do not affect a breezy manner

I've stolen this title directly from Strunk's "Elements of Style" (or, "the writer's bible" as my high school English teacher called it). Thumbing through the other day, I saw this passage and felt a pang in my chest.

The volume of writing is enormous, these days, and much of it has a sort of windiness about it, almost as though the author were in a state of euphoria.
"Spontaneous me," sang Whitman, and, in his innocence, let loose the hordes of uninspired scribblers who would one day confuse spontaneity with genius.

The breezy style is often the work of an egocentric, the person who imagines that everything that comes to mind is of general interest and that uninhibited prose creates high spirits and carries the day.

Harsh words but honest words, and I'm terribly guilty.

With that, I'll spare you my witticisms (for today) and instead offer this beautifully haunting Frost poem in the hopes that you'll find some piece of it to love as deeply as I do.


Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question "Whither?"

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?


random inappropriate thoughts

...am I a bad person if I change the channel every time they start talking about health care reform...?

...where do homeless people go to the bathroom? not number one, but number two...?

...if I die young, how will anyone know what quote I want written on my headstone... especially because I change my mind about this like every week...?

...why do I even bother with facebook when half the stuff people post just annoys me...? ...and how many people are annoyed by stuff I post...?


crazy is as crazy does

At least twice a week, Ryan and I have the following exchange:

Me: Do you think I'm crazy?
Ryan: Yes.

This follows all kinds of conversations — like after I suggest we move to Puerto Rico to be mango pickers so we can enjoy the warm weather, work outdoors, be perpetually tanned, muscular, and relaxed. And I don't even like mangoes. You get the picture.

Most recently, this exchange was in response to Hibernation Celebration. What is Hibernation Celebration? It's my very own fabricated holiday, which falls on the third Saturday of January (the 16th this year).

Because January depresses me. Because it's too cold to be outside. Because I miss my family and friends. Because I always want to cry after throwing a Christmas tree away.

Reasons abound. So, on Saturday, our house was filled with all the cheerful things I could think of. Yellow balloons and yellow flowers. White Christmas lights and streamers. Honeysuckle candles. A fire in the fireplace. Homemade roasted parmesan potatoes, pecan-encrusted tilapia with rum butter sauce, french onion soup, sweet potato pie, and chocolate covered strawberries.

And then, with very full bellies, we played backgammon and watched the Colts game. So, does that make me crazy? Guess it depends on who you ask...


overheard 004

Radio DJ: Hello, Felix — you say you're asexual, you're not attracted to anyone?
Felix: Yes.
DJ: So, you've never been attracted to anyone?
Felix: Well, when I was younger I was, just to fit in.
DJ: OK, well I'm out of time. Goodnight everyone, I'll be back tomorrow, blah blah...
Song starts playing.

...Really? You're just going to leave it at that? I don't want to listen to music anymore. I want to talk to Felix.


thank goodness for good neighbors

Snow today. Lots of it, at least by my standards. But not enough to cancel school, therefore, not enough for me to stay off the road. So the little two-wheel drive Volvo fishtailed its way around every corner of the morning commute, clearly freaking out as much as its driver.

But the real fun arrived on my way home from work. That's when I got stuck — in my own driveway, at bottom of the smallest hill you've ever seen. I can't even call it a hill actually, it's more like a tiny three foot slope. By the time I trudged up to the garage for a shovel and back, my neighbor Jerry was waiting at the bottom.

"You stuck?"

Then another neighbor from across the street, Tony, arrived with his snow blower. And then our next-door neighbor Susan walked over.

Tony cleared out the driveway while Jerry and I shoveled the sidewalks. Susan's golden retriever Abby, who apparently loves the snow, frolicked around the yard like the cutest damn thing I've ever seen. And just like that, a very crappy situation was made infinitely better thanks to a few good neighbors.