Sunday, December 16, 2018

The List of No Lists

This seems to be the time for year-end letters and lists. I enjoy hearing from friends however being a card-carrying contrarian and certified grouch, I refuse to  partake. Instead I’d like to list my reasons for not making a list.

First is my ever-diminishing brain. I can’t remember what happened last week or last month. I could say we traveled to Nova Scotia but research shows that was eleven years ago. It feels like yesterday when we visited Peggy’s Cove outside of Halifax……a fishing village with lighthouse, rocks, seals and a restaurant where Peggy ordered Finnan Haddie as from the lyrics of the Cole Porter song, My Heart Belongs to Daddy. As I recall it was awful. The fish, haddock, that is.

If I invite a boy some night / To dine on my fine finnan haddie
I just adore his asking for more / But my heart belongs to Daddy

I might also devote a paragraph to the passing of our dog except we don’t have one but if we did it would be an Irish setter and he would fetch Frisbees, the morning paper, my slippers and lick envelopes.

I’m reminded that we don’t travel anymore except vicariously as friends report back their adventures. I find this much less tiring and I recover from jet lag immediately. Suffice it to say we allow ourselves to roam the world the way Emily Dickinson did without leaving her habitat. Even as our architecture swells, stiffens and quietly screams as long as headquarters hums along and creative juices flow our spirit carries us far.

Much can be said for going nowhere and just enjoying (or not) whatever pops up without comparing it to something else. It’s safe to say Peggy will have written 365 poems this year minus those days in the hospital and rehab and I have managed about 75 blogs. The older we get the more inscape there is to revise, regret or embellish. Notable are the three books (two poetry chapbooks and a novel) Peggy has published through Amazon and one of mine soon to be available.

Calendars are, of course, an arbitrary point of demarcation though Hollywood loudly announces the year-end by flooding the big screen with its block-busters so Academy voters with creeping senility will confer their blessings on the latest razzle-dazzle. Award nights have a dozen or so winners and hundreds of losers with crumpled acceptance speeches in their tux and purses. I prefer the sleeper released in the spring with low expectations flying below the radar. I should add we have seen a few very fine films and read several brilliant books but won’t name them because…..

Second, or is it third of all, lists are hierarchical and I dislike rankings. Books, movies, art etc… should not compete, especially people. We don’t rate our friends, after all. (You're all tied for first place). Did Mozart and Beethoven have a food fight? Picasso and Matisse? Billie or Ella, Coltrane or Charlie Parker, De Niro and Pacino? Streep and ??

Golden Globes, Oscars…all of them strike me as an exercise in hyperbole. We get enough superlatives from the Bozo in the Oval. Last year the big question was whether Donald would leave in handcuffs or a strait jacket. It remains still unanswered but now seems he remains protected by an extended definition of executive privilege. 

Where is Tiresias the Greek who prophesied what lies around the next corner? The ancients must have listed Soothsayers in their Yellow Pages. They had a penchant for Olympian intervention. The best we can do are pundits who seem to live on different planets, the fabulists on Fox on one and the truth-seekers of CNN and MSNBC on the other.

My final reason for not making lists of what just happened is that I’m more interested in what’s up. I’ve already spent too much time in the rear-view mirror reviewing what went wrong….. until I met Peggy and now it’s all good. Bliss is a blur.

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