i’ve always loved the word ‘epiphany,’ gloried in the way it slips off the tongue, like an icicle: shining, elusive. its multiplicity of meanings lures me, too, rich and complex as it is in both its Christian usages and its secular incarnation. and suddenly, writing this, the connection between the visitation of the Wise Men and the flash of intuitive insight strikes me, and in the meta-moment i smile, abashed at never having noticed before. an epiphany about epiphany. how geeky. how entertaining. how lovely. writing does this for me, makes things evident i’d never see unless i trapped them in print, wriggling into meaning.
seven years today since i walked away, for good, from a marriage that was safe yet sad, in ways i never had adequate words to explain. seven years and i have had no epiphanies on that one, only the slow crusting over of a scar one has made on oneself, with sorrow and some guilt, but zero regret. the decision made and agreed upon some weeks before, i strapped on my backpack, and trudged down a crowded Korean alley to a cheap hotel which offered sex toys in a vending machine and a bed for a price that wouldn’t break my bank account. my friend Sarah, who was even more newly arrived in the country than i was, stayed with me. we eschewed the vending machine, though giggled at the, erm, delicate circumference of some of its offerings. we committed great cultural offense whenever we failed to remove our shoes at the door to our room, a pink linoleum palace awash in garish satiny relics, like some vintage, campy Marilyn Monroe trailer. we learned to order takeout, by phone, in Korean.
i read a lot of Dorothy Parker, then. on that epiphany afternoon in which i first laid down my bags in that pink waystation to everything that came after, i stole her words for “sanctuary” for my journal.
the land is bare of chattering folk, the clouds are low along the ridges
and sweet’s the air with curly smoke, from all my burning bridges.
she brought me comfort, wry, caustic Dorothy Parker, mistress of words.
i am a person who looks back, personally – Lot’s wife had nothing on my capacity for casting backward glances, taking stock of where i’ve been – but also culturally. in the 21st century pastiche environment of media and information, i’m a firm and entrenched throwback, a dinosaur of sorts. i am a paragon of the print era. in grade 5, my teacher used to ask me for help spelling things. in college, i kept my pissant scholarship based not on class attendance but on some innate, unfailing sense for constructing an effective written essay, even though i left assignments to the night before. reading and writing is as natural to me as breathing.
born too late, i whisper to myself in the wee hours, counting topic sentences and finely honed turns of phrase to soothe myself to sleep.
because this inclination of mine represents no longer the keys to power, nor to cool. this heavy pull towards all things print-based, towards the structures and invisible codes of a medium whose day has been and gone, renders me increasingly ananchronistic in my sensibilities. i am linear, structure-focused, frustrated by breadth without depth. i like the considered nature of print. i am an essayist in a world of tweets and facebook notes.
i’m open to technologies and to those new-fangled media that are primarily non-word-based, but from the perspective of a cultural anthropologist visiting a very foreign land. i love my computer, but i use it to read…and to write long, journal-style blog entries. i seldom turn on the tv. i only listen to music in the car, and even then prefer the wordiness of CBC radio for most short trips. gadgets befuddle me. i don’t have an iPod. and the website development Dave & i’ve been working on this weekend, where i’m trying to design content (for a writing course!) without a visual sense of what the finished product will look like and what hierarchy or structure it will fit within, makes me into a wretched, tortured, evil cow. really. ask Dave.
because he’s different, you see. the wiring of his brain makes new things fun for him, apparently, and makes him far more willing than i to venture outside the pleasant, familiar, pastoral world of paragraphs and conclusions to risk his metaphorical neck using new media for experimentation and expression. he’s decided to do a live one-minute video blog every day, all year, during 2008. that’s 366 video clips, folks…originally titled 365 but, erm, he forgot the whole Leap Year deal. his loving public fixed that fast. 366 minute-long blurps of Dave sitting in front of the Christmas lights in our playroom/office (because Oscar likes those lights and even though everything else has come down for old Christmas those will stay, so hath declared the indulgent parents) blathering on without structure, without planning, without editing. just to try it. just to see if he can do it…an art project of extemporizing. i, who can say nothing in less than a thousand words, each one carefully chosen, shudder at the thought.
but i’m proud of him. or at least pleased one of us is living in this century.
and willing to take a few steps in that direction myself, just so as not to become so comfortable in my little world of print here that the epiphanies other media may have to offer aren’t entirely closed off to me. a few weeks ago, in the mad rush of the day before we left for the holidays, i remembered i’d promised had the privilege to be part of a live webcast in the Worldbridges Solstice Webcastathon. if you’re trapped in traffic and think my “ummms” and ramblings about how much i love the mommy blog community might help to while away the lonely hours, the link’s at the top of this post, for your listening pleasure.
and i’d like to do more. i did a few live webcasts when i first started the blog, back in 2006, but organizing guests and conversations with a newborn and a blog audience of three proved challenging. now, i’m thinking…maybe you could help? if i could, say, Skype you…or even call you on your home phone…and pick your brain about some topic you’ve been writing about, and maybe gather a few people together for occasional roundtables on, um, stuff. cool stuff. we might be able to take this community to another level of conversation, people.
and launch ourselves boldly into the brave new world of the 1930s radio broadcasting podcasting while we do it!
if you speak, and speak English (sorry! i’m limited!), and would be willing to speak to me…leave me a comment. be warned, though: i’m ever more long-winded without the benefit of those invisible edit and delete keys. ;)