Note: This Thanksgiving Eve November 22, 2017 sticky post starts the year-long “So Last Year” project, which begins with Thanksgiving 2016, November 24, 2016.

For many months now I’ve kept to a journaling routine called #MorningPages, popularized by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Writing longhand, avoiding pixels and screens, the routine has helped me get back to writing, an activity I love, but which got badly damaged and smashed to bits by the floods of social media.
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July 18, 2017 (Tuesday)

by Yule Heibel on July 17, 2018

Yesterday evening I finally finished my email of complaint about E.-St. traffic and roadbed conditions. Sent it to the mayor, my ward councilor, the city manager, and the state representative (E.-St. is a numbered route). I wonder what kind of response I’ll get.

Meanwhile, politics around here remains and gets ever more gnarly. Neocons getting rehabilitated, making nice with Democrats who, in their anti-Trump frenzy, are willing to cozy up with these war mongers. I feel on the one hand obliged to speak up about it (and have, sometimes, on Twitter, but not face-to-face so much, but more on that in a second) and on the other the desire to throw up my hands and say, “what’s the use.” Yesterday I met X. for an impromptu coffee at T.-café. It was nice to see her, but at one point she started what I can only guess would have turned into full-blown virtue signaling when she brought up “House of Cards.” She was talking about the American version, of course, and I can’t recall the exact context in which it came up in the first place. Anyway, she only mentioned it to remark that she couldn’t bear to watch it because its dark and evil machinations reminded her too much of the “reality” (not her word, actually, but close enough) of what we have to deal with now with Trump. Oh yes, virtue: you’re so attuned to the grievance produced by the POTUS that it puts you off a TV show. A remake, at that. A replica of a fiction. A simulacrum of a simulacrum. It takes true virtue to go that deep down the rabbit hole, I suppose.

Maybe this is the problem. We’re so media-saturated and fantasy-clotted, we’re not focusing on actual reality anymore …except the reality/ realities of our “feels,” our emotions. And of course “the persuaders” – TV, advertising, and now journalists, mainstream media, politicians, and think-tankers – have all glommed on to the fact – it’s a fact, not an idea in dispute – that the easiest way to get us is via the emotional route. Coupled with the (fragile) self-esteem movement, which has made everyone more fragile at the end of the day, it’s the perfect formula for ensuring that people will feel most vindicated and most in touch with “reality” when they profess their “truth,” namely the most anguished emotions they can muster. Vicious circle, too.

I think a lot of people understand how this works at some level, which might explain the “I don’t care” attitude. Supposedly, the salts-of-the-Midwest-earth – i.e., working folks – are telling pollsters that they couldn’t care less about the Russia collusion allegations. That is, they’re refusing to have their emotional buttons pushed, to be played. This does not make them political savants or anything. We still don’t know where exactly political disaffection might lead. Nor whether it will matter, really. It’s the politically engaged – or rather, politically played – and their persuaders who hold more sway. They can increase or decrease the tides. At will. It’s a high-stakes game. Frankly, I loathe it. Try to observe it, …but play? Not so much.

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July 17, 2017 (Monday)

July 16, 2018

The lovely weather continues. But… it’s early and we slept (relatively badly) with windows open, and I’m at the point where this traffic noise is making me cry. Even with noise-canceling headphones on and Focus@Will climpering away quietly, the roar of traffic is all I hear. Ka-thunk, ka-thunk go cars and trucks, speeding along way […]

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July 16, 2017 (Sunday)

July 15, 2018

Soon it’s W.’s birthday, and I have nothing planned. There’s a book he said he wants; I should order it. It won’t be a surprise since we share his Amazon account, so he’ll get an email, upon my ordering of it. If I buy anything somewhere else, he’ll see it on our shared credit card […]

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July 15, 2017 (Saturday)

July 14, 2018

The quality – or qualities – of friendship, of friends… That phrase-snippet occurred to me while thinking of a person I admire; who I don’t know personally. He’s not a friend of mine, but I wish he, or people like him, were. I wish I personally knew many people like him, could meet with them […]

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July 14, 2017 (Friday)

July 13, 2018

The morning pages were always conceived as an adjunct, or, more properly, a basis or habit on which to build a more substantial body of writing. Then, as other projects stumbled or were pushed into an apparently permanent holding pattern, another idea emerged alongside the dying ambition to write “big” things. I began to think […]

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July 13, 2017 (Thursday)

July 12, 2018

The AC is off, doors and windows are open, relatively cool and moisture-laden air is flowing through the house on this somewhat bleak if not outright ominous rain-promising morning. The traffic, muffled during the night because our windows were still closed, is rumbling along, ka-thunking over all the potholes as drivers steadfastly ignore the posted […]

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July 12, 2017 (Wednesday)

July 11, 2018

I occurred to me, just as an aside, that part of what I find so disturbing with the current Democrat meltdown over Trump is the extremely high level of me-me-me-orientation (the narcissism) embodied or expressed in the outrage. Okay, that’s a too-complex sentence, which actually could be simpler. For example, individual Democrats seem personally outraged […]

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July 11, 2017 (Tuesday)

July 10, 2018

Rain. Thick, heavy cloud cover. A drop in temperature, but still threatening heat above that blanket. The trees lapping up the rain torrents, growing thicker, taller. House roofs mostly obscured, roof tiles wet where still visible. The roar of traffic affected by rain: it’s even louder. Just now, a half-second of silence as a break […]

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July 10, 2017 (Monday)

July 9, 2018

I sit down this morning without any preconceived idea what to write about, so unlike many other mornings when something that happened or I’ve read about or seen already arises in my mind, demanding attention. The morning is cool – I almost want to say “sepulchral,” but that’s only because I already feel entombed. Or […]

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July 9, 2017 (Sunday)

July 8, 2018

Tomorrow is Monday, and our “vacation” schedule ends. We’ll return to the stress of catching early morning trains, etc. Yesterday was Saturday, and for me the day started with tears. I found myself very depressed at breakfast, and told W. so. A. was there and took the whole thing in, too. Then he said something […]

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