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Monday, August 20, 2012

something something

I must tell you, I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

I listened to this on the radio yesterday while my son slept in the back seat and I drove around aimlessly through this schizophrenic city of mine and it nearly brought me to tears.
"And I had the meeting with — giving the food to one of the small children who was dying of hunger. He was at the last stages. Suddenly, I had this experience that is to me the founding experience of humanity, which is discovering through empathy that you really are one with the man who is suffering. You know, you identify yourself with this person, and this can be so strong. So I made at the time the promise to the small child that I will try from now on not to ever turn away my eyes from somebody who is suffering. And that was a turning point in my life."
 Incorporating the weakness, seeing that fragility is part of the system, is as necessary as the strong, rigid parts, that is as much the key to living as striving to remain strong and powerful.

School has started again and I am back in the throes of that striving, of arming myself against a brutal, unknowable future. I am studying marketing and data analysis. Sometimes I am very certain that these subjects are bullshit, that they are merely ways for humans to try to quantify and control that which is totally uncontrollable, that which is brutal and unknowable. But I study anyway and I believe too that it will make me strong.

Yet deep down I have this softness that flows under the crust, makes the crust weak, makes sinkholes.

Don't push too hard.

I wrote another short story last night all in one sitting. It's about a bunch of friends who decide to build a castle in the middle of a road because they realize that once you agree to stop seeing the road as a road it becomes just one more place on this planet, and then you can do whatever you want with it. I think it's good. I dunno where I'll send it just yet, but it'll go somewhere. Maybe I'll shoot for the moon and send it to The New Yorker. Maybe I'll print out a few copies of it and burn it in my front yard. Maybe I'll read it to my son as a bedtime story every night for the next thirteen years so that he grows to understand that just because 6 billion other people see something one way doesn't mean it's right, or true, or just. That's easily as good a message as playing nice with others. After all this world wasn't built by those who played nice, it was built by those who grabbed a shovel and stuck it in the dirt.

But then, you can't forget the suffering and sick and weary and heartbroken, either. What good is a castle if you have no one to share it with?