Thursday, October 14, 2010

North Carolina Missive, October Edition

Hi Friendlies,

I just wrote the below post, and decided that it was better to let it be its own thing and then I could write a cheerful news related post (that’s this one!).

I got a job! I’m going to be a Barista at Bean Traders, a charmingly coffee shop/hangout on Ninth Street, otherwise known as the street with the interesting and worthwhile shops. I have my first fullish shift this evening, after previously having only had a two-hour-information-overload-shift. It seems like a good combination of ease and interest. I like meeting lots of people who need coffee, and giving it to them. It makes me feel like I am generating happiness.

Our garden is sprouting! So far the radishes are in the lead with turnips and mustard close behind. The carrots and kale are just peeking above the soil and we hope that we’ll soon see beets and lettuce and leeks. It was lovely and warm the past few days, and then rained like crazy last night. In a few weeks we might have to break out the clear plastic and hoops, but right now, if I were a plant, I would be happy (I am happy, I’m just not a plant).

My roommate Eva’s sister, mother, and grandmother visited us on the weekend, and they brought a bunch of pumpkins that we carved! Mine is called Henry. He has small eyes, a big tooth, a bigger nose, and the biggest grin you’ve never seen. They also left our fridge stocked full of delicious farm fresh food.

I usually refrain from talking about how wonderful Dana is, but she is really wonderful. She has joyfully immersed herself in school, especially her entomology class. Her cyanide death jar has been the end of many interesting insects, including a huge praying mantis we found on our drying laundry and a cockroach or two that we found on our floor. We even took a day trip to a nearby river and collected mayfly and stonefly larvae. We tend to compound each other’s happiness, like compound interest.


P.S. I’ll see what I can do about getting some pictures on here.

Problem and Solution

I woke this morning to thunder and lightning and the feeling that today is a good day to write. The following is involving and self-involved. Beware.

I am not yet a writer. Carried along by the tides of circumstance and inspiration I have written things. But if I hope to sustain my physical existence with words (a fantastical notion when framed like this) then I damn well better learn how to do it practically, not just therapeutically (as a technique for equalizing the psychological humours), and doing it practically requires making a practice of it, which requires being able to do it when I don't want or need to, which requires being able to will it. And for me, that requires knowing why and how it is that I have come to be doing this thing in particular. Which brings us to one of my favourite locations of personal pondering:

How does one know how one knows what to do? We can pick a highest value, and proceed from there. We can become a chameleon, and adopt the values around us so as to know with a sense of belonging. We can live a day at a time, a decision at a time, never knowing how we know, respecting and loving the mysterious place from whence that comes. But if all highest values seem pallid? And if we gag at the world around us? And if then, too, we find that we do not only not know how we know, but we do not know at all? It becomes awfully complicated to decide what to have for breakfast (and without breakfast it becomes awfully hard to write).

The solution is to just do it, whatever it is. And if the act of knowing is the veritable pretzel of angst petrified in the above paragraph, then decide what to do by deciding nothing and doing something; eventually life will have happened and is just as likely to have been happy, significant and productive as a willfully determined life, which is bound to fail and stray. We humans are creative; the rightness will follow the doing. But I do not want to give up on the idea that I am special, that I have a particular gift and my life’s work is to make sure it gets shared (which might be the same as saying I don’t want to grow up (all prophets are children, and all children are going to save the world)).

The solution is still to just do it, whatever it is. And if you don’t know what it is, and you don’t know how to know what it is, and if you don’t know how to know how to know what it is, then the solution is definitely to just do it. And if you’re framing it in terms of not knowing whether or not it is a particular thing, like writing, then that is probably the thing to just do. So that is why I wrote this today.