Wednesday, May 15, 2013

can you really live one day at a time?

i'm ashamed to admit i never have, always suspicious of these popular NOW 
philosophies. they seem to leave me in limbo, no power over the future, nothing to get excited about, very passive. okay, for whatever reason, perhaps desperation, i decided to give it a try. so far i've lasted a week and this is what i've learned.

it definitely means accepting my demise and no worry. this is disgustingly difficult for me, as i've always, always, always lived in anticipation of something way out there, especially death. this gives me a lot of nervous energy: do it now, while you have the chance. maybe i lied about the aversion to NOW which i declared above. no, this focuses on a grand gesture, creating a masterpiece, laughing at my picture on the front of the new york times: "He Did It, Finally, After All" whichever it was supposed to be. 

throwing out 125 diaries, unloading 3000 books, casting into the trash six boxes of picture disks, this must have done something to my consciousness. i admitted to myself i wouldn't be around to collect the accolades. no university would treasure my papers, and i'm doomed to a pauper's end, my ashes scattered on a mountain. 

okay, that was the first step. i took what's left over to where i'll be house-sitting for the summer. rather frightening i'm finding it to be down to eight boxes. what was i thinking? where did that grandiose identity go? obviously, a good bit of it into the trash. who am i now? NOW AGAIN! that evil presence. what am i to do to re-establish a me on earth? 

you can see into what depths i had to cast before even considering living one day at a time. how the hell t0 do it? what i'm discovering after a decisive week: i need one activity to accomplish each day. that's it, so simple. for example, it might be doing the laundry, or meeting a friend for lunch, or visiting a class on the history of roman art, all of which i'd done in the past seven days. hallelujah! no great project like 'paradise lost' hanging over my head. and in fact, i've picked a goal for today which i already accomplished last sunday: to see the movie ren0ir about the painter and his son jean, who became a famous film-director. 

admittedly, i did set my sights on this particular film due to a personal memory, the aged film-maker walking up the aisle at the university of california, berkeley, his son pierre teaching in the english department, of all places. ah hah, a celebrity sighting from over fifty years ago stayed registered somewhere in my soggy brain. as for this second viewing, it's driven by the gorgeous actress naked among the flowers! 

day by day, it passes. i even took pictures at a local ranch museum and antique show, satisfying my creative drive in a miniature way. they did their duty, NOW i can set them aside and offer them to you, all in a day's work: