After a productive start, I seem to have hit a dry stretch, usually the indicator of a mild depression — the best way out: write more, even if you cannot think of a thing to write about. All indications are that summer has arrived in ernest, starting today. It’ 21°C at 10 o:clock and the computer weather prognosis is for it to stay sunny and get warmer over the next four days. Yesterday I did the first mowing of the lawns, until the battery expired and I plan to do more today. It’s a good way, too, out of the doldrums.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Today was the BRF (apartment co-op) Garden Clean-up. It is always more pleasant than I expect it to be. At the prescribed hour, everyone in the building just immediately sets to work: usually the “Three Ladies” and me, although sometimes kids come out to help. In Spring we clear the winter detritus and reinstall the garden furniture. Now we have a garden service, Lövstra Kooperativet, that comes earlier in the month and does the heavy underbrush clearing, tree pruning and trash hauling. But that is mostly because two of the members, my upstairs neighbor and I, are getting older and the fifth member rarely participates. Things were beginning to get a little out of control, with the two younger ladies doing the bulk of the work. It’s a relief to have paid assistance, but I think we all feel a little as if we’re cheating. I usually bustle around reassembling the large table, pumping up tires, and recharging the lawn-mower — manly things. Raking, weeding, edging and sweeping the walks is a communal effort and ongoing. Then we sit and have coffee and kardemumma bullar in the waning light and discuss future plans, present problems, and a bit of gossip. It is a very Swedish kind of group effort, and I love the way it re-establishes friendly civility on a regular basis. This is the kind of ritual that America seems to have lost in its rush to commercialize every human interaction, or make every minute pay. The benefits are barely quantifiable, difficult to describe, but unmistakable once you’ve experienced them.
I’ve felt guilty about not writing when my mind is so full. But it tends to inhibit the flow when there’s too much to think about. I just posted three disparate, but somehow connected things at HUGObserver: Gil Scott Heron’s obit, a link to lots of Olle Eksell graphics, and a funny comment on religions from Didier Lestrade. All three are synonymous, in my mind at any rate, with the Fifties/Sixties, and each represents a new tendency then that has, still, not reached any kind of resolution. The promise of that era has, pretty much fizzled in every one of those aspects: social equality, neo-socialism, gay liberation, and religious skepticism. If anything, we seem to be moving backwards. Both Scott-Heron and Lestrade have become icons when, at the time, I was only faintly aware of them — funny how the awesomely notorious rebels of our youth begin to seem like friendly contemporaries as we both grow older. It’s different for the ones who die; they are encased in an amber bubble of fame, almost instantly, and stay as remote as they ever were, or more-so if they achieve cult status. Perhaps, though, things are not that much different now and it is I who have lost the optimism of Youth that made it all seem so much more potent.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Huge clap of thunder around five o:clock this morning, followed by fifteen minutes of real rain, which tapered off to the usual Gotland drizzle and then stopped after about an hour. But it was enough to put me into a sound and comfortable sleep until 9:00. Now it’s sunny with that clear light that comes after a storm; the sky is blue, the air is chilled, and the garden is sparkling (not to mention the new crop of dandelions in the lawn).
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The first item on my list of "Places I Have Lived" is Riverview Court, outside Annapolis, MD. That, I think, is Kay sitting in front, reading the newspaper. It was a strange little old house, perfectly in keeping with the post-war ambiance of the times. We lived there until I was six, Lisa was five, and Gordon, I believe, was on the way. Don was assigned to the Chesapeake Bay Naval Chemical Station, from which I remember him coming home in the evening in the Studebaker we had then - I can remember standing in the upstairs veranda, watching him park in the turning circle off the left of the photograph. In later years, we rented a smaller house, just down the hill, which became Don's "Studio," more photographic than writing, in those days, but just as dark as his places always were and with that characteristic smell that was a combination of him and chemicals.
A restless night of anxiety dreams: being summoned into the office of the Apotek and told, in the most kindly polite way, that they could no longer fill my prescriptions without full payment. This is actually not far from likelihood, although it will probably be handled much more clumsily. Instead of arguing for my Residency, which all acknowledge I should have, they just retreat into the rule-book (and cover their own butts: human nature). But I told myself I would not write about money in my journal, and I won't, even when it haunts my dreams. Sleeping is such a mixed blessing anyway when you reach my age; every fourth or fifth night I sleep like an adolescent and wake refreshed. Otherwise it's like bobbing up and down on a sea that refuses to engulf me. That's when the dreams come, and the stomach-aches, and the leg cramps. But it's rarely bad enough to simply give up. I always still manage to extract some rejuvenation from the six hours; changing position and drifting off for another hour. It's probably just as well I don't have a bed-mate, although maybe such a one would provide the security I need to sleep soundly.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I've sent the first entry to HUGOnline, announcing my intention to make it my online journal. Despite the usual disclaimers, I'm still a little leery of being too completely myself in public, if for no other reason than it's apt to be deadly: self-involved, whiney, and all the other criticisms I generally heap on my journal-keeping. Now the "Sessions" tabs in this application make a lot more sense! Things which are just too ghastly or irrelevant or this kind of meta-commentary can be isolated from that which is published. Besides, I don't even know if it's possible to write completely publicly. While it is good discipline to always bear an audience in mind, it can also be so inhibiting as to deform one's written personality. As always, it's a balancing act. Now that I think about it, though, it is kind of liberating to not have to think in terms of graphics, just words.
Things are changing and, without even thinking about it much, I've been changing with them. Tumblr has become the easiest way to capture images and quotes and, for months now, I've found myself using it in lieu of Blogger, my original web address, which has languished. Thus, adapting with the times, I've decided to make HUGOnline much more a written blog, a kind of online journal, while switching my short attention span to HUGObserver. Insofar as these entries will be generated directly from my computer journal ("viJournal," is the software, for those interested) it is apt to become much more personal; so much so that I'm breaking this automatic link with Facebook (but retaining the one with Tumblr). In a way, I guess, I'm giving fair warning: while I don't intend to indulge in excess profanity or anything overtly libelous, neither am I going to self-censor much beyond general editorial correctness. So, if you'd rather not know the personal details of my life (apt to be pretty boring, in any case) or share my angst, now is the time to trash this bookmark.