*The Dalai Lama often concludes his comments with this statement. He then listens to the views of others.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A jug of popcorn oil and an empty shoebox

What's in the trunk of my car? or at the back of my desk drawer? or on my list of abandoned blog posts?

What is a blog, after all, but a "useful pot for putting things in" (credit to Winnie the Pooh). If all you have is a burst red balloon (with sympathy to Piglet) then you'll be pleased with an empty honey pot to put it in. And take it out of. And put it in again.

Here's a bit of blog about blurred vision. Once upon a time, before there was such a thing as lens replacement surgery, I had profoundly blurry vision. If you were to twist your camera lens as far out of focus as possible, until even the colors swim together and the shapes are all but lost, you'd have some idea of just how blurry. Every once in awhile, I miss that blur of color, the complete relaxation of vision that cannot bring anything into focus. Of resting with my eyes wide open. If I'm sleepy enough, and I've been playing a circle or star popping computer game long enough, I can persuade my new eyes to let go of focus until the colors swim together. I like that metaphor so much I refuse to assign a meaning to it.

I could write a dozen posts a week about media and moral panics, and more than half of those could be about Facebook.

I wanted to write about the ache of watching a student who loves to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn "light out for the [war] Territory" and try to help "sivilize" Afghanistan. I say to him, Don't forget how to write. And he sends me stories. And I forget to write him back.

I like to blog in defense of young people and especially in defense of college students. It is easy to blame college students for not being something: for not being motivated, for not being interested in truly learning, for not caring about the world but only about making money, for not knowing how to write well. And indeed it is easier to pass blame than to pass a writing course. Colleges blame high schools who accuse grade schools who point fingers at parents who blame their college professors. Except not really. Because lots of students do want to learn, and do write well, and care no more nor less for making money than the rest of the world. And most of their critics are mostly complaining that young people are not more like them, when young people are like themselves. But anyway. College students do not need me to defend them. They can take care of themselves.

I am sometimes reminded of how drastically different one mind can be from another mind. This structure has been around a few years but it is new to me. The artist calls it "Fifty Books I have Read More than Once" and I can stare at this a long time without in the least comprehending how someone might view their mind as a series of lines and 45 degree angles defined by specific books written by someone else. But if keep on staring, pretty soon the lines and angles begin to blur together and I "see" a comfortable blob of blur with some scribbled pages wafting here and there. Much better.

"There was no possibility of taking a walk that day. We had been wandering, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner . . . the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so sombre, and a rain so penetrating, that further out-door exercise was now out of the question. I was glad of it." Jane retreats from the cold and hides with a book full of strange pictures. A wild seascape. A frozen moon. A graveyard. "Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting."

"I feared nothing but interruption, and that came too soon."

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