Sunday, October 04, 2009

All these things

After another night of the new insomnia-- the new one being different than the old in that it is, in fact, insomnia, rather than a bachelor's hypochondriacal attempt at creating drama-- I feel crusty around my eyes. I'm waiting for my heart to rouse. Which is why I am listening to Sigur Ros' untitled track # 3, with the oscillating tower of piano, with the kind of steady escalation that unfailingly makes me feel like I'm lifting slowly into an autumn sky, or flying on the back of that dog-dragon in The NeverEnding Story.

I'm grading this morning, and thinking about vocabulary, and the failure to have one, both on the part of this poor student whose paper is prostrate before me, begging for mercy, and on my own part. Are there -- this is a question-- are there ways of learning to have more words more presently at my disposal, more eagerly waiting for my witty, authorial deployment? I find myself constructing sentences for the words I can remember. In fact, I can feel, if I turn up the right knob of sensibility, I can feel that little poot of disappointment every time I'm forced to adjust syntax in order to use a less precise word. Not the word I wanted, not the word I know is out there in the crowd, pushing toward the front. The one obscured by all the daily cliches, leaping hands-raised over the lost faces of the ones I want. I'm the Rockstar, dang it, looking for my love, and this ugly pre-teen adjective keeps forcing her sweaty ill-formed body up into my face.

Well, an hour and half has passed since I rose from my "sleep," my "slumber," my "sheep-counting," my "rocking back and forth like a man in agony," my "snoozapalooza," and I'm feeling the papers calling, the ones made of words, for which I am finding an increasingly keen ability to critique as a language mechanic. Unfortunately, I'm still like the apprentice at the shop, the thin-necked barb-wired-bicep punk who greets you at the door and makes you lose all hope of having your car's issues correctly diagnosed. But be patient, he may know something. Maybe he's learning. Maybe he'll be able to help. He wants to. He wants to.

Repetition equals sincerity. Writing is difficult. To write gracefully, to pitch it rhetorically, to say something meaningful.

Before I go: last night I was driving home from a rousing game of Solar Quest with my sister and brother-in-law (see "bachelor" above), and just as I was pulling off the freeway, this dude inside my head started reasoning with me about my responsibility to go through with an English PhD. I was glumly listening (we do this often) and it dawned on me again (this too) that he was wrong. There is no responsibility, to myself or to anyone else. My body, my nubbins of being, will go the way of any organic thing, and who knows what kind of being may come next to make me, and how. But certainly whether or not I had a PhD, or owned all the properties in Jupiter's orbit, which is what finally won the game for my sister, will not make a speck of difference to my otherly self, to the self I feel prophesied to me when I listen to this album. I'll say my piece to you as well (yes, head-dude, even to you): you're going to die, and what matters isn't what you accomplish, but how. Learn then to have loving presence, to be lovingly present, and all these things will be added unto to you.


Ryan Hofer said...

Sounds like you are banishing one more talking head...

Being named reminds me more of my name than of being named.

Jen said...

Thanks for stopping by my ramblings last month. I was about to head off to my nightly non-insomnia when I stumbled (via big brother Facebook) upon your blog and now am thinking instead of sleeping.

I can't say that I have ugly pre-teen adjective groupies throwing themselves at me (maybe teenage, Wii-playing nouns?), but I seem to know something of the feeling. Today I was trying to help my students think of different ways of describing "color" and "fun" and the festival they created last Friday night and I couldn't get my own words to cooperate. Instead, I stumbled over lame phrases filled with generic, unhelpful nouns like "things" and "stuff". (And I call myself their teacher!)

I've forgotten how to speak. And I'm afraid my writing is worse.

If the punk at the shop stumbles across a way to help, please share.