Thursday, October 31, 2013

Back when I started blogging there was a sense of fresh adventure and possibility, new territory, the pleasure of a new venue.  It was all an experiment, so why not jump in with enthusiasm.  Rather than scribble away on a Starbuck's patio into a legal pad that no one would ever see, why not write 'live,' and find new challenges.  Maybe by covering the madcap mind's diverse thoughts on a semi-regular basis would lead a writer someplace new, or perhaps even into a fresh sort of honesty with self.

It was in such a spirit that I came across the blog of an old friend.  The blog did a fine job of covering neurochemistry in terms of behavior and the capacity of people either to be cold psychotic killers or gentle types better at seeing what it might be like to be in another person's shoes.  Personality disorders, that sort of thing, the ability to relate, as explored through making sense of a study, in a very well done way, as a bit of poetry is necessary when bringing across the dry facts of science...

The blog was good stuff, personal, heartfelt, while at the same time maintaining its science and psychology.   And I had a good feeling, that here, years later, even as estranged friends, we two were sort of after the same thing.  I was doing it in the whys and wherefores of literary work, of why poetry is necessary, or why writing might make us better deeper people accessing our sympathetic powers.  I was less scientific, with far less reference to studies, a lot sloppier, but, I was glad that after circumnavigating the years as people must, we'd kind of come out at a similar place, caring for the world.  At one point I found a nice piece in my old friend's blog, and I commented upon it, keeping it within the realm of humor, as one is required to do.

Well, well, it's all terribly embarrassing.  My comments seemed acceptable, and my friend's posts kept coming.  It seemed okay, that after the years I'd been accepted, at polite arm's length, which is as far as I  wanted or expected, an occasional comment here and there, and a general pleasant feeling of being on the same side of things, maybe something like a truce between friends who'd fallen into a tit for tat because of some lack of happy sustaining chemistry, not far any real good reason.  And then, wearing rose colored glasses, enjoying this blogging stuff, I made a mistake, the mistake of trying to more directly contact the old friend to say, hey, I enjoy what you write, good prose, good stuff.  And rather immediately rebuffed, okay, well, so it goes, here was the same old things, and why friends cannot be friends sometimes.  Well, I probably got a bit bitter one night, decided to delete my silly postings, unwanted as they were, an intrusion, just as I became an intrusion without intending to be.  And not long after, the old friend's blog ceased to be added to.  And then, here I am again, the ruiner of everything, same place I was years ago.  Ha ha ha.

Where, I wonder, does the chemistry of friendship go wrong?  When does your solid consistent outlook of generosity and kindness to people, restrained, judicious as it can be while still giving others the benefit, when does all that become taken as something it's not?  When and how do good acts get turned into the behavior of a deviant?  When does a friendly concern become, well, embarrassingly, and devastatingly even, regarded as stalking?  At that point, we are stripped of politics, and nothing we can do will ever be just a simple kind well-intentioned act?  Does it happen when we feel the need to distinguish our own self-regarded class of people and all its good behavior from those we regard as others, different, less agreeable, 'not good enough...'   Or did we simply just irritate the heck out of someone once, and f you.  Fairly mind-boggling to be on the receiving end.  And then you go and look at other people strutting around with their self-confidence, observe how they are rewarded for their own good feelings, uncomplicated, about themselves, how they get away with some things you find quite rude.

Writing out Frost's line, about how people, when doing something fine, work together, I thought of my old friend's blog.  I gather Frost wouldn't mind how apart the apart can be, how distant, how vanished from lives those who work together can be.  As probably many a good old New England spirit might know, that is all perfectly fine, and maybe even normal, who knows.  No sense at all in forcing yourself on other people, and the only one you must maintain your own dignity to is your own self.

Life's just that way.  Sad or stupid as it may be, not worth commenting upon.  The only thing you can say it that through a literary exploration of the complexities of life, as you might find in Chekhov or Dostoevsky, a reader awakens to new possibilities of understanding, more, as one recent study put it, or maybe it was NPR covering the study, empathetic.

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