[chillwhale]

“Given the political controversies around the provision of state support to single parents, two points are worth noting. First, that it seems to be possible to safeguard children against most of the adverse effects brought up by lone parents, and second, that denying state support does not seem to reduce the proportion of single parents.”

– Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

No. 272

It’s summer now and it’s easy to forget that. So anything that I think to do I ought to, simply because I have the power and the time to do so. I have it in me to sleep late and wake up late, or stay faithful to my responsibilities. Or both. I mustn’t forget that these things—priorities—are investments in my future, despite how mechanical parts of it can be. I don’t have the finances currently to live at the standard to which I was when I had financial aid to prop me up, but I have time and health on my side and very, very gracious parents to help me.

I try to remember that times like these are important, taking stock of what I own and the resources I have, and this includes what I know. 

I spoke with an advisor at the beginning of last week about what it would take to apply for a teaching credential. She was selflessly informative in a way that not many people are, and I made it known to her that I noticed. It looks like I’ve got the timing right to have a good shot at being accepted into the program and finish my Associates in Photography before then, but this can only happen if I plan things right—which I plan to, by God.

For those of you who want to know my schedule this upcoming semester, here it is:

ART206 – Intermediate Photography, MW, 12:45-3:35pm

ART156 – History of Photography, T 6-8:50pm

ART159 – Graphic Design Layout, TTH 12-2:50pm

ART206L – Intermediate Photography Lab, TH, 3-6:20pm

ART 208A – Film & Darkroom Photography, F, 9:00am-3:20pm

No. 271

I spent the past five days at home mostly. This is uncommon of me as I usually make it a point to go somewhere; It’s as much of a daily ritual as twisting, eyes closed, to stretch in the morning. It’s only once in a blue moon that I choose to stay, and it really takes a conscientious decision to do so.

I had to stay grounded in my decision due to a sore throat I incurred probably from working out too much. I now know where intensity can interfere with health, and I’ll exercise caution in not exceeding that anymore. When sickness didn’t follow as it usually does, I concluded I could use the recovery time anyway.

I spent the newly acquired time taking naps or reading—which I welcome very much. The threat of illness, regrettably, conflicted with plans to read with her, so I didn’t get a chance to—Hopefully sometime soon.

Now that health is returning, I took a chance and went to yoga today. It’s never easy, but there’s always great effort in making it through, and I draw what satisfaction I can out of it. It’s essential to my personal understanding, I think, to know what my limits are, but they can’t be known until they’re found, and it takes a great effort to find them. It’s also important to know that these limits can be shifted.

I’ve come to understand now that embracing change is easy to do when attention is shifted away from oneself and oriented toward the task at hand. The concept of self dissolves. Hemingway puts it succinctly: “[N]o one knows about himself when he is really involved. Yourself isn’t worth considering.”

“It’s a stupid feeling but it fits on this day so put it on.”

– Hemingway’s The Garden of Eden

“Although racial prejudice is widely condemned, class prejudice is, despite the similarities, rarely mentioned… What Bourdieu is describing is an ‘economy of cultural goods’, and inequalities in that economy affect people almost as profoundly as inequalities in income.”

– Wilkinson and Pickett’s The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

“Stop a moment. Cease your work. Look around you.”

– Leo Tolstoy

No. 267

I decided I’d take it easy today. I’ve already made plans to climb with a friend in the evening tomorrow, but today I’ll rest. I’ve given my body enough of a beating, and unfortunately my immune system is suffering for it. I should have seen this coming.

If I’m up for it – and I’m feeling up for it – I’ll revisit the recently discovered Ho Chi Minh trail at Black’s Beach tonight. Last time I ran into some focusing issues with my camera, so it’ll be nice capturing the warm tones and complex gradients so specific to summer evenings. And my friend, G, may or may not join too.

I have my books and magazines to keep me company until then.

***

I don’t know why I’ve been trying so hard lately.

Not really. I do.

But it would seem as if where other people would fortify their advances, the method in which I go about things is to improve on myself. It’s the only thing I have control over.

I’m at a point now (just days later) where I’m okay with not contacting her if it means maintaining a bit of my autonomy. It’s just too easy for me to become absorbed by it. It’s only thoughts, which is what makes it so subversive. I’m not used to being at the whims of anyone.

So I try really hard to ensure I’m doing what I’m supposed to, that I’m being a good boy, and apparently my immune system suffers for it. I sabotage myself sometimes, but at least my intentions are good.

No. 266

I love the cloudy gloominess of the days recently. It’s warm and humid, both weighty and cleansing. It’ll be nice to take my camera out later.

This morning, as most mornings, is quiet and routine. It’s a time that I relish, second to putting my clothes on after a shower. I hold the general conviction that what lends to my overall mental health is the routine and the systematic nature to which I approach things, and I realize not everyone lives the way that I do.

Last night I was invited out to a beer with not just E, but G and D as well. I think the experience of the night is emblematic of the above-stated sentiment. Yet we make things work, and I do what works for me.

Perhaps a little myopic in foundation, there’s a line in St. Vincent’s ‘What Me Worry’ that states, “Life is like banquet food / Pleasure to peruse.” Immediately it’s obvious that this couldn’t possibly apply to everyone, particularly those with priorities that outweigh the pursuit of pleasure – or happiness – like surviving. Whatever.

However, I’d say there is some truth to her words. I’m something of a romantic in that I believe in meritocracy and I believe in serious effort directed toward one’s goals. Coming out of college, I admit I had loads of concepts at my disposal, but not much of an aptitude for craft or hard work. I’ve come to realize that if the desire is there to produce something of meaning or influence, hard work and purity of intent is key.

This reminds me of something that Hemingway wrote, and he puts it pretty concisely: “There’s nothing except through yourself.”

“I have a very strong honesty streak and I don’t really see the benefit of hiding one’s mistakes.”

– Mariam Bantjes in the Summer 2014 issue of ‘Printed Pages’