It is Monday here in Sepia Fallows and the burning bush has gone all over red;
And the sentry in the front continues, every day, its metamorphing from rusty-red blush to yellow, dropping leaves from the top in its unmantling:
Gorgeous, yes? And so certain. They just do what they do, day after day: Being.
Being. They aren’t waiting for anything else to happen. They are fulfilled, as is. Now.
What? I’ll try to explain.
I used to worry because it seemed when I’d at last disciplined myself to writing desk, preferred Uni-Ball Vision Elite micro-point, black ink pen and Clairefontaine Pupitre spiral-top tablet at the ready to receive my stories, the following would happen: I’d write the sentence meant to begin the tale on which I’d been ruminating — often a matter of transcribing a quickly scribbled semi-thought or a-ha sentence deposited previously in one of the notebooks, sticky pads, index cards I carry with me everywhere — and in the doing, in the effort to sing it like the song it was in my head, I would become lost in etymology and rhythm until what I’d meant to say, what I thought I’d heard, those first imaginings, the spirit-speak of a phrase that had whispered and urged me to tell a particular story in a particular way, had become something so entirely different that often its beginnings were undetectable.
In fact, example: this blog entry.
I meant to tell — briefly — how my day began with the whispered urge to say I was feeling overwhelmed, which thought gave me to wonder, “Can one be merely whelmed? Is there whelming without over-ing?” And I was off. Thus began the dance through multiple dictionaries, on-line sources, each of which I followed down (and up and over and around and all sort of other prepositions*) a digressive path until it was — is — now afternoon when I began this at eight a.m. and meant quickly to dash-off and post, so I might get on with my day, with the project I need to complete in the next seventy-two hours, the project which — along with my continuing malady — is, well, causing me to suffer one of the following:
- Whelm: cover over, submerge, engulf. Or;
- Overwhelm: to turn upside down, figuratively bring to ruin, to heap upon, overpower with an excess of anything, destroy, crush.
Well then. I am whelmed. Not quite over-ed. The thing being, now, having reached my fifties, having remained mostly unpublished — which accomplishment joins the list of other “mostly un’s” that have been my life story: Unfamous. Unmarried. Unpartnered. Un-child-ed (that’s an awkward construct – but, you know, I’ve not parented anyone). I never quite-ed quite a lot — where was this going? Oh, right, my fifties, now, and this thing I do, this life I am living, this writing and my way of doing it, well, you see, I am slowly coming to an understanding that this is my Being.
I won’t — likely — be published between hard covers. I won’t be invited to book festivals. I won’t be meeting my pals at the Algonquin — hell, that Algonquin doesn’t even exist anymore. But, all this “won’t” and “un” about which I have spent five decades worrying, well, it doesn’t really mean shit, does it? That burning bush and front yard sentry are not concerned about what they’ve not. They change colors, undress to scheduled dormancy, content to do so.
I’m much better. But, I’ve still the chills – off and on. I continue to feel something off inside me. I am on my way today to a lab for tests. I am being tested, again. These tests. I am “un” and failed by many measures and this is why I try to avoid labs, avoid putting myself in the position where testing is required. I want, quietly, to unmantle — like the front yard sentry, my colors bursting until the fade, simple, accepting my season — but, instead, it seems, I dismantle. I try to settle, try to Be, but find myself, always, this always, now always, so always, taking myself apart.
Look, I found these pictures last night as I was dreaming of where I’d like to go for a quiet decline.
Little spaces. Sunshine. Color. Light.
I have to go to the lab. I have to finish my story. I haven’t much time.
* The simple act of typing “prepositions” resulted in a consult with my Fowler’s Modern English Usage, that I might refresh my knowledge of prepositions. Therein, a historical note that it was Dryden who unintentionally instituted the interdiction against ending sentences with a preposition. Who knew? Fowler devotes almost three pages to this. I read all three.