Monday, August 16, 2010

classic authors teach me...

classic authors teach me
the art of swallowing

this weekend i took the opportunity to get better acquainted with a few old friends. when life proves to be a dash too disheartening, words- books- and dead authors are the safest and easiest escape. i can't imagine too many wacky shenanigans one could stumble into whilst reading a book. oh sure- you might be inspired (and if you were turning to bret easton ellis for solace you may think twice about picking up a hooker and then setting her eyeballs on fire) but for the most part, turning to the written word for a reprieve from day-to-day living is healthier than other, oft times more destructive, forms of escape.

in my world, there has always been a comfort and safety surrounding words. the way in which we choose to make these man made symbols dance can leave me with goosebumps or on rare occasion- with tear filled eyes. mr. thoreau and emerson were the guests in my head this weekend, as well as a cameo from sylvia. through their words i bypass all of the mundane, pointless, trivial blips on my radar. through them i can escape...if only for a moment.

while tangled in the web spun by thoreau specifically, a question surfaced and resurfaced in my mind- who is more the or beast? i've witnessed both cause destruction and wreak havoc in their own lives and the lives of others. for the most part animals devour each other not out of spite or jealousy but necessity. humans can rip each other limb from limb for sheer amusement.

as i peek through the trees thoreau paints in my mind, i know that my frustrations may be more than slightly influenced by the social interactions i've been part of lately. i've witnessed character shifts in people that are mirrored in the animal kingdom when one contracts rabies. from full of life and purpose to spewing venom and lost; people and animals have fewer differences than many would like to admit. it's worth noting however, that an animal must contract rabies whereas humans can fault any number of reasons for their social declination.

it would be easy to take the words of these literary gods and weave them into my life in a way that would bolster my disdain with people as of late. the challenge i posed to myself was not to fall down further in a pit of unsavory realizations but rather smile in spite of them.

you can stand on the side of being smug and righteous all by your lonesome or you can toss your hands to the heavens and dance wildly. if you wanna get out of this world an unjaded, open-hearted, creepily optimistic person then you're going to have to learn to roll with it. taking gulps of both shit and sunshine is how i plan on living the rest of my days; to simply swallow life as it comes (...that's what she said.)

the authors whose words who floated about my head this weekend helped me to see that life has, and always will, rage wildly around us. it's what we choose to focus on that really paints the picture of our world. if your palette only has negativity to draw from, how can you expect to paint anything but? it's natural in life to face both ups and downs, but there comes a point where you have to pull yourself back from the edge and remind yourself that life is meant to be enjoyed.


  1. I had a semi ontological-rhetorical discussion with a friend that led into something like:

    Him: Well, you've surely been reading a lot...
    Me: Kinda, yes.
    Him: Have you finished your book already?
    Me: Yes. I returned it to the library today.
    Him: You just might want to take out Breaking Down next.

    Authors put things in my mind that sometimes are hard to swallow. Maybe I need some comedy now...

  2. I commend your well places "that's what she said" comment!!

    Also, awkward, social issues, not going out a lot,literary, and a big time reader.. we sound more and more alike every day. :)
    Its nice to see I am not the only that is a little bit different. I sure do have my chipper, optimistic, enthusiastic days, but i usually prefer to curl up with a book, and of course to my computer, rather than bar hopping like the rest of my friends.

    Who is your favorite author?