The condition of our afternoon seems to be overwhelmtion, despite the higher counsel to shun such exaggeration of emotion. The counsel, regrettably, is impossible to follow. People have all sorts of difficulties, and those of us who are a lot like me don't really understand all the other kinds of difficulties, no matter how often we see them and try. Those of us who are a lot like me are flush with nerves; we rattle around the cattle. We try to calm down by looking at life as a coaster on rollers, voluntarily chosen for the unsettling ride, yet we remain unsettled, completely, or at least around the sides.
There's always better living through chemistry, but that fun house has its own bad line and once your in it's hard to know which wacky mirror is the actual wacky you. Philosophy ought to be enough but let's face it, shall we, it is a lot, but not enough. The sun is shining. There is a blue sky widening out into space, narrowing down to the eye. Try to relax. Perhaps you have made a thousand errors of late but likely as not, no one is going to die. Anyway, not of your errors, and for the most part, not today. It is all okay.
Anyway, that's the theory. On another note, my kids and I have been enjoying Mimi's Dada Catifesto by Shelley Jackson. If you have kids, you should too. We've read it over and over -- it makes us laugh and encourages us to make sound poems and other cracked creations.
I also want to bring your attention to Amy Holman's new book Wrens Fly Through This Open Window.
Amazon used my blurb as the product description, so if you notice a me-sounding tone to that, at the link above, you'll know why. It's a really great book.
What else? Tonight I'll be leading my class (at the New School graduate program in creative writing) in a discussion of Wislawa Szymborska's poetry and the philosophy in it. She won the nobel prize a while back. Her poetry has a lot of sorrow in it yet always cheers me up considerably.
Something about her work reminds me of the joke: What's red and invisible? No tomatoes.
So much over which we worry is red yet invisible. Because while a great deal of difficulty may be reasonably expected, it does not follow that any of what actually hits can be predicted. It is tomatoes, but there aren't any.
Then tomorrow, I'm off to take part in a big conference of heretics in LA. It is called Setting the Agenda: Secular Humanism's Next 30 Years. If you are going to be there, come say hello. Solo travel soothes many, but gives nerves to people like me; a vague scent of emergency assaults the senses. If you are new to these pages, you'll see here that I talk a bit about secularism in these BAP posts, also you might look at these books of mine, Doubt: A History and The End of the Soul. Also, regarding skepticism, see The Happiness Myth.
Well, friends, 1) remember to go outside and, 2) forgive yourself for not getting everything right. Life is not fated, but neither is it ours to boss around. It's not your fault. Don't kill yourself. Encourage others. Confess your misery and inquire after theirs. Do ask, do tell.