Thursday, March 12, 2009

Time for Odysseus, critical mass & turn signs

Another photograph by an unknown photographer, this time of the ruins of Troy in modern-day Turkey, across the Aegean Sea from Greece. The site is estimated to have been occupied from around 4000 BCE until it was devastated by the Greeks about 1200 BCE. Odysseus walked here, among the Greek army, at least according to Homer in his "Odyssey."

It is time ....

I think it is time for me.
Time for me to know,
Time to walk the paths of Odysseus,
Time to search for his presence,
Time to discover if he was real,
Time to meet his goddess of the flashing eyes,
Time to stand before his rosy-fingered dawn,
Time to watch Achilles die,
Time to witness Troy in flames,
Time to swim his wine dark sea,
Time to dance with his Calypso,
Time to blind his Cyclops,
Time to walk his Ithaca,
Time to greet his Telemachus,
Time to string his bow,
Time to kiss his Penelope,
Time to know if he was there,
Time to learn if the words were true.

There can be no tomorrow,
Until yesterday has been lived.

The invention of a natural-born critic ....

My journalistic responsibilities, once upon a time, included putting together a weekly outdoor page and a weekly arts and entertainment page. (That might actually be a conflict of interests.) Define an arts and entertainment critic. Are they born? Do they descend from a mountaintop? In this case, it was an English major who walked in through the door, had opinions on just about everything and said, “Sure, I'll do it.”

Having a broad background in literature through reading countless books in the course of obtaining a degree and simply because I enjoy doing it, there was a certain amount of logic for accepting this task. Most of the work was coordinating coverage by reporters and freelancers, but I did a certain amount of writing myself. I did book reviews, and expressed my viewpoint about a few plays and motion pictures. So far, so good. But, I also was a critic of music, art shows, photography displays and a few other events associated with arts and entertainment. That was a stretch. It involved reciting my approval or disapproval based on personal taste, without any real training to back up my verdicts.

So much criticism is just that -- personal opinion based on personal taste without credentials upon which to base it. I suppose there is nothing wrong with that, but I wonder how many people have given up on writing poetry or short stories, or painting or singing or playing an instrument, because they received no comments or only negative comments from people who had no real background to provide legitimate criticism.

Back at the newspaper: I think I at least tried to be fair and innovative. For example, there were occasions I would assign three writers to attend a play or a concert, and run their pieces side by side so as to present a multi-opinion review. Instead of two reporters arguing who would review a particular book (and get to keep it), I would stretch the budget to buy a second copy and run the reviews of both.

This came into my mind because I made a comment yesterday that, re-reading it later, sounded more like a critical analysis than a simple remark expressing pleasure. It was in regard to a particular post at another website. I suppose this might demonstrate why I win awards for writing editorials, but fall short at writing love letters. My initial reaction always is to charge, even at times when I should tread softly.

Regrets, no way; new exploration, yes ....

There has been brief discussion (mostly by me) about being able to go back in time and doing things differently. When I consider it, I am not thinking about regrets or mistakes I have made. I am wondering where I would be, what would I be doing and who would I be doing it with had I turned right at the last intersection instead of turning left.

My illustration is this: When I decide it is time to change jobs, I might send out 50 resumes, not to specific job openings, but to newspapers in geographic areas where I would like to live and to explore. I might get five or six interviews and be offered three or four jobs. One time, for instance, I had my choice between work in Arizona, Michigan and Nebraska. I took Michigan. If I were to return to that time period, whatever the method, I would choose one of the other locations simply to have new and different experiences.

I know everyone has had experiences like this: A young lady might have had to decide between Clint and Brad (or neither). She went for Clint. Had she the opportunity to relive this episode, would she choose Clint again or would she go with Brad to discover what her life would have been like if she made this selection? Forget about how life was with Clint; simply think of it as repeating history vs. creating new history.

Had I this option of reliving an episode of my life choosing between a pair of similarly matched young ladies, I would not choose the one I actually did the first time around. I would choose the other. Good times, bad times, mistakes, happiness, sadness, whatever, my choice would be to experience the new.

The more I think about it, the more I believe most people would stay with the known quantity even in this hypothetical experiment. Perhaps, that is why I have doubts about the existence of the proverbial "soul mate."

Music Note: Listening to Uriah Heep ....
Specifically, "Look at Yourself" ....
Some lines from: "July Morning:"

There I was on a July morning

Looking for love
With the strength
Of a new day dawning
And the beautiful sun

I was looking for love
In the strangest places
Wasn't a stone
That I left unturned
Must have tried more
Than a thousand faces
But not one was aware
Of the fire that burned


TheChicGeek said...

"There can be no tomorrow if yesterday was a lie." Those words are so sad to me.
If someone came with a magic wand and gave me the choice of the old versus the new, what would I do? I'm not sure. Without the lows how does one appreciate the highs? They both enrich our lives.

Fram said...

In the first case, Kelly, apply the words toward your religious faith. I am looking for my foundation in history, while you do it (in as much as I know) through your religious belief. I want to know the reality of Odysseus. If I can know it as once real and, in a sensory manner experience it, then I can apply it toward meaning in my own life.

As for the second, not lows and highs, just differences. I am trying to convey the idea of forever building upon your experience in order to select the person you want to be as opposed to simply accepting the person you are, right now, as the final destination.

TheChicGeek said...

"Forever building upon your experience in order to select the person you want to be as opposed to simply accepting the person you are, right now, as the final destination." Um-hum, yes, now I understand what you are saying. I like that idea when you put it that way :)

Fram said...

Just for the record, Israel also is on my list of destinations, although after Greece and probably after Norway, Germany and Russia, in terms of preferred order.

I assume you might want to be there some day, too, unless you already have been.

I am very curious what I might experience and "absorb" from walking streets in Jerusalem and similar activities.

Fram said...

I have been messing around with the last line (among other things) for a few hours. Better now, or still not right?

Reaffirmation (through personal visit and perception) of history and legend from what I've read is pretty much what I'm trying to express (and feel a need to accomplish).

Natalie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheChicGeek said...

Fram, I like the revised two lines. I think it better conveys what you are wanting to say. I like Natalie's too, "Time to learn if yesterday was true." That's lovely. I like your smiling picture too, Natalie :)

TheChicGeek said...

Fram, if you go to Isreal you should stay at my friend Cathy's B & B. It's beautiful where she lives. I'm going to try to go in October for my birthday this year :)

Natalie said...

“Time to learn if yesterday was true…” – As I was about to post my comment to your poem, “Yesterday is as true as is today”, I read it further, the Homer’s original lines and realized, they are almost identical…

There is more Greek in modern Turkey than in Greece herself…. Sadly for the Greeks, fortunately for all those who loves and admires ancient Greece.

Katy said...

When I was preparing for my first trip to the USA - to Florida with the Roo when she was about 12 - I bought a guide book to help us. Being the age she was, she was very keen to go to some of the theme parks in Orlando and I was very happy to enjoy this with my little girl. The book advised that if there were 2 or more queues (for a ride, say) then to choose the one furthest on the left as this would move the fastest. I tried it. It worked.

It seems to me that regarding one's life choices, it is often only in retrospect that one realises exactly where the queue started - and much, much later on that the destination reveals itself.

There's a lot to think about in your post today Fram, so I am going to ponder for a bit and perhaps re-visit later if I may.

Incidentally, my absolute head-and-shoulders above the rest favourite thing that we did in Florida was not the theme parks at all. The Roo and I drove our hire car out somewhere and hired a kayak. Two of us, two paddles, one red canoe. No queues at all and not another human soul to be seen or heard as we paddled down the slow-moving swamp river surrounded on all sides by tropical trees and birds and insects and flowers and turtles and a thousand and one living things that buzzed and plopped and splashed mysteriously in the water. It was real magic.

Fram said...

Kelly ....

The last two lines shall be the revision.

Let's see: Kelly; Kelly's friend, Cathy; B&B, Israel; October. The words are branded in my mind. Close to what city?

Fram said...

Natalie ....

I know people who have cruised the Greek islands and visited Turkey, and had a great time. That might be a direction to go.

Fram said...

Katy ....

I suppose trying to figure out the starting point from where the decisions to turn left or right began would be the difficult (impossible?) thing. I was thinking more in a random sense, such as when I made the decision to move here a few years ago rather than to go elsewhere or to stay put. Now, I'm wondering why I even started writing about it.

I've been to Florida a few times, driven along "alligator alley" and gone back into the "glades" once. A nice place to visit, but I don't think I would like to live there.

A good place for a family vacation, too.

TheChicGeek said...

Fram, Cathy lives in Zefat. It's a small artist community up in the hills. She says it is beautiful. She goes hiking in the georgeous mountains every day. Zefat is the home of Kabbalism. Evidently it's a very famous place, considered one of the three most spiritual places in the world. They have a huge festival there every year and people come from all around the world.
I like what Katy says about Florida. You are a very good writer Katy! You have a lovely voice. I bet there were crocodiles in that beautiful water don't always see them but they're there :0 I lived in Florida when I was married for 7 years. I liked it there.

Fram said...

Zefat, also now branded. Sounds like some research is in order.

Where in Florida did you live, Kelly? My few excursions there were in and around Miami, for the most part, and once to Fort Myers to warm up and to watch the Minnesota Twins in a few pre-season games.

My living there remark was in reference to humidity and lots of people. Country boy, you know.

TheChicGeek said...

I lived in Boca Raton, Florida. I actually loved it there. Once you get used to the humidity it's very nice. The sky is always clean and fresh, big puffy white clouds, the most amazing rain storms. I used to go boating in the canals. I loved how you could boat around everywhere and stop at restaurants and other fun places. I've been to the Everglades many times too. I loved the wildlife there. I especially loved the rainbows in the sky after the rain. You just don't get that here in California. I loved to snorkel in the Keys...that was beautiful. We also used to go to Captiva Island all the time. I absolutely loved it there. I'd go shelling and collect the most amazing shells. Once Michael Franks came into a bar we were in on Captiva, I think he has a home in Captiva, and he was singing and dancing with some little girls. That was fun too. I don't know if you know who he is. They also had beautiful lap pools in Florida and I love to swim so that was nice too. Well, Florida was a long time ago, and it was beautiful where I lived.

Fram said...

You make Florida sound like a place I visited with my eyes closed, Kelly, which is entirely possible. Other than the Fort Myers trip, I was young (and sort of wild). On my first trip, I arrived in Miami about 10 days after graduating from high school, and spent most of the summer in and out of there. Maybe I should take the time to revisit it, this time in the light of day.

I did have to look up Michael Franks. Just goes to show how little the music critic, me, knows about it in other than a few areas.

TheChicGeek said...

Young and wild in Florida....goes together like milk and cookies :)
I bet you had a great trip...if only you could remember!

TheChicGeek said...

Here's the link to my friend Cathy's B & B in Zefat :)

It's beautiful where she lives :)

Fram said...

In regard to Florida: Yes, ma'am.

In regard to your latest post: I was quite happy with yesterday's pinup girl, but I thank you for providing another.

I will check out the B&B site during the hours ahead.

Fram said...

Kelly ....

When I saw, Beit Yosef Zimmer, it clicked.

Catherine and Josef.


TheChicGeek said... favorite people in the entire world. They are beautiful souls :)

TheChicGeek said...

I had to go back to look at the pinup
Actually, I think her booty is a little too big, but she's dreaming so she fit :)

Natalie said...

“…choosing between a pair of similarly matched young ladies… I would choose the other...” Remember, as a Philosopher, you have no right to ask this sort of question!! What makes you think if “the other one” would be better??? Your life would be different, yes, but you will never know if it would be better… Forgive me, you could end up in Dummy’s shoes….

“….Good or evil, happiness or grief –
Make our lives merely …complete…
Just bear in mind one important thing:
“As you sow, so shall you reap…”

Fram said...

I keep trying to say, Natalie, better or worse and good or bad are not part of this picture. The object is to "learn" from the "different" experiences, not to compare them. And, obviously, it is a situation that could never exist. I will write more about this either later tonight or tomorrow.

Something special ....