Monday, September 6, 2010

Worlds, Friends, Memories Lost

Blah, blah, blah... I have been neglecting my blog again.  That's a trend from previous attempts to blog that I was hoping to change this time around.  No such luck.  I've also been neglecting my books - except those that are work related - and I'm feeling the void.  My flowers are hitting their end of summer slump so even my patio isn't looking so pretty these days.  My apologies to all of my friends out there who have also been neglected.  I missed so many birthdays in the last few weeks and that makes me a horrible person.  Or a distracted person but whatever.

It's Labor Day and I have (most of) the day off.  I would love to be spending today at a ball park or at the fair or something equally as full of friends, laughter, and beer.  Instead, I'm cooped up at home with the cat.  Allergy season has attacked me full force this year and I'm finally recovering.  It's about time.  I've been a sneezing, sloppy mess the last few weeks.  And grumpy from lack of sleep, to say the least.

The only work of fiction I've read lately that is of note has left me feeling extra nostalgic.  I volunteered to participate in a first-year engagement book project that Transy created for it's incoming students and the book we read was fabulous.  A World Lost, by Wendell Berry, may not be the most widely read nor the most exciting book I've ever mused over, but it is calming and charming, both things that I need in my life most days.  It is about a boy whose uncle dies while he is young.  As an adult, he looks back at his childhood and reflects on what sort of person this uncle was.  Perhaps because he doesn't want to understand the negatives, or perhaps because childhood is usually viewed through an overly innocent lens, the man grew up idolizing an uncle who by most accounts was not exactly a role model. 

The book made me think about all of the things I have lost - people, friends, past lives that I have left behind when I move on - and how I view these lost things.  I've discussed this to a point in an earlier post, but this book made me think about it all again.  Except this time, I'm missing people that are truly gone or whose relationships are beyond repair.  When we look back, we always remember the good.  It's not that we forget about the bad times, but how often do we sit home dreaming about a past life we've lived and think about all of the times we were disappointed?  Instead, we focus on what made us happy, made us laugh.

Maybe it's because today is a day for family and friends and I'm in short supply of those in this part of the country.  Maybe I'm just stuck in a funk.  But this book is stuck in my brain.  Even happy-go-lucky movies haven't knocked it out of me.  Tomorrow I have to lead a discussion about the book with six new students.  I'm excited because I love hearing others' perspectives on things that I have loved but it's a bit frightening at the same time.  What if I can't help them see the flaws in our memories or get them to realize that a rather slow moving book really can inform how we look at the world around us?  I can't get myself to remember either of these things on a regular basis, so am I really equipped to help others?

The answer, of course, is yes.  That's what this blog is all about.  Furthermore, that's what teaching is all about and we all know that I want to inspire great thinking and learning some day.  The best way to learn something is to teach it, and I'm ready to teach that small group even just a small lesson.

As for today, I need to get out of here.  My balcony has a beautiful breeze and the sun is shining.  But sitting here, hidden away from the world, enjoying some snuggles with Lady Loo isn't really going to shake me from these memories, now is it?  Maybe I'll go run some errands, get out for a walk in the park, or maybe I won't heed my own advice and I'll go cuddle on the couch some more.  For today, it might be enough to recognize that I need to shake this feeling of loss and stop looking back for what can never be again.  Many of the people and places I'm mourning simply don't exist anymore - either because they're truly gone from this earth or because I'm not the same person I was at that time.  And even for someone with a great imagination, maybe especially for someone like that, it's never good to sit and think about might-have-beens and used-to-bes.

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