Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose

Even as I feel my way into 2010, I’m aware that the number is but an arbitrary designation, useful on the surface, but silly as well, as silly as the meaning we’ve assigned to the relentless, hollow ticking of the clock — an evil monster, it seems, that we’ve created only to serve. As necessary as it is to be somewhere on time, what we think and do on the way and after we arrive is what really matters. It is often said, “Stop and smell the roses.” But if I have any resolution at all this year, it would be to imagine them instead. A rose is a rose is a rose, until you’ve climbed one into the clouds and lived in its scent for a while, and perhaps even found your true love there.

I’ve made many resolutions over the years, kept some, and broken most, more often than not in the course of a single day. For me the waking hours have a strange, familiar trajectory: I wake up in a cannon, crawl out just before the fuse runs down, cover my ears until the explosion has passed, and then write my way through the debris, sifting and cataloging as I go. This is my life — the one that I was given, the one that I have fashioned, the childish revolution that I have never quite outgrown.

One thing I have decided, though, is to see if I can learn how to be a little more lenient with myself. I know I will work just as hard this year, probably even harder, but as work is my play that’s something I relish and look forward to. At the same time, though, I’m beginning to realize that my worst failings are, more likely than not, only failings of perception — things beyond my control that I habitually feel responsible for. I’ve made my share of mistakes, as we all do, but it has finally occurred to me that everything can’t be my fault — I must be willing to share the blame with others. Taking responsibility for our actions is one thing, but there’s a point where nobility turns into selfishness, a hiding place, and one big bore.

We speak of generosity; some of us even know what it means; but our lives are incomplete until we’ve learned to be generous with ourselves. A shortcoming is not a sin, and even if it were, it can still serve as a bridge to understanding. Sin itself is a sinful term, passed down through fear from one generation to the next without being carefully examined. But this is not to preach. This is to say we cannot be free if we keep ourselves in chains, be they patriotic, theological, or philosophical.

Like my writing, I am a work in progress. What I really want to do this year is sing.

January 1, 2010

Recently Linked: It’s a pleasure to welcome Neha_Aghi and Kathryn as followers of Recently Banned Literature. Thank you both!

“A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose” is my newest Notebook entry. Old notes are archived here.

In the Forum: dog resolutions.


Olive Tree Guitar Ensemble said...

Hi, it's a very great blog.
I could tell how much efforts you've taken on it.
Keep doing!

William Michaelian said...

Thank you. Good luck with your music.

ALeks said...

I wanted to write here something beautiful just to tell you how much Im glad and fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from you and how much I enjoy each visit to your world of words but Im not so good with words,not in English anyway,so another thank you for this is just a symbol of my silent self as my soul is tuning in,singing.Singing is good,singing is great,something like that!
Sincerely grateful,
Aleksandra :O)

William Michaelian said...

Aleksandra, words are beautiful in any language when they come from the heart, and yours are no exception. Thank you. And if you ever feel like commenting in your native tongue, please do so. I might not understand the words, but I can still admire their appearance. And who knows, maybe someone else who understands your language will come along and read your message — and that would be another wonderful connection.

FCT said...

Your writings are great! Glad i stumbled through your blog.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks! It’s nice to see you here.

Elisabeth said...

Oh William, it's good to hear you give yourself 'a good talking to'. I do it myself from time to time, especially when it comes to getting over the self abuse, the self loathing and all the guilt that erupts our of my self recrimination for not doing a good enough job.

You do a wonderful job and all your blogging friends attest to it daily but still you, like me, and many others, have a go at ourselves regularly for things for which we are not responsible.

All this is to say, I agree with this wonderful post, William, and I hope that this year you manage to sing.

As far as I'm concerned your writing sings, but you have to feel it yourself to have it count.

So here's to a year of music and singing, and wonderful writing, poetry, photography, sculpting, cooking, sewing, parenting, gardening, bird watching, dancing, blogging -I'm thinking here of all creative endeavours and there are so many - and art and plenty of self respect and love for all of us.

Brent said...

Thank you, William, for this humane, New Year's gift to us, your readers.

"He of his own will chose us among the host for this adventure, deemed us worthy of honor, and gave to me these treasures, because he counted us distinguished spear-men, gallant warriors beneath our helmets..."

William Michaelian said...

Elisabeth, Brent — I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to be on the receiving end of such wonderful comments. Thank you.