Thursday, October 4, 2007

Getting the Hang of IT

I awoke this morning with a splendid beginning for and fervid determination to follow through on a diatribe. The thrust of the diatribe was dreams, which of themselves are valuable tools, as helpful to the psyche as sleep is to the physical body. But dreams are tools for us on a personal level, the equivalent of the 16 mm movies one used to take on vacations, thus to show to captive audiences of families and friends. Thanks to improved technology, we now have the digital camera, the better to secure even ore captive audiences via email. The point being that the details of our dreams are directly proportional to another person's boredom, a fact impressed on me some years back by Elmore Leonard, who said in so many words, You want to bore a reader, tell that person your dreams.

It is okay to say you had dreams, even to say good dreams, erotic dreams, nightmares, and the like, because we can all relate to that, just as we can quickly relate to Gregor Samsa having spent a night of quirky dreams before you know what happened to him. In fact, that brief mention of his restless sleep helped convince use of the reality of what happened to him during the night.

All very well and good, but instead of my--as the Spanish would say--speak-of-the-miracle-but-not-the-saint approach to the intended blog, I got off on Lee's River post about morning rituals, which somehow blended into a conflation of the I Ching (I wasn't sure if she intended the Wilhelm translation, which is quite wonderful) with Sechuan and Cantonese cooking styles, which led me through a commodious vicus (thank you, Mr. Joyce) to the subject of ritual reading, or better still, comfort reading, as in, what do you look at when the world is too much with us, late and soon?

No brainer for me.

Life on the Mississippi.

It contains the sweep and majesty of metaphor, a river moving of its own weight and volition, carrying things with it on a course it choses, enchanting a young man who by most accounts would have been pleased to spend his life plying its rambunctious course and its adventurous destiny.

It reminds me yet again that if I have not yet done so, there is still time to chart my own river, memorize the crooks and crannies of its course, accept with reverence the fact that they will change, and try to do what Lewis and Clark did when they charted yet another territory: get the hang of it for a time and leave some record.

Lee's River had the hang of it from her GMT + 9 advantage of me this morning.

Mr. Twain had the hang of it with any number of his posts.

I do not have the hang of it yet, but I have the hang of thinking that the seeking of it is the best job a person could want.


John Eaton said...

Sweet lines, Shelly.

"It's hard on the beach oar/you move too slow/way down to Shawneetown on the Ohio."

Let 'er slam,

John :)

Lori Witzel said...

Thanks for being an ongoing inspiration.

Recalled Twain's awful chilling scene of dead bodies in an uprooted house adrift and floating, and recalled Powell's downriver explorations...

Dream on.

R.L. Bourges said...

Coffee break time on this side of the world: had to drop into the Google library for a peek at that 1883 edition of Twain. It was published in...Montreal, of all places. Did I hear the word "vicus" somewhere?