Sunday, October 19, 2008

Handy Dandy and Changes Places

Shepherd Book: I believe, I'm just...I think I'm on the wrong ship.
Inara: Maybe. Or maybe you're exactly where you ought to be.

Firstly, to those of you who think that there isn't a Firefly quote for every occasion: you're wrong, and I won't have you reading my blog.

Secondly...well, maybe there isn't a secondly. I just realized I hadn't been posting on here really since...ever...and I thought maybe that should change. A gander at some of the earliest posts on here confirmed one of my long-time fears: writing and talking while under the full effects of powerful stimulants such as espresso and ritalin (together) can create a duke's mixture of awful ideas, delusions of grandeur, and misplaced self-confidence. Wasn't it David Sedaris who wrote that it was speed that let you suck a week's paycheck up your nose and think, "God, I'm a genius"? Let that be a lesson to me--never write when you're cheerful. All writing should be done at the end of the day, with one's tie loosened, a cigarette clamped morosely between both lips with a half-finished third martini on the desk.

Or not. I used to take poetry classes with people who claimed they did their best writing when they were angry. It always seemed such a shame to tell them that they were wrong. Then again, maybe the writing they did when they were happy was worse, and I just never saw it. Whatever the case may be, there doesn't seem to be a good paradigm for writing, or at least my writing. Jaded cynic? Optimistic realist? Trying to find the gin bottle?

Originally I was going to do one of my usual "Where am I going/Why am I in this handbasket" routines, pertaining to the above Firefly quotes. But really, it speaks for itself. Inara's not telling Shepherd Book to examine his feelings and decide if Serenity is the place for him, etc. She's telling him, in effect, "Look, you're a priest. We're sinners--and, I mean, who isn't, really--and your job, your calling, is to minister to us in whatever way you can. And you're going to bug out just because an undercover cop beat you with a bottle and we almost got eaten by terrifying space cannibals?"

Except for the last part, someone could have given the following speech to me, for the way my thought process has been changing. I mean, really, I've gone through some stuff. I'm paying to be in grad school. It's not all roses. The coursework is demanding, as is my advisor. My thesis is probably going to be rough. But overall, how does this really compare to some of the other things I've been through? I'm thinking here of the bedbugs freshman year (flip through the archives of this blog, March, 2004), Adam and Zach dying during sophomore and junior year respectively--you know, stuff that seriously shook the tenuous bedrock of my world. The stuff I've gone through in order to get here--and in some cases since getting here--falls under the category of Not That Bad in the grand scheme of things.

Why did it take me a while to reach this point? I'm not sure. Maybe serenity (ha!) is someplace you reach because you've got nowhere else to go, a mechanism to avoid ulcers and general bad mojo. Maybe I'm more Pollyanna-ish than I like to admit. It doesn't really matter, though, does it? I'm where I am, and I've got the sense that this is where I want to be. Everything else is details. And we all the know the proximity of the Devil to those.

(I'm still flying.)