Tag Archives: patience

Cause vs. Reason

I’ve been thinking a lot about that famous poem by William Carlos Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow“.  It keeps popping up…and I find that it intoxicates me for reasons I can’t explain.

Words are like that.  They can be magically and musically inexplicable, for all their ostensible explicability.  I’m reminded of Bill Borroughs’ cut-up novels…the way that Kerouac chose the words in his novels for their be-bop readability…the way that Shakespeare would rather make a word up than let insufficient syllabic content muss up his perfect iambic pentameter.

I’ve recently been forced, by way of my efforts to secure a slightly more dependable paycheck, to undergo a bit of intense personal reflection.  It started like this:  I received a convocation from the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII) informing me that I would need to attend a one-day information session on la vie française.  

Lunch would be provided.

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London Calling…I’ll get it.

It has been almost exactly two years since we left London.  Well – since Chris left London, and since Ann ran for her life.

While Chris and I are very much a unit, we are not always united.  We come from vastly different molds, he and I.  Like most moderately successful couples, we’re very much on par about the things that are important to us – the deal breakers – and we make lots of room for respecting our respective remaining and widely ranging opinions on the world around us.  London is one of those things in the world on which our opinions diverge.

Chris’ take on London falls in line with what I’ve come to accept is the reigning opinion of almost everyone alive:  London is vibrant, beautiful, electric, alive!  I don’t disagree with any of those things.  I just had a tough run…owing to me, to others, to circumstances…but mostly – as it is so often in this sometimes-humiliating life – to me.

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There is always, always a plan.  Even when I try to let life lead, there is always a plan.  Even when I don’t know exactly what the outcome will be, there are a number of options.  Like the doors on a gameshow, I expect the outcome to my big life decisions to fall within the confines of one of them, or some combination of the lot.  This time has been very different.

When the idea to write for a living came along, it was as though, for a moment, I suddenly had sea legs.  Is that even legal?  Surely I’m not one of the beautiful people.  I’m not someone who gets to spend her days creating.  Surely my mind isn’t independent enough, I’m not relentless enough, and after all, who on Earth wants to read what I’ve got to write?

Alas, I’m over a year into this endeavor and I can say that, without a doubt, I’ve not yet figured out the answers to any of those questions, or calmed any of those doubts (with the exception of that question on legality.  Apparently it is.  You heard it here first, beloved readers).

Don’t get me wrong – this post is not some big fishing festival – you read me, ergo, I’m gonna go ahead and assume you think I’m wonderful, either because of my uncanny ability to whittle words or because you just love me from way back.  I’ll take either one.  As to the editors I’ve contacted, the feedback has been…limited.  I’ve sold a few articles, I’ve written several more for free, and I keep on keeping on.  But there has been more than a little hubris along the way.

See, the first thought was this:

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C’est comme ça.

C’est comme ça.  Literally, “It’s like that.”  Probably a closer English translation would be, “That’s how it goes.”  The closest thing the French have to Bahala na, and really not that far away…Where Pinoys expect the worst and hope for the best, and thereby find a sense of peace in “leaving it to [fill-in-the-blank],” the French find their own peace in knowing – in much the same way – that things simply are as they are.

We arrived in Le Puy en Velay just over two weeks ago.  The leaves were vibrant, rusty colors, just really beginning to fall, and the weather was brisk and fresh, if a bit cold.  It’s now become wetter, with rain off and on throughout most days. Chris’ mother’s roses are in their last throes.  Winter is approaching.  C’est comme ça.

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It’s 12:47 in the morning…

…and I just wanted to share with you all that I have finally finished that sodding PM&E handbook for Organization B.

Some interesting statistics:

  • 101 pages of fun!
  • 5 Policy and Procedures forms for the whole family!
  • 16 exciting forms to plan, monitor, and evaluate in style!
  • and some other stuff.

This. Has. Been. Long. (yes, I realize the word “long” doesn’t work State-side, but I am using it in the context taught to me by my young people in London.  As in, “Do this thing.”  “Awww, dat’s long, bruv!”)

I’d like to thank the Academy…and L, who has kept me sane throughout the whole sometimes-stressful process.

Sigh…what a relief.

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The politics of anger is unsustainable.

So I’ll just come right out with it:  I had a bit of a falling out with M, the executive director of Organization C.  It was hot, a gazillion things had gone the way they did – right or wrong – but at any rate, I was frustrated.  There was a straw, and the camel’s proverbial back just went and broke.  And I expressed my frustration.  Which isn’t really…done here.  The reaction from M was not kind…it was not comforting or reassuring – in point of fact it was a scathing and unwarranted attack on me as a person, with all sorts of unnecessary comments thrown in for color.  I don’t know what I expected, but sadly, I think that was close to it.  Thing is, I’ve been frustrated for quite some time, and of course I didn’t put off saying anything because I’m timid or cautious…hehe…anybody who’s known me for 20 seconds knows that’s not my way.  I chose not to say anything because A) I couldn’t really see a positive outcome from voicing my concerns, and B) I was pretty sure that the response would not be pretty.  On this particular occasion the heat – and that persnickety straw – just got to me and I let it out.

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