Nostalgia for old years and New Year hopes

I can’t believe two weeks have elapsed and I’m back in Florida again. Feeling a little depressed by the inevitable passage of time, particularly after a visit home with the family. Such a wonderful visit sometimes overshadowed by visual signs of age and change (and Time) that show on people and places. It’s hard not to feel a little sickly with nostalgia and wish for how things “used to be,” not because it used to be so much better, but because people I’ll not see again in this lifetime would be here still. For the most part, the folks at home are doing their best and often doing quite well, and that’s the most I can hope for.

I’ve been devouring Pound’s ABC of Reading and taking notes. This is a book I wish I had read twelve years ago, if only to have learned a little about the importance of language at an earlier age. I’ve always written and enjoyed writing, but I’ve always been more concerned with what I was saying than how I was saying it (even in my journalistic pursuits). Since starting my graduate program, I’ve learned the importance of both, and sometimes that more importance should be placed on the how. If that is the only information I take away from the graduate program, it is enough, but I feel I’m taking away more than that.

Studying language and writing makes me long for more conversations with a writer I worked with at the Post. He passed away this time last year. He was easily one of the most brilliant people I’ve known–spoke many languages fluently, including Mandarin and Latin. He was a bibliophile and had an amazing book collection. He cared about words and language and it showed in his stories, which were distinct and beautiful. About his children (and Time) he wrote this:

“They are irretrievable. Every breath, every minute, every joke and jump, every shout and kick of a pajama-clad leg in front of the TV, every Christmas smile – all these flash past, all these singular, startling things happen and are squandered practically the moment they appear, like tiny fireworks.”

“I read in a National Geographic article on time that our idea of “the present” is, at most, about six minutes long. We dwell in this little moving bubble, whose diameter is 360 seconds or so. It is all we can take in, all we can grasp, and the far end of it is always being lost, vaporing away into an irrecoverable past.”

He and I worked together on a couple of stories for the paper–I took the pictures and he put the words together. I would love to chat with him now about writing and Joyce and Pound and Homer, but the opportunity is no longer available. Instead he is another source of inspiration, and I seek others to chat with about writing and authors.

So, 2007 is nearly complete. I’m just finishing a project I started over a year ago, and already I see changes I would make if I were starting it right now. So much fluctuates in 365 days, and it’s interesting to have a gauge, like this project, to measure how my thought process has changed from the start of the year to the end of the year (not just changed but grown–I hope).

For tonight:
D, Me, pizza, DVDs, vodka/cranberry juice, Yuengling

For 2008:
several self-improvement goals–I won’t bore you by naming them.
continue to read and write (and publish?) as much as possible.
begin work on thesis and possibly be finished with school this time in 2008.
take the blog in a different direction (fewer personal posts like this one).
take up Buddhist studies again, as it is the only philosophy/religion that neutralizes my concern with passing time (Time has been tormenting me lately).

Generally, I’m hoping for the best for all of us.
Happy New Year


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