life

On Earth and Other Places

It’s been about four hours since I sat down to work and I’ve hit my threshold for world news three times, the last heralding a thick nausea that sits on the back of my stomach as if my spin were a park bench on which someone’d spilled ten gallons of sickly black paint.  There’s only so much I can read about Trumps evil nonsense bringing us ever closer to an apocalypse, only so much I can take of newly threatened, endangered, or extinct species.

So I’m grateful that my work is done for now.  The skies are blackening and the storm is rolling in, and all I have to do is sit and watch it come.

There are good things in the world.  There are friends and loved ones, scientific discovers, good films, better books.  It’s spring here, so there are buds and flowers and a thickness to the air that bolsters my lungs even as it closes my sinuses.  It seems important to hold on to the good, even though they could be swept away by one errant, arrogant tweet.  Perhaps its ephemeral nature is the reason holding onto the good is so important.

Trying not to mope is exhausting, but giving into it is worse.  I am trying.

Earth Day is this weekend.  I won’t be here to celebrate it, so I’ve started early by rescuing what has turned out to be an inordinate number of trees from the yard in preparation of laying out the new vegetable plots.  I’ve run out of soil for pots, so it seems now is a good time to flip my compost.  I’ll save it for tomorrow, after the rains have left.

I won’t be celebrating, but I will be thinking of the environment when I join the Science March on D.C. this weekend.  I won’t be carrying a sign as anything pithy seems inappropriate to my sensibilities, and practically, I loathe holding things.  Save for weapons, but I’m not sure dragging a sword, arnis stick, or axe would send the right message, even if that message were painted straight on it.

I’m having trouble keeping my focus, the wind has turned to a constant breeze and I can smell the wetness on it.  It smells lush, and behind it I can feel the prickle of premature lighting at the back of my nose.  My senses are almost overwhelming, what I took for my stomach has me distracted, slightly stupefied.

I missed writing.  I’ve done so little of it lately, at least of my own, things I’d want to read.  I write all the time for work, but while the job itself is quite rewarding, the writing aspect is not.  Those scant few belonging to my small following can attest to my distaste for paraphrasing in an attempt to appeal to a greater audience.  Even my sentence explaining it rung pretentious.  So to write again, and entirely for myself feels like the release of a muscle I hadn’t known was cramping.  A balled fist under my skin for the last four months.

Perhaps I seem arrogant, verbose, that my writing is over-wrought.   Does that matter?  I spent so long thinking of what my writing could do for me, what secondary good could come of it.  There had to be some direct recompense, something that even the squares would acknowledge as success.  But where was that in keeping up a blog with so few readers?  How could it be monetized?  And if I were to do so, what was the point with fewer than a thousand, fewer than half of half that?  So I’d battle against myself.

I am, and have been tired since november.  Writing is hard, and often tiring.  I would begin with the admonishment that I must write.  Then I’d push it away, or sit down to try and nothing would come.  Then would come the guilt, and another attempt.  That would usually result in a draft too bitter to publish or too incomplete to make sense to even me a few days later.  To pacify the guilt, I’d remind myself that this was not my job, that no one paid me for this.  And I’d become complacent.  I didn’t accept that I hadn’t written, but it didn’t plague me as it would have in the past.  So, by and by, I let it go.

Now, writing again, I see the folly in that, all of that.  The reward is the act itself.  I’d decided not to breath because no one rewarded me for doing it, and had gone a little necrotic for the stupidity.

So, again I say, it’s good to be back.

On top of that, there is this: 20170420_164918

It came in the mail for me today.  Now, if I can turn this singular writing instance into a sequence, perhaps we’ll see what’s inside.

Update: 8 march 2017

Sometimes my mind goes walkabout while my body languishes someplace forgotten.  The disconnect eats up my sense of time’s passage so that months or weeks elapse while the road seems still, making chronology seem a liar.

This isn’t, or wasn’t, one of those times.  I’m in pretty good shape this gone round.

I don’t recall when last I wrote regularly, and even if I were to look it up, the date would be meaningless.  Life is not an American high school history exam, the dates never matter so much as the ethos of their events.  As such, it’s pointless to dissect the calendar in a search for answers, because, without writing, my time is ephemeral, as my short term memory is rather shit.  I can tell you what life was like as a three year old, but I’m hard pressed to recall what yesterday’s breakfast contained.  My perception is built for the long game, for big ideas and long term recollection; for whatever reason the only minutiae that ever stick are spats of movie dialogue and biographies of fictional characters.

Having established my nature as something between Leonard Shelby and a cork at sea, the best course of action seems simply to move on, so on I shall move.

This weekend is the Philadelphia Flower Show, and while my business has been on something of a hiatus while I adapted to my new part time job, my interest in botany hasn’t abated in the slightest.  I’m excited for the show and look forward to the multitudinous displays and the many ideas they’ll give me.  I’d already planned to restart Thistlehammer Transmutational in the spring, and now is near enough.  I’ll take a few hundred pictures and a notebook full ideas home and into the studio, and with any diligence (the lack of which is my usual downfall, not luck; luck is like pneumonia, merely a description of a set of symptoms) I’ll rejoin that part of my life fully enthused.  At the very least, I’ll see some cool plants and have some good dumplings in Chinatown.

I’ve about hit the maximum word count for the internet’s mandated attention span, and as I’ve nothing specific to share I’ll end here.  My hope is to start posting more regularly, and I’ve some ideas for future posts that I think will be pretty cool.

I look forward to sharing them with you, soon.

-Alexander

Wabi-Sabi

A long enough time spent away from writing and one secretes a sort of shell, like an African frog in dry-spell hibernation or a caterpillar with no hope of emerging a butterfly.  The shell is thick and either malleable or merely too hard to shatter.  A single spat of productivity doesn’t set me free.

The site is changing, as my aim, and thus all that which is pulled along by its gravity, alters to suit my new purpose.  The business remains and is growing while I take on other tasks, those mandated by my flexible and multifaceted new job, and the bitter-sad reckoning that one must sometimes hide his message in order to see its fruition.  I’d like people to buy plants for the reasons I sell them, but will have to content myself with selling environmentalism in the Trojan horse of decoration.

I do reasonable well at the markets I attend, and if I had a hundred years I could build my business with no alteration to the products I sell.  As I am not entirely certain of my own perpetuality, I’ll have to shift to a line more in demand.  I have been steadily teaching myself wood working and reminding myself how to work metal, stone, and glass.  Every two markets afford me one new substantial tool.  I hope to purchase a bandsaw after the market next; my wrists could use a rest from the ardor of the coping saw.

I’ve started a story.  A real one, one that I can feel even when I’m not writing it.  I know it the way one knows a movie he’s seen a dozen times, I can describe it with complete familiarity.  The frustration comes from filling in the missing pieces for those who don’t live in my head, from making a story out of a sensation that’s rendered itself so damn completely as to make the task of writing it out seem pedantic.

Thence comes the fear.  It’s perfect now, in its supposed, in its potential state.  What if I write it out and I ruin it, and the solid form , the written one, bearing so much more weight as a made thing, crushes the idea of the ephemeral one.  What if I can’t remember how it was, what if I can’t go back?  What if it isn’t perfect?

I haven’t written, so I don’t write, as the same fear pervades everything I think of, every item, wood or pulp, pen or steel, that isn’t yet made but’s been rendered complete in my head.  Would that they were all Athena.

There is perfection in nothingness.  The void is always pure.  But it’s also empty, and humans do not thrive on that which isn’t.  Perfection is good, but should not be sought at the expense of action.  Everything never made is perfect, but that’s far too modern art for me to abide.

I’ll have to make something, perfect or not.

As I often say of the blog, this post’s a start.