Summertime

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.

– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

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Resolution

Once, when I was seven or eight, my mother said to me, as we sat on the last seat but one on the bus to the clinic, or the shoe shop, that while it was true that books could change with the years just as much as people could, the difference was that whereas people would always drop you when they could no longer get any advantage or pleasure or interest or at least a good feeling from you, a book would never abandon you. Naturally you sometimes dropped them, maybe for several years, or even forever.

But they, even if you betrayed them, would never turn their backs on you: they would go on waiting for you silently and humbly on their shelf. They would wait for ten years. They wouldn’t complain. One night, when you suddenly needed a book, even at three in the morning, even if it was a book you had abandoned and erased from your heart for years and years, it would never disappoint you, it would come down from its shelf and keep you company in your moment of need. It would not try to get its own back or make excuses or ask itself if it was worth its while or if you deserved it or if you still suited each other, it would come at once as soon as you asked.

A book would never let you down.

— Amos Oz, A Tale of Love and Darkness

How to start again

How sad it would be if we forgot that the future we fear turns slowly into the present we detest, and the past we adore.

— Anton Chekov

Originally, I thought I was going to make this dramatic gesture of swapping this tired, old college blog for a new, shiny and enlightened post-grad version. But besides the depressing change in location, pressing realization of unemployment, and drastic lack of close friends to keep me sane, nothing has really changed.

I have a horrifying feeling that this next season is going to be a real bitch.

To cope, I’m making this my point of starting again– even if it doesn’t mean anything and even if it’s only for my own sake. I’m going to need something to do while I wait for my plans to pan out, so starting again doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. But still. The worst part about leaving and letting go is that it never really works like it should.

Oh well. We press on.

Decisions, decisions.

I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.

One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose.

I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.

— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

I am not this spectacular Plath fan, but I like her well enough. And, at this particular moment and in this specific context, I like her a whole lot. Sylvia Plath brings depth to my frantic emotions. In her words, my thoughts somehow become nobler. They aren’t just ridiculous insecurities or frightened anxieties– well, actually maybe they are. But Sylvia Plath articulates them so well that my rattled brain, ripe with the nervousness and self-doubt of changing times, can finally feel some sense of relief. I am not alone!

“I tell you, there is much to tear the heart”

I share too.

children in the ocean

D I S A P P E A R I N G

( Brian Andreas )

The day he first told me he was starting to disappear I didn’t believe him & so he stopped & held his hand up to the sun & it was like thin paper in the light & finally I said you seem very calm for a man who is disappearing & he said it was a relief after all those years of trying to keep the pieces of his life in one place. Later on, I went to see him again & as I was leaving, he put a package in my hand. This is the last piece of my life, he said, take good care of it & then he smiled & was gone & the room filled with the sound of the wind & when I opened the package there was nothing there & I thought there must be some mistake or maybe I dropped it & I got down on my hands & knees & looked until the light began to fade & then slowly I felt the pieces of my life fall away gently & suddenly I understood what he meant & I lay there for a long time crying & laughing at the same time.

Don’t forget, don’t forget.

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Psalm 45:10-11

Listen, O Daughter, consider and give ear: forget your people and your father’s house. The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord..