Wednesday, August 6
I should have walked away from this computer an hour ago, but I have not quite been able to bring myself to do so. It is a new Macintosh, with a shiny two-toned sort of tower case, chrome, a white keyboard, and a huge flatscreen monitor standing on clear plastic legs. There are little icons on the edges of the monitor, one for power and one for display settings, with backlights that pulse elegantly when you touch them. Netscape runs beautifully here, there is a simple terminal icon on the dock providing an instant window into the essentially Unixy guts of the system, and even the mouse is acceptable.
I will never have any long term faith in Apple again; there have been too many betrayals and abuses and long slides into utter mediocrity for that, but there is no escaping the fact that this is a beautiful machine, capable of running beautiful software.
Brent and Stephen have been talking about routine, every day life, the big picture and the small one. I do not think I will enter the fray directly because I'm not sure what I could add, or precisely what we'd be arguing about if I did. I suspect Brent's feelings about the significance of daily life reflect things it's very healthy to know; similar thoughts have helped me realize from time time that I am genuinely happy, and there is a hell of a lot to be said for that. I sympathize with Stephen's bigger picture thoughts because there is inexpressibly more that it would be possible for me to see.
I think that ultimately the failure to see, little things or big ones, is the essence of tragedy. Routine can help or hinder vision, just as dreaming can.
What I will do, however, is suggest as earnestly as possible, maybe a little too much so for comfort, that you both find My Story as told by Water: confessions, Druidic rants, reflections, bird-watchings, fish-stalkings, visions, songs and prayers refracting light, from living rivers, in the age of the industrial dark, by one David James Duncan, and read at least three parts of it: "Birdwatching as a Blood Sport", "Beauty/Violence/Grief/Frenzy/Love: On the Contemplative Versus the Activist Life", and "Strategic Withdrawal", from which I will briefly crib:
strategic withdrawal: any refusal to man our habitual political or psychological trenches or to defend our turf, for though the turf may be holy, our defenses, when they grow automatic, are not ...
strategic withdrawal: any act you can devise, any psycho-spiritual act at all, that embodies a willingness to wait for the world to disclose itself to you, rather than to disclose yourself, your altruism, your creativity, skills, energy, ideas and (let's face it) agenda, myopia, preconceptions, delusions, addictions and inappropriate trajectories to this world
let 'em cry in the dark
Last weekend I went to Curtis with Molly. Her family lives there; her dad is a lawyer and her brother plays guitar in a literal garage band.
Curtis is like any other small Nebraska town, and of course it's also not. The Southwest quadrant of the state differs some from the places I have lived lately; the geography and the people have a different shape to them. Still Nebraska, but I guess there is also more of the West about it, something you don't feel at all in Cedar county or the two, maybe three honest-to-god cities. There are other small differences, too - the tiny ag college, the volunteer-run theater on main street, a lumber yard still hanging on just outside the full reach of Menards and Home Depot.
You have to pay attention or none of it signifies all that much, and even then it's doubtful you could come to any conclusion without really being immersed in the local life. In a place like Curtis, that might take a lifetime or better.
The reason we drove out was Six Pack and a Pepper, a rock festival for which Molly's brother was at least partially responsible. There were half a dozen bands; punk, punk edging into metal, genuine and amazingly energetic hardcore, and relatively straight up rock. There was not much of a crowd, there is never much of a crowd, but I remain amazed to have seen something like this in a Nebraska town where the population number on the little green signs is unlikely to ever top 900.
One of the bands there was Leo's Invention, who played here some time back in January. (See this LiveJournal entry.) They're playing Knickerbockers tonight, and if there were any justice in the world it would be a packed house.
and on a side note
Levente, you suck.
(He said purely in a spirit of minor envious pique.)