We are living history: each breath, each sunrise, confirming the possibility of another; where security and safety rely on sameness, the verifiability of every action against what already happened, until we believe only the expected is true and reject and fear change. We re-live history in every decision, our hopes and dreams containing only what we know has happened.
Generosity is proof of life, proof that we are alike. Without the wish or the will or the ability to be generous, we become half-human seeking only our own pleasure, only self-satisfaction, and this satisfaction diminishes the more we pander to it.
Generosity requires you to understand what is needed and wanted by other.
Why is it that we are entrapped and drawn along by emotional strings, those emotional strings that closely tie us to our worst, most conservative natures; when instead we desire to be released, to rise out of the mire?
We are child-like always, hoping for the best, confronted with the worst, and yet persisting as if this will appease all and redeem us. We impose this same treadmill of despair on those around us: family members, friends, colleagues, even strangers. Anyone who steps out of this ritual of debasement and subjugation, those not like us, is punished. We stifle life.
Context is everything: telling a joke to a band of wowsers and they’ll likely laugh, to a group of placard-carrying teetotallers and you have your work cut out. It takes skill to get a laugh out of a marching troupe with sore feet who have nothing to look forward too.
I don’t know why I am writing this, the strength of humour is as spoken truths. You need to find the vulnerable point, the thinnest surface of certainty, and prick through it. Laughter is contagious – get one person to laugh at a joke and it will flow over to others.
I’m getting a lot of practice using left over, edited out, surplus words; those that don’t make the cut, that fall off the edge of the page, limp out of sentences, are beached leaving the stream of a story, those not found when events are resurrected. These words make their own narrative, mesh and mould their own certainties, and settle, saying want they want, without a forced and persistent undercurrent, cultural message, or historical law to uphold. These words do not reinforce, become bastions, they are not landmarks: there’s hardly a mark in the sand to show they’ve been here.
‘You’re being emotional, aren’t you?’
‘Don’t know,’ Sally said. ‘I just feel cut off. As if I can’t walk a straight line without really focussing; my mind’s collapsing.’
‘You need to relax,’ said Joan, watching her friend lying on the sofa.
‘Do you think I’m unbalanced?’ asked Sally. ‘Maybe the world’s tilted, or I’m on old time, still jet-lagged.’
Joan pulled the last thread and cutting it looked up. ‘Want a cup of tea?’
‘Lack of certainty,’ Sally continued. ‘I’m in a liminal state, unable to move forward.’’
‘We’ll talk later,’ Joan said, as she left the room to change.
Closing down one part of my activity and preparing for the
next to commence gives me an oblique sense of progress, or it would if I could
avoid the sense of loss and failure as I close doors behind me and move on.
Always starting something new, moving through, acquiring new ideas, ways of thinking,
accessing new pathways, making connections that should knit the world around
me, seems useful – it could be described as skill acquisition – but it is not
natural or easy: every time it’s a wrench, it breaks and bends before there is
healing. It feels like brainwashing.
Deferred gratification sounds good, even reasonable: no pleasure until your work is done; don’t rest until your assignment is finished; only have ice cream at the movies – and only go to the movies when your assignment is done. The alternative to deferral is to ‘live large’ and enjoy: breathe deep and live in the moment. But I, I sit on the fence, neither enjoying myself or feeling virtuous through being abstemious. I live in resentful necessity on the cusp of my needs, without respite. I learned to save for future pleasures, but now worry about every penny spent on joy.
I am looking for a way (a what, a why, a how, a where) I can
stand from where I can see objects independent of my preconceptions and assumptions:
I want a way of seeing that reduces subjectivity, is independent and not overlayed
with my expectations or desires. Standing aside I want to see everything and everywhere,
how they move and interact. Objects don’t exist to fill the space around me, to
support me, or my pleasures; yet, I cannot imagine a world in which I do not exist:
my existence creates a hole in the world shaped like me.
For a time Victor and I had each other’s backs and it was good having him there. The work kept coming: a bit of lumbering, odd-jobs for mates, grafting here and there. He turned up on time and put his back into it; we did alright. I never knew why he moved on, there was just a message one day brought around by the boy of the woman he lived with. I always wondered what happened, but I didn’t know her and it would've been strange turning up at her door to ask. She had her own life to live.
It was not like I was expecting anything to happen, plenty of insects land on the windscreen: late summer, the sun setting, soft fluffy bugs swarmed around everywhere; you can’t miss them. I hadn’t thought of him in years, but that bug reminded me of Victor. It was as if he’d found me. It sat there looking me, with the wind picking up, and the clouds and dust storm threatening to come in, just like that time years ago, when we were on a house nailing down loose roof tiles as a favour to a mate, in a gale, laughing.
When is an answer not an answer? I am sure I have asked this
before; it is a constant conundrum I grapple with.
I am not talking about the rhetorical – where a person questions
and then provides the answer they condone. That is just a style, a bit
egocentric and not a subscribed method for modern discussion, that marks the speaker
or writer as dated, old-fashioned, conservative, where the intended effect is
to be thought of as learned, erudite, even scholarly.
Not all questions have answers; for some, their answer is
different everyone else’s; for others, the question is irrelevant.
‘You getting up?’ Behind her loosely fitted doors slammed in the house, as she looked in.
I pulled the doona close, kicking my feet back under. Her voice entered with the cold air circulating from the gap in the window.
‘Sure, if you say so.’ She didn’t close the door as she left.
Sunlight flickered on my eyelids as the curtains lifted, a breeze blowing in fresh smells of trees and grass competed with the warmth under the covers. Shelly’s sarky voice had started the day and it would stay on now, but there was nowhere I had to be.
I want to have the high moral ground, to stand above others and demonstrate the real values and judgment that merit respect, yet with every attempt, I get a nosebleed, my knees knock together, and there is a persistent ringing in my ears: symptoms that enfeeble, are impossible to ignore that disable me. This physical frailty, like a natural barrier, stands between me and a place of standing and social respect. As a social phobia, it’s outrageous: I want to be an upholder of standards of truth and honor, and my internal critical circuits are dissembling me, till I’m redacted.