Sunday, February 25, 2007

Things to Be Grateful For - with bonus pictures for visual learners!

There are many, many awesome things in the world. Here are a few, in no particular order, that I feel like mentioning right at this exact moment.

Jackson Pollock
This is Summertime 9A, by Jackson Pollock. Since I first encountered Pollock in my early teens, "Be in the same room as an actual Pollock painting" has been on my list of Things To Do Before I Die. Then this past Spring Term when I was in London (best six weeks of my life, I'm fairly sure), I decided to stop by the Tate Modern one afternoon when I was supposed to be somewhere else. I rode up this unbelievably long escalator, walked into the first room I saw, turned the corner, and there they were. I think I actually started crying when I saw the Pollock paintings; I certainly responded strongly enough to prompt a strange look from the museum guard. I found a bench and sat with my back to one of Monet's waterlillies staring at this very painting (singing Gershwin's "Summertime" in my head every now and then) for a long, long time and it's one of the most satisfying ways I've ever spent an afternoon anywhere. I know a lot of people don't like non-representational art because they don't "get" it - or more likely, they don't think there's anything there to "get." But for me, I love. Love. LOVE. Modern art.*

Now that it's snowing again, I have to look on the bright side. And the bright side of snow is...snowmen!! Also, the occasional snowball fight. Hopefully this will be good packing snow.

And beaches, and sunsets, and standing in an epic silhouette. Also, I'm grateful that I know how to spell silhouette.

"A ninja needs no weapon. A ninja is a weapon." - Storm Shadow (G.I. Joe)

John Kerry
I've spent over a year and four months coming home to this tall, shiny man every day (except for when we were separated this Summer. Sigh...). You might say that he's stiff and even cardboard, but I say he's smiley, an excellent listener, and the sassiest dresser I've ever met.

I like books. A lot. I mean, like, a lot a lot. I have absolutely no idea what my childhood (or the rest of my life) might possibly have been like if I hadn't been able to read. I really don't know who I'd be if I hadn't been able to read. Do you ever imagine what that would be like? Plays, novels, magazines, nonfiction, encyclopedias, dictionaries, comic books, the occasional poetry... It's all great. Reading is love. And I'm grateful for tigers, too. Especially tigers who love mid-19th century Russian playwrights as much as Trent here does.

The Weakerthans
If you ask how I got so bitter, I'll ask how you got so vain. And all our questions blur together. The answers always sound the same. We can't look at one another. I'll say something thoughtful soon, but I can't listen to the quiet so I hum this mindless tune I stole from some dumb country-rock star. I don't even know his name. It's like my stupid little questions: the answers always sound the same."** And so much more.

Bob Dylan
Do I really need to elaborate on this one? Honestly.

Brad Pitt

A picture's worth a thousand words. But when that picture is of Brad Pitt, none of those words actually matter.

A Short Attention Span
What distressing event? Which persistent worry? Thunder Hotrod McWholicutty? While my inability to stick with most things (other than the few things I cling to unfailingly) is often counted as a weakness (particularly if you happen to actually be Thunder Hotrod McGillicutty and you can't figure out where I've disappeared to), it has its strengths. Take, for example, this phone conversation I had with my dad a while back:
Dad: So how're you getting over that boy?
Me: Who?
Dad: Weren't you dating someone?
Me: When?
Dad: I mean, didn't you just...break up? Or something?
Me: What?
I had broken up with someone about three days before. Now, maybe I'm cold. Maybe I'm heartless. But at least I don't usually wallow in self-pity for longer than about a weekend.

Blogs That Actually End at Some Point
Like this one, which has probably gone on too long as it is and must now come to an end. This is fun though - you should try listing the things that you're grateful for sometime. Once you get started the list just keeps going on and on and gets so long you realize you could just sit there coming up with new things to be grateful for for the rest of your life. Especially if you spend so much time sitting and thinking of things that you stop eating, drinking, or sleeping, because then your life wouldn't be very long. And I'm grateful for life. Which all puts me in mind of my favorite Dostoevsky quote, from The Brothers Karamazov:
"And I seem to have such strength in me now, that I think I could stand anything, any suffering, only to be able to say and to repeat to myself every moment, 'I exist.' In thousands of agonies - I exist. I'm tormented on the rack - but I exist! Though I sit alone in a pillar - I exist! I see the sun, and if I don't see the sun, I know it's there. And there's a whole life in that, in knowing that the sun is there. Alyosha, my angel, all these philosophies are the death of me. Damn them!" (Mitya, from the Constance Garnett translation)

*That wasn't really a sentence, but you still get it, right?
**The lyrics are from "None of the Above," which is actually on their album "Fallow," not "Left and Leaving." Left and Leaving is pictured, though, because it's my favorite overall.