Not literally--although it has been overcast and rainy more often than not these days--but figuratively, I am in need of some light in my life. Don't get me wrong--my relationship is going well, I have good friends in my life, I have a meaningful and interesting job and a pretty beautiful life overall, but at the same time, there are just too many horrible things happening in this world, and sometimes it's a bit much for me to deal with. From the verbal altercation between some youth of color and a white man that I witnessed on the bus today (which ended, of course, in the white man calling the police, prompting the youth to get off the bus prematurely), to the horrors of the war in Iraq and the horrors of the tsunami aftermath in South Asia, there are always an endless number of things to be angry, depressed, sad or disgusted with in this world.
Where is the hope? Usually, being around younger people helps me have hope, but despite the fact that there are plenty of smart, funny and conscious teenagers in my office everyday, I feel that I'm somehow pimping them emotionally by 'using' them to make me feel hopeful for the future. Reading good literature often helps, but I've hit a bit of a lull in the middle of Garcia Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera. Part of me just wants to burrow into a dark hole somewhere with my pens and notebook and fantasy books and favorite gourmet food and wine (quite Hobbit-like of me, no?) so that I can just think for a minute, pray a little, get my bearings, have visionary dreams, and come back to my knowledge of what is green and good in the world again.
I'm probably PMSing--inexplicable depression is usually one of my symptoms--and I could most likely use a nice long walk in the woods or by the ocean to give me the perspective I need. There's nothing like standing on the edge of the continent, staring out over the endless Pacific as her waves wash ashore over and over, never stopping, their rhythm universal and ceaseless, to make me realize that all things --even these blues--are temporary, that all life indeed is impermanent, that all things grow and change and die in their turn, and that the ephemerality (is that a word?) of all we know, in and of itself, holds a beauty so fragile that we must treasure it each moment, with each breath, because it will never exist after this.
But until I make it out to the ocean--which isn't very far from my house but which I never seem to get to often enough--I'll have to settle for revising my novel, which is still in its rough stage. Not surprising that creating my fantasy world (not an ideal world, mind you, but in some ways a much better one than the one we live in today) on paper, with words, is soothing to my spirit and my mind. I also just read an essay by Jane Smiley about revision, which has given me some big ideas that are quite surprising. One character (Koii-Ma, a warrior woman that protects my main character, Tala, from some dangers of the intra-galactic 'road') that I had considered a relatively minor one up until now is getting a bump up, as it were, to major character status.
Revising my novel does make me happy in a strange way; not in a smiley (pun intended), happy-go-lucky way, but in a thoughtful, content way that sometimes is more satisfying than a good laugh.
But a good laugh would be quite welcome right now...so if you have any good jokes to share, gimme a holla.
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