Thursday, December 22, 2011

I emailed my buddy Marko Fong:

Cortney asked me to write about something that gives me joie de vivre – something interesting, something I am passionate about, something that blows me away. And now I am paralyzed! Joie de vivre? Passionate? Positive things? Interesting things? What does this have to do with me? You have said my stories are about outsiders. My blog
posts are about TV (and I am pretty snarky, not really positive) and second person! What is interesting about second person? I mean, to normal people? Your Literary Country Club laughs at second person! What am I passionate about? …. What blows me away? Just picking something and labeling it "this blows me away" is scary –someone is going to say, "THAT is what blows you away? What is wrong with you?" Like a Rorschach test. I always hated those, for that exact reason. "What do you mean, you see a bear with a huge penis?" And positive? Who, me?

So far I have come up with: My shower curtain. It is not my shower curtain any more – it got all moldy and I replaced it years ago, but I really liked it and realizing
I liked it was a kind of turning point, that I could have something that just pleased me, it did not have to be "art" and would not change my life in any way but would offer me some measure of enjoyment or comfort once in a while, like when something bad happens and you lie on the couch and someone is there to put a quilt over you and bring you a cup of tea, it will not fix the problem but it is comfort. But…passionate, joie de vivre, blows me away: a shower curtain and a cup of tea?

Science. I just happened to be watching a PBS Nova episode on fractals tonight. Right there, I have lost just about everyone - six people in the country watch Nova! And I do not understand fractals at all! But the thing about the coastline – the smaller you make your ruler, the longer the coastline gets, and if your ruler is infinitely small, the coastline is infinitely long. And the old space as a rubber sheet thing. Infinity. Infinity plus one. Imaginary numbers. I do not understand these things at all, but they are SO COOL! But does it make sense to say "I love this even though I can not explain it enough to tell you what it is"?

"Different Trains" by Steve Reich. A modernist musical composition from the 80s, using a string quartet and a tape of trains and spoken voices of Holocaust survivors - I fell alseep with the TV on one night and woke up to this, it was a documentary musically commemorating the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, on PBS again – see, Auschwitz and PBS, how can you put those into a "joie de vivre" post? - and how he was a kid in America travelling back and forth between
his divorced parents in NY and LA and if he had been in Germany he would have been riding very different trains. It gives me goosebumps just to write that. But how to convey that so it means something to someone else? What do you think I seem positive and passionate about? Or does the very idea make you giggle like it does me?

And Marko said:

"…your blog persona is a very happy individual, constantly probing the world for clues about something, I think. It is interesting that you mention almost no in person interaction with other people, but it's also fascinating to see how all these different things stimulate your imagination, and make you examine the world."

Maybe that is it, that is what blows me away, figuring things out! Why do I like looking at my shower curtain? How can a coastline possibly be infinitely long? How can music hurt in a way that feels so good? Is there more to second person technically than the pronoun "you"? This last thing is in honor of my Second Person Study, now a 16-part exploration of second person including two texts on narratology (and a third in the works, and trust me, I have to take it one sentence at a
time) and several second-person and person-and-a-half stories all of which was generated by my observation that I have never read a bad published second person story yet so many people seem to hate it and warn against the evils of writing second person.

I do not think I will ever figure these things out, but I will have fun trying! And there are so many more wonderful enigmas to think about!

* * *

Zin Kenter lives, writes, reads, and plays in Maine, and is currently
contemplating the following: DSL, cable, or landlord-provided wifi? Is
this the year to try the Jacques Torres Buche de Noel? Heifer
International, UNICEF, or the Preble Street Resource Center, or an
even split among them all? Come visit at A Just Recompense
(, where Zin sometimes blogs.

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