Why is everybody so down on Hallmark? Aren’t we inarticulate enough without denying us the chance to have someone help us to speak? Haven’t we all had that moment when we don’t have any words of our own. When the words have been blasted right out of us? When all we are left with is a heaving heaviness in our guts? No more than an empty space — black, boiling in on itself — that cannot signify some acceptable meaning? When there is an absolute requirement — the need to speak, but no words.
That time when all you have to say is: This thing that has happened — it has torn a hole in my heart and taken the words right out of me. I want to show you the blood rushing out to pool at my feet. To speak in the red sticky coppery taste of sorrow, to give you the torn out piece of my heart and say “eat this — it is my heart’s ache for you.” But no one wants to see the gun-shot hole in your chest. You cannot point to a pool of blood and say “this is for you.” But, you can always send a Hallmark with its carefully decorous words that say “I have a hole in my heart for you.” without making an unseemly display of arterial blood.
The thing about Hallmark is that the reply, the acknowledgment of the other’s sympathy, of the wound that they have taken in response to your own heart-ache, can be as carefully ritualized as the expression. With Hallmark you do not have to say “I see the hole in your heart but I can not answer it — the hole in my heart is too big and bleeding to quickly and it threatens to overcome me. And I cannot be held accountable for your sympathy.” You can simply let Hallmark say “Thank you for thinking of me.”
Hallmark. Because sometimes the best you can do is to let someone else help you say “I have some feelings about this. I thought you should know.”
It’s always night when I arrive.
The little Embraer 145 lands and shudders to a heavily braked stop at the end of the runway. Then turns and taxis back toward the terminal. Where an air-stair is wheeled up to the side of the plane and we, the passengers, descend.
The air is warm and damp, and smells of wood smoke, jet fuel, silt, and drains.
At the bottom of the stairs I pick up the carry on luggage that never fits in the overhead bins. Then pull my clicking, wheeled bags across the tarmac and onto the concrete sidewalk under a canopy beside a patch of coarse, unnaturally green grass.
The Arrival Hall is a fluorescent lit, eight-foot wide corridor full of gringos attempting to puzzle out the immigration form with its dense, cryptic, oh so foreign instructions.
I am anointed as “one who knows” not for my awful Spanish, but because of my ability to properly fill out this form — information repeated twice. Once in ample spaces at the top of the form. And then again at the bottom in tiny spaces barely big enough for your initials let alone your Appelidos and Nombres. Continue reading
Every now and again I rediscover some long forgotten corner of my vasty web empire and have to clean out an overgrown comments moderation queue. For a while there was a rash of spam comments made up of seemingly random bits of strung together prose. They stopped appearing a couple years ago. But I recently found a trove of them on a photoblog I’d mothballed. Herewith I present.
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All roads lead to Rome.
Every Jack will find his Jill.
Short version. A switch from curation to creation.
Slightly longer version. Morning Linkage was path to finding my way back into thinking about story telling. It is now time to start telling stories of my own again.
There’s an even longer version but that should probably stay between me, my therapist, and the happy band of weirdlings on the WW list.
What will you see here next? I’m still working on that. I hope it’s about stories and how they get built. Words, pictures, sounds, places, dirt, and stars.
Shiny has moved house and hopefully none of you noticed.
Between the charming and helpful folks at my host Lunarpages, and the I‑will-never-do-without-it-again WordPress plug-in Automatic WP Backup, the entire process took less than 2 hours.
Now that Shiny is happily ensconced in her new efficiency flat look for the work to begin at the big house blackdogandmagpie.net