Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I ask myself


I ask myself every day what this grand adventure in communication means, where it leads, what its potential is, how it affects me and the work I do, whether I’m a leader, a follower, a witness, or simply being swept along. I am probably all of the above. I don’t seek dire certainty, though, just a better understanding, a more revealing glimpse of myself in the mirror.

I live for the chance, or the illusion of a chance, of accomplishing better, more meaningful work — work that reaches out, communicates, and makes demands, especially of myself. Each day I stay alive, each hour, I preserve that chance and illusion.

I wonder, too, if I do anything by choice. I must, because I feel responsible for my actions. If I’ve made a mess of my life, which in some ways I have, if I’ve caused heartache through my selfishness, it’s because I’ve chosen to do so. I can’t count the times I’ve deliberately turned my back on an obvious, practical solution. We call it “burning bridges.”

And what of those areas in which I’ve succeeded — my devotion to family, the work and joy of a long marriage, doing what I’m cut out for, and recognizing what’s poison to my system? Are these the result of choice? I think not. I think, instead, that I’ve been blessed, and that I’ve been cursed, and that what feels like a choice is but a surface phenomenon, and that my wiring — our wiring — is so complex, that while the subject of why we do things is fun and even instructive to pursue, we really don’t know what we’re talking about. And that we call “being born.”

I can imagine a life in which everything is known, and what a nightmare it would be. I also think it’s possible that we know everything we need to know at birth, and that we learn to suppress it through fear. But most of all, I view knowledge as a living, breathing, changing thing, an entity that feeds and fuels itself, a restless spirit, because the only constant in life is change, and we are of this life.

Hammer it any way we like, describe it, archive it, and break it into a million tiny pieces, curse it or give thanks, place it in a chalice or under a microscope, call it life, the universe, or God, it was here before us and will remain after we leave, poignantly, partly, and inaccurately defined, and painfully present in the tiniest exquisite detail. And that we call “joy.”


Update:
“I ask myself” is the newest addition to my Notebook. Old notes are archived here.

13 comments:

The Scrybe said...

<3

William Michaelian said...

Thanks! You know, that’s easily cured with a new typewriter ribbon.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

:-) William...
I feel in this time "burning bridges" too...

the sad is that I can't have a answer and it is all so difficoult...

thank you for your post

Bitch said...

Restless poet! Never ending of asking the meaning of life...
I might not speak your so very
beautiful language of a poet,
but it is a JOY to read about
your way of thinking,
Monika

Wine and Words said...

Does a restless spirit breed discontentment? And if we are born with all the knowledge we need, yet supress it in fear...is the restlessness our way of regaining all we once knew....hands reaching in front of blind eyes, feeling the path until they tremble across an ancient familiarity. Ahhhh and we rest a moment with our old/new knowledge until restlessness sets in again. Hmmmm. Just wondering out loud.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Laura. It isn’t easy, I know, but I’m sure you will survive the smoke and flames....

Monika, thank you!

Annie, that makes two of us....

Jean Spitzer said...

Beautifully said.

wv: condentu

I'm condentu leave it at that, while I think about it.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Jean. If, as part of the word verification process, you had been required to use the word in a sentence, you would have passed the test with flying colors.

jasmin said...

oh,lieber William,ich bin Dankbar,ich schreibe...liebe Grüße Jasmin

Anthony Duce said...

You have covered what goes through my thoughts so clearly. My journal is filled with similar discussions with myself. It filled with the issues involved in living a life. You say it all so clearly.

William Michaelian said...

Thank you, Jasmin, I’m glad.

Anthony, it’s always good to hear that something I’ve said makes sense. I seldom feel too sure. But writing helps me sort things out in my mind, and I recognize things that I think might otherwise stay submerged if I didn’t write. I really do write to find out what I think — even if it’s to discover later on that I don’t think it anymore, or that what I thought was bunk.

Joseph Hutchison said...

"I ask myself every day ... whether I’m a leader, a follower, a witness, or simply being swept along." All that and more, I'm sure of it. What would it be like, I wonder, for one's every act to be a free act? Not something conditioned by the thousand shocks the flesh and psyche are heirs to, but something arising freshly and clearly in response to the world as it is. The best writing—as yours here and elsewhere, on screen and on paper—is finally just that: a free gesture. Do you know A. R. Ammons's great long poem Sphere? The subtitle is "The Form of a Motion"; it begins with biology and ends with a vista opening into spiritual and intellectual freedom. I think you're a fellow traveler, William. Don't be surprised if you pass Archie in the hall one of these days....

William Michaelian said...

Joe, reading this late at night, as I first did, when I was wrung out and sitting in a dark room, I was surprised by your reference to “Archie in the hall,” because my brain leapt straight to my father’s Uncle Archie, a very dear character in our life who was a poet and painter. One of Archie’s paintings actually hangs in the hall, so I meet him there several times a day. I’ve also dreamed of him many times, and am never sure where I’ll meet him next. Spooky.

Our notion of “the world as it is” is something I touch on briefly and ineffectively in this morning’s post. To sum it up, I will say this: I don’t know, man.

I’ve not read Sphere....