the whole - so we humans, as conscious beings, but even were we not, are in microcosm the entire cosmos.

This is hardly radical in itself, though I do mean it in the most radical possible way. And as we whittle away our planet earth, which for my very own purposes is the only living cosmos in our way, our souls are attenuated too. This earth is cosmos whole, and there is no other. In complexity it more than comprehends all else "out there". It is, in very precise sense, cosmos' heart. Copernicus be damned along with all those concupiscent Piarists who so befriended Galileo.

It is always possible to be quite wrong while being right. While correcting one strain, as in the Inquisition, torturing out another which might itself have guided the way toward salvation, if that is what you want.

It just may be that in our throes of certainty about the physical cosmos, as though that is all that is there, we are in process to destroy our emotional heart, which also does pervade creation. 

And so, dear heart, I blog in desperation, perhaps, to kindle back some kindred connection, heart to heart, that consciousness can be raised to its proper estate, co-creator of a world never ever quite created in the first place. Because that sort of Creationism is become a very very dangerous fiction. God has come to earth, and he is in us. Unborn still. In grave peril of abortive loss. And you know where I stand on that issue . . . 

Damn!  Off to work, hi ho hi ho . . . or what's a meta for????

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