April 25, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on April 24, 2018

You know, it’s funny. A while back – probably because I was really getting into the rhythm of writing these Morning Pages – I had this idea of using them as the basis for blog posts I would call “So, last year.” It would have been – the title, I mean – a pun: with comma, or without comma, a change in meaning (“So, last year” / “So last year”), and also a commentary on finding meaning or truth or beauty in things written a year ago, but finding them on a platform (an internet blog) where content is supposed to be so “fresh,” “immediate,” “au courant,” “of the moment.” A blog about last year instead of about the steady stream of political news and outrage into which we’re supposed daily to dip.

But lately – and maybe it’s because I have this new rat race schedule imposed, this fresh new hell (and heaven: a job!, health insurance!), and maybe because of all the political daily news, but lately I’m just feeling angry a lot of the time. And that anger is making the act of creation, of doing anything creative, seem futile. And you know that if you share your “work” (note the denigrating quotation marks), there will be assholes who shit on it, on you, because they’re even angrier than you are. If I’m feeling anger when I’ve got it relatively good compared to so many, how angry – how very very very angry – must so many other people be? Obviously, there will also be kind souls, perhaps naturally compassionate types, who feel joyful, grateful, and not angry. But once you tap into its existence, and you know it’s there, you can’t help but wonder just how much fucking anger is there in this world.

And you come to experience the truth of those who say anger is one of the seven deadly sins. Then you start to feel sorry for all those people in the vise grip of that sin. Just a little bit sorry, maybe not too much.

Like, not too sorry for the guy who was ready to run me down as he sped (or tried to speed) down C.-St. [city’s main street] even though I had already entered the crosswalk at C.-St. and P. (where Brown’s Bicycles is). I was in the crosswalk, a marked crosswalk, I fixed him with my eyes – he was still at least thirty feet away, maybe at the jewelry store – and proceeded to …well, proceed. I was in the crosswalk, past the parked cars, in the actual street itself, looked straight at him, and walked. Which provoked a furious tirade from him (driving a cheap little Mitsubishi sports car, rather unkempt), as he yelled at me from his open window. Naturally, I stopped right in the crosswalk (albeit slightly past his car by now, checking first for traffic from the opposite direction), turned to him and calmly but angrily said, “It’s the law.” Then I gave him the finger as he sped off, still yelling.

I could feel my anger, although I could also feel me letting go of it. I could also feel a bit of compassion for him – maybe he was having a really bad day. At the same time, though, I judged his car – so carelessly maintained, dirty, dented – and thought, “Not just ‘day’; anger is his entire life.” And at that point you think (or I did anyway), “I just looked into the eyes of a lost soul,” lost deeply to a deadly sin. That kind of anger isn’t the cruel indifference of nature, either. It’s not in any way studied (calculated) – or a natural (cruel nature) state of affairs. It’s a loss of sovereignty, a genuflection to an idol that says, “Feed me and you will gain in strength.” But it’s false strength, for only the false idol grows stronger. And I had to think how anger is this determining mood we seem only too beholden to keep feeding, all of us. Most of us. Scratch anyone these days, and you’re likely to release a torrent of anger, or its shadow twin, depression. Compassion and gratitude really are the only antidotes, but isn’t it hard to keep it all in balance sometimes?

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