Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What Rhett said

Frankly, my dear, I give zero damns

Perhaps you were unfortunate enough to have read the post about Blank Spaces -- and no, it wasn't about Taylor Swift, smarty pants. It was about some quiet we found on Christmas night and the poem that didn't get written about it -- you're welcome.

What was self-edited out of that post was the idea -- still rattling around in my head -- about how that 'blank space' -- the dark, quiet night, the still air, the sense of everything and nothing in the calmness of Christmas evening -- held all the poems I'd never write, that all the words and ideas and lines lived somewhere in the emptiness, and that for a breath I knew them.

Even I can spot hyperbole when I throw it up.

I write that idea down now only to get it out of my head -- you, dear Readers Reader, have been the recipient of more than one persistent bad post and/or poem for that purpose, for which I thank you -- and because it made me think about Rhett Butler.

Because isn't he the embodiment of how a writer should be? He was very brave in the way a real writer is brave. In a time and place that cared way too much about one's name and one's occupation (or lack of it) and one's antecedents and one's manners and one's looks, he gave zero fucks about any of it. Not his family in Charleston, not the plantation owners of the county, not Atlanta society. He did want he wanted (hello, Belle Watling!), he fought the war on his terms, and by God, if he wanted to dance with Scarlett O'Hara at the fund-raiser for the glorious dead (or whatever), he would, because he just didn't care about Southern approval.

But what did Rhett Butler care about? Say, on a scale of one to ten fucks, what did he care eleven fucks about -- because, it seems to me, to be a really good writer, that's how much you need to care about what you're writing?

Well, duh, GWTW fans. He cared eleven fucks about Scarlett -- and later, Bonnie Blue Butler. And honor, too -- as evidenced by his eleventh-hour (speaking of eleven) defection to the retreating Confederate forces. (Pissing Scarlett off royally.)

When Rhett Butler cared about something, he cared about it all the way. He cared all the fucks.

Although by the end of Gone with the Wind, Rhett tells Scarlett he's going home to Charleston to his family, to make peace, and maybe find peace. His daughter dead, and his love for Scarlett with it (thanks loads, Ashley Wilkes), he's back to square one in the caring department; as he walks out the door on a sobbing Scarlett. (But Rhett's a survivor; my money has always been with him to find something new to give fucks about. Maybe it would even be Scarlett [bad sequels notwithstanding].)

I'm a coward, and lazy, and not very patient, which is why my blog metrics are closer to the zero end of the scale rather then the ten end. And why, out in Nowheresville, Ohio, on Christmas night, in a place as quiet as the battlefields after the Yankee victory in the battle of Atlanta, I'm hearing the ghosts of poems that never were written. But we're persistent here at CathyBlogs, if nothing else; maybe we're a little more like Scarlett that way (given our language, we're sure no Melanie). Tomorrow being another day, and all; we'll just click 'new post,' and begin again.

I really wanna care / I wanna feel something / Let me dig a little deeper / No, sorry, nothing

The last couple of years I've kinda had a theme-of-the-year. I kinda do this year but you can figure it out as we go along. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blank spaces

In which we are left wanting

I thought of you, dear Readers Reader, there in the dark, Christmas night on Fitchville River Road. A cloudy, sullen day had fallen into a black and claustrophobic night, but December in Ohio is like that, Christmas or not. The house behind me made up for the day's dull weather -- the windows, squares of light; the crowded cacophony of voices and TV and babies inside, the bright warmth. Still, standing by the cold car in this place about which I know everything and nothing, the fields beyond unseen and familiar, bumpy and fallow, stretching to the still and quiet woods. Calm, I guess you could say. Everything would be different if the stars were out, but we can only imagine them, somewhere above the stubborn clouds. I should open the car door and leave, drive back to another warm house and another bright Christmas. But I just needed to stand and listen with you, Readers Reader, you know? Because I thought for a moment there might be a poem trying to find us on that homely stretch of Fitchville River Road, and I didn't want to miss it, just in case. Christ, I wish we had found it. I'm still looking.

Think positive.

We've got to patch it up baby / Before we fall apart at the seams / We've got to patch it up baby / In the time we travel in our dreams

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kiss and fly, 2014

In which we rearrange the words on the refrigerator, one last time

Most days, the words just cling there, static, benign, and patient; the longer ones, the nouns and verbs and adjectives, in alphabetical columns, the articles and conjunctions grouped in a mess by themselves. They're not hurting anyone as they sit on the frig door. I ignore them the million times a day I grab the milk or the creamer or the eggs. The words might as well be hidden in the metal tin they came in -- most days. But frig poetry is like over-eating: we shouldn't do it, yet we do. If the indulgent snacks we sneak make us lazy, and satiated, and fat, the frig poetry fares even worse, as the same words rearrange themselves again and again in lines mechanical, and contrived, and over-exposed. And yet. Still we do it. Still we do it.

I get home, I got the munchies / Binge on all my Twinkies / Throw up in the tub / Then I go to sleep / And I drank up all my money / Dazed and kinda lonely

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hallelujah, Socrates

Maybe we could have done a five things post, but the end would not have been nearly as effective

Readers Reader, you may be surprised to learn that the post yesterday -- about the trees -- was not the one I planned to write. ('Surprised,' meaning 'indifferent.') But I’ve been weaselling out of that post for a week. So I got to thinking about Socrates, not that we’re close or anything, because it seems he said this, 'The unexamined life is not worth living.’ Which seems kind of harsh to me, but then I’ve never been on trial for my life or anything. I’m sitting at my kitchen table listening to Keith Whitley sing ‘I’m no stranger to the rain.’ But I thought of Socrates because of Ray Bradbury, who said, ‘You can only go with loves in this life.’ Which struck me because of reading this poem by Mary Oliver, ‘Wild Geese,’ [because one time I wrote a poem (bad) about geese, too]:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. 
And I needed to hear that, because before I had read that Jeff Buckley said this:
It’s part of maturity, to project upon your life goals and project upon your life realized dreams and a result that you want. It’s part of becoming whole … just like a childish game. It’s honest — it’s an honest game, because … you want your life to hold hope and possibility.
It’s just that, when you get to the real meat of life, is that life has its own rhythm and you cannot impose your own structure upon it — you have to listen to what it tells you, and you have to listen to what your path tells you. It’s not earth that you move with a tractor — life is not like that. Life is more like earth that you learn about and plant seeds in… It’s something you have to have a relationship with in order to experience — you can’t mold it — you can’t control it…
Which was a little depressing at first, because it was kind of like Jeff was saying that dreams were just ‘childish games,’ [bummer!] but then after reading more of Mary’s geese:
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
I recast what Jeff said, in my head, you know, after reading that poem, and felt better about everything -- especially that last part about being more organic in one’s approach, which is what I do, anyway. [I once told a guy during a job interview for a position I did not get that I didn’t have any goals -- anathema to admit in job interviews, btw.] But I was really channeling Jeff Buckley, not that I knew it at the time -- by being more organic in my approach to life, I mean. I think Mary and Jeff -- and shoot, maybe even Ray Bradbury, would have understood that thing yesterday, about the trees, don’t you? I mean, they were quiet about it [unlike the geese], for sure, but they definitely ‘offered themselves up.’ Kind of like Socrates, too, eh?

Although I am wondering, is an unexamined blog worth writing? Don’t answer that.

Friends Friend, it’s time for the money shot. Longtime readers reader should have seen this one coming. A lesser bad blogger would have given you the Jeff Buckley tune you expected. Instead, you’ve found the only place on the internet bringing Socrates and Selena Gomez together in one post. You. Are. Welcome.

I know I'm acting a bit crazy / Strung out, a little bit hazy / Hand over heart, I'm praying / That I'm gonna make it out alive

Monday, December 15, 2014

The trees and their quiet dreams

Riding home

Today on the way home from Wal-mart down Huguenard Road I was thinking about the trees and what they dream about in winter. All the months they are naked and gray and still in the cold. Do they dream of summer, when they are full-green with faces turned to the sun. Or that first warm day of spring when winter dies. And we are all reborn. Or are they too human. And dream of the day at the peak of fall when they are at their most beautiful and dramatic, blood-red and fire-orange, bleeding out in an October wind. I tried to listen to their dream as I drove by, but the radio was too loud and I drove too fast. Somebody who has just been to Wal-mart is maybe not the best person to wonder about these trees and their quiet dreams. Although someone should.