All Laugh Lines are Cruelty-free (Aren’t They?)

I met a man at a job fair earlier this week who recognized me as a boomer straightaway. When I asked how he could tell, he skated deftly and said I exuded that self-confidence so characteristic of boomers.  Good–no, great–save! I could tell he was a seasoned people-handler, not to say people-wrangler.  It was sweet talking with someone who got my sense of humour instantly.  That doesn’t happen so often that I can overlook it when it does happen.

I’ve been a diarist all my life, expelling the excess in my head onto the page, sometimes just to liberate some head-space but mostly just to keep myself company and legitimize (legitimate?) my numberless opinions on every subject under the sun.  Most entries are structured exegeses on what I thought at the time to be related topics.  (I was always searching for syncretism:  God knows, there must be a palette of oneness among all the dualities.  And I want to know what God knows.  Churlish of him to keep it all to himself while we slouch along, labouring with our puny understanding to grasp even an iota.)  Other entries are from the gumshoe voyageur, the one who existentializes the joy out of existence.  I still front her from time to time, although less often now.  Those entries ravel and unravel, and the splay of them is like the snake-hair of the Medusa.

So as a voluminous diarist born into a culture of narcissism, I decided it was time to blog.  I finished my novel in March of this year and, as I penned the words ‘the end’ in my perfect Catholic hand, I thought:  there is nothing left to say.  That’s wrong, of course.  The day I write ‘there is nothing more to say’ is the day I release myself from this fractured, ill-begotten, foolish life and all the futile, compulsive navel-gazing that attended it. I considered having one of my characters adopt that stance but since half of them are horses, it didn’t seem to fit.  The survival instincts of a horse are much too heroic. So far, the novel has been damned with faint praise, probably the result of combining a shameless anthropomorphism with politics.  Yet Jane Smiley did it in Horse Heaven, assigning a whole chapter to a Jack Russell terrier’s reflections and opinions.  Brilliant writer, Smiley. Her style is not so much staccato as a short line followed by a rambler which complements the brevity perfectly.  It’s more like a respect for “line-and-length”; a model of syntactical self-containment.

But I digress.  As the lit crit people say, I’ve begun this blog ‘in medias res’. I’ve invited myself into this vast cyberspace with whoever you are to share–I think that’s the right word–my Cartesian self as far as it goes.  And of course, the cogito cannot live up to its reputation, even at the best of times.  Gardening, travelling, bird-appreciation, animal and horse advocacy, environmental concerns, old movies, the (ro)mantic arts, women’s health care, working out at Curves, dog-training, elder care, big-band-era and 60s music, and vegetarian-in-progress recipes are featured in my curriculum vitae (the let’s-get-real one, not the one we prettify for others.  After all, the continuity of time deludes us into thinking that life, like happiness, is a continuous state.). Since I’m new to blogging, at some point, I’ll post my entire 73,000-word novel in a sidebar–or e-book it, I guess–as well as, well, whatever strikes my fancy.  If you care to follow along, so much the better.  As for now, I take this ufo of a blogspace as my interlocutor with a very shaky hand.  Like Chekov said:  all you can do is hold your hand out in the dark (and hope that someone takes it).

Submit a Comment