Escapism

Escapism is exhausting. The internet is too much with us. The constant social media updates, the flashy colors and loud noises assault us to distraction; the inexhaustible link-to-link-to-link-to-link linkage leads  to nowhere, but down a black, bottomless pit into cyberspace. It does not satisfy; it does not truly delight. It only empties the mind of thought, stuffing the great gaping hole with psychedelic mist that melts as soon as the sensual and sensory experience has past. It unwrinkles wrinkles and disconnects connections and throws cold water on firing synapses; when it is gone, the mind is left blind, supportless, feeble and fragile and frantically searching for something to grasp. But nothing is there. There is nothing. It is empty. It is void. It is null.

Having recognized this (as so many do these days), a good mind, a diligent mind will strive towards a particular goal. Instead of escaping from reality, the mind must escape to reality, to the comfort and solace of true substance, true meaning. The mind must lead the body to do good. Why do we continue to do nothing?  Why are lives spent and time wasted? Why is so much energy expended on passing, temporal trivialities? Why am I still scrolling through [insert social media here] after an hours’ worth of redundant memes I scrolled through yesterday — and the day before? Why am I not devoting my life to a purpose, to something I hold near and dear, to something that will do some good in this world? Ridiculous the waste sad time …

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Patience

We live in a world of instant gratification. With writing, as with many other wonderful exciting confusing frustrating frabjous things, we cannot expect to produce War and Peace overnight, or even within a year, or perhaps a decade. We cannot expect to produce it as our first attempt at a novel, or our last. We cannot expect to produce it ever, in fact. Tolstoy rather beat us to the quick.

Dash it all, I can hardly produce a readable blog post, without consuming an excessive amount of cheese. And chocolate. And cheese.

As an unwilling though undeniable product of the late twentieth century, I expect results. Fast. Now. Yesterday! I expect quantity rather than quality, efficiency rather than eloquence. I wrote 50K words in 30 days; doesn’t that count as a “book”? (What is a “book”?) Why can’t I put it on the market now and make it a best-seller? Isn’t that effort enough? What do you mean, editing? But I want it NOW.

Basil just sits in his corner and guffaws. Sigh.

Point being, patience. Building a vocabulary takes patience. Building a mental library takes patience. Building a repertoire of references takes patience. The pleasure of forming an intricate sentence is consumed by the focus and attention necessary for its content. Or something.

Rudyard Kipling encourages us to “Wait and not be tired by waiting.”

T. S. Eliot takes it a step further:

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

Thank you, Blue, for the sermon. May I go back to bed now?

~

For the record, one of the recommended tags for this post is “Shopping.” I take that as a sign. Retail therapy, anyone?