Monday, March 24, 2008

Set it off

It’s obvious that I’ve been having a hard time blogging. It makes me wonder, all the time, why I participate in this bizarre and exhibitionist art. Making decisions in public, going through anguish-causing times of public grief--why do I choose to share this with anyone? It’s been hard for me to admit to even my own family how difficult my path has been to find this last month.

I’m reading a new book right now: The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, an Afghan writer. I’ve been looking forward to reading it for a long time, and had requested it from the library. It begins innocuously enough, two boys at the peak of boyhood, and then it drops down into horrific depths. Much darker and more vivid than I had expected. It’s still, though, the story of how to be a good person, how to right wrongs, how to grow into the person your parents want you to be. I feel much like the lead character, deeply flawed, trying to find the present amid the past.

The worst thing about all of this (well, definitely not the worst, not even close) is that I know how much it would help for me to write, but I can't write without being honest about my feelings, and my feelings open me up to all sorts of criticism. Namely, why don’t you just get over it? An answer that is far easier to ask than it is to answer.

I’ve begun feeling like the man in that legend: (Wasn’t it even an Aesop’s fable?) a farmer and his son are taking their donkey, laden with fruit, to the market. On the way they get passed by a man who criticizes the farmer for forcing his poor young son to walk. So the farmer’s boy climbs on the donkey and they continue on. Then a woman passes by who tells the farmer he’s too easy on his son, letting the boy ride and not riding himself. So both the farmer and the son ride on into town. Then a third person passes by and tells the farmer that he should be shot for over-lading his donkey like that. The farmer and his son end the story by carrying their donkey into town.

I’m like him: if I try to please everyone I’ll please no one. I have a hard enough time being happy by myself, with myself. So the only answer is to “turn my eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.”