Tag Archives: impermanence

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Does Everything Become Ordinary?

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I am consumed by the question, “Why do we tire of things?”  We tire of music, however shocking and original it was.  We tire of people who were once the brightness in our day.    Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring will never produce another riot.  A mini skirt lost the ability to offend.  We don’t notice art after being subject to a masterpiece for any length of time, even a terrifying Calder.

Alexander Calder painted a seven-legged dog with furious red teeth and eyes.  When I first positioned this animal adjacent to my couch, I had trouble sitting still.  While trying intently to read a page or nap in the sunlight, my eyes were pulled in the direction of this primary-colored dog. Always conscious of it, terribly afraid of it, I ended up abandoning the living room and took my reading and napping to the tiniest room in my apartment which, not coincidentally, was the farthest room from the Calder beast.  To avoid crossing its path, I began exiting my apartment through the back door, just in case.  Just in case of what I’m not sure, but since I’m incredibly reasonable, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Arriving home was a different story.  I’d carelessly bounce up the flight of stairs, let the door fly open, flick on the light, remove my coat and shoes, walk thoughtlessly halfway into the living room preoccupied by this or that, and stop dead in my tracks.  There it was.  The sneak attack.  That damn primary-colored snarling animal floating on my wall.  This happened for weeks, until I outsmarted it.  I learned to leave a nightlight on, to peek around the corner before disarming myself of my coat and shoes, just in case.  Just in case of what, I still wasn’t sure.

Gradually, its pounce began losing its punch.  I began exiting through the front door without fear, arriving home without a nightlight.  I napped deeply on the couch after particularly tiresome days, waking without fear.

I’ve since moved, and the Calder dog followed me.  There it hangs in my living room where I nap without hesitation.  I go days without noticing it.  Somehow, its teeth are not so sharp anymore, its eyes with earthly depth, its primal nature quelled.  I miss the terror I once felt of this now tamed creature.  I miss the mystery of such few colors and crude shapes.  I miss the ridiculousness of avoiding the beast.  It was exciting and new and unpredictable then, and because of this, I ask, does everything inevitably become ordinary?

The Implication of Now

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I am fixed on time, on the notion of now being the only moment in which we exist.

Watching the snow fall, I sense motion.  Listening to my bulldog snore, I hear motion. Sitting at my desk, completely still, my body is in incredible motion: cells dying, living, splitting. Synapses firing, ceasing, firing.  Plaques and tangles forming.  Skin flaking, hair falling.  Thoughts racing, forgetting, creating.  Stan Getz vibrating my eardrum, coffee stimulating olfactory senses, blood rushing, mitral valve failing, information gathering, fingers typing, erasing, revising, second-guessing, muscles degenerating, skin oiling, capturing a moment, remembering it differently, creating a fancier moment.

If it’s in the past, did it exist?  Is now a compilation of fictitious nows that form a fictitious past? How divisible is now?  Is it a Planck moment?  A whole universe grew in a Planck moment.  Where was I then?  Was I then?  If I was then, I always am.  The whole universe could fit inside my box then.  I wonder if I want it to fit inside my box now.  What is the implication of filling it?

The Raw Beauty of a Moment

A moment is a specific and significant, yet immeasurable period of time. A moment is distinct in comparison to that which surrounds it. Distinct, unique. Fleeting.

People share moments, wait just a moment, wait for their big moment, things have had their moment. There are moments of force, magnetic moments, moments to remember, Moment skis that are made in the USA from 95% North American materials. Someone will be with you in a moment. There are momentary lapses of judgment. Nikki Minaj wishes that she “could have this moment for life, for life, for life.” You can measure the internal strength of an object to find its bending moment.

There is the moment of truth.

Douglas Kennedy received a four-star Amazon book review for, “The Moment: A Novel.” One nail-biting Ebay bidder sits on the edge of a seat, 12 seconds away from a Precious Moments figurine. This Magic Moment is having a wedding sale you will not want to miss. Fireworks awed Squints and Smalls to the tune of The Drifters’ “This Magic Moment.” There are awkward moments and moments of clarity. For $259 you can stay at The Moment hotel in Hollywood, California.

Take a moment. I will be with you in a moment.

A moment. How do you know when a moment begins and when it ends? When does the present suddenly become the past? At which point does that specific and significant moment appear to be clutched in your hand? And at which point does it slip through your fingers? Is there a static instant, a “NOW?” Can you be aware enough to know it? Is there enough time to know it?

A moment, this moment right now, is incredibly fast, fleeting, gone, tossed into the past. Every sentence, every word, every letter, every breath, suddenly in the past. This one. Now. Right now, and now, and now, and now…

One incredible moment, however impermanent, however skewed by synaptic memory, existed and fleeted into my past. I existed outside of passing time, absorbing that one moment, that one “now.”

With the help of a team of creative, talented, and generous people, I am able to revisit a representation of that moment whenever I choose. It was January 5, 2012, a day at the beach depicted in the photo, the day I filled the box. I felt like Squints and Smalls, when nothing else existed but the raw beauty of a single moment, one I will share with you in the future.

 

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Gratitude, Self-Doubt, and a Dog

A question was posed by blogger “Clarabelle” this morning about gratitude. What does gratitude feel like to me? While you toss that around in your own head for a few minutes, or visit her blog right here: Clarabelle, I will explain how I arrived at my answer.

My mission was to write an incredibly fabulous, poetic, and unique piece that would fetch large audiences who would all be in agreement about my brilliance. It would make people wonder how, or if, a mere human could create such perfection. They would argue that the author must be a team, as even the greatest wordsmith could never encompass such complexity in plain language. It would read as if it had always been written, always existed, and was just waiting for the right moment to be unveiled.

I sat there, at my desk, in a Mexican poncho, one slipper, drinking the sludgy, chalky bottom of very strong coffee.

While I waited for Brilliance to begin, Self-Doubt stopped by with breaking news. Self-Doubt couldn’t wait another moment to tell me that trying to fill a box for twenty years is just stupid, writing about it in a blog is even stupider, that I am my only audience, and that an illiterate child is more skillful at written language than I.

Whomp, whomp.

I closed my laptop. I replaced my slipper with two walking shoes, the Mexican blanket with a jacket, and filled my cup with coffee and cream. I set out for a walk, just me and my dog. I thought about Clarabelle’s question of gratitude. I thought about the beautiful red autumn leaves, the salty smell of ocean air, how it makes my hair feel, how Amy Hempel’s writing is so perfect and precise. I thought how truly happy my dog was to sniff the fallen leaves as he looked up at me with admiration and a wagging tail. I stood still, waves crashed, clouds slung low, a stranger smiled at my happy dog. I was so incredibly thankful for that moment.

Although I am not a seasoned professional writer, and many a novice is far more masterful than me, no one before me has ever created this combination of words. No one before me has experienced the beauty of the moment which inspired them. It is beautiful in and of itself.

Clarabelle, I thank you.

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The Box

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I thought this box would come in handy one day.  Handy for what, I had no idea, but handy for something, one day.  Its impractical size is incredibly impractical for holding anything practical.  No latch makes for securing contents questionable, though closure is snug and smooth.  No strap, chain, or loop means that it must be held in a hand or contained within another receptacle.  The box had no purpose, but I had to have it, now, for the future, for something.

I half thought that if it were mine, I would give it purpose.  The other half was seduced by pulling off a major heist.  My heart raced with the idea of sliding the smooth silver metal into my jeans pocket in plain view of the very person who could put me away.  All I needed were guts and a plan.  Sweat shot from my pores and in moments I mapped everyone’s whereabouts and devised a crime so flawless that I surprised even myself.  It had to happen at that very moment or not at all.  I slid the box into my pocket, seamlessly.  I was a thief.  My ears buzzed with terror of this thing burning hot in my jeans pocket.  I made a clean getaway.

There the box sat, in this place and that, never used and collecting years, twenty to be exact.  On January 5, 2012, the box made its grand entrance, its first major role since the teenage mall kiosk caper.  And so it begins…