All good Southerners are pretty much kinda mad.
Balcony at Square Books: 1999/2014.
Technologies of Heartbreak
This seminar will examine how emotion is attempted and transmitted in fiction, the various ways readers are captured and made to care about a story. Emotional effects—rapture, sympathy, desire, empathy, fascination, grief, repulsion—will be considered as techniques of language, enabled or muted by narrative context, acoustics, phrasing, and our own predispositions. How can a sentence, a phrase, a paragraph cause us to feel things, and is a high degree of feeling akin to “liking” a book? What is it to care about a character or the progress of a story, and how was that care installed in us? What are the various kinds and sequences of sentences that, when placed in a narrative, can produce emotional engagement in a reader, affection or distraction, or is it impossible to isolate our reaction to a book in terms of its language? The focus will be on some rhetorical strategies novelists and story writers have used to impart feeling, among them: concealment, indirection, revelation, confession, flat affect, irony, hyperbole, repetition, sentimentality, elusiveness, and sincerity. A tentative book list follows.
2/4 - Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates
2/11 - Mrs. Bridge - Evan S. Connell
4/1 - Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy
4/8 - The Fifth Child - Doris Lessing
4/22 - Two Serious Ladies - Jane Bowles
4/29 - The Sheltering Sky - Paul Bowles
5/6 - Correction - Thomas Bernhard
Fort Morgan. 1981/2008.
Time will tell. Time is always telling. Time never stops telling.
I met a 47-year old yogi the other night who didn’t look a day over 30, both in energy and appearance. “What’s your secret?” I asked him. “Let other people carry their shit,” he said quickly and definitively.
Hearing this hit me in the gut.
As someone who can feel other people’s energy intensely, I have a tendency to pick it up and carry it with me. To take it personally. To let it weigh me down.
There are two strategies I’m playing with lately to navigate this:
a. “That totally sucks. That saddens me to hear that.” When things aren’t going well for others, I’ll acknowledge and empathize with heart and share what is alive in me by hearing about their situation.
And depending on the circumstances and closeness of the connection, I’ll ask:
b. “How can I support you?” I find myself torn up when I’m uncertain as to how I can be of service and support when challenges arise. Asking this simple question takes the pressure off and encourages the other person to clarify their ask. “Oh there’s nothing for you to do! This is a me thing.” or “I’d love if you could do this one thing…” or “I just need you to hold space like you are right now…” are some of the responses I’ve received lately.
Which brings me to: works well for you?
Day 39 of 100. #the100daybook #the100dayproject
René Magritte, 1928
I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.