Five o’clock evening.
I’m trying not to get involved in a big family fiasco happening right now. Deep breaths. But I feel rather bad for my sister being caught in the middle of everything. It happens to be her birthday as well… The sun has come out partially a few times today, alternated with gray and black skies, yet no rain the whole day. I’ve just had a modest dinner and now want to unwind for a while. The daylight will last until after seven thirty. I’ve observed how everyone seems so apathetic every day except to be greedy and materialistic, and every person for himself. I see no love and we’re not having fun anymore. With a little motivation I’d take down my big book of Goethe and finish Faust. At least I need a shot of passion and seizing the day. I believe we waste so much of our lives making mistakes and controlling the damage afterwards. Perhaps it can’t be helped. Howsoever we live life is a wager and the stakes are very high. Do you go for all the marbles? Often I feel content to just sit quietly at home.
“Never wanted to be the boy next door
Always thought I’d be something more
But it ain’t easy for a small town boy
It ain’t easy at all
“Thinking it right, doing it wrong
Is easier from an armchair…”
I found a letter in my mailbox from the church that I tucked away before walking off to the store. Finally I opened it at home again: it was a resignation letter from the pastor, effective the end of June. I guess now it doesn’t matter whether I go to church or not. A new pastor will change the complexion of church entirely. The changes keep coming, so the philosophy of Heraclitus has merit. Nothing is permanent in life. And the rock and roll counterculture is mostly dead by now. Ten years ago I drank like a fish and listened to The Beatles every afternoon and night, then in the wee hours I would bat emails with my friend in Scotland. I guess rock music went out with a bang, and today we’re just coasting along, waiting for the next sensation to come.
They’re building a remedy
For Khrushchev and Kennedy
At any time an invitation
You can’t decline
Ten o’clock. I dreamed about the year 1816, and about Mary Shelley’s publication of Frankenstein. I could barely grasp the concepts I was imagining, but they concerned ordinary religion versus Romantic Promethean ideas. It was the year without a summer. Vaguely, I was asked to choose between God, and human beings playing God. The innovation of the Romantics was similar to that of Satan in Paradise Lost. I should read all of the Milton epic while I still can for a better understanding of Romanticism. The thing to remember in their case is that they were pre Darwin. All they had for a theory of the origins of humankind was the Bible, plus Milton’s poetry. For that reason, a lot of their ideas hinged on the Fall of Adam and Eve. Then was the beginning of time and the problems of human knowledge…
I’m seated on the loveseat with Aesop in the family room. It’s truly amazing to be back home again. In my mind plays an old Yes song called “Onward.” I begin to think a lot of my knowledge is outdated and futile anymore. Abstractions make nice poetry, but who has time for beauty and truth? The only truth people need is survival. And yet what a beautiful life it could be if we gave up toil and trouble to simply love each other in the languages of love. A few lines from “The Millionaire Waltz” come to mind: “Once we were mad / We were happy / We spent all our days holding hands together / Do you remember, my love / How we danced and played / In the rain we laid / And we wished that we could stay there / Forever and ever?” Now do we say that all art is ultimately useless? If we do, then we say it with tongue in cheek while giving the nod to the piano man.
Quarter after nine. I hear “Radio Gaga” in my head. The Works was an album that Kate bought for me in fall 2011. So here we are moving into the autumn again. The seasons proceed onward with or without us. School starts and days get shorter. May as well accept that we’ll be staying in a trailer longer than expected. Nothing I can do about it. The city inspectors drag their feet and my friends keep asking the same question: just accept it. I can’t change it. I feel a little like crying, but what for? Because it’s a loss. When there’s a loss, we mourn. Finally we accept.
Mom always accused me of self absorption, which is accurate, but her proscription of such introversion came from generations of family lore. Why would it be wrong to examine one’s life, for as long as we have it? For when life is gone, it isn’t guaranteed that an afterlife succeeds. This is a truth that people know but don’t say. IMO it’s better to know and to leave a record behind. The only immortality is probably material, through progeny or some kind of writing. “Don’t you hear my call, though you’re many years away? Don’t you hear me calling you? Write your letters in the sand, for the day I’ll take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew.” Brian May with Queen, 1975. Such a Joycean idea, that of communicating through writing to posterity, and imagining how they might receive it. Sort of like leaving lines on a seat in a yew tree, as Wordsworth wrote about two centuries ago. But there was no precedent for James Joyce, nor any writer like him since. Just think of what life would be like had Joyce never written a word, and then dare condemn me for self absorption…