08 February 2017
we first have a soserene moment
This is going to be a pain in my ass, I can already see it. *Dealing with fucking wordpress coding bullshit, hang on.*
I do this.
My mind refuses fences. As my snooty, over-educated, ruined Jeopardy for me forever – living encyclopedia freak of a mutant – friend says, it’s my “affectation.”
I tell him, no, my affectation is that I just added Slavic sexual innuendo into my Russian translation of all his questions with the head of the Putin-sanctioned mob boss we just interviewed. That’s my affectation, motherfucker.
And you know what he does? My friend, who calls my runaway brain that refuses fences, this beautiful mind you see before you now, an affectation, pauses a second and stares at me with his big, blue, almost never-blinking eyes underneath brows so blonde they’re invisible, and he laughs.
Which is why I can be his friend. Even though he’s not cool and he knows a downright impolite number of Jeopardy answers and even phrases them in the form of a fucking question, he laughs. Which is why I can be his friend.
(Also, he speaks fluent Arabic which came in handy back when we could, you know, actually travel to the fucking Middle East and get back again.)
This whole free flowing thing, this affectation, like how Wednesday I had to launch into the primary example of a chess rule change we made up whereby the Queen is checkmated instead of the King before addressing the real reason I had come on here, which was how to completely alter the course of all human history in exacting, step-by-step specificity, and was the entire reason I had opened the page to write – because I was fairly excited myself about my idea to change the world – but nonetheless I was distracted by the whole chess thing, so of course, you know,
I had to do that, first.
But this is just how my brain works.
Don’t worry, though. In time, you’ll learn to love it.
In time, you’ll learn to get used to it.
In time, you’ll learn to ignore it.
I’ll be back. Really.
Hell, I’ll at least give you the quote.
“Trust the place the divine providence has found for you, the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events. Great souls have always done so, and confided themselves, childlike, to the genius of their age.”
At some point I’ll read it. Like, audio. (Not just the damn quote.)
I got around to finally explaining “how we play chess,” didn’t I?
6 January 2017
I’ve always marveled at history; how at the most momentous hours in our shared human biography great souls are pulled together from disparate corners of earth to change their world, and in the end, ours. These souls are always flawed people, because they are human. They see farther than most, they are prophets and poets, yet they are still human, and so they are just as often blind and wrong. Yet together, they save the world.
In my time hiding out in those Blue Ridge Mountains after Tony thought he had killed me I slowly acquired a decent little nest of supplies, mostly scavenged from other campers who left stuff behind. I had a beautiful dog, a Pointer who had gone wild in the mountains & gotten lost from whoever her owner had been and still wore the neon orange collar to prove it. I had my journals and lots of pencils. And I had Emerson.
That dog would later save my life, but in many ways, so did Emerson.
The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, stolen – quite accidentally – from the Ashville North Carolina Public Library, plus a little $25 Walmart tent, were the only materi0al possessions to accompany me into the Blue Ridge Mountains near Cherokee. I couldn’t have then imagined that I would make those mountains my home for the next 3 months, but Tony had resources beyond money. Tony had law enforcement. What he called “a friend of a friend ATF Agent” was looking for me, and later even I laughed at the smudged carbon copy of the official looking bureaucratic form’s “LKA” (last known address) box that declared: “tent in woods.”
Just months earlier I had been deathly afraid of bugs and straight phobic of spiders, but after escaping my own murder and lying there, trying not to breathe while my husband called a defense attorney by the bed of what he believed to be his dead wife, I had become infused with a near-dangerous feeling of invincibility, and so fuck spiders. (I was far more cautious of Grizzly Bears.)
One reason I’m glad of my church-going upbringing was the emphasis on memorizing Bible verses. I think, with my parents, memorization would have been emphasized anyway, but even as a child I can remember marveling at how those Bible verses popped into my head, unaided, at exactly the right moments. In the end, Emerson became to me, in those months and the ones that followed, a sort of Bible.
(Ah, my first real swipe at actual “sacrilege” so far.)
The thing was, my mother and her family were very academic Christians, given to picking the Bible apart, and so I, unlike so many around me, didn’t hold the Bible up as perfect or unquestionable. Instead I saw it as a proverbial book of wisdom, flawed like all things touched by humans, and the same applied to Emerson. I never swallow anything whole. (Okay. maybe some things, but not ideology.) In some ways I guess questioning was my religion far more than undiluted southern Christianity.
At the end of that first week it started raining and rained for 10 days straight. I started my period on the second day of The Great Flood, and it was beyond miserable. After the first month and a half I would send my last postcard home, declaring, simply: “I am Mountain Woman now.” But when the rains came I couldn’t have been more unprepared. I lay in a puddle of water for ten days, everything I owned soaked, including my filched Emerson. By the end of the rains there were huge mildew spots in every shade of blue throughout that big book, and in that end, I found them beautiful.
That old book, swollen and spotted by the rains, was my only physically observable souvenir from that time, and in time, even the last pages of it would disappear, only to live in my memory. It stays, stacked aside a host of memorized Bible verses, Twain quotes, and Shakespeare soliloquies in the library of my mind.
I also wrote a really terrible poem that became an odd legend later, and while not at all about the subject I came here to talk about; The Transcendentalists and how we human souls sometimes group together in ways that become nuclear reactions when the world is at stake, I like it, and so I give it to you, free of charge:
Beer for Breakfast
Beer for breakfast
read out loud, made stronger by the Hops
I read paragraphs, sentences, sustenance
For later times
When there is no beer
and there is no Emerson
Emerson will still exist —
From my memory I shall call him forth and raise his ghost!
If only I could do that with beer