Guilt

I listen to an MP-3 audio clip in German re Kerouac & Ginsberg, posted on FB by Michael (Kellner). I can understand it intermittently, it makes a good background to these reflections.

As K said goodbye on his way back to work from his lunch break, he said “indulge yourself in some way – go to a spa for instance if you feel like it.” (that’s a fairly good paraphrase, I don’t remember the exact wording). Ha, the tears commenced at that, though I don’t think he noticed – I’m getting good at hiding tears, from the kind of practice over the years you get if you cry ridiculously easily – My first thought had been, I can’t afford to indulge myself, I’m out of money; & I thought, why am I feeling so sorry for myself? And then I thought, “I don’t know what indulging myself is, I don’t do that, I don’t allow that, I have too much work to do, I – and suddenly I realized that, along with the easily recognized & acknowledged anger, I’m feeling a huge guilt over not getting this job, as if it was a personal failing. Possibly it has been a personal failing to not qualify for hire at a wide range and quantity of purported employment opportunities, but I hadn’t realized how much guilt I was feeling over it. Over everything, it seemed right then. I hadn’t noticed that that was one thing weighing me down, a major thing, in fact. It was suddenly clear that I felt compelled to make up for it in some way before I could feel good again.

What bullshit – as if feeling bad were going to fix anything. Totally contrary to my philosophy of life, which might be crudely characterized in part by the convictions that (1) if you’re not making mistakes, you aren’t learning; and (2) when you make a mistake, the useful response is not to feel bad about how dumb/incompetent/slow etc. you are, but to figure out how to do it right. That’s not actually how I was raised, however, so that may be why I have had such difficulty consistently practicing it, now that I think about it.

Of course, that last phrase (“now that I think about it”) is blatantly misleading. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it; on the contrary, I’ve devoted probably large pieces of my consciousness to trying to figure this out, and live it. Such the stubbornness of the human psyche.

Also published as private.

In Praise of the Convoluted Style

They say we should write every day: discipline. OK here goes. I write intermittently in my journal, using a pen & paper, a method I favor but which is unfortunately largely illegible to anyone else, partly by design (it’s a really very good way to keep it private) & partly because my thoughts outrun my pen, and the contest between them is a recurring example of the sacrifice of legibility to speed. However, this disjunction between expression and communicability keeps me in possibly a too-private world in the end, so here I go, trying it on in the virtual world. 

Today I feel really trashy in the personal not social sense, having been rejected from yet another employment opportunity, after investing a lot of time, energy, and feeling in the prospect of working at a job & location that initially appeared unattractive and unattainable anyway. The latter proved correct of course, while the former appeared increasingly through the process of approach not to be (correct, that is), which is not really any consolation. I find I can’t do these things without investing interest, however difficult it may initially be to drum it up, it always burgeons if I commit myself to the effort. I did meet some very nice people, who can complain about that?

Well everyone (practically) is familiar with this experience of not getting a job one (1) wanted and apparently also (2) needed badly to one degree or another; there can’t possibly be anything to add through the mediation of my comments on it, but that’s what’s with me today, so sorry, world of virtual communication, you get unemployment, specifically rejection after investment of significant effort, as your opening topic today.

Other comments: along the line of ‘no sincere effort is wasted,’ in the process of becoming even more knowledgeable about social media than I already was (within the library context) – which turns out to rather more beyond the average for my age & disposition than I expected – I discovered – much to the distaste of the literary, technical, and social snob in me – that getting more involved in Twitter has yielded access to a surprising & pleasing crop of connections who have provided really interesting information. Here I reveal myself to be old school in the disguise of a (relatively for my age) hip & tech-savvy writer-librarian. Books, paper, typography . . . still most beautiful.

One of my biggest barriers to communication is how tired of myself I so easily become, especially of my thoughts & words. Perhaps a condition endemic to writers, but I haven’t heard anyone else complain specifically of that dystopia of the spirit (crap, I don’t read enough is probably why). You might ask, if that’s the case, why bother to place this self of which you are so tired in the public view? Probably to give someone else that opportunity?