Monday, December 19, 2011

Killing Days with Death

Haven't written in a little while. Fell a bit behind. No matter; I intend to catch up.

Today was an interesting one. I slept past noon for no real reason, which put me in the troublesome position of having to struggle for a good mood. Ever have one of those mornings, where you overslept or you just feel groggy, and you can sense the desire to just do nothing, like you've already failed, already lost the unspoken battle against the days, the challenge to get up and make something. That turned from a question into a statement, but I guess it was rhetorical either way.

Anyway, I came dangerously close to just giving up right then and there, feeling miserable about how late I'd slept. That outcome was averted by a fortuitous twitter exchange with blogmaster Zac Little, who demanded I get up and do something so as not to waste all the precious time I have by being a member of the unemployed. I decided, in a sudden burst of energy and willpower, that I was going to make a video; not just any video, but my very first "vlog" post. I only recently made myself a youtube account for this very purpose. Vlogging is not the sort of thing I envisioned doing a few years ago, but what can I say? I'm fighting boredom and inactivity with all my might, and vlogging is comparatively easy. So here I am.

In the video, which is called Killing Days with Death, I reiterate my personal definitions of Everyday Panic and quote from Hermann Hesse's Steppenwolf, both of which I also did here, weeks ago. I also discuss excerpts of Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet, as well as my Tarot card of the day:

This is Death. As I explain in the video, Death is deceptively frightening: in truth, it is a mostly positive card, referring to change and rebirth. The Archeon booklet includes "death of the ego" as one of the card's meanings. It is a card that I associate strongly with this project. I drew it as my daily card before starting this blog, and found it to be a challenge of sorts, to see if I could make a new go of things, essentially. Death of the ego meant death of my former self, I suppose. It was a powerful, enlivening message, and along with the Letters to a Young Poet, which I had also been reading at the time, it helped push me into this whole project.

Drawing it again today, I feel like it represents progress. In some ways, this is the completion of a first step. I've made the blog, the tumblr, and now I've started the vlog as well. And it brings me back to Rilke, and back to that line from Steppewolf: "The day had gone by just as days go by. I had killed it in accordance with my primitive and retiring way of life." Today, I can make the joke I didn't even think of during the making of the video. Today, I killed my day with Death.

Here's the video itself -- nearly eleven minutes of rambling. I expect they shall get shorter, or at least more entertaining.

Something I'd have liked to go into more detail about was that last line of Rilke's, "And be glad and confident." I remember distinctly that read that letter, the sixth letter, that very same day I drew Death the first time, and I came to associate the card's symbolism with that line. In keeping with Rilke's style, it is a simple but elegant and gently put piece of advice: to appreciate life and to hope for the best, essentially. I want to be glad and confident. I want to be glad and confident every day. It doesn't happen, but I have these little tools... a network of images and objects and ideas... that all relate back to it, and help me to remember, and to stay grounded.

I have always been very good at relating one thing to another, often in ways that are so quick and abstract it becomes impossible for anyone else to keep up. I can't begin to explain the mental connections I've made tying Rilke to Death to Steppenwolf and back, and tying to other people and other things as well. But I can try to tease some sense out of it. I can try.

Enough thoughts. Tomorrow I shall bring you a story. If not tomorrow, then soon.

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