Saturday, April 3, 2010

You will be pleased to learn--or, on the other hand, maybe not

From times beyond your ability to recall, you have been faithful to your programming whereby you connect notions, concepts, ideas, and visions into workable entities. You have in effect put considerable effort into first having dreams, then bringing them into reality.

Nor is today, April 3, 2010, an exception; there are tasks you have set for yourself beyond the quotidian. Your basic hope is for a number, however small, of these tasks to progress from their nascent stage, through early drafts, then beyond, into the lofty promise of fulfilled projects to be launched--stories, essays, even a work in progress you are willing to call a novel.

Today is a particularly good day, in large measure due to the mere presence of these in-process ventures which, each in its way, serve to define you. There are of course other defining events which articulate your relationship to this remarkable sphere on which we revolve about the equally incredible sun. Each of these events has to a lesser degree the ability to inflict on you one of the most basic realities of the human condition--disappointment.

It is simply unthinkable for any person regardless of state or status to have gone without a disappointment for any protracted span of time. Disappointments are the responses of reality to our anticipations and imagination. Although this judgment may border on pathetic fallacy, it is close to actual event because by our nature as humans, we have so many anticipations and experience during the course of a day any number of eventualities. We are a part of a culture where grown men are paid millions of dollars for hitting a three-inch diameter sphere one in every three times at bat, meaning these millionaires easily accommodate to the disappointment of not being more prolific than they are. Put another way, they learn to live with their disappointments.

A thing or event is never exactly as we see it in our mind's eye. Even an invitation from a close friend to an event is not safe from disappointment or surprise of some sort. Things and events as they occur are either more lyrical and transcendent or they are boring, leaden with the burden of unfulfilled promise.

When a story does pay off and is sent forth to its intended destiny, a significant border has been crossed. Expectations have soared and a slight-but-significant weight is added to our totality of self. Even a rejection, while still a disappointment, cannot erode the effect.

A souffle that falls when being removed from the oven is a distinct disappointment, but the fact of having had a souffle that rose in the first place and that tastes excellently of the Gran Marinier is still a memorable accomplishment to offset the fall.

A crush that turns sour is a dismal event, potentially prompting us to have no further truck with crushes, but the entire experience of being drawn to the appearance, wit, mannerisms, and complex response apparatus can be as energizing as being asked to contribute to a particular anthology--it proves we can still be led out of ourselves and open to the alchemy of another person.

There are a number of ways to deal with disappointments. You have tried many of them, enough to have arrived at the philosophical observation that the passage of time is a good start, keeping busy is likely to provide at least a viable distraction if not a full-bore palliating agent. It should be and probably is unthinkable to use disappointment as an excuse to curtail or abandon working in new directions, having new dreams. Make s souffle. Get a crush on someone. Write a story. Trouble awaits, but imagine the dreary awfulness of having nothing to look forward to.

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