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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Absence.

I haven’t written much lately — neither here, nor in my notebooks, nor in the long emails I typically spend hours every week or two composing to friends scattered at schools all over or on my own campus. I realized a week or two ago that my relative silence has coincided with the move from a slidey-keyboard to an iPhone, and that realization disgusted me. It’s good, though, to have a reason and explanation. And I’ve started writing again in the past week or three, too, and that’s so, so good.

Over college I’ve learned so much and found so many new things to learn. I follow blogs on photography, American-made goods, and CSA cooking — how “lifestyle” of me. I began drinking coffee, became obsessed with that, and began working at one of the best coffee shops in Philadelphia. I’ve amassed stacks of books on worship and liturgy, organized programs on it, and composed tens of services. I took one class on the Arab-Israeli conflict, shamed by my ignorance, and sank into a world of interviews, films, seminars, questions, books, articles, classes, and sleepless questions. There are thousands of new thoughts and questions crowding my brain.

I haven’t been writing in part because I’m overwhelmed by all these new components of my life: it’s strange to jump from meditations on Kelly Drive to these large and sometimes-bourgeoise passions.

I think I have some ideas of where I’m heading, though, and I’m excited about it. It is a really thrilling thing in life to love what you love, to see something mattering, and to know — you are small but this could be good.

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Six o’clock.



When he saw the site of a bombed-out police building in mid-October 1947, he noted that all the clocks showed the exact time that the bomb went off: “All the clocks stopped at six o’clock,” and then added, “This could be the name of a novel.”
Nili Scharf Gold in Yehuda Amichai: The Making of Israel’s National Poet

My father built over me a worry big as a shipyard
and I left it once, before I was finished
and he remained there with his big, empty worry
Yehuda Amichai, from “Autobiography, 1952”

Yehuda Amichai’s language — citational, autobiographical, and all metaphor — sticks with me; I love it a lot.

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Heartbeat.

It feels eerie out there tonight.

This past September, my train home one Friday morning was delayed twenty-two minutes. As we chugged through the city, the conductor came through, punching tickets and spreading the news. Someone had jumped in front of the train at Broad that morning. We were working to make up the lost time.

“Is he dead?” someone asked.
“Probably,” he said. “I don’t know, but he must’ve been killed.”

We sat. Some murmuring; me writing, as always.

As we approached my stop, I walked up the aisle and stood silently by the ticket-taker, holding that thin silver pole for stability. As I stepped forward to the two deep dropped steps to the platform, he looked at me.

“Okay, darling,” he said, “be safe out there.”

It feels like that again tonight.

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