Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009.01.03 - Nascent Year; Sonnet & Epictetus

The nascence of a year brings feelings of hope and helplessness. I do not make resolutions, at this time of year because the pressure's too great — how can I support the weight of a year when I am barely able to support a day's or even a morning's resolution? Despite the multiplicity of distractions in our age of diversions, I am struggling to live one day at a time, one moment at a time. And, to be honest, I am not doing that great a job at it. On the one hand the dream aspect of my Aquarian nature is very strong in me, so remaining in the pragmatic requirements of a tangible here and now is difficult: playing with words and ideas is so much more engaging than planning for next week's meals. On the other hand the diurnal aspect of living with a partially disabled wife, a mortgage and car payments, long hours at a challenging job, eating, etc., butts heads with my dream world and keeps life moiling. Do I take the time to do yoga, blather verbiage, prepare meals or make myself ready for work?
I began this blog while on a vacation from work. That vacation ends tomorrow night as I return to work on Monday. And I have an ambivalence about that, which is stronger than it has been in quite some time. I enjoy my job a great deal, but dislike my employer at least as much. I have enjoyed setting my own hours, within the challenging delimits of being with wife with her own set of hours. I loved the freedom to verbalize here and elsewhere, as my whim took me. And I am wondering how to proceed with this blog, when I become so busy with my 50 hour work weeks and living requirements that writing will fall to the wayside.

I think what I shall do is post some of my old writing, as well as new stuff. I have some fiction I'd like to put out into the world, and other writings, too. I have a correspondence that began in 2006 and continues to the present that I think might make an interesting blog contribution, if the other party agrees to it. And I wonder if there may be some entertainment and other value in posting a synopsis of and table of contents to the economics course book reader I have been put together for 'The Hand Inside the Invisible Glove: Economics for the Perceptive,' the economics course I have been building to promote critical thinking of the ideological nature of much of what passes for economic sagacity.
So many possibilities. Too many choices. And that could easily result in my getting nothing done as I dither and blather about choice instead of actually doing anything. Sigh!
And so, in a backwards way, my fingers have pushed me to begin - two days late! - to make a kind of public year's resolution about this blog. What will come of that? We'll see.
I did write a poem, a kind of new year's sonnet! It is was initiated with Kim's request that we celebrate the new year with a candle light meditation. I used our fireplace instead, and here's the result:

In Black, Shadow Puppets Dance
In black, shadow puppets dance with the light
That leaps in bounds to fire a new year born.
Wick'd stories fill with dread an endless night
Of starry dreams dreamt once but now stillborn.
But how the gilt flames o'er leap these limits!
They tickle hearts open with glitt'ring scenes
Of thick plated truths, gold carded credits,
Hip hopping livers and bilious spleens.
I stare and stare. And to my dark eyes' chagrin
Sharp smoke caresses and brings to them tears.
When I blink through the brine my mind starts to spin
A tale of two halves – my mask-face and fears.
  The flickering night has caught spots in my mind,
  Spots black in my mind my mind minds to find.

Well that was some new writing.
What about some old stuff? Hmmmmm. Well, I am reading the ancient Greek philosopher Epictetus right now, which I am thoroughly enjoying. So maybe I will truly cheat, and transcribe some very very old words here, albeit not mine, to mark the nascent year with something aged:

…it is a more valuable thing to get a dinner, than not; and a greater disgrace to be whipt, than not to be whipt; — so that, if you measure yourself by these things, go and do your office.
“Ay, but this is not suitable to my character.”
It is you who are to consider that, not I; for it is you who know yourself, what value you set upon yourself, and at what rate you sell yourself; for different people sell themselves at different prices (Epictetus Book I Ch II).

And I think that is a good ending to the beginning of a year: what is the price at which I am willing to sell my self?

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