Sunday, March 23, 2008

Old Age Unending

Christa Boyles Photography

Journal entry
March 23, 2008
Turning pages in the London Review of books, An ad quickly scanned.

Intelligent dying.

I paused to look. A book on euthanasia?

No... misread.

Intelligent dating

This would not have happened when I was 25.

Stories of old age should not have "endings." Counter-intuitive, but only at first glance. I mean, aesthetic endings--"closure." There is no closure in age. Only an endless going back, and going on, and then it...

... like Bach's Art of the fugue

I would like to write a collection of stories on old age that ended like that... or rather, didn't...


  1. Great prose, Jacob. I like your ruminating, pensive style of writing.

  2. Thank you.. your comment comes at a good time. I'm not constrained to force my thoughts into conventional forms when I write fiction or poetry. But I have a deep appreciation of philosophical, scientific, psychological discourse that is on the one hand, very much a part of me, and has been since I first learned to read, and on the other... represents my assimilation of the human world on a plain apart from where I live my life. For as long as I can remember this has taken form as a conflict between the rational and objective side, and the "creative."

    It's the story of my life. It took me ten years to earn my BA! Why? Because every term I would change majors, and it always followed the same pattern. Anthropology in the Fall. Art in the Spring. Biology in the Fall. Art in the Spring. Back to biology/psychology, back to art (half of my family have been visual artists of one sort or another). Out of school... same thing. Ten years working in clay as a potter, then back to academia... an MA in, of all things, rabbinic literature, with an idea of using my knowledge of pottery to find a niche in archeology.

    When I was almost 50, I realized that the one consistent thread in my life... was writing. And reading. Writing... the one thing that could bring all the disparate threads together, where nothing need be lost or left behind. Everything in my life--a rich mine to exploit.

    ... ah. if only life were so simple.

    There are things to be said, ideas that need to be hung out in clear air, dried in the sunlight of reasoned discourse.

    But when I try to write in that vein... I find I'm driven into conventions that are foreign to me. I want to define my terms, to work out the dialectical implications... but the language of philosophical or psychological exposition drives me into a desert, into dry places where nothing grows, nothing can live...

    I'm using this blog (god how I hate that word.. such a fucking ugly word... "blog"... sounds like a lump of shit. A turd. A soft sticky turd that takes a whole roll of paper to wipe yourself clean of its deposit.. ) ... I'm using Barking Dog to experiment, try out... find a way to give give expression to that intellectual motive that doesn't strand me in the desert.

    What I admire in Spurious... but, that's not going to me my mode, either.

    I don't know...maybe I'll find it, maybe I won't... but it's a nice bit of velvet, as a dear friend liked to say... that you acknowledge the effort.

    And your blog... in itself, is a Letters from a Librarian, and Japonesme, of Spurious...of that same spirit... an independence or expression with which you feel an immediate kinship, even as you know... that there's nothing anyone could name that define what it is you have in common.

  3. You're very creative and great with words. I found your blog by googling my name. I'm not vain, just curious. You've used a photograph of mine and I appriciate the fact that you acknowledged the credit.

    Have you written a book or anything like that? If not, you should. You're fantastic with words.

    --Christa Boyles

  4. Thank you Christa--for that wonderful photograph. I wouldn't think of posting a photo without credit and a link to the source. It's not always clear what's in the public domain. I posted a beautiful photo of a forsythia blossom dripping with rain, also with a link and acknowledgment--than to my embarrassment, found that it had been removed--not authorized for posting on this site.

    There are links to my published stories in the right column, and to exerts from two unpublished novels.