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Rather than saying I'm at a loss for words, let me trot out my overused word of the month. I've been stricken (perhaps self-stricken) with aphasia. I'm at the last stop on the ever-tightening verbal nautlius shell. Words that seem to seep down through tend to be monosyllabic.
Aphasia is one step up from grunting, I believe.


One of my college lit profs killed "The Absurd" for me. I loved the guy, and I admired him for being an actual writer (and former sixties SF hipster in the western earthy guy mode), but an awful lot of things seemed ultimately to be symptoms of The Absurd for him. Why? Judging from his ruddy cheeks and misshapen nose, it may have been the alcohol.

My own love affairs often arise from dilemmas I'm working through. A current hobbyhorse (at least that I'm aware of) is "shibboleth." So many word choices seem like shibboleths, serving more to identify the writer's membership in some implicit faction or school of thought than communicate actual ideas. Listening to myself and others, the concept continually bubbles up. I fear my stabs at reason and straight talk are little more than the lonely bleatings of an incongruously pompous sheep.


A friend of mine, after intensively studying the ancient histories of Greece and Rome, took a trip to the land of time past; to Europe. They roamed the ruins and the cathedrals and the shrines and the galleries and monuments, from Spain, to Italy, to Greece and France. Toward the end of the their trip as they were standing at the foot of the Colliseum, her husband lamented the wars and the slavery and the abuses and the crimes and the greed and the innocent lives lost and forgotten since Homer's Odyssey. She too, had been feeling the pain of what had been built through suffering, then lost again, the seemingly endless, meaningless cycle. When suddenly, she realized something. Nothing really new. Just that sudden "aha" moment when what is plainly obvious becomes truly understood.

"What's really left?" She asked him.

"Rubble. Some scultures. Corinthian style columns. Some artifacts and ancient attempts to flush out a democracy. Bits of writing. The arguments of philosophers disagreeing with each other over centuries." He replied willingly, then added with a cynical grin. "The lessons we are doomed to repeat?"


Snickers from him. "You're a romantic. An optimist. You want to see the good in everything."

"I don't see it. I don't see it at all." She said. "But that doesn't matter because it's here anyway. It doesn't need to be written or followed or learned or even felt. It isn't even good or bad. It just is."

"That's as absurd as Napoleon's quest to rule the world."

"Of course. It's more than that. Love defines and defies the absurd. It IS the absurd. It is what does not make sense at any time or any place. It's what lives, no matter how much you try to master it or erase it or smear it or destroy it. It's what causes this and what defies that. It's what's left after the stupidity and the brilliance. After all the plots and schemes and decimation of the generations. And you are right; there is nothing more absurd than that. Love is the absurd in everything. It is the ultimate extremity, the ultimate blashphemy to all the plots and plans. In a world full of pain and suffering, in a world doomed to repeat the mistakes that went before it, love is the ultimate absurdity."

"Yeah, well. I'll have to think about that."

"It still won't make any sense."


Love words.

Reminds me of Welty's "love for words upon words, words in continuation and modification, and the beautiful accretion of a sentence" (talk about form fitting content! "One Writer's Beginnings.)

Thane Plambeck

how bourgeois.


bourgeois, maybe a touch...

but absurd? not at all...

unless you reject all attempts to view ones own bobbing about in the rotting river of time/humanity as absurd..

doesn't the word "absurd" itself sound like it should be some kind of exotic food? something you find in the international food isle, and smear on crackers...


what it feels like to me is an intoxicating beverage, slightly poisonous, that might sit next to the absinthe bottle in a small quiet bar nestled away on an empty street.

and while the bottle says "absurd," what it really contains is awareness of the absurd. you remain a human infant if you never drink at all, but you shatter your joy of the heavens around you if you drink all the time.

it's good to know all knowledge is empty, that everything is futile, that we all end up on the dung heap of history. and it's also good to know that this is alright. and all will be well.

i know. i'm absurd.

but for me the woman who spoke about love was right. without my love, i would be just a rag blowing in the wind.


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