First things first – That concoction you see above is hands down the most delicious thing I have eaten all week. It is the Campfire Sundae that I ate last Friday at Watts Grocery in Durham. It included homemade graham crackers and homemade toasted marshmallows. I don’t think it comes any tastier than that. I am not one to normally take pictures of food, but I just had a feeling that this dessert was going to be special.
Now after that happy introduction, we can get on to more serious matters. The serious matters include a number of things that have been beating me hard on my head lately, reminding me of things that I need to be doing, or perhaps of former, better versions of myself.
I watched the film Bright Star about Keats the other night and that movie hit me, HARD. It hit me hard because I don’t read poetry anymore. I can’t pinpoint when I stopped reading poetry, but I did sometime in the past five years. I definitely know that it was in that time frame because when I was in New York, I still read poetry. I still sought out first editions of poetry collections in used and rare bookstores. At some point in time, I unconsciously stopped feeling like poetry was practical and discarded it from my life. The thought of that made me cry practically through the whole movie. I was sitting there thinking, I know that this movie is going to end sadly, but it is so beautiful, nonetheless, and it made me think about former versions of myself. Sometime, whenever it was that I stopped reading poetry I think I must have given up on the kind of passion that comes with it. And that is good and bad, I suppose. Lately, I am just leaning towards bad.
**Partial remedy: Gwendolyn Brooks. I ordered a collection of her poetry to read, because it has been awhile. Another, more significant challenge – I have determined that this is the year that I finally get serious about reading In Search of Lost Time.
Here is another whack upside the head. Sunday, at church, we were reading Joel and Amos and I had two punches to the face. The first came when I was reading Joel silently (feeling like we were missing all of the good verses in the Sunday School discussion), and I read, “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of evil” (2:13). It hit me hard, because my heart is in need of some rending and it is about time I got to doing it. The second time I felt a blow to the head was somewhere in Amos chapter 5, where Jehovah is chastising Israel for being wealthy and offering up wealth for sacrifices of show, but refusing to actually help the poor all around them, which of course is a greater measure of Godliness. And yep, that is pretty much me too.
I don’t mean to be such an exhibitionist about my imperfections. But the fact is, there is a substantial part of me that I know will always be a little bit crazy and a little bit unsatisfied with my progress. I mean to be. I don’t ever want to be entirely complacent, so every so often I must have these semi-public self-flagellation sessions to kick me hard. If I stop caring, then its time to cue the shrink.