Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lincoln In the Bardo (book)

“We’re only tourists in this life
Only tourists but the view is nice.”
- Everybody’s Coming To My House, David Byrne

“And life is finite
But shit, it feels like forever.”
- tonite, LCD Soundsystem

“And when my time is up, have I done enough?”
- Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story, Lin-Manuel Miranda

“We are blessed with love and activity, but not enough time.”
- Me, July 27, 2018

“We had again been granted the great mother-gift:
“More time.”
- Lincoln In The Bardo, George Saunders
In fiction, ghosts are a manifestation of regret. Can a ghost exist without a belief in the need for its own existence? And that need is to complete something that had not been accomplished in life, as though life itself is defined by accomplishment.

Because it is, really. That is how we as humans define it.

In his riveting, ruminative novel, Lincoln In The Bardo, author George Saunders argues that life is what it is. What we do or what happens to us cannot be judged, it was what it was. No need to glorify not denigrate. Do what you can. Succeed or survive. Strive to do your best, surely. But let no one describe to you what that may be. Then, let go.

I find myself lamenting the scarcity of time. But time is not a thing. Life is a thing, the world is a thing. These can be valued, in the moment or not at all.

Three days ago I was sitting on the porch of a rustic cabin in Maine, listening to the sounds. My son’s peculiar and delightful laugh, the unfamiliar voices across the cove. I recalled that breakfast diner in Charlottesville, last month. (I remember -- the Nook!) The brick wall, the delicious odors; the coffee, the hash browns.

Today I sit at my desk to make a note of the memory. I hear the ticket printing machine, the brief, almost imperceptible whine of the copier. All of these things are special. They are not special because of what they are, they are special because they are what is.

I think I may be Buddhist.

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