06 December, 2012

Reading: Team of Rivals by Kearns Goodwin; A Death in the Family by Agee (Both excellent!)

Gracious! What are you still doing here?
I'm talking a bit to the blog and a bit to those of you who keep checking in here no matter how long I'm away. I don't know who you are or how you ended up here, but welcome.

I've been putting my energies elsewhere and have been hesitant to put anything out there, but things are slowly shifting and I believe a change of some sort is coming.

At the moment, I am in my sweats (plain, grey sweats only being available now in the men's department for some reason), drinking PG Tips from a Ball jar, and bemoaning what feels to be my fate. It's early but already winter dark on a mildly cold night that feels worse thanks to a half-hearted rain.

I returned to the States wanting to be part of a community in the South, where I was born & raised, and work to make some sort of a difference. I don't feel I've succeeded at any of it so far. I suppose I am part of my community and I'm definitely out there, involved, doing, but it all feels very...I don't know. I still feel like a temp. And I haven't really done anything; haven't accomplished anything. Everything feels like it could disappear when I wake tomorrow with a discomfitingly slight "Poof." Still feeling like I don't know where I fit.

I also wanted to finally focus much of my life on the stillness practice to create through my writing and photography. That's proceeded unevenly, at best. Some of it is my characteristic inability to focus and some is, I suspect, the result of goal #1. It's easy to let the negative overwhelm and smother the things that truly give you meaning.

There's a scene in the film Basquiat where Jean-Michel tells art dealer & promoter Rene Ricard that he's going to take a break from painting for band practice with friends:

RENE
Fuck band practice... If you're gonna be a 
painter you're gonna have to break a few 
hearts – you don't wanna be like Tony 
Bennett..

BASQUIAT
Tony Bennett... What do you mean?

RENE
Singing on stage and painting in your 
spare time.

BASQUIAT
I didn't know Tony Bennett painted.

RENE
My point exactly.

And I think that's where I am. Again. Fish. Or cut bait. I'm not talking about judgements of good or bad work. I'm talking about hungering for the practice of something. My job pays the bills (because I make sure to have none) and will, hopefully, lead me to get out from under my fabulously useless graduate school debt eventually. It also provides health insurance and, because my paycheck is so low, they threw in housing on-site at the center. People ask where I live and then politely smile and make jokes about how great my commute must be when I tell them I literally live at work. I have to. I know I am luckier than many out there. Still, I do not fit here, that's been made clear to me on several counts, and honest pay and a secure space of my own would feel like winning the lottery at present. Many lessons learned in all of this though.

This isn't a play for sympathy. It's not about blame (but I am quite a bit about self-blame at the moment) or anything like that. I'm just thinking and writing, writing and thinking. And writing is one of the things I have at the moment that is truly mine. It's been one of my few constants forever and I've too often neglected it.

I'm tired of always feeling like I am courting those I meet. There feels a bit of a correlation between the social scene I've experienced with wealthy relatives and some of the circles I've floated in lately. And I'm quite a bit over it. I am tried of trying to find angles, ins. I am tired of not speaking my mind for not saying the "correct" thing. That your entire life feels like a job interview is a tedious thing. It would be great just to meet people as you are and they are, but it so rarely feels that way. Atop that, I am really tired of that sucking chest wound sensation, that dull, slow-motion heaviness, the occasional breathlessness of feeling trapped.  

I've been here before, too many times. It all feels just a bit different this time. I don't know quite how or why yet. Perhaps it's simply wishful, delusional thinking. I'd like to put down the burdens, sit a spell, stay awhile. But I don't think I can yet.


So as the year comes to a close and another one rolls in I'm going to pull back, way back, from a lot of things and re-assess. This is not the life I want. That life will not simply be bestowed. Questions for right now: What do you want? What's the vision? How do you create that life? How do you survive in that life? What's step one? 


That's the assignment. And there's no curve.
Time starts now.

2 comments:

Kevix said...

I was starting to get 'into' blogs around 2000 and after 9-11 I wanted to add some 'islamic' or 'arabic' blog to my feed and google suggested yours. So I've been reading this for .... a while. Sorry you're going through a nadar, I'm a few miles below looking up at your situation wishing I could have done as well. I'm dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and a life mostly wasted. Loved the photos, keep it up as a meditation.

Dana Loustalot Duncan said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Kevix. Really means a lot to hear from you.

And, yes, I have friends dealing with Sandy, friends in Syria & Egypt, folks just dealing with way worse. I hate to even complain. I posted today out of hope more than despair, I think. Kind of started with an important rejection today and I'm trying to use the negative as a catalyst for positive. A lot right now is really pushing me to refocus. Again.

I've had the pleasure of meeting folks from quite literally all walks of life. You may be beat up and down, but you're _never_ a waste. Keep reading. I'll try and keep it interesting...or at least honest.

PS: I started a photo blog to try to collect what I think are my better images: http://dlduncanphotography.blogspot.com/