Thursday, January 2, 2014

"crack in everything"

"I was hoping to find a crack in the pavement where my ailanthus of a poem could take root."  Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist

The author was talking about finding an appropriate poetry anthology and about a big tree.  My experience is something on a smaller scale:

This picture is from my backyard this past summer. I didn't plant it, though it came from a seed, perhaps windblown or from an avian messenger?  I'm still fascinated with the plucky plants that went to victory through the asphalt, or in some instances winding out of the compost pile.  It also reminds me of Leonard Cohen's oft-quoted: "There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

Far from perfect and the picture may convey some sense of the messiness around it.  But the sunflower didn't wait.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Some friends welcome the new year with reflections on learning or commitment to a new word or new wish, a blessing even. 

I could take any of these routes.  Fear of commitment (and being accountable to a commitment,) or making an imperfect choice and regretting it (like in the popular parlance FOMO = fear of missing out,) holds me back, rather than standing in something - today.

To take things further, what have I learned in the past year?  I won't say what the character in Thomas Pynchon's V says, however, if I haven't learned, there's

no shame in relearning what I thought I had learned, should have learned.  Letting the voice subside that tells me how stupid I am for not knowing, as if it were the answer to another test I would fail or get wrong, because there is only one right answer, of course. (Lindsey talks about this relearning in her New Year's post and elsewhere on her blog and somehow I've learned this acceptance and humility from her, as well as gratitude for another day to be present and learn, whether there's a re attached to it, parenthetical or not. 

So maybe the word is learn, and for me, accept both the limits of knowledge and the necessity to act and make mistakes, that even being wrong may land on a relatively low rung of the spectrum of catastrophe.