the accidental art of being and not doing (a sequel) or Without freedom there is no clarity anymore

17th mile pacific coast

Today I visited this post originally written on June 30, 2021 because someone clicked the like icon and I received a notification. So I came over to read and find out why. What did I write? What was the purpose I meant for others reading it? For those who know me (not merely virtually), they have known me as a person who writes and likes writing but not exactly the writer in the writer sense.

It sounds complicated. I too, marvel at my writing and yet am not a writer.

What do I really write about and why? What is the point in my writing?

In many ways writing is living life. First you have to be living to be able to write. Living means having some hope and interest in life, and doing something to make it easier and more meaningful than the usual mundane way of being an existence.

Of course some may choose to be just being and not doing. That is their choice. As for me? I choose to be a doing being even when I hibernate.

The art of being and doing is simple. Daily I find something to do. That something has to have a meaning for me personally. It can be an act of kindness helping someone out. It can be a regular thing like doing a cover design for a friend to add some colors to her videos on YouTube. It can be reading or listening to teachings that help me to become a better/deeper person. It can be just cleaning up my abode, moving stuff around to let the sunshine come in and I can sit at the window to receive my daily supply of vitamin D. It can be receiving a lift to a health food grocer to get the stuff that consist of my main diet. It can be doing physical exercises like walking a mile indoor following the pace of a program onscreen. It can be a brisk walk under the sun to a fish monger and get some fresh supplies.

You would have observed that I have deliberately left out writing and chatting with social network. Why? first I have nothing worthwhile to mention here of both of these activities. Does this mean I don’t chat? No, I do with some usual few chatters, one on business, and others out of duties as family.

What about writing? You would have observed that I haven’t been writing anything of note lately. In a way, there is a shortage of materials to write about. It has been that short since the March 2020 locked down and shut down and sudden vanishing of the world we used to know. I can see how Paul, (the protagonist of a classic book) felt when he thought he lost every desire in his familiar world since birth. He was so accustomed to it that he just could not make himself break away from that past.

Freedom has been my utmost value for a long time since young. I like being free to find out new things, being mobile in spaces and entirely uncluttered. The invisible clutter had crept into many lives. I can see it in their eyes, which are windows to their souls. The worst thing is that many do not know it.

Without freedom there is no clarity anymore. And a person who writes seriously cannot write without clarity in view. We see veils and ambiguous layers upon layers of covers which have flooded the marketplace with beautifully packaged products that happen to be frauds/fakes/counterfeits. That is why I find nothing to write about, unlike before when the sky was clear and blue and both mental and physical visibilities were unclouded. A responsible writer looks at logic and whether the thing makes sense. It is insane to try dressing up something inherently ugly and incoherent, to pass as a dazzling and genuine awe inspiring beauty and imagine that we can fool all people all the time. No genuine and self-respecting writer will want to be a part of any hoax.

what is the point then of writing this post? I am glad you ask.

Well, I just happened to come out of a writing inertia, and saw the notification of a click on the like icon on this blog which led me to read the liked post written by me on June 30, 2021, with the same title as above. Is this a good enough reason for you my friends? No?

Well, I could have done better if motivated. Here is an example of the definition of the word inertia: the thermal inertia of the oceans will delay the full rise in temperature for a few decades. I wonder why this example was used in my laptop dictionary. Whoever who wrote the dictionary must have had some environmental issues on their mind. Someone may look up the term thermal inertia further. Someone may look up the phrase full rise in temperature. Me? I look at the term for a few decades. I am only interested in time.

A few decades. What does it mean when you have lived quite a number of decades. Do you ever wish to live those decades again in a new way?

I do.

Praise, 2021-09-18

a letter writer’s heritage

Heritage

I just received this WhatsApp message, “Would you please write another generic and/or personified donation letter for us on this new school project?” I cannot remember when I have stopped writing my own formal/informal letters. The last time I wrote was for someone else for charitable donation. As usual, when I receive a letter writing request I need all information of the project and meditate for a number of days, sometimes weeks. I could look at the numerous letters and newsletters I have received to find tips if any. But since they have not persuaded me to donate there is really no point looking at them.

In my recent month-long trip to clear a house of old stuff so that it can be put up for sale, I found and carried back some old books. They are mostly books printed in the 1950s. I asked for permission to keep some for myself. Here is one which I quite like: Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Letter-Writer, printed in Great Britain, 1953. 

I cannot resist taking the liberty to quote the following sample letters. Enjoy.
All the names are fictitious of course.

November 20th
Dear Sylvia,
Here is a cheque for £5. I know just how difficult things are these days. In fact my own account is nearly overdrawn, so try and let me have the £5 promptly at the end of the month.
Love,
Pamela.

December 12th
Dear Sylvia,
What about my £5? Be a dear, and let me have it as soon as you can, since I’m getting rather short myself now.
Love,
Pamela.

December 20th
Dear Sylvia,
I wrote on the 12th, asking for repayment of my loan (which you promised to repay at the end of November), but I have heard nothing from you. I hope you haven’t spent all your last salary on Christmas presents, because I really need that £5 very badly. Could you send it by return?
Love,
Pamela.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hard times then and now. History does not change over mankind and circumstances. We now use digital ways to communicate instead of physical paper and ink. We gain speed. We can even delete our side of the record. But the mark is there on the other side unless he/she deletes too. In the house where I just cleaned up I found tons of paper records, old letters, magazines, books, exam papers, certificates, pictures, children’s school books, drawings, manuscripts, boxes and boxes of them. Some magazines are still in their original wrappers as though they have not yet been read. When I return to my own abode after a long absence, I too find many magazines (from some faithful mutual funds) in wrappers. I just do not have time to read them. The worst is that they come in two languages so I get two per month!

Many years ago I made a decision to get rid of my papers. So I gave away books. I burned my papers, pictures, certificates, thesis, whatever. Yet, many years later when I see some old pictures in my siblings’ collection I take a photo of those which depict me as a very young person. I find one such group photo lately. In those days people were expected to be respectfully serious and close their mouths when not talking. When all mouths were dutifully closed, me at five was captured in history with my mouth gapping, staring at the camera. Was it a premonition that one day I would do such verbose talking on screen?

“Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Every body at all addicted to letter writing, without having much to say, which will include a large proportion of the female world at least…”
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

“Andy: But they gave us an out in the Land of Oz. They made us write. They didn’t make us write particularly well. And they didn’t always give us important things to write about. But they did make us sit down, and organize our thoughts, and convey those thoughts on paper as clearly as we could to another person. Thank God for that. That saved us. Or at least it saved me. So I have to keep writing letters. If I can’t write them to you, I have to write them to someone else. I don’t think I could ever stop writing completely.”
― A.R. Gurney, Love Letters*

*Love Letters is a lovely play. Quoting from online sources:

A new Letter begins
In the age of instant communication, iPhones and Twitter, Love Letters is bringing memories of a simpler time to Broadway in 2014, helmed by Tony-winning director Gregory Mosher. The limited engagement includes appearances by Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen. The first celebrity pair in the new revival is Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, who will reprise the role of Andrew. “[Love Letters] is an extraordinary piece,” Dennehy told Today. “You cannot stage a play more simply than this, and yet it’s about everything in life. First love, loss of opportunities, loss of life, loss of love…It’s a beautiful play, and all you do is speak it.” But there’s two things the play won’t include: “Tweets and twerks,” Dennehy joked. “There are no twerks in this play.”

There is a mysterious cycle in human events

tree-eveningvia Daily Prompt: Realize I now realize that this is a mysterious shot taken at Sep 12, 2015, 11:35 PM according to the description. But I cannot remember how I could have gone outside to take this photo at such a late hour! When I check other photos taken on the same day I find that they depict daytime and not night. How could I have taken some photos in the morning, paused for a whole day, and went out again just to take this one picture? It does not make sense. Anyway I give up guessing. It does not matter. The story in the picture is nice to ponder: it seems to tell of a mysterious setting for a rendezvous for at least two. The dark trees, the traffic junction, the lamp post, the distant low mounds, and the sun captured in its yellow water-color painted sky backdrop. The setting stirs up a writer’s imagination without boundary.
By the way, because the lamps seem not lit I conclude that this picture was taken in the day and not at night. It did not really matter whether it was day or night. I was alone that day and not meeting anyone.
“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

the tree and a house

a story of a Tree and a house.
tree-and-houseThis is a strange picture. At a glance it may look an ordinary snap shot on a fine day, but when I look closer I see a blending of the trees in the foreground and the house at the back. It looks as if the tree has grown onto the wall of the house and some parts have climbed and covered the roof. The trees were actually planted on the upper slope and the house was at a lower ground. When I look this photo I was attracted by the lovely blue sky and did not notice the effect of the trees on the house. It was late September last year. I had newly arrived in this new place and was fascinated with the sky. It is too late to ask why the tree that looked like it plastered itself onto the wall was in such a state? It looked as if it did not belong. Perhaps it would be restored in spring. I never managed to find out as I left and moved on eventually. I do wonder whether the road side trees were planted by someone else. They were not meant to be part of anything except to adorn the roadside and give shade to joggers like me. The house too was not meant to be part of the scene. It just happened to be there and caught at random together with the tree on camera. Strange how life too could turn out this way for two totally unrelated beings. In this case, a tree and a house.

edge of light and season

Edge
edge-of-colorsThe edge that demarcates light from darkness fascinates me. The contrast is so clear in this picture taken in last September. The dark side is a wall of hedges. I was new to this place and was walking along the side of the road. The trees on the other side were turning into autumn’s yellow but the willow tree was quite adamant to stand out in its lush greenery.  I cannot figure out now what the white spots on the ground are. But they too contribute to the contrast in colors between the black and the white. The path too, clearly marked by a white side and a dark part shadowed by the tree. There seems a marking of a boundary between two sets of realms, one in the bright sunshine and the other one in the dark. Again it makes me think of our lives. Some are in the bright sunny realm where the light is and some in the dark and shady realm. One thing is certain, all living things need sunshine to grow and thrive, even the trees and the grass. With the seasonal changes one may enter a bleak and bare grey and colorless period. But the good news is the sun and the light with all the glorious and rich colors always come back with another season. Being an optimist I believe that this too applies to life.

Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;