12 January 2010

here's what i liked, relyn...

so i told you i'm reading american gods. love it. love a myriad of things about it. but when i tripped through pages 394 and 395...i don't know...something. just. stuck.

a friend of mine always rewrites excellent writing. just to see how it feels...

"I can believe things that are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and Marilyn Monroe and the Beatles and Elvis and Mister Ed. Listen - I believe that people are perfectible, that knowledge is infinite, that the world is run by secret banking cartels and is visited by aliens on a regular basis, nice ones that look like wrinkledy lemurs and bad ones who mutilate cattle and want our water and our women. I believe that the future sucks and the future rocks and I believe that one day White Buffalo Woman is going to come back and kick everyone's ass. I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in America is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theaters from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe they are better than the alternative. I believe that California is going to sink into the sea when the big one comes, while Florida is going to dissolve into madness and alligators and toxic waste. I believe that antibacterial soap is destroying our resistance to dirt and disease so that one day we'll all be wiped out by the common cold like the Martians in War of the Worlds. I believe that the greatest poets of the last century were Edith Sitwell and Don Marquis, that jade is dried dragon sperm, and that thousands of years ago in a former life I was a one-armed Siberian shaman. I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when i was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time (although if they don't ever open the box to feed it it'll eventually just be two different kinds of dead), and that there are stars in the universe billions of years older than the universe itself. I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of casual chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck. I believe that anyone who says sex is overrated just hasn't done it properly. I believe that anyone who claims to know what's going on will lie about the little things too. I believe in absolute honesty and sensible social lies. I believe in a woman's right to choose, a baby's right to live, that while all human life is sacred there's nothing wrong with the death penalty if you can trust the legal system implicitly, and that no one but a moron would ever trust the legal system. I believe that life is a game, that life is a cruel joke, and that life is what happens when you're alive and that you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

i could read this a thousand times, i think, and still feel a thousand fleeting bursts of some feeling that comes so fast i can't figure out which one it is. maybe it's faith. in myself, maybe. because i believe in pretty much everything, and this worries me. i look at someone like uncle sugar, who believes in very little. shockingly so, in fact. but the five or six things in which he does have faith? dead-certain. shockingly so.

it's one of my favorite things about him. when that guy believes, there's nothing like it in the world. you can trust it with all you've got. bet on it, pony up, double-down, shoot the moon, and take it to the bank. he is black or he is white, while i slide easily into silvery shadows.

i love this about me. but i hate it, too. i'd love nothing more than to be more certain. less precarious.

the best sort of writing, for me, is the kind that makes you hope for more or different or better or makes you simply wish to change. this made me want to start a list of my own. a list of my own beliefs, which will end up certainly uncertain. i'm certain. i'll share it with you if there's anything to share. promise.

could you write a list like this? sure and unsure and golden and as true as you know it? tell me if you have a minute, will you?

that's all, i think. plus lisa solberg's work. my favorite paintings are from set one. the second one, titled snow in the white, reminds me in the most brilliant ways possible of van gogh, don't you think? ok. xoxo. and have a sweet day.


Kelly said...

love that. i tried to make a list like that once. but i could never finish because it was always changing.


mary said...

Well, whoa. This is freaking awesome!

"I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe they are better than the alternative."

This is my favorite. :)


Krissy said...

love it! i am saving this post forever...

Anonymous said...

silly girl!! you write like that. you make me hope for more.
have the best day. thanks for another soul stirring post.

Caroline said...

this post left me breathless... in a good way

pen.ny said...

Woah woah woah. Some serious energy for the soul. Thank you for this post, it brought on some joy.

Richie Designs said...

beautifully written.

hummm what do I believe in?...maybe that will be a post but I gotta put some thought into it.

maybe we should all do a post on what we believe in-one of those email chain-tag things that are annoying but fun.

Simply Mel said...

When are you going to write a book? Please...tell me soon! Because I believe in you!

Brandi said...

Oh, that list!
I need to try that as a writing exercise. A manifesto. A raison d'etre. A revealing of being.
Yes, yes, I'd like to do that very much.

Natalie said...

What do I believe in?

I believe that we are very much in control of our day to day happiness (for the most part - obviously circumstances have something to say in it too). Maybe it's not quite magical, but when you stumble upon the formula (even if briefly) it FEELS like magic.

I can't believe I just wrote that. LAME. I am probably more like Uncle Sugar, it's hard for me to find things to believe in. (that's not as horrid as it sounds.)

What you wrote? Beautiful.

Susan said...

goodniteirene is right: you write like that.


krista said...

that's a good little clump of words right there.

nkp said...

This made me shed a tear. A few actually, as I am particularly sensitive today. But you know what lady, I believe. Thank you.

ticklishfromadistance said...

Wow. Going to get the book NOW. Thanks for sharing.

CMN said...

Somedays I believe this is what blogging is. "I believe..." Each post a personal manifesto. A declaration. I believe this is beautiful. I believe I can be creative. Or not. I believe that is amazing. or heartbreaking. Or drool-worthy. Or precious. or so amazingly... so. I believe in you, and you, and you over there too. And I believe we can all be the bestest, dearest, imaginary friends ever and can't we all get together for chocolate and laughs and maybe lunch too?


And somedays? Somedays its all sugar and magic. And somedays its not.

Kimberlee said...

wow. i'm hanging in those silvery shadows with you Karey. x

la la Lovely said...

Wow, this really is something. I know what you mean about reading over and over again. I have to say I could agree with most of it. And does make me want to write out a big ol list. Even if just for myself. Thanks for giving us something to think on.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I read that book years ago - and I STILL remember that passage. In fact - certain lines of it (or vague rememberances of those lines) filter into my daily life now and again. That's my favorite kind of writing - the kind that sticks with you over the years.

You know I just found you on Reverie. I remember reading your blog when I started my own almost two years ago - but I thought you stopped. So glad to see that didn't last. I'll be back!

Relyn said...

Oh, Karey. Me, too! I think this passage is the best he's ever written. It is powerful in the contradictions that don't really contradict. Somehow it reminds me of the NPR series This I Believe. Do you know it? I'm pretty sure you would love it. I've been wanting to write a This I Believe piece for a while now, but never had the kick I needed to get started. I think you just got me started. Thanks.

Oh, hey. I'll post my second favorite bit of his writing next Sunday morning. Just in case you're interested.