Sunday, January 3, 2016

resolved: it’s the year of elliott, slideshows, mystery, art, the same old silliness, plus: my new year’s date

It’s a new year. Resolutions have been made. Elliott has resolved to get more attention. We proclaim 2016 The Year of Elliott. We present his first composition, in 3-second slide.

Josie has resolved to pursue more mysteries, to follow more trails, to let nobody steal his thunder. Together, Josie and I resolved to seek out and ponder more art. We immediately went to the Riverside Art Gallery. There we found works by I. Sing Waters and caught a glimpse of S’No E. Butt, that famed North Woods explorer .

The river has resolved, of course, as always, to go with the flow.

And I have resolved to step aside, to let life happen, and, to the best of my ability, share stuff with you. Such as this: I had a date for New Year’s Eve that I hoped would last long into the night, and it actually started New Year’s Eve day, and, understandably, I was excited. It was, in essence, a blind date, despite having been introduced briefly, by a trusted source, a few months ago. And it was just one of those things. I felt a connection, I felt this thing, and I felt: this is right. I was willing to take a chance. So I forged ahead blindly, spent some money—bought something I never would have otherwise bought—and set the stage for a possibly wondrous New Year’s Eve day, eve, and night. So here it is, nine o’clock New Year’s Eve morning, the fire is hot, the sofa cover smooth, the pillows plumped, the blanket just right; on one small side table I’ve placed a dictionary, a notebook, a pen, and a pencil; on another small side table I've situated a cup of tea, a plate of ginger snaps, two tangerines, and some tissues. I hold in my hands my brand new copy of The Complete Works of Primo Levi, Volume I, and I sigh. I get under the blanket, begin to read. I mark many passages, lose my pencil for a while, find it later in a fold of the sofa cover (I have been lying on it), and mark many more passages.
But where we are going we do not know. Perhaps we will be able to survive the illnesses and escape the selections, perhaps even endure the work and hunger that wear us down—and then? Here, momentarily far away from the curses and the beatings, we can reenter into ourselves and meditate, and then it becomes clear that we will not return. We traveled here in sealed freight cars; we saw our women and our children depart toward nothingness; we, made slaves, have marched countless times to and from our silent labor, dead in spirit long before our anonymous death. No one must leave here who might carry to the world, together with the mark stamped in his flesh, the evil tidings of what man’s audacity made of man in Auschwitz. (Page 52, “If This Is a Man,” The Complete Works of Primo Levi.)
So I resolved to thank God (or whomever, whatever) for those who survive, for those who are saved, for writers like Levi, and for translators and editors and publishers and printers and proofreaders, the whole lot, the reviewers, the sellers—all who endeavor to bring story to light.

But I’ve made no resolution about commas. Except, perhaps, to use more, more often. They give one pause.

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