Sunday, December 14

as long as i gaze on

Islands - Waterloo Sunset (Kinks Cover)
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Wednesday, December 10

Wendy and Lucy

I don't think I ever experienced with more frequency the immediacy of helping a stranger than when I lived in New York. Not in the sense of giving directions to a tourist or dropping a dime in a bum's cup, but in the sense of being face to face with a person in a situation that probably defied some city ordinance or park rule or code of conduct and forced to choose whether to engage with them or stay safely in my own life. I guess I stopped thinking twice about helping someone after that, mostly because I thought that in a place with such a large population, so many people lived under the radar or fell beneath the cracks. What happens to a person when they are not in a community? How do we form a sense of community with the individuals we share physical, real space with?
It seems a much more curious dilemma now that friendships are mediated through social networks like Facebook and micro-updated with applications like Twitter. Our closest friends are virtually present while the physically present are our nearest strangers. The difference between living the real versus "knowing" the virtual becomes very apparent. Which makes it odd to consider this idea through safely watching a film... Kelly Reichardt's latest, "Wendy and Lucy," follows a young woman as she makes her way to Alaska in what may be a futile attempt to find work at a cannery. The whole premise could not be more relevant in a time when the population is feeling the effects of downsizing and "re-organization" and are faced with the task of building new communities and sometimes starting over in other geographic locations. What happens when you don't have your trusted neighbor in the adjoining apartment to ask for help, or need transportation home and your bus doesn't come, or are not sure if you are safe in the neighborhood you are walking through? I read a good review of the film on the New York Times' website citing this circumstance as "the nature of solidarity in a culture of individualism." More here.

Tuesday, December 2

the persistence of memory

"We, amnesiacs all, condemned to live in an eternally fleeting present, have created the most elaborate of human constructions, memory, to buffer ourselves against the intolerable knowledge of the irreversible passage of time and the irretrieveability of its moments and events."

I've had perception on the brain lately. I've been thinking quite a bit about my relationship with the world around me, from the smallest, most mundane moments. How do we process what happens during the course of a day? Since losing my job, moving cross country, having a near-death experience and suddenly being in a very domestic relationship situation, I've been forced by my own decisions and circumstances to look at every aspect of my day. There is something oddly disconcerting about not knowing where to pick up a loaf of bread if you forgot it at the grocery because you are unfamiliar with where you are. Moving to a new place creates a situation of having to learn new patterns for things that were before a given or taken for granted in that no research was required to do them. The desire for patterns is a curious thing: do we need shortcuts so that we do not dwell on the decisions that are made every moment, to clear the brain for larger decisions? It's 10 am and I'm not sure where to find lunch if I cannot just cook something from what I have here. What is around me for restaurants? How adventurous am I (or should I say, how much work do I want to put into finding something to eat?)

Not a complete thought, I guess. Seems to me like a few months of research may enlighten me on this matter...