I’m the King of Jubilee Jumbles

artist Nayland Blake natters on about art and other things

Archive for December 2008

Threshold part one, outer…

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Snow coming on. The year winding down for all us Julian calendar types. People are posting their year end wrap-ups. Most of the time I don’t read them and we know this lil journal is self absorbed enough that I probabaly shouldn’t write one; I’m always chewing over the meaning, for me, of what just happened, to me. But here goes anyway:

When I think about where things are at just now for the country, here’s the image that comes up: we have been sick, sick in body and sick at heart for years now. Those who have believed in the current crop of leaders, have seen the economy turn to quicksand, the moral compromise of many of those leaders, and the elusiveness of the supposed security those leaders promised. For those of us who chafed under the Bush administration, we have endured the unease of seeing Cheney’s termites at work on the constitution, and watched helplessly while the rest of the world came to regard us as either rapacious porn peddlers or half crazed bullies. On either side, impotence and frustration. You can’t walk around with that kind of knowledge year after year and not feel its effect. So this year’s election asked us in effect: you’re sick, what are you prepared to do about it?

Amazingly, America somehow summoned the courage to go with the unknown, experimental treatment. We don’t know if it’s going to work. We haven’t even begun to feel the real effects of the pill we took this November. But one of the immediate benefits was the reaffirmation of the American willingness to strike out in a new direction, something that in itself is powerful in its implications. At a time when so many nations, frozen in their suffering, have been unable to make change or worse have chosen to retreat into more oppressive and centralized states (Russia, Cuba, Zimbabwe, Israel, Iran), America’s choice highlights the underlying strength of our governing principles.

Anyone who has done any sort of recovery work will recognize this feeling: you start going to meetings and you start experiencing the “Pink Cloud”: hey I decided to stop drinking and now all my problems are solved! I can pay my rent! I feel great about everyone, and so on. After a short time comes the inevitable crash: the problems that one was turning away from with addiction are separate from the the addiction itself. And so you have to begin the painful work of facing each of those problems sober. It can feel scary and tempt one to despair to see the full extent of the mess the binge has caused. It’s this queasiness that I feel the country is in now. The full extent of our challenges remain unknown, and as they come into focus it’s tempting to question our choice to face them. And many are bone weary. But the choice was the right one

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December 31, 2008 at 11:46 am

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December 30, 2008 at 7:02 pm

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Protected: Music appreciation…

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December 29, 2008 at 11:53 pm

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Treeless…

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It’s the first year in many that I elected not to put up my trees. It’s seemed a little odd but after opening my home to some friends today, I don’t regret the decision. It’s been the company that has made me feel the spirit of the season and I’m glad for that.

I’m also happy to have had the money to make a home improvement that has been on my mind for almost as long as I’ve been in this apartment: I installed a new medicine chest in my bathroom. The fact that people were coming over pushed me to take care of it.

Good talk, good food, relaxed times. Certainly I get wound up hoping everyone will get along, that there will be enough of everything. But when I sit back and relax, it’s all already happening. And in the aftermath I’m relieved and drained all at once.

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December 28, 2008 at 10:34 pm

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December 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

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December 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm

In which we pause to reflect…

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Those who know me either through this journal or elsewhere, know that I am tidy only episodically. Usually I would spend some time bemoaning this. I won’t. But I have been going through a slovenly patch. Today, I’m making an effort to shift that.

Recycling goes out on Thursday night for Friday collection. Last night I managed to take out two boxes of corrugated board which had the effect of clearing a space in front of my kitchen window. I’d been living with it blocked for so long (months let’s say) That I was taken aback to see the light spilling in. There are quite a few other piles like that around my house.

I’ve been reading Alan Bennett’s Writing Home, which in it’s way is cheering for the project of this journal. A reminder: it’s enough to record impressions; do that enough and you end up expression opinions. Bennett’s diaries contain many notes about life under Thatcher, and in reading them I get an interesting angle on what life is like under Bush: a daily flow of sanctimonious thuggery. Bush certainly hasn’t led with Thatcher’s iron noblesse (we’re more easily awed by the folksy style here anyway), but he has presided over the most aggressive attempt to undermine the constitution in the past century. I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t griped about it enough. I hope I’m more on the watch for the coming administration.

A friend asked me at lunch the other day how I was, and in response I launched into a long description of a dream I had just had. It was a funny response, but one that was attempting to express the way in which I feel at a turning point. I don’t quite understand the dream but the clarity of the remembrance seemed important to me somehow. This has been a very big year for me, full of good news on the career front, as well greater personal prosperity than I have enjoyed in many years. Normally I would find a way to fritter that all away, but I feel that somehow now I have the tools to tackle the future differently.

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December 26, 2008 at 2:29 pm

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