Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Half this, half that

In observation of self-declared I Think We're All In This Together Day, here is John Prine singing his "That's the Way That the World Goes Round."



Prine's debut album, John Prine, was one of the first reviewed by Mr. Kelly, newly-hired as a copy editor and rock and/or roll critic for a daily newspaper. The singer-songwriter was also one of Mr. Kelly's first interviews. His music seasoned our lives for years.

We are tsunamied frequently, regularly, by waves of the unbearable. Regrets assume goblin form and hector us before sleep. Loss is layered over loss, like a house where the former owners continued to paste new wallpaper atop the old, ignoring the way it buckled and peeled from there simply being too much.

Doubt, with fear claiming the shotgun seat, careens unmuffled through moments that appeared tranquil. We seek simplicty yet spend hours looking for matching socks in the box where no one thing is like another.

Some consistency could be attainable, if we allow inconsistency as a non-negotiable option; no judgment. My wish for this holiday: may I not alarm myself needlessly, or not at all. May I spend more time laughing than fretting, and if I don't manage any of that today, may I return tomorrow and try again. I wish the same for you.

Happy enchilada.

20 comments:

Lisa H said...

Yes.
Your description of the everyday movie is more than accurate. You've once again given voice to those routine, indescribable moments where we FEEL a lot, but can rarely give voice to exactly WHAT we're in the middle of, Feeling.
It's like "Conversational Poetry" and I continue to love it.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Well I'm sorry my son but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Hello and thank you. Perhaps we can have a poetic conversation before long.

Robert - What a treat, to have John Prine quoted to me. Is the line, "...where the air smelled like snakes..."?

Shelly Lowenkopf said...

Your father's and my paths crossed on many occasions, starting with our teaching in the same program at USC, then collaborating on a book, Yesterday's California, and then, when he'd moved to Santa Barbara, hanging out with friendly abandon.

Laoch of Chicago said...

When I was a younger lad I had a John Prine guitar primer that I wore out. Thanks for the memory.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Shelly - So nice to hear from you. I'm glad to have found you and will visit more often. Thank you.

Laoch - You are welcome. When I found that video of a so-much-younger John Prine, I had to post it just for myself. How pleasing that it has meaning for you and Robert.

RachelVB said...

"We seek simplicty yet spend hours looking for matching socks in the box where no one thing is like another."

lovely. There's something about lost socks that I love. They are always forgotten and yet we can never get rid of them in hopes of finding their match.

Karine said...

Hi Marylinn!

I just wanted to quickly tell you that you won the drawing for Carla's book! Congratulations, and thanks for entering...
Karine

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rachel - Thank you and thank you for visiting. Hand-knitted socks coming unraveled, the missing mates, having only purple socks when the dance recital monkey costume calls for brown...a sock trifecta.

Karine - Thank you for the happy news. I am excited to have Carla's book helping carry me forward.

Kass said...

"...waves of the unbearable." -
and yet we do bear it, wear it, rehearse it, carry it proudly like a flag.

You are one crazy good writer.

Penny said...

"Some consistency could be attainable, if we allow inconsistency as a non-negotiable option..."

It's quite wonderful the way you manage to articulate feelings.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Kass - Yes, we do bear it...I think of it, and many things, as making peace with what is. A balance between acknowledging the unbearable and moving along in spite of it.

Penny - Thank you. Consistency is not always that accessible.

Radish King said...

Yes and yes. Love it. John Prine has been a forever favorite and I love self declared holidays. The very best kind. You are luminesce.

Rebecca

Marylinn Kelly said...

Rebecca - Seeing Prine as he was - as we all were - back then...I've never wished to be queen, I want to be the master of space and time. Thank you.

Claire Beynon said...

Hello Marylinn

I vote we make Odd Socks a new fashion?

There is so much to reflect on in this post... I love your closing Exhortation To Self. "May I... may I... " the way you lovingly give yourself permission and encouragement.

Since 'meeting' you (and esp. in response to the comment you left on my last post) I've been reflecting on the nature & value of things past... Not so long ago, I likened the helter-skelter of my life to a geological structure... like a cliff-in-the-making. One experience, data set, cluster of precious material piled on top of another. I was lamenting the fact it's as though 'someone/something' has his/her/its foot on the accelerator pedal at the moment, so much so that it's night impossible to keep up with the rush. And so the pile accumulates, regardless of wether ot not I've had time, energy, will or wherewithal to pay it the attention I thought I ought to...

This morning, it occurred to me that this might in fact not be something to lament, that it might in fact be the way it's supposed to be for now... that I can trust that something sturdy, reliable, beautiful, worthwhile and enduring IS in the making and all I need to do is stay alert and faithful (this is easier said than done, of course!).

The image of the White Cliffs of Dover came to mind, with their wind-sculpted forms and their archive of fossilized treasures (amongst them, vast populations of exquisite foraminifera and coccolithophors!). And I thought 'Everything has its place and purpose in those cliffs; they are beautiful, dramatic and finely wrought. They are fragile and vulnerable to the elements, but they are also strong and rich with history - and fortified as a direct result of whatever became a part of their intricately layered 'mix.' So, too, our lives?

This weekend I think I'll consider there may be virtue in being a complex geological structure wearing odd socks.

Thank you.
L, C

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - So very glad that stopped by, thank you. Complex geological formations, temporary in terms of the cosmos yet enduring in relation to human history. I can easily see Dover's white cliffs as you examine them. I think we carry so many false images or interpretations of perfection, as though that were even a desirable state. Here in the land of shifting piles and questions without answers, may we dance, self-defined and evolving, in our spectacularly unmatched socks. I will read your comment at least several more times. So much to absorb.

TC said...

Marylinn,

This is so very beautiful, one would have had to have lived a lot to feel it, and written a lot to write it:

"We are tsunamied frequently, regularly, by waves of the unbearable. Regrets assume goblin form and hector us before sleep. Loss is layered over loss, like a house where the former owners continued to paste new wallpaper atop the old, ignoring the way it buckled and peeled from there simply being too much.

"Doubt, with fear claiming the shotgun seat, careens unmuffled through moments that appeared tranquil. We seek simplicity yet spend hours looking for matching socks in the box where no one thing is like another..."

Something echoes in that, something about a central unspecified vacancy in our American Wisdom, maybe.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Tom - Thank you, and for the link to Wisdom. When told as a child that some distasteful act would build character, I wondered how much character a person might need. I guess it takes a lot of life to leave us with something in our pockets at the end of the day.

Sherry O'Keefe said...

esp like the wallpaper on top of old wallpaper. and the socks! we are such contrary people.

my son is a competitive golfer- he shows up wearing whatever two socks he first touches in the clean laundry basket. this simplifies his life, but i hadn't really thought about it until i read your post.

muchly enjoyed,

sherry

Marylinn Kelly said...

Sherry - Thank you...we are contrary, one hopes in things that don't make too big a difference. There is something which sounds so spontaneous about just grabbing any two socks. I have a test: will the earth stop spinning if I do/don't do this? If the answer is no...my inclination is to let it go. Too many years either wishing or thinking I had control over things that I do not...