Reading: The Collected Poems of Robert Lowell.

Listening To: Taiko drums.

Watching: Fireworks and the sodium-lit night sky.

Sleeping: Fitfully.

Writing: If we could take everything we say, write, and do, everything we inflict on each other, everything we grace our friends and ourselves with, would that summation truly express the extraordinarily complicated--nuanced, shifting--mass of color and sound that our lives are?

Am I really these words, pecked out of a jumble of letters, thrown into so many bits and made to flicker here, in front of your eyes? Or am I these other words, learned and tempered in the furtive alchemy of the theatre, these other words that I only speak two nights a week and then never the same way again? Or am I rather this picture, or that overheard word, or the faint impression in a passing stranger's eye? Who the hell am I? Who are you?

As we age, does the accretion of memory resolve the contradictions--tie up the loose ends, uncover the hidden destinations, regain that which is lost along the way--or do the unfinished bits simply multiply, in that blunted part of our hearts where the regrets are kept in check...? Is it all of these things at once, the totality of so many meanings far, far more than anything we could even begin to consider?

It's never been easy to accept my mistakes, which I make altogether too often. It's far more difficult to pass judgments, based on these individual mistakes, upon the totality of my self, which constitutes so much more. The enjoinder to learn, to grow ourselves from the lesser to the greater, from inexperience to experience, is in this light something moot and patronizing. Such things will happen beyond the conscious will to do so, or they will not. (I do not, in fact, fear the dreaded possibility that we--I--may be doomed to forever repeat the same mistakes over and over again, with only the slightest gradations of detail to distinguish the passage of time and place. I don't fear this because ultimately even this would not really be that which it seemed.)

Ani DiFranco sings of goldfish, and their little plastic castles. Virginia Woolf wrote about that alphabet of learning, in which certain priviliged lights make it all the way to X or Y, whereas the rest of us are lucky to toil and sweat blood only so far as Q. I think of these questions, as I sip my cold tea and watch the fireworks.

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