I Zig, Life Zags

We rarely go the same direction, Reality and I. And when the day is long and complicated and my brain can’t quite keep up with it, I wander ever further from the appointed path of sanity and logic. It is decidedly my nature to diverge from what’s natural.

And I’m okay with that. You may as well be, too, because I’ve gone all abstract on you and must needs go to bed. I may or may not be wiser and clearer tomorrow, but I suspect I’ll still be very much myself and enjoy it. Cheerio!Digital illo: Life Goes Its Own Way

The True Breakfast of Champions

digital illustrationIn Praise of English Breakfast

Here’s to the English breakfast, dears,

That’s brought, for lo these many years

Sustenance to both health and heart

To give the day a proper start,

The source of warmth and vital grace

Beginning the day with our needs in place:

A rasher of bacon, an egg or two,

Some toast, some tea, some tomatoes; who

Wouldn’t love some beans, some mushrooms? Nay,

Don’t start without English breakfast, pray!

Clarity (Klart Blikk)

photoLet me make one thing crystal clear: all of my world is seen through my filters, colored by my way of thinking, its perspective all my point of view. And that’s not either strange or bad. It’s how we all operate. It’s just important that I always remember that simple reality.digital image from a photo

I finally had time to sit down today and go through a backlog of seemingly gargantuan proportions in my email inbox. Among the items that were most enjoyable to unearth, there was a note from my sister carrying a link to another blogger’s post about her son’s (our nephew’s) band Honningbarna’s first gig in Dublin, with the requisite embedded YouTube clips of their performance there–which, in turn, linked to other Honningbarna clips, including a couple of very informal interviews between a young journalist in Germany, if I recall, and nephew Christoffer and his bandmate Edvard Valberg, the band’s cellist and frontman. Besides that I get a kick out of seeing our relative as a successful rocker and hearing the band’s wildly kinetic and screamingly energetic punk/metal performances, I am reminded every time I see and hear them that Honningbarna represents a particular brand of cynical idealism that only the irrepressible and wiseacre young can so ably embody.digital image from a photo

Like many a punk band before them, they sing/shout about the wrongs and stupidity and injustice in the world, calling attention to it all and making us want to clarify, if just a little, our own view or stance on such things. One of their biggest hits, to date, is in fact a number called ‘Klart Blikk‘–it translates, approximately, to ‘Clear View’–a call to stop being passive about the world’s imperfections, to get up and ask bold questions, to act. The link on the song title right here is, wonderfully, a Norwegian 5th-graders’ video workshop animation of the song, a perfect (and artfully executed) answer to this very call to intelligent response. And I think it a wonderful, if laughable, serendipity that my computer’s auto-correct recommendation today for ‘properly’ spelling Honningbarna is ‘Housecleaning‘.

Update: blogger/reviewer Andy Barnes has just posted an additional critique of Honningbarna and the band’s debut album, the source of ‘Klart Blikk’.photo

There’s obviously no single thing that can always serve to make any situation clear, let alone ‘cure’ it. Collecting all the facts and information and evidence and being fully honest with them can help, but sometimes perfectly diligent research and full disclosure do not constitute reformation or restitution. We’re all human. And only human. We stay muddled.photo

And some things really are a matter of opinion. The glass is half full; the glass is half empty. I like things the way they are, or I don’t.digital image from a photoNow, occasionally, providing a sharp contrast to the point under debate is just the nudge needed to push our minds toward a firmer understanding or acceptance of the longed-for truth. Sometimes, the discovery of new evidence can shed brighter light and move us to choose and accept a more accurate reality. It’s even possible, from time to time, to elucidate and pinpoint the ‘right’ merely by simplifying–by paring away all that isn’t, bit by bit, with thoughtful and insightful explication.photo

None of that, still, stops us from being opinionated, stubborn, sometimes truly stupid, and occasionally outright determinedly wrong. It’s where we derive a lot of our mortal variety, our strange human brand of exoticism, our color, if you will. It’s okay to be ridiculous and bull-headed, even when the Truth is staring us right in the face and can’t be ignored, because it’s really part of who and what we are.photo

No matter what a charming song it makes, everything does not necessarily look ‘worse in black and white‘–and light and clarity are certainly discernible, even brilliant, when we stop being so saturated with peripheral influences like our feelings and hopes and desires. But there’s so much sheer wonder in our colorful world, I say, Why not revel in it, even if it sometimes distracts us from the seriousness at hand. After all, that will always be with us and will push its way forward again eventually, even if it takes a bunch of young Punks yelling at us to get us to pay attention.digital image from a photo

State of Abstraction

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Foiled again! Or not, if I grab the reins . . .

Yesterday’s post still stands: I am gradually renewing myself in a seasonal fashion of sorts, regaining my typical Spring-like attitudes as I begin what is for me a long and gradual process of Spring Cleaning in home and heart. I never realize I’ve been letting myself get quite so cobwebby until I’m nearly mummified. But I usually recollect my senses eventually, as now, and begin removing all of the crust and crumbs and detritus and down-dragging inhibitors I’ve been collecting over the last while. So, out with the old tinfoil (above) that is best recycled when it’s no longer leak-proof. Out with the burned out porch lights and in with the new (hurray for the companies now making those oddball shapes and sorts in LEDs). Out with my overcast persona and back to my native optimism.

This is not to say that all is perfection and clarity in my little corner of the universe, only that it’s once again slanting toward an upward trajectory as it should be. I also find, in these times of slewing back ’round to my intended direction and sweeping out the junk, that as I begin and jump in, I can get a little confused, overwhelmed or just plain distracted by the plethora of perfectly acceptable but sometimes competing directions I can take or the complexity of attempting to sort and stratify the tasks. But rather than turning into an emotional hoarder and becoming either unwilling and unable to do one single part of the heap of projects and therefore unwilling and unable to begin, let alone attempt the whole–or, worse yet, getting so bogged down in the process that I am entombed in my own attempt–I find it’s reasonably helpful to let my mind wander a bit and pick at bits and pieces. A zone of blurry, abstract thinking is quite all right with me at the moment. It’s the pseudo-zen that allows me to blandly go about picking up a stray button or used cup here and there, set them down as I pass their proper places, and along the route-to-nowhere, discover the manageable task that I can tackle for this few minutes of my time, all the while letting my brain meander until it lights on whatever else it deems necessary for the next bit of progress.

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Slanted and distorted as the point of view may be for the moment, the calm in this unfocused state allows me to safely unbar the windows that had become clogged with cloudy thinking and blocked by barriers of other kinds . . .

So while it may look to anyone else as though an event of Random Nuclear Catastrophe has taken place in the house, I’m actually accomplishing a lot of tiny deeds that had stacked up both on my lists of incipient doings and in unseen corners that evaded such evaluations. I’m pulling out the one straw here or there that opens a peephole through the big haystack that has been surprisingly stealthy in building up, removing one brick of rubble from the demolition that lets a ray of daylight through. And yes, each peephole or ray reveals yet more loose straws and bricks until I feel like a Big Good Wolf about to knock down the piggish house that’s been unnecessarily but inevitably building up in secret, because all of its weaknesses have been revealed bit by bit, button by cup, task by task. All on a sort of hazy autopilot wherein I can let my mind wander, so seemingly relaxed but as it caroms around in slow-motion also more astute than large amounts of frustrated puzzling.

It may look fairly directionless and mildly crazed in mid-process, but strangely it’s quite calming to me and gives me a greater sense of purpose and direction after all. It all begins to take shape, swirling around as it does and gathering speed, and at some point, coalescing into more sensible plans. But until then, I can go along with the current of this abstract flow and while my mind is relatively free from restrictions in it, maybe come up with some surprising new reasons to be content just living in the moment and letting go of my worries.

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The beauty of structure is that it can evolve out of seeming randomness quite naturally--if I let it be so . . .