15 June 2014

The Cross of the Moment

Yet the noble despair of the poets
Is nothing of the sort; it is silly
To refuse the tasks of time
And, overlooking our lives,
Cry, "miserable wicked me,
How interesting I am."
We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

W. H. Auden
The Age of Anxiety

And so I came to this passage long ago.  I heard a man like myself quote these lines, and recognized the truth in them.  Like him, the illusion that I was different, special, smarter, better, more heroic, more tragic, better acquainted with sorrow, brought with it the dread that I was wrong.  And I was, wrong.  I was just the same as everybody else.  If I had done anything, felt anything, said anything, so had everybody else.  If there was a word to name the thought, the feeling, the action, that meant someone had already thought it, felt it, or done it.  Like most truths revealed to the willfully blind, it seemed at once obvious and profound.  And that's pretty easy to scoff at.  But realizing that I am nothing more than just another human being saves my life, and keeps me climbing the cross of the moment.

What precious nonsense, eh?

And what's it got to do with anything?

Well, not every time, but often enough when I've read a blog or some other effusion of the endless chaos of conspiracy and opinion that is the internet, all I could do was think "miserable wicked you, how interesting you are.  You should write a bloody memoir."  I'd wonder why I should care what these people had to say, and wonder even more why I was wasting my dwindling moments reading it.  And every time someone suggested I should write a blog, I'd wonder why others would care about what I had to say.  Doesn't the internet have enough prating and ranting already?  I mean, I'm sometimes miserable, and was occasionally wicked in the long ago, but others would only find what I had to say interesting if they recognized themselves in it.  I'm just not that interesting. And why would I want to be like those people anyway?

Oh, wait.  There I go thinking I'm different again.  Sorry, give me a moment.  I just banged my head on the beam of that cross.  Forgot to duck.  Again.

So, years down the line, I come to the notion of writing this blog (doesn't help that I think it's a very ugly word) with decidedly mixed emotions.  I don't know whether this will work, or whether anyone will read it -- let alone find it worth reading -- but I feel like talking, apparently just like everyone else.  I guess I'll see how it goes.

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