Thursday, March 18, 2010

use and beauty

Excellent news that Non-Working Monkey is now to be properly non-working again, as she was when I first came across her lovely blog. She then got a proper job and although she argued persuasively that non-workingness was really a state of mind, I was never convinced. To be truly non-working you need time to bumble about and get into the zen of it. It seems to me that seriously doing the non-working is as much of an activity as any job worth doing and some people have a talent for it. I don't think I do, but perhaps there is still time to learn.

I've been thinking about the idle life versus the useful one (Zhoen's post was timely), and have decided that mine is neither one nor the other but now is probably the least useful I have ever been. It isn't that my life is not fully occupied - the stuff of daily life takes all the strength I have - but it's not the same as when I was working or looking after my children. The activities of my daily life don't make much of a scratch on the world one way or another. I don't know if I mind about this or not.

I am wearing the purples again. If nothing else, one can strive to be decorative.


Anna MR said...

Watch how you go, Sees. Being decorative may be classified as being of some use to someone - giving the world some aesthetical value surely qualifies as useful?

Jolsom: adj. the bland non-doingness, tinted with depressive tendencies, the type of which mood, mode and activity I seem to excel in. Her jolsom air was enough to dampen the most lively of comment threads.

Snap - I'm going to go and get dressed too. No, not very decorative.

A jolsom mwah.


Reading the Signs said...

Unusually, I must beg to disagree about the translation of jolsom. It is the non-doingness that is suffused with an inner radiance that is not necessarily visible or perceptible, even to the person who is experiencing the mood. Her jolsom presence had its usual effect whereby those present were aware of feeling a sudden elevation of spirits.

Fear not, my way of being decorative is so subtle as to be barely imperceptible. And the bare truth is that very few people actually appreciate the sartorial delight of the purples. In fact E (remember E?) keeps saying, "I thought I told you to stop wearing those trousers!"

Anna MR said...

Ah, E. How could one forget E? Tell E my warmest regards (and I must say your definition of jolsom has a certain hopefulness to it, which mine seems to be sorely lacking in).

But hei, Schwesterlein. It has been a most dismally-weathered day over here in the North, and, as I believe that has been the case for you over there in the (deepest) South, too, the we can say a weather snap as well. (We had a foot (more) of snow (again) yesterday. Today, the temperatures rose above zero, so you can paint the picture of the slush (and I tell you, the piles of dirty snow are several metres high, I kid you not) and puddles and muck, in your mind's eye, although I can't really see why you would wish to do such a thing.)

I've been wondering, off and on, as I've gone about the business of trying to interact with the world (which I've done, in a startling number of ways, today) (the jury is still out as to the rate of success of these my efforts), whether some people would like to pass their Friday putting bricks through carpet shops, and if they did, why (and how, exactly, too, naturally enough) would they do such a thing.

The world is a peculiar place, Seignsmeister. Curious and peculiar (and quite properly fucked, too, as someone worthier than I has gone on record as having said).

Abbessec. A not-that-sweet female leader of a monastic cloister cult (often seen wearing a wimple).


Reading the Signs said...

Schwes - Schwes!, have you lost the plot or are you just being nice to me? Not picking up on my use of "imperceptible", I mean, which renders what I was saying complete gobbledegook. You feel sorry for me, don't you? I do too. But not enought to eschew the delights of bricking a carpet shop window. It's easy, you just get your brick and you throw it at the glass and you sing like this, and know that it serves them right for being boring beige buggers and charging a king's ransom for their bit of polypropywhatnot bit of tat. Not to mention underlay. And fitting. Or whatever else you fancy.

Enough of that. Mr S and I had fish and chips today, you know, in the fish and chip place, it was so murky and sinister outside but jolly and jolsom in the chippy with the friday elect. Even so, the world is, as the worthy person you refer to has said, quite properly fucked.

But at least we ain't got slush here. Just the drizzle.

Anna MR said...

Lovely Signs my seestah, hei. You have stolen a leaf from the book of people who write and disallow comments, and I understand (perhaps, I think) the reasons behind it. Please forgive me, though, for commenting on your more recent post here...and no reply is expected, k? For sometimes one feels a compulsion to say something and an equally pressing aversion to commenting on the thing said any further, and if this is the case for you here, I don't want you to feel in any way pressurised by my words into elaborating on the topic which is clearly and rightfully painful.

Not that I have anything particularly wise to say. Neither have I any comfort to offer - how could I? Your illness has robbed you, unfairly like only life can be unfair, of such a considerable slice of living, no way could anything I (or, most likely, anyone?) say go any actual distance towards comfort. But I was caught on your thought "I wonder if it is possible to have M.E. for twenty three years and not allow oneself to grieve", and want to just share what thoughts it gave me. If this is okay?

For what I (think I) hear echoed in the sentence is a thought that grieving in this instance would somehow be "wrong" - considered by "someone", an imagined external observer/reality, perhaps - a sign of weakness, of failure, of "wallowing in self-pity", of whatever. We live in a culture which regards very highly the myth of the perpetual winner, the success story, the hero. Heroically against all odds, never uttering a whimper, emerging victorious and, I don't know, strong-jawed (or in the case of women, I suppose, immaculately coiffed and with cared-for nails and cuticles), everything else is weakness, self-indulgent weakness at that, and to be shunned. We are all to be unbeatable, successful, feistily fighting back anything that life has dealt us, and winning, else culturally, we risk being labelled failures. And my question to that attitude is why.

I am reminded of a poem, or perhaps it was a bit of prose, I cannot remember, and neither can I remember the writer (which is a shame, for I'd like to have the original words here), about the torture inflicted upon dissidents in the hands of the NKVD in Stalin's USSR (I think - it could have been another totalitarian dictatorship as well. I'm making a pig's ear of this, I can tell). Anyway, the writer expressed the idea of urging the victim, instead of remaining heroical and silent in the torture, to wail, to wail, while they still were alive, to wail even though no sympathetic ear would hear, but to wail to the witness of the universe their suffering, the proof of their humanity and life.

I am also reminded of rage, rage against the dying of the light. Not that you are dying, of course (Christ), and sadly this particular poem has (in my view) suffered a bit of an inflation due to its popularity, but the central idea feels the same as the previous one I (poorly) quote - it is strong and human to wail, to rage, against the pain and torture and unfairness people and life inflict upon one. To grieve.

Why shouldn't you grieve, Signs my friend? Even if it were possible, and I believe not grieving would be more a sign of denial than a lack of the emotion. Granted, grieving will not change matters, your illness has robbed you, continues to rob you - but what would not-grieving change? So grieve on, Macduff, it is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of life.

I think.

Jesus, I have a feeling I've been all pompous and spouting here, and that wasn't the intention. I'm sorry. Just want you to know I hear you, and I'm thinking about you. You brave and beautiful human, you.

Hugs from me, and mwahs.


Reading the Signs said...

hello, my lovely - your good words always appreciated. And yes, I have taken a leaf, perhaps a few leaves, did you but know it. Is what what seestahs are for - and not forgetting bruthahs neither.

I think I must have read the same thing you did, or at any rate it came from the same neck of the woods. Absolutely. Howl at the moon, and anything else that happens to be up there or down here. Make song - or at any rate noise.


Anna MR said...

Yes, and then there's the Sammy Beckett quote (good old jolly Sammy): When you're up to your neck in shit, the only thing left to do is to sing. Or, you know, very close to those words, anyway (there's a few too many "to"'s there, it makes me suspect my memory).

Just to say hei - I am freshly back from my mater's where we all ate (including Ms Dogot, who adores going to her mummo's house, because of the good and plentiful food), and getting down for some TV (snap) (a thing about how mental illness effects family members. Jolly, jolly entertainment) and some knitting, I believe, and just about anything one can do to avoid writing an essay, you know what I'm saying.

The WVL's are saying cless, which must be "class" with an Oirish brogue. You know what Oi'm saying.

Back later, mayhap, for more waffling. Mwah's in the meantime...