Monday, February 26, 2007

Balance



This is my favorite poem. It’s being read by the man who wrote it, Kenneth Koch. It’s not that long, so give it a shot. I’ll wait right here. Go on…

You want a social life, with friends,
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day.


The first years of my marriage, we were in each other’s orbit all the time – comfort came from Husband, lack of comfort hurt like hell. Much of my sex life was outside, but between the two, I was pretty set. And we worked all the time, together. When we met, we were together for two years before being separated overnight. I didn’t go to parties, I didn’t have friends, other than Best Friend living in a foreign country and Beautiful Girl whom I wasn’t that close to at the time, both circling in their own ellipses far away.

What's true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.


In the past five years, I started making friends. After Husband and I nearly divorced, I started meeting people I liked spending time with. I started to value connections more. I went to parties. And then I built my business, which tangentially sprung from the business Husband and I shared, and became its own little juggernaut. (I’m having dinner with a Governor later this year – the perverse part of me wants to refer to my other life). My work is largely my social life – I love my friends, but most of them I only see when work brings us together. We wouldn’t circle in the same orbits if we didn’t have the contractually obligated time, but work has acquired gravitational pull and that time has increased. I also moved farther from my husband. I’m on the road more. It’s taken a concerted effort to fight centrifugal force for the time and space and energy to be married, and it seems to be paying off – we both love being around each other more. And in the end, he is the refuge at the center.

There isn't time enough, my friends--
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends--
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day's end?


Now I’ve taken up whoring. And blogging. Both fairly time-consuming, on top of:

Being married
Leading my business
Practicing/participating in my business
Still working with Husband on the shared business
Art modeling (part-time)
Trying to write in my other field
Filing taxes and doing bookkeeping for all of the above (did you know that bookkeeping is one of only two words in the English language with three sets of double letters back to back? A prize for anyone who finds the other one)
Musing for a friend or two
Maintaining a relationship with Lover
Delegating housework

When busy, my instinct is to take on more. I don’t know why this is. The money from whoring makes everything else run a bit more smoothly – the trade-off in time spent there has so far been repaid in rather urgently-needed cash. It also makes the blog more interesting, and blogging – or rather, the commitment to writing daily - makes the lifeline to the center that keeps everything else from spinning into the black reaches. As long as I can write, every day, there is one constant and universal law, one thing that I know is sustaining me as an artist and as a human being, that I will make time for, that encourages the intelligent life, so convinced of its own importance.

Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.


I could live without a social life and friends. I could even live without a passionate love life. But I can’t not work hard every day.

8 comments:

gentlereaderofthemuse said...

Bookkeeping is the other word in the English language with three sets of double letters back to back.

But, it's derivative so it feels like a hollow victory for me.

One for you:
What is is the longest word in English to lack the letter e?

Anonymous said...

Does sweet-tooth count? What does the winner get?

Tom Paine said...

As long as I can write, every day, there is one constant and universal law, one thing that I know is sustaining me as an artist and as a human being, that I will make time for, that encourages the intelligent life, so convinced of its own importance.

That about says it all. Well said.

justwhen aka rachel said...

In A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia, there's this (pg 4):

Bob Erndt suggests there ought to be someone who has a raccoon that has a nook that needs cleaning, namely a RACCOONNOOKKEEPER. And from Bo Parker: At a dam, there is a flooddoor. The controls for the flooddoor are in the flooddoorroom....

According to Philip Bennett, the only words in the OED2 with three sets of consecutive double letters are BOOK-KEEPER, DEER-REEVE, FEED-DOOR, GOOD-DEED, HEEL-LOOP, HOOF-FOOTED, HOOT-TOOT, KEEK-KEEK, SOONNEE, TOOT-TOOT, VENEER-ROOM, and WOOD-DEER.

Still, I like anon's "sweet-tooth." (I say hyphenate it, let it count, why the hell not. Better than deer-reeve.)

Tom Paine said...

Well, maybe Mandy's prize can be to take you "across," Rachel.

justwhen aka rachel said...

I make no claim on the prize, whatever it is...

But in my daydream, Mandy grants me a favor, AND writes about it, titling the post "Cherry Nirvana"...

*grin* (That's my brazen vegan ice cream plug.)

Tom Paine said...

As with sex for money, I'll take real ice cream over that stuff anyday. ;-)

justwhen aka rachel said...

Sorry, Mandy, you probably don't want us bickering in your comments...but you're SO full of it, Tom. What happened to "Yike! I'm giving up the ice cream and beer tonight," hmm? I BET you haven't even tried "that stuff," and if I'm wrong, you can have your way with me.