Monday, October 20, 2008

Take Your Breath Away

I once read that Joan Baez was taught as a child to treat everyone as though they only had one hour to live, particularly when said person was working that last nerve. If we could maintain this fiction which like a stopped clock will be right at least once, we'd be a lot different. But to live with such intensity is impossible. When I taught freshman composition, I often had students write that because of such and such an experience, he or she would never ever take life for granted. One of my students claimed she would not take life for granite anymore which made me like the cliche a little bit better. Some parts of life are like stone: hard to move, impossible to destroy completely. But could they, I often asked, live each moment with joy and bliss, even the mundane tasks of brushing teeth and dusting the television and filling up the gas tank? It seemed like a great goal, but not a likely one.

I remember lots of essays, many sad stories that took my breath away. No matter the level of skill, I got honesty, the kind that shocks you awake. Like most teachers, I hated grading given the judgement aspect (sorry your brother was shot, but you have a lot of comma splices!), but I always enjoyed reading the work. Even the mistakes were interesting. Once a student with a closed head injury wrote that he had dug a profound hole. He meant it literally, that he had dug and dug a pit in his backyard, and he didn't know why. This remained a mystery to both of us. But to dig a profound hole, well, who hasn't done that?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity." Charles Mingus

Cocktail Hour
Drinking Halloween candle suggestion:

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!


Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

Yes, I've often thought about the idea of treating every day as if it were your last or the other person's you said, it's an intensity that's hard to maintain. I do try to not take the good things in my life for granted, because things always change, and , I find, not ususally for the better.
I do like the "taking life for granite" line.

Now I'm going to check out! Thanks! And thanks for the words...I always enjoy reading them.

Lana Gramlich said...

I tried that "live life to the fullest" thing & learned that sometimes the "fullest" wasn't much more than sitting on my deck w/a margarita...but I did get in quite a bit of travel & new experiences, nonetheless.

the walking man said...

a busted clock is right 728 times a year, unless it's a 24 hour clock then it's right 364 times a year except for a leap year. That is a profound Julian truth set in a shifting granite of reality.

You...grade a paper for comma's,,,ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. "but Ms. Brooks, the rules don't apply to creative writing." I always wanted to try that excuse but never had the opportunity.

The wonder of granite is that you can take an air hammer to it and shape it as you will.

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree, it's impossible to live every moment with intensity. The human body and mind is not made for that. But sometimes non-intensity can be very nice.

laughingwolf said...

i've dug a profound hole, myself, a time or two....

jodi said...

Hi Doll, I have learned to do the Scarlett O'Hara thing. I live each day concentrating on the pleasure of it all, and "I'll think about it tomorrow" for the rest of it.... xoxoo Proscratinating works!!!!!

Me_Again said...

You say the perfect words at the perfect time and I often feel as if they were meant for me and me only (I know I must've needed a comma somewhere). Sometimes, I tend to be a bit narcissistic.