Flash in the Pan

Art All the Time

D-Day

by Hilary B. Bisenieks

I try to talk to my dad most days, even if it’s just to say hi and make sure that he’s doing ok, since I’m three thousand miles away from him.  He’s hard to talk to sometimes.  It happens.

He wasn’t born here.  He grew up in Riga, Latvia, during the War.  He says that he remembers June 14th, 1941—the undesirables being herded onto trains by the Bolsheviks.  He didn’t know much about the Western Front of the war until D-Day.  The Eastern Front was right on his doorstep.

During the War, we were allied with the Soviets, so it became easy to ignore the things that the Bolsheviks were doing.  It wasn’t the Holocaust, but it wasn’t great either.

Nobody much thinks about the Baltic States.  Latvians had to fight on both sides, for the Soviets because they were forced to, for the Germans in the hope that maybe after the war, their homeland would regain its independence.

When my father and grandmother left Riga in 1944, they were passed by thousands of German soldiers going the other way.  They got out in time, but they were hardly safe.  They lives in displaced citizen camps in Austria.  In Vienna, they were bombed by the Americans during the day and by the British at night.  My grandmother made something like a living having to clean toilets for Nazi officers.  They lost everything except the clothes on their backs during an air-raid.

I’m sure my father would still recognize the sound of a Lancaster bomber or a B-17 flying overhead.  Some things you never forget.

Things you never forget.

Forget.

American’s are very good at simplifying complex things to try to understand them.  People are very good at simplifying complex things to try to understand them.  If I walked down to the heart of Dimond right now and asked someone what the War was about, they’d say the Nazis and the Holocaust or the Japanese and Pearl Harbor.  Those are fairly understandable.  I don’t think most people could find Latvia on a map of the world.  I don’t think most people know it exists.

With the Cold War, the Soviets became enemies, but we weren’t concerned with what they’d done to create their Glorious Union; we were afraid they’d nuke us off the map before we could shoot back.

My father was in this country by then.  He grew up in Ann Arbor, an outsider, ausländer, as he had been in the Austrian countryside in the winter of 1944, where the German school children threw snowballs at him.  He discovered science fiction and fantasy, all the worlds he could escape into.

But he didn’t forget.

He can’t.

We shouldn’t, either.

I Am

by Samantha Capps

She says we’re off balance. He says I’m insecure. He questions what I said to the library patron on the phone. She’s says I’m amazing. They tell me they’re so happy for me. He ignores me. She questions me.

I don’t know who I am. I’ve spent my whole life listening to other people’s voices.

I am…

23 years old. 5 foot 8 inches. Over 160 pounds for the first time since before college. Near-sighted. Left-handed. Female.

I double majored in college. I have a perfect verbal GRE score. Five semesters on the Dean’s List. 3.89 GPA.

I work at a library. I’m going to library school in the fall. I think I want to research information seeking behaviors, but I don’t really know.

I’m getting published in The Sun. I’ve been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I want to win a Pulitzer one day.

I’m mentally ill. Bipolar. Four hospitalization. One suicide attempt. Self-harm scars on my right leg. Compulsive skin picker. Binge eater. OCD obsessions. I take Effexor, Abilify, and Neurontin. Former binge drinker. Recovering codependent.

I’m in pain. My left ankle is in chronic pain. I have vulvodynia. My vagina hurts for no reason. I do physical therapy for this and it is slowly helping.

My father was an opioid addict. My mother had post-partum depression.

I have amazing friends.

I’ve been told I’m needy.

I’ve slept with five men. Kissed seven men and one woman.

I’m backpacking Europe this summer. I’m excited and terrified.

I struggle to feel secure.

I have something to say.

I’m a human being like everyone else.

I feel a lot of shame about myself, but finally I can look to myself in the mirror and see that I’m beautiful.

I’m Samantha.

Art, Influences, and Pancakes

by Robin Criscuolo

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s inspiration: 

 

 

 

I am sitting on my floor reading this book, Share Your Work by Austin Kleon.

Image

I am a third of the way through and I want to jump up and knock on my roommates door, the one who is making it working for himself with his photography and film editing, and give the book to him, but I’m only a third of the way through the book and I am selfishly going to finish it first. 

 

My thought process: “I must give this to him as soon as I’m done. I must email my writing buddies from college. Remember the lapsed blog we started together? Remember Hilary’s offers to help me with a website. Oooh, I must share this book with my new writing group!” And so on. 

 

Austin Kleon says share what you truly like, what you are inspired by. Shout it from the rooftops, he says and you will find your people, your following, your scene.  Anne, from Anne of Green Gables, calls them “kindred spirits”

 

 

 

Today I am inspired by this girl.

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She is on my list of top ten childhood influences and what kind of person I want to be when I grow up. I’ve had this image saved to my desktop for weeks now. This girl is at her stove, pot boiling over and splatters on the floor as she leans back, all her focus on flipping that one pancake. The motion of her wrist. It feels so right to be this girl, in this moment, in front of this stove, flipping this pancake. 

“And then she got out three eggs and tossed them high in the air. One of the eggs landed on her head and cracked open, making the yolk run into her eyes. But the other two she easily caught with a saucepan.

They smashed into bits in the pan.

‘I’ve always heard that egg yolks are good for your hair,’ said Pippi, wiping her eyes. ‘Just wait and see, my hair is going to start growing like mad.'”

 

Her constant companions, Tommy and Anika, look on goggle-eyed, but Pippi is oblivious to their judgement because she is flipping her pancake, which is, at the moment, her life’s work. Everything (plucking the egg shells out of the batter, beating the batter with her bath brush, singing a pancake song made up on the spot) has lead up to this moment: egg yolk dripping down her neck, pancake in mid-air about to land with a hiss and sputter of hot grease. It will sizzle to a golden tan and then she will throw it across the room onto plate and urge her incredulous friends to “Eat! Eat, before it gets cold!” They will gobble it up and declare it the one of the best pancakes they’ve ever eaten. She is sharing what makes her happy and she is doing it just as it occurs to her. 

I want to be that girl. 

 

 

 

I keep a card  from my dear friend  Zach Danneman by my bed. Zach spent Christmas week with me a couple of years ago and we stayed up late talking long into every night. One drizzling evening, we talked about doing what we loved. He shared with me a favorite phrase from one of his friends or relations, an aunt or grandmother, perhaps: “Do whatever flips your pancake!” Used like the phrase “whatever floats your boat” or “whatever turns you on.” When Zach left, he gave me this card: on the front was a photograph of a majestic waterfall with water splashing down over rocks smoothed from centuries of moving H2o. Next to the image of the waterfall, he had written “Dat shit be flippin’ my pancake like ten times!”

 

 

 

Here’s to what is flippin’ our pancakes today. Here’s to giving our pancake flippin’ our all, just as it occurs to us. And here’s to sharing the process, messy and eggshell-y and all.

 

 And read this book.

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Get it from an indie bookstore:

http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780761178972

 

 

 

Image credits: 

indiebound.org 

1980’s edition of Pippi Longstocking from Buccaneer Books, illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman.

Hope (Untitled)

by Hilary B. Bisenieks

Hope comes from behind, from the dark corners of our minds, as a surprise when things feel hopeless.  Hope is a surprise.  Its light blinds me, showing me more clearly the darkness all around, making me gasp, making my eyes water–no, of course I’m not tearing up.  Hope does not wait for your permission.  It is not going to sit patiently by until I tire of my bad mood–it does not have time for self-indulgence.

Hope is the second half of a public radio interview when I’m late for work: stressed, engine revving longer before I change up.  I must step back, mentally, because hope is here, reminding me that the world isn’t doomed.  Hope plays the longest game, and it might be a year, five, ten, a lifetime before you see how the pieces are falling into place, and once you see that, you can look back and finally notice the patterns that you couldn’t see at the time.  Hope is the forest, growing one tree at a time, breathing out new life, previous oxygen, absorbing the carbon dioxide, for hope could not live without a bit of negativity.  Hope acknowledges change, effects it even when you think that it’s lost, that you are hope-less, devoid of any potential for change, and when you look away, when you bury your head in your hands, it strikes: surprise!

Hope.

Pretty Fucking Good

by Samantha Capps

So I’m lying on my back on the back end of my car, my legs dangling off the trunk, my head on the back window, and I’ve changed out of my dress pants from work and into a pair of short-shorts so I can feel the breeze against my legs, the breeze that’s full of the newness of fall, and beside me is an empty bowl out of which, minutes ago, I ate pasta with pesto and zucchini, a meal I cooked for myself, which is unusual for me, lazy-eater me, and as I lie there, staring upwards, watching birds frolick in the air, the neighbors come home, first the Asian lady a few apartments over who tries to talk to me sometimes even though I can never really understand what she’s saying through her accent, and then the Hispanic family to the left of my apartment, a woman with two kids and now I think her sister is staying there with her kid, and all of them are always yelling and laughing and playing in Spanish, and I remember how last night they were outside, and the kids had found a stray cat and were talking to it and playing with it and begging theirs moms to let them keep it, and the argument switched back and forth from Spanish to English to Spanish again so many times I lost track of it, and so I sit up and wave to them and see everything around me, my car with the side-mirrors held on with duct tape, the apartment that’s kind of dingy, paint peeling from the red front door, but otherwise a nice, cozy spot, and plants out front, the plants I planted, which I had never done before, plant plants, and there’s a vegetable growing and I don’t what it is because the seeds were a gift from a friend who didn’t tell me what they were, and even though my world feels broken and my body hurts and my brain won’t stop thinking about people that I can’t figure out and my life, which I also can’t figure out, and all the math I need to study and how I still need to wash to dishes and the big FACT DU JOUR, which is “Oh my god, I have no idea what I’m doing,” I think that maybe this moment right now is pretty fucking good.

Let Me Tell You a Story

by Hilary B. Bisenieks

Back when I was young–well, younger than I am today–and the biggest publication credit I had to my name was a piece in my high school lit-mag, back when I first realized that I wanted to Write, I wrote a story.  Compared to my more recent work, it wasn’t much, but it was the first story I’d written of which I was proud.  I thought it was pretty good.  Not only that, but other people thought it was pretty good.  So good, they told me I should try to get it published.

Back in the mid-80’s, back before I was born, my father worked for Amazing Science Fiction.  The head editor at Amazing was a man named George Scithers.  During my early childhood, George lived a few blocks away from us in West Philadelphia.  My dad would take me to George’s house when he went to pick up manuscripts that he was proofreading for George, and I would marvel at all the books and the old-fashioned phone on the wall and the huge desk that dominated George’s study.  George would call me “Sprout,” and toss my hair, and then he and my dad would talk books for a little while.

Later, George took the reins at Weird Tales, a magazine which I revered, even though I had read very little of its recent publication run.  I knew the name because it had helped make a name for Lovecraft and others back in the 20’s.  I knew that I wanted to get published there.

So I polished up my story, found a big envelope, and sent my manuscript to Weird Tales.  By this point, George was living in Maryland, and that’s where Weird Tales was being published from, otherwise I mights have been tempted to walk the MS over myself and stick it in the mail slot of that house on Larchwood Street.  And then I waited.

And I waited.

And one afternoon, there was a phone call.  Not to my cell phone, the number of which I had put on the MS, but on the house phone.  It was George.  He told me that he’d read my story.  He was a great man for many reasons, but one certainly was that he’d read anything by anyone, regardless of whether he’d heard of them.  Of course it didn’t hurt that he’d seen me grow up.

He told me that he thought my story was “damn good.”  His words.  For real.  Then he took half an hour to tell me how it could be an even better story.

So I sent a revision.  And he sent back a marked up copy, telling me in no uncertain words what needed changing.

By the time I sent my next revision, there had been an editorial shakeup at the magazine, and George wasn’t there to give his time to a young, unheard-of writer like me anymore.  Several years later, I heard that he’d died.  I was sad.  I’m still a bit sad.  Sad that George didn’t get to see any of my stories published.  Sad that I lost my first writing mentor.  Sad that the sf/f community lost someone so amazing.

And today I’m sad that, after another change in leadership, Weird Tales has betrayed the trust of its readers and betrayed the vision that George, and Ann VanderMeer after him, worked towards to promote good, chilling, dark, beautiful weird fiction.

The Perfect Day

by Samantha Capps

“How do I master / the perfect day? / Six glasses of water / Seven phone calls” – “It’s Not Up to You,” Björk

If you asked me, I’d tell you my perfect day looked like this: I wake up, go for a run, make a good, healthy breakfast for myself, go to work at my library job, eat a good, healthy lunch, work hard and well and with joy, come home to a house/apartment (it really doesn’t matter) that has lots of plants and lots of sunlight, eat a good, healthy dinner with someone I love, and have time in the evening to read, write, meditate, watch a movie, call a friend, spend time with someone I care about, and go to sleep for a full seven to eight hours next to someone I love, but not before writing in my journal.

Though I know I am young and still have (one would hope) plenty of time to create my perfect day, but I find myself getting so frustrated with how little my life matches up with my ideal. Yes, I have a library job, which I love and am very thankful for (I try to think about how thankful I am for this job during my walk from my parking lot to the library. Sometimes I forget just how awesome an opportunity this gig is for me.), but it’s only part-time, so I’m doing a lot of work on the side for my dad for extra money and searching for either a second part-time job or a full-time library job. Money is a constant problem for me. I have an apartment, which I got while I was still working full-time before my joints decided to start hurting me, forcing me to quit my very physically intense second job. I am paying my rent and my electric and internet and student loan bills and my gas, but my mother is still taking care of my car insurance and my phone bill. I want to save money so I can go to grad school mostly financially independent, but with my current circumstances, saving is practically impossible. I feel guilty over about every dollar I spent. I seriously spent a good five minutes earlier this week debating whether or not to buy string beans because I want to cut down as much spending as I possibly can (I eventually decided to buy the string beans, but the market near my library where I was going to buy them ended up being closed due to an emergency. Life is funny.) I was recently turned down for a job at a YMCA, but even if I had gotten the job I would have said no because it required me to work four pm to nine pm Monday through Friday, which I would have loathed. I want to make money, but I don’t want to sacrifice my well-being to do so.

I’m eating better than I ever have before in my life. For the past three months, I’ve had three eggs, a banana, and oatmeal for breakfast, as opposed to my usual sugary cereal, and it’s made a big difference. I haven’t stuck with diet change for this long ever before, and it feels great. But I get lazy with my other meals. I still eat Big Macs when I’m in a rush and when my roommate is too busy to cook real food for us, I make Rice-a-Roni or canned soup for dinner.

And my greatest qualms are in my non-working-or-eating time. Sometimes I can go a whole week where I can keep my daily goals. I WILL meditate twenty minutes a day (it really does make a difference if done regularly). I WILL write for thirty minutes every day. I WILL go for a walk every day. I WILL make a dent in my reading list every day. I WILL update this website every week. I WILL work on the three self-help workbooks I am working through every day. But inevitably I get bored or tired or lazy and slip up. I am a depressive trying to live my life without medications, and sometimes after work all I want to do is lie in bed. Sometimes I just want browse my favorite websites and not have to think or work or make any substantial effort toward anything. And then the guilt sets in, the feeling that I am not living my life the way I should be, that I am not meeting my potential, that I could be better if I just tried harder, but the energy for such effort just isn’t me.

I have so many doubts. I doubt that my perfect day is possible. Sometimes I think my perfect day is impossible because of the nature of existence, the external imperfection and error and dumb mistakes. Sometimes I think it’s impossible because of me. I could write forever about my history of psychological troubles. I struggle to remain emotionally stable. My romantic relationships (and occasionally my platonic friendships) are tumultuous and brief and intense. At the moment, I am caught up in a very confusing situation with a boy who is leaving for California in two weeks, and it’s bringing out the worst of my co-dependency and clinging and mood swings and depressive thoughts. I doubt that I have the strength to create what I really want in my life. I doubt that I will ever be a stable, mostly optimistic person who can handle life’s curve balls without falling apart. But I have a new therapist who I think is helping to get me on the right path, and sometimes I think maybe contentment is possible for me.

I like getting drunk. For reasons I still don’t understand, I am much happier on mornings when I wake up hung-over. I feel more at peace, more able to tackle the day. Being drunk lets me write more freely. I am drunk right now. But I set limits. I don’t (for the most part) drink unless I don’t have work the next day or until after I’ve taken care of any pressing issues (today, I made myself work on the prescription paperwork I process for my father and take a shower before I opened this bottle of cheap Wal-Mart merlot). Sometimes I am afraid I am on the path to alcoholism. Sometimes I think I can incorporate drunken nights into my perfect days.

I can’t run because of my chronic joint pain. Not that I particularly like running, but I believe it’s a practice that fosters discipline and endurance, both of which I want and need. But I try to be grateful for my mornings, even if they don’t include a refreshing run. The library doesn’t open until ten. I wake up at eight and cook my breakfast and never feel rushed to get out the door.

So maybe the perfect day isn’t possible. Maybe our lives are like mathematical equations with that approach a limit but never reach it. Through hard work and a little luck we can get closer to that perfect day, but our imperfect lives prevent us from ever getting there. Maybe I will always struggle with whether or not tonight is a drinking night or not, whether or not I will I feel okay with not writing for three days straight, whether or not I am can be content with my apartment with very little sunlight and lots of insects but with the potential for a garden in the front.

I discovered this week that Montreal is an extremely possible location for my graduate library science studies. I would be living abroad and be immersed in French, but not overwhelmed by it (I would still be fairly close to home, the school is English, and as long as I continue to work on my French skills, I think life in Montreal is entirely possible for me), which would pave the way for me to go back to France. In the next week, I am going to open a savings account and start saving up the little extra money I have, and there is still the possibility that in the near future I will get a phone call from the full-time library jobs I have applied for. Though I don’t write every day, I feel more confident in my abilities and potential than every before. Every week, I go to my Codependents Anonymous meeting and my French conversation group, both of which bring me a lot of joy and both of which I learn a lot from. In two weeks, my sort-of-but-not-really boyfriend is moving to Santa Cruz to create his perfect day, and as much as I am dreading his departure, I know it is good for me in the long-run that he does so and I am happy that he is going off to do what he really wants to do. I am still struggling with my very intense emotional fluctuations (this has been the worst two weeks in quite a while) but I do like my therapist, and I think once the object of my current unhealthy attachment has relocated to the west, I’ll be able to put more focus on getting better and creating a stable life. This post probably has a lot of errors, but goddammit, I’m writing!

In the same song quoted at the beginning of this post, Björk also sings, “The evening / I’ve always longed for / It could still happen anyway.” 

My perfect day is no guarantee, but neither is the a lifetime of the confusion and despondency I am currently wading through. God grant me to courage to see this point of my life through, whoever the fuck you are.

A Thought while Waiting for the Green Light So I Can Merge onto I-85

by Samantha Capps

Whenever I ride shotgun in a car or am stopped at a light, I have a tendency to stare at the drivers of the cars next to me. I’ve been a starer my whole life. I catch myself staring at walls, at other people, at pages of books without reading them almost every day. But it’s different on the road. I do it intentionally. And almost every time, even though they are staring at the road in front of them, these drivers know that I am staring and turn and give me a “What you lookin’ at?” look. Is it a sign that human beings are all really connected, this intuitive sense that someone in the car next to you is staring at you? I wonder what they’re thinking when they catch me staring? Are they as perplexed by my gaze as I am by their sudden turning in my direction? Or am I thinking too much again? The Hispanic man smoking a cigarette turns his head towards me with a glare, and I look back at the road in front of me, just as the light turns green.

Who the Fuck Are You, Anyway?

by Samantha Capps

It’s a question I keep struggling with: who the fuck am I? Part of the answers is what I do. Another part is what I want to do. Another part is how I think, what I’m good at, what I’m not so good at, the things I’ve done in the past, the thing I want to do in the future, my flaws, my contradictions. Who the fuck am I anyway?

I am a twenty-two-year-old college graduate living in her first apartment with a friend from high school. I work in a library, which is the bees-knees, though I spend a lot of time working with homeless or impoverished folks who don’t have a lot of computer skills, which is frustrating and challenging and rewarding. Last week I had my first experience of a patron thanking me for helping him create a resume that got him a job. I have a cubicle and an e-mail address and my own phone line and my own designated parking spot in biggest metropolitan area in North Carolina, which is all very strange and feels too adult-like for me.

I am a late bloomer. I had my first kiss at 18. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was almost 20. I never had a job before college. I am shy, self-conscious, always comparing myself to others. I own a hell of a lot of books. I get panicky in new situations. I have an irrational fear of making phone calls which has gradually become less severe. I cry a lot–I’ve cried in class, at work, to people I barely know, to my best friends, while driving, while in the shower, during sex, after sex, while having a conversation with the editor of my favorite literary journal.

People say I’m smart, but I often feel like I am only smart on paper. I make a lot of dumb mistakes. I am gradually learning to forgive myself for this and surround myself with people who don’t judge me for it.

I am a daydreamer. I spent a lot of time in my head. I get a lot of enjoyment out of simply sitting and thinking. Sometimes I wish I could stop thinking so much.

I have an extensive background of psychological treatment. I saw my first therapist at age seven. I was put on anti-depressants at age ten, and since then have taken just about every psychiatric drug on the market: Prozac, Zoloft, Abilify, lithium, Seroquel, and on and on. I have spent a little over a month in total in psychiatric hospitals. I have been off meds for almost two years now. Last week I got a new therapist. I worry a lot about what goes on in my brain and what it means for my future.

I once went to Catholic school. In high school, I became an atheist. Now I’ve started praying again to who knows what.

I want to go to library school. I want to go back to France. I want to get the heck out of North Carolina.

I get attached to people too easily and too quickly. I am not good at good-byes.

I spend a lot of time being sad. I spent a lot of time not wanting to get out of bed. And interspersed between my bouts of melancholia, I have many beautiful and joyful moments that I struggle to remember when the sadness hits me again.

I am terrified of failure.

I can finally look at myself in the mirror and think that I am beautiful.

I spent a lot of time in doctor’s offices for pain problems that I am afraid are going to stop me from doing what I want to do with my life.

I have some pretty amazing friends, which makes me think that I must be doing something right.

I wrote my first short story at age fifteen, after refusing to write for my creative writing class out of a belief that I was the worst writer ever. I wrote my first novel the following summer. I spent a lot of times doubting my abilities. I have had to slowly teach myself not to care if what I write is good or not. I have about fifteen rejection letters from literary journals saved in a drawer in my room. The most recent ones are the most encouraging ones I have received. Last night, in one of my now frequently-occurring drunken spells of self-pity, someone told me that he believes I am going to be a great writer some day. Two days ago, I started another novel.

I spend a lot of time wondering what the fuck I am dong and whether or not I am doing it well.

Sometimes I ask people who they think I am and whether or not I am living my life well.

I know no one can answer that question for me.

I am a person like everyone else that wants things and does things and eventually isn’t around anymore to want things or to do things.

I am a fucking writer. Today that feels like a good enough answer.

On Second Guessing Ourselves

by Robin Criscuolo

My generation is more than a little fucked. Almost all the early twenty-somethings I know feel lost and directionless much of the time. We bounce back and forth between ideas and reality, awash in a sea of feelings and doubts, triumphs and doubts, doubts and more doubts. Decisions loom large and feel momentous. A friend of mine is in knots over a decision whether to move or not. Another frets over whether to quit a job or not. I experience mental anguish for several days over whether to end a relationship. I could name many more examples, but if you are a twenty-something yourself, you can just pull from your own personal supply of dilemmas, and if you are beyond this stage in years and experience, I don’t want to bore you with the endless foibles of youth. If you are honest, I’m sure you can recall.

 

There are so many things in life: people, trees, animals, and God; little fiddly details to be worried over and life’s work and small decisions and big decisions, and what struck me this morning as I pushed myself up on my elbow in bed and looked groggily at the day was this: maybe they are all really the same size. Maybe the ones like quitting a job, moving, or ending a relationship are no more to be agonized and fussed over than which flavor of ice cream to chose at the ice cream counter. And yet, even there, last week, I hovered before the frosty, humming case, debating, thinking, analyzing: which flavor will make my life consummately perfect for the evening? I tasted many samples on little wooden paddles, trying to get a sense of which was best. But the analysis was short. When I quit thinking and listened to my body (namely my tongue and stomach in this case), it knew. It knew what it longed to experience. And so I chose (a split scoop of Pineapple-Mango and Jack’s Cayenne Cocoa Nut Butter) and was happy with what I was suddenly slurping up off my sugar cone. I was no longer thinking that maybe if I had chosen Grasshopper or Chocolate, then I would be happier, enjoying myself more. It didn’t matter. Enjoying myself enough in the moment, I did not look back and second-guess the choice. Could this method of choosing work with other situations that seem larger? Could it be the reality that all choices are created equal and that each turn we take, each person, place or thing we reach for or don’t, has an equal impact on the course of our lives? We can make any of them into as big a deal as we want; could it be we can also choose the opposite? Maybe we choose as best we can and God takes care of the rest.

 

My friend will soon decide to move or not, and perhaps neither will be The Wrong Choice. My other friend decided to quit her job to take care of her health. I experienced my mental anguish for several days and then ended the relationship. (For me, this was an improvement over the usual several months.) We can stick our tongues into as many sample flavors as we like, but in the end that’s just stalling. In the end, we choose, not by comparison and analysis, but because something just does or doesn’t feel right. And while we can’t fully explain our motivation, after making a choice, it seems that we don’t need to explain fully after all. To my friends (and there are a few of you), for whom decision making is a straightforward and simple affair, to be fretted over no more than whether to stretch first in the morning or rub your eyes, I salute you. And for those of us who go into a tizzy which escalates into a crisis which eventually resolves and we continue on our confused way, weaving about like a drunk insect, I salute us all the more. Those of us who spend hours spinning anxiously in our minds over some choice that we have already made or have yet to make, we have hope. We are reaching the tipping point of our agony, and we are good at nothing if not being unsatisfied and seeking new answers. We are good at extremes, and for my friends and I, no matter what we choose, the future will be extremely interesting. And none of us are alone.

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