"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

10,000 +/- BEAUTIFUL mistakes

I'd initially started this post, getting so far as the title, after a conversation about not over-editing. The concept was to just type a post for all the world to read without deleting, revising, deleting, revising...on a sentence level. The typos I catch as I write I can't let go of. Other issues, maybe, okay. It is really hard to do this, in a private forum let alone this public one. But so far I've gotten through however many sentences this is without redoing any of them.

I need to sit a lot more. Or else change the title of the blog again, to something that doesn't imply a quantitative goal. A Zen truism(?) is that life is comprised of "ten thousand beautiful mistakes." I can't make that the title of my blog because the editors are saying probably ten thousand other blogs are already out there with that title. And I can't grind this post to a halt while I research that assertion. Another part of aforementioned conversation was a suggestion that writing could be, or what if it were, possibly at all, in a different universe, like running. I don't go back to re-run the same block over again if I didn't like how I just ran it. I just keep running, and go on to the next block, for better or worse. What if writing were like that.

I actually almost did have to re-run some blocks in San Francisco yesterday (was it only yesterday?) due to becoming slightly lost from my carefully mapped-out path that was intended to be a 14-mile loop of the outer Sunset, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and back on the Great Highway. My favorite quadrant(s) of the City or "the City" as they say around here. The foggy, tree-lined, oceanic side of town. Not always tree-lined but I can't go back and fix that sentence. Alas. Quite sandy and wind-swept in places. And rain-soaked, but not until this morning. My run Saturday morning was merely misty.  As I was saying. All was well until I got to the Presidio where for a former military place you'd think they would mark their trails a lot better. And then leaving the Presidio I found a lovely dirt path alongside Lincoln, down which I veritably bounded and might have glided if I were a flying squirrel. ('Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.' 'Again?') Sorry. Not editing overmuch doesn't have to mean stream of consciousness. But maybe for now it does. Anyway, to summarize, I had a tour of Baker Beach, some batteries (the kind that involve cannons), a golf course or two, and the VA Hospital. Some parts of San Francisco I'd never really seen. I asked somebody for a little help about the time I reached the VA to point me in the direction of the Great Highway/Point Lobos after which I needed only to run south as fast as I could go.

The other part of the problem was that I was supposed to have been somewhere already about the time that I got the directions for where to go before I could get to the place I was supposed to be. I'm always - no, I'm very often - late because my ability to estimate how long it takes to do a thing usually leaves all the editing process out. By that I mean all the blocks that have to be re-run, the wrong turns at Albuquerque, as Bugs Bunny used to say before he ended up somewhere in mythical Arabia or a bullring in Spain. In truth, I don't know what the reason is. The reasons. But I am sorry for the frustration this causes other people. The 'contrition verse' for which I will break the 'rule' of this post by stopping to look up to make sure I've got it right goes like this. More or less.
All my ancient twisted karma, from beginningless greed hate and delusion, born of body, speech and mind, I now confess openly and freely.
 Greed, hate and delusion sound awful. Especially if they're beginningless. Twisted karma doesn't sound so good either. Especially with that possessive pronoun.

I don't know where exactly I'm going with this. It was an experiment. Does it make you uncomfortable? It's definitely making me uncomfortable. I just remembered that I wrote down another quote, though, on a scrap of paper, when I was not managing to maintain a high level of active social interaction in a group of very nice, thoughtful and witty people and so sat outside of the 'circle' and picked up a book, which was Thich Nat Hahn (further evidence that these people are very kind and thoughtful) and read these words:

"When you understand, you cannot help but love. You cannot get angry."
 I've been stuck for about five minutes just reading that sentence and not knowing what else to say, or putting together all the things I do know into various formulations without trying to write them out so as not to break the rule about not revising this post. It's late, and the weekend with its times of engaging and times of separation or rather of engaging with other people and engaging with only myself; of knowing where the road was and not knowing; of exceeding expectations in delightful ways and of failing to meet them in unpleasant ways; is done. Tomorrow the clock starts over and a whole world of beautiful, beautiful butterfly-like mistakes will fly to their migratory tree in...I don't really know how to finish that metaphor. You get the picture. However difficult the understanding may be, however slow in coming, however late for the party, however off the pre-plotted course, however unexpectedly lovely and surprising, I see it is all I want. I want to understand completely and thereby love helplessly. That's all. Whether and whatever anybody else understands is their own deal. It's okay, actually, if this didn't make sense in places, because it doesn't have to. I'd like to tell you it won't always be this way, but I can't. Or, maybe I can - it will only be this way this time. I could re-run the block but my feet still wouldn't hit all the same places, and the sun will have shifted in the sky, and it will have begun to rain somewhere, and the overheard conversations will have different words, and I'll look up from my computer to see that the dog has moved from napping on the floor to napping on my bed with her head ON MY PILLOW. Oh will you ever be done with this, I imagine her saying, because dogs are an excuse to talk to yourself and/or to insert third opinions into conversations with other people but that is really a topic for some other time.


Alice said...

Now that was almost as good as having you here in person! (I typed a 1 instead of a !, but went back and fixed it. Dang, I made another typo, again, and again. And I keep fixing them...sorry)

Bellabell said...

Rich, juicy, nourishing stuff, Emily! (Why do all my adjectives sound food-related?)

Like Alice, I love the immediacy of this writing.