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.