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Amber Paulen

Stuck in Time

Our world is laden with possibilities. This is a cliche and it is true. The internet lessens gaps between what we want to see and what we can see, considerably. I get the feeling that this coming generation will believe that all things come at the touch of a button and that the differences, for them, between reality and what is on the glowing screen will be less and less clear. But, isn’t everyone always fearful for the “coming generations?”

Around this time last year I discovered blogs. I charted my discovery here. Before last year I thought that the internet was used to locate hard to locate information. That I am a slow learner is of little importance to me; that I learn is the biggest deal.

This website was created as an effort to “publish” my work, give voice to my voice. Before I discovered blogs I thought this was a website and though some may call it “blog,” I don’t care anymore. I see descriptedlines like a magazine wherein I may “publish” thoughtful articles. Who knows, maybe eventually I’ll get the hang of shorter posts like an interesting link and a sentence, but sometimes I think I’m already in too deep.

Here is my point: I am behind the times.

I was advancing OK until round about the age of 22 when I became waterlogged in Paris during the 1930s. I went back to Russia in the 1890s sometimes but really it was Paris in the 1930s for a very long time. Three years, at least, I’ve lost to this reverse-time stint. Of course I’m not talking about Paris on picture postcards; I was knee deep in Henry Miller’s Paris, Anaïs Nin, Lawrence Durrell, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean Paul Sartre. Names that spun-up my mind, worked up my senses to such a froth that I had no choice but to hold my head under cold water, write a treatise, or drink. Paris in the 1930s was an unbelievable time, the raw fecundity which gave birth to such staggering creations, well, I still believe there is nothing else to aspire to but that.

Since Paris I’ve advanced rather slowly, Rhodesia in the 1940s, England in the 1950s, now it’s a creek in The States in the 1970s, but reading aside… This is actually about reading and how it creates a very tangible actuality for the active mind; me knee deep in another time. Nothing else can do this but when knee deep in the heightened present.

Listening to this This American Life last night I began to think that for all my preaching, I may be at a serious disadvantage. I have a staunch disability to reconcile with Facebook and if anything is a sign of the times it must be that. I have difficulty finding blogs interesting and a worthwhile waste of time, unless of course they are dumb and then I find them funny. I can’t comment. I’ve never used chat or IM and I have no idea what those acronyms mean or the brackets with the colons. I am at a disadvantage: I am behind the times.

I am at an advantage: I am behind the times. What I have stacked in a folder to my side is a completely original work. . . or an anchor and when I jump. . . it will become lighter than me, off on its own life, its own path.

I’ve been reading Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. She supplies me with lots of juicy things to think about. Her main entomologist is Edwin Way Teale, just his name sounds old and outdated and Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer Prize. I’ve never read a writer “up on the latest” but then I again, I haven’t read many books published after my birth. I’m at a disadvantage again.

Meanwhile, Time chugs on; meanwhile, I’m grasping for its tail.

Bracciano Italia
July 2008


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