Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Evening

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” Jack London

So, according to Wikipedia, which I'd not be using other than a starting point, were I to be working on a book - I AM, as a matter of record, working on a book, but it's fiction therefore and I've been stuck on the same chapter these last four days ..Frozen in one spot, as it were. 12 º outdoors at this writing - have I written here how grateful I am to be living in a time & place & w/ the means to have 1. a furnace and 2. a water heater among many another blessing. = what happens next when anything can happen, that's the question..What would Jack London [b. this day in 1876] say? "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Where was I? Ah- according to the wikibots, today marks the 154th anniversary of the birth of - oh baybee what a painter, John Singer Sargent. On JSS' 20th birthday, Mr. & Mrs. Cheney of San Francisco welcomed their new boy baby into the world, no way of knowing he'd live hard, die young [in 1916], & be ever remembered as said Jack London. So, yup, it's Tex Ritter's birthday and John Hancock's, according to the Old Calendar anyway and that of statesman/orator Edmund Burke. But none of this remembering moves my novel one word further along. None of it changes the fact that folks have been weeping & waiting around in Tuscon for memorial services, they've been standing vigil, setting out candles and flowers and notes, all because a troubled soul set out one morning, determined to kill a diligent, earnest, & charming public servant and hurt &/or kill as many strangers, as he could. Among those to be pitied, pity the parents whose boy baby grew up to be that young man in an Arizona jail cell, siting there with that smirky face hiding a fearsome jungle within.
I think it was John Irving who wrote something like 'we must do good not in spite of the world's sorrow & senseless cruelty, but because of it, if only to balance things out.' So paint something lovely, do something kind, fix a good meal, write someone a letter. Shovel a walk. I'll go do that and determine not to feed the raw, unschooled part of my sensibilities, my monkey brain; it tends to want the killer dispatched, his ticket punched, his neck stretched & never mind the legal niceties.

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