Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Journeys, projects, voyages and art -- another random thought



A project brought the train of thought to mind, but they all have a certain progression in common. There is always the optimism of beginning and jumping in. But not too long after that comes the realization stage. A friend once described it as this: We were beginning an ocean voyage and he apologized right off the dock. What he said was please be aware that about a day or so into this I will go into kind of a funk. It was when he realized having done this before he had just done it to himself again, committed with no way out. On this particular voyage it was my first offshore and I didn’t get it, but later in life as I embarked on journeys of one sort or another I did. Building houses comes to mind after the few first boards are laid on the foundation and I was left alone to finish the house, knowing how long it was going to take there was always a moment of depression. It happened in writing as well; at the beginning I could see the end, but a week or so into it I could only see a year of writing ahead. I think that was at least part of what caused my loss of interest. Not only did I see a year of writing ahead, but I was unhappy with what I had done already and I didn’t like the main character and he was based on me. Then life stepped in and piled on, and I never really went back to it. But that gets off the subject. Once you get past that initial realization about the monumental task in front of you, you shrug your shoulders and go for it, knowing it is the only way it will get done and for the time being it is your way of life, your raison d'etre and from then on you separate the project into incremental, attainable goals, a floor laid, a page written, a waypoint on a voyage passed and life goes one small step at a time working toward the whole. When the project is finished, the house built, the voyage completed, the book written, in this case the living room remodeled, there is a moment of satisfaction, a moment of accomplishment, a moment of achievement, but those moments are fleeting.
It was after I completed this most recent project, the living room floor and trim that I realized the last step in the process. Of course there are always a few odds and ends to complete yet, you have to clean the boat, polish up some spelling and grammar, still put down a little trim here and there but for the purpose of the project that moment comes when you have the feeling (and relief) of completion.
Sitting on the couch looking over this most recent one it hit me and as I thought back through others they all had this same aspect in common. The realization is that despite all you are feeling you have accomplished, life has not changed in any meaningful way. I was sitting on the same couch, watching the same tired television shows I had watched when there was a ratty old carpet under me instead of a brand new laminate floor. It happened, I realized in all the houses I built, at the end of every voyage and eventually at the end of every book: No matter what the accomplishment life did not change. The next day I woke up alone, went to work, came home, turned on the television and went to sleep as I had every working day since this latest period in my life began, I suppose that is to be expected, but in my mind it seems life should change in some dramatic way somehow. It doesn’t.
What has me wondering now is what happens at the end of the global journey, the entire project. Do I sit somewhere drooling in a wheelchair wondering if at the dock after the voyage through life, completing the last chapter, I am left with the same feeling? Does it mean that for all of it, nothing really changes despite your tenure on earth?


And one more random thought having to do with the solstice. My niece who was here this summer wrote a happy solstice note and said she couldn’t believe it has been six months already since her trip. When someone talks about the rapid passage of time I usually remind them that each passing year is a smaller percentage of the whole life and as those percentages grow smaller and smaller time seems to pass more swiftly. So maybe it all comes to this, time really does move faster with age and the end comes when we reach escape velocity and what amounts to a soul spins off into space.

1 comment:

  1. Hahahahahaha, I really, really like this thought. :) love, Gail

    ReplyDelete

Interesting quotations

My dear Mr. Frost: two roads never diverge in a yellow wood. Three roads meet there. — @Shakespeare on Twitter

"The mark of a great shiphandler is never getting into situations that require great shiphandling," Adm. Ernest King, USN

Me: Does the restaurant have cute waitresses?

My friend Gail: All waitresses are cute when you're hungry.

I'm not a writer, but sometimes I push around words to see what happens. – Scott Berry

“The rivers of Alaska are strewn with the bones of men who made but one mistake” - Fred McGarry, a Nushagak Trapper

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

We are all immortal until the one day we are not. – me again

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio announcer

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

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GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve