And Mind Mush
Sunday. I've noticed a feeling of freedom these last few weekends. I'm not sure if it's just the decision to write less often, not so much from spending less time on the journal, but from not forcing an entry against some arbitrary deadline, or if it's something more fundamental, a finally come at last relaxation after 50 years of tension. Or is that too dramatic? I suppose. Have I been all wound up these last fifty years, exterior calm and unflustered, interior pumping as if the ship were about to go on the rocks? Well, of course. It's the American condition. The only unknown, really, is where you sit on the line between fishing by the river and fending them off with a knife down in the pit. If I'm more relaxed, no reason to wonder about it. The sun is shining. Winter will come soon enough.
Oh well, what brought that on? I've just finished my 1,731st examination of my journal navel and decided
it's OK to continue and put aside my "isn't there anything more, oh Lord?" routines for a while. Until the 1,732th iteration, sometime tomorrow, probably. The thing that started this was an email exchange with Viv on a subject that ran parallel to some recent thinking I've been doing about art and journal life. No so much the "why, oh Lord" routine as the thought a journal really was some sort of use it at home self examination kit (Blue and you're screwed, red and you're dead, white and you're all right, $30 bucks at the register, please.), more, in other words, than just something you did in the evenings instead of television. I'm not sure what it does or how it works, but it seems to give you an occasional glimpse into the inner workings while teaching you how to write a decent sentence, one, if you're lucky, in every ten, sometimes a paragraph as you're documenting the never ending excitement.
I think in its purest form, a good examine your navel journal doesn't require readers, but I'm not willing to push that to its logical end. I think the use it at home self examination kit element doesn't necessarily work with an audiance because it inhibits the narrative. Or maybe an audiance helps because it keeps you honest. Or you learn what's honest and what's not by repeatedly asking yourself that very question every time you write. Or am I kidding myself? I'm wincing as I'm reading this. My problem isn't truth, it's coherence.
It's Wednesday and I haven't posted since the 9th. The photographs were scanned and the first
paragraph written on the 10th, thinking I'd post on the 10th, when my mind turned to mush. At least in the evenings. When I write. Probably the subject. I didn't like the subject. I've got to get better at axing a paragraph when it doesn't work and get on with it, mushy mind or not. Back in the days I was posting five days out of six, I would just tough it out and hope whatever I'd written would make sense later when I had distance. And, often as not, I'd go back months later and think, well, it turned out. Nothing earth shaking, of course - cat stories, walk to work stories, Jeep stories - but they read intelligibly and they weren't too preachy, which is the idea, except for the ones that didn't (make sense) and did (preach). I consider these last two years of writing my period in pursuit of sentence fragments looking for a subject, verb and predicate, something not unlike my life: thoughts and acts looking for a way to assemble themselves in a way that would cover some of the basics like food and rent.
It took me years to figure that out. I finally found an avocation where I could get lost in the detail and they'd pay me reasonably well for the results: computers and web sites, emails and memos, Dilbert and Wally. It seems to work. And now a journal. And mind mush. And another dribble off into the distance. It's warm. We've been setting temperature records. I'm going to go turn on the fan and get to sleep. Bleep!