Saturday, March 08, 2008

Take a nap

It's Saturday and I'm going through my usual Saturday morning ritual: reading email, responding, catching up on news and views, reading articles and trying to latch onto the words, phrases and stories racing around like screaming children after eating an entire basket full of Easter candy. The one thing that has latched firmly onto my synapses and creating a data loop is heart, or rather writing to/from the heart, reminding me that the newsletter has to be finished this weekend and uploaded even though my heart isn't in it. I'm back to asking why I fought so hard to keep doing this when I had an out last year.

I've decided this is probably my last year to do the newsletter and I've been resisting (with the help of my work schedule) going to a meeting so the members can thank me for taking over the newsletter and doing a good job, something I wouldn't otherwise know if they didn't hand me a piece of paper or an insulated travel mug. All the thanks I ever wanted, and still want, is for them to thank me by submitting material for the newsletter so I don't have to spend 40-60 hours every month reading and looking for articles and information to fill out twelve pages, 11-1/2 if you discount the mailing label on the back page. It isn't that I don't like the opportunity to write what I'm thinking about, but most of the time what I'm thinking about is how I can read, absorb and write about electronics and radio in a new and different way so that the same people writing the same old stuff don't fill the already boring pages full of cub and board meeting minutes or the single column of hastily penned thoughts I pry out of the president every single month that lands on my computer the day after the deadline. No wonder editors begin to dislike the writers they need to fill their pages and resort to advertisements and coupons and articles by pharmaceutical companies on the values of a drug-driven life.

I'm tired of working so hard for no one to notice until I'm gone as they hand me an insulated travel mug with the club logo imprinted on it as I walk away having left not a single ripple in their quietly stagnant pond. Don't get me wrong, it's not why I write anything, or why I edit, but it's why I want to quit so much and why I have to flog myself to get the blasted thing done so I can go back to pleasanter pursuits, like reading another book to review or writing my own books, articles and stories.

Although this seems like a rant (yes, it's a little tiny rant), what is really on my mind is heart and doing only what comes from the heart and reaches others' hearts. It's the difference between telling a joke and getting a polite don't-poke-the-hungry-lion-in-the-cage laugh or telling a joke that makes people laugh until their sides hurt while tears stream down their faces and they can't help but repeat it. Human experience can be bleak enough, stuck as we are in our own deep, high-walled ruts as we plod from moment to moment, day to day, hoping and praying for a holiday or vacation day when we can just loaf, but to drag it even further into the mire by making what we read and write onerous is, in my estimation, criminal. Life is too short.

Even Seneca (that would be Seneca the Elder, not the tutor of Nero who burned while fiddling Rome) wrote about the perception of life being short. Even a 102-year-old man who had gained wealth and prominence, fathered children, made and broke careers and generally lived life to the fullest (even when he stepped on the necks and backs of others to get there) will bemoan the short length of time to do everything he wanted to do on his death bed, bargaining with Death for just a little more time. Life is not worth living without some happiness, some pleasure that lightens the dark corners of existence, even if it's a gift of love, the birth of a child, a good meal or glass of wine, or doing what defines you. Life is too short and so much of it is sucked down the abyss with work and bills and discord and anger and enmity and silence.

I don't think I realize how much silence has sucked away the enjoyment of life than when I picked up the iPod Beanie sent me, put in the earphones and turned it on. Music filled my ears, my mind and my heart and my body responded as it always has with movement. My voice that had been silent for so long carried me away on a wave of music and words. Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast and I have had a very savage breast for a while. Like the bear I was caught under the bridge but I didn't think to simply take a nap and let things sort themselves out and bring me safely out of danger. I kept hoping and struggling, looking for a way out, for a way to make things better and not much changed as I wandered in a foggy daze.

Somewhere along the line I must have taken a nap because I woke up. The problems are still there and the obligations still pinch like a bad pair of shoes, but I can breathe and I know there will be an end to the pinching because I'll simply take off the obligations and do those things that make life worth living for the short time I am here on this earth this time around. Music helps. Fresh air. A good meal. A glass of crisp wine that fills me with the scent of cool breezes and fresh pears or a dark ruby-filled goblet that exhales a breath of raisins, earth and sunny days. Cooking a meal for friends or a dessert for a friend who's ill. Diving back into the well of words and coming back dripping with stories and possibilities undreamed of while I struggled. And love.

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