You Pick

After five abortive starts on this week’s blog post, I decided to write fifteen opening sentences instead. Maybe you, Dear Reader, can help me choose which to pursue…

1. Even when snow doesn’t fall, winter can leave you snowblind—lost between landmarks and anxious for traction.

2. It’s unfortunate self-loathing is my great subject, as no one wants to read about it and, of course, I don’t blame them.

3. Those who call blogging the land of confession need to remember it’s also the land of amnesia.

4. People seem surprised when they discover I follow football, and, to be honest, I’m embarrassed.  I’m a fan despite myself.

5. Insomnia has taught me all about lonely hours, ones that leave you feeling you’re earth’s last inhabitant.

6. New advertisements on TV beg Catholics to return to the church and, a fallen away Catholic myself, I hear them luring me to the rocks like a Siren song.

7. One of the indignities of aging is how little sympathy it elicits.

8. Emerson said “Imitation is suicide,” but, if it is, it’s the slowest sort.  Most of our days are a deliberate imitation of the day before.

9. In my running list of ugly emotions—anger, hopelessness, contempt, and many more—envy is moving to the top of the chart with a bullet.

10. After five years in Chicago, I understand the appeal of urban living.  I’m addicted and have trouble even picturing suburban or rural life.

11. Recently I’ve been thinking about Chuang Tzu’s fantasy in which a man dreams of being a butterfly and wakes to wonder which is real, the dream or his life.  That’s exactly how I feel about work and home.

12. The body replaces every cell in seven years.  My mind replaces memories much faster.

13. The other day someone told me Kafka’s friends found him hilarious.  I can’t believe it…  but maybe that’s because I don’t understand humor myself.

14. Sometimes I envy people who carry only fatigue home from work.

15. One of my friends has a peculiar gift for being eloquent even when he has nothing to say.

PS. Should YOU want to write a post using one of these openings, please do.  Just leave a link in my comments section.

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5 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Aging, Blogging, Chicago, Doubt, Education, Envy, Essays, Experiments, Home Life, Hope, Laments, life, Meditations, Memory, Recollection, Sturm und Drang, Survival, Television, Thoughts, Urban Life, Winter, Work, Writing

5 responses to “You Pick

  1. #10, please.
    I remember city living. I’d like to see if you can come up with something that would make it seem more appealing than the quiet and peace of my rural homestead.

    I’m thinking on it. February is a tough month to love Chicago, but I’m ready to try.

  2. Jim

    #3, interested to see where that one goes…

    #10 would be fun to contrast the three. Personally, living in a rural setting, I often think about urban living when I have to drive 20+ miles to get a gallon of milk I forgot.

    I’ve driven those twenty miles and don’t miss it. Though city life can wear you down, at its heart, it’s oddly simple.

    Thanks for visiting! —D

  3. Peter Newton

    Your #14 starter sentence got me thinking. . .Who does that, I wonder? Comes home from a day’s work carrying nothing but fatigue. Day-laborers? Assembly-line workers? Lawn-care professionals? Is it possible? No mental engagement necessary at the end of the day once the time-clock’s punched. I think we all must take our livelihoods home with us. But I suppose that depends on how you approach the whole concept of “work.”

    Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” How we spend our days informs the rest of our lives. Certainly, our jobs must shape the brain, feed the dream-life, or starve it.

    The repetition of any activity has the potential to wear on anyone, I’m sure. One summer, I worked on an assembly-line outside Detroit. My job was to bore holes in steering columns that would later be fitted inside Winnebagos. Day in and day out I threaded the metal blocks in front of me. A white oily lubricant splattered everywhere. I was the college kid and had to keep up because if I didn’t the local guys wasted no time in telling me what a real education was. I woke early, worked late and slept like the dead. Definitely, not exciting stuff but the people around me were fascinating. To this day, I think of their stories. Hard lives for some. An unshakable joy from others. Maybe that guy who was always getting us to laugh read Churchill. No figuring it out. Except to say—envy no one. I tell myself this. There’s no knowing the whole story. Just the block of metal in front of you. Be it a steering column in the making, or a student.
    Thanks for giving me the excuse to write, that is to say, to use a part of my brain I don’t get to use much while I’m at work—I just got home from it, not too long ago.
    –Peter

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment… and the reminder I shouldn’t make assumptions about other people’s lives and work. I’m sure the people who walk home with no briefcase or satchel or backpack are carrying something, and you’re right it’s better to carry something that some part of you thinks is worth having. It’s worth aspiring to that sort of fatigue. —D

  4. I vote for #3, but they’re all great. It’s just this idea both that we can be so transparent on the blog (and why probably has to do with the amnesia part) but also the work that we put into each post can sometimes be lunatic when you think about how fleeting it all is.

    Fleeting is just it–sometimes so much so that posts seem dreams. I experience that feeling less now that I only post once a week, but when I look back, most of what I’ve written seems composed by some other version of me working in a parallel universe.

    I’m not sure I’ll write any of these–it’s much more fun to think of them than to think through them–but I’m sure they’ll return somehow. I only have one brain.

    Thanks for visiting. —D

  5. Pingback: How true it is! | Random Thoughts

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