09 November, 2008

neither plenitude nor vacancy


The campus reaches a pitch of almost unbearable beauty in the fall. I could sit and look at the trees all day long.

Conversation in our room, just now:

Me: "Do you want some toast?"
Emily: "No, I need some food food food. I just don't want to make make it. What... is wrong with me. Why am I using words multiple times? Emily, use real words. Why does my body look like an old woman's? I am only 20 years old."
Me: "Your body does not look like an old woman."
Emily: "What are you typing? I am WATCHING YOU. (Some Arabic word.)"

And this is the general substance and form of our life together.

F. Scott Fitzgerald makes me nervous about marriage, but I like hearing him talk about parties; I think it's his one leading strength. I finished Tender is the Night this afternoon. I read it before three years ago and it wasn't much more satisfying then. Moral of the story: Don't marry your mental patient; it shall be the ruination of you both! Thanks for that one, Scotty.

(Boy, I should be rashly offensive more often! Okay, not really, but I've never had 14 comments before...)

I just had another homework-less weekend; I could definitely get used to this kind of blissful living. On Friday, after unsuccessfully teaching a classroom of first-graders to make origami balloons (kid crumples his paper into a ball and says, "Mine's broken." Yes, child, it is, and I don't have the time to help you fix it), and playing a brief game of frisbee, I went to Southern Pines with Guion to enjoy a really lovely evening with his parents. We spent a leisurely morning at his house (waffles and a walk with the dog) before coming back to play tennis with Kelsey and Dad and then enjoy a fancy dinner of grilled cheese and soup. Then Guion and I went to the Cradle to see Mark Kozelek (formerly of Sun Kill Moon and Red House Painters fame). The opening act, an elderly woman with a few missing teeth and a harmonica, enchanted us with songs of her sexual activity, and then we waited 45 minutes for Kozelek to finish creeping around the room and get on stage. His first three songs were good, from what I can remember, but then it all started to blur together and suddenly I was sleeping standing up. It was as if he played one hour-long song; I couldn't distinguish where one began and the other ended, they all sounded so much alike. But I like going anywhere with Guion so it wasn't at all pointless. And then I got to sleep in today, wake up to swap weekend adventure stories with my pretty roommate, and then go to Brunday Sunch (yes, you're right, I'm still doing all that stuff--frisbee playing, Brunday Sunching) where we sang while we washed the dishes. The combination of all of these little events made for a thoroughly satisfying past few days.

There you have the complete log of my weekend, which has likely enriched your life, no?

I need to figure out what to do with myself this summer. I need money and experience; no fun and adventures this time around. Rather, it's time to get serious about the economy and the fact that I am not going to get a job.

The semester swept by on invisible wings and I am fully astounded that we are broaching the second week of November. While fighting sleep during Kozelek's eternal song, I was looking at Guion's profile and thinking about how quickly time escapes us and how eager I am to be very present when I am with him; when I am with anyone, for some day very soon, we will be far apart and I will wish I had been more attentive, more conscious.

Related words of beauty:

Here is a place of disaffection
Time before and time after
In a dim light: neither daylight
Investing form with lucid stillness
Turning shadow into transient beauty
With slow rotation suggesting permanence
Nor darkness to purify the soul
Emptying the sensual with deprivation
Cleansing affection from the temporal.
Neither plenitude nor vacancy. Only a flicker
Over the strained time-ridden faces
Distracted from distraction by distraction
Filled with fancies and empty of meaning
Tumid apathy with no concentration
Men and bits of paper, whirled by the cold wind
That blows before and after time,
Wind in and out of unwholesome lungs
Time before and time after.

- T.S. Eliot, from "Burnt Norton" in The Four Quartets

1 comment:

sayacate said...

So, did you love "their eyes were watching God"? I pretty much did.

PS! you inspire me
PPS! looking forward to being your maid of honor in your madeline-themed wedding.