Thursday, October 9, 2014

What We Make

photographer: Alain Delorme

I was thinking about diamonds and the world's biggest necklace. 

Bob Dylan

I was thinking about how so much of our life consists of stories that we make up, word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, page by page. Days and then years go by in the telling. At worst, we lie to ourselves through story, believing it. At best, we are wildly creative in our elaboration.

I was thinking about how so much of life itself is a house of cards -- at least the life of humans -- everything stacked precariously, both ill- and well-intentioned, with nothing, really, at the base. If I cast my mind back to the days when I worked for a retail brokerage firm in Nashville, Tennessee, I felt that house of cards tremble when the stock market crashed in 1987, the grim faces of my work colleagues, the quiet and stifled panic. I looked across the huge room where we all sat behind glass walls that ringed the perimeter, can see as if it were yesterday, the face of a young man whose name I've long since forgotten, his bowed head in his hands. Marriage is a house of cards whose base is sometimes nothing more than a piece of paper. Men who love men and women who love women have added their own cards, and every time a card is added, the whole pile seems about to collapse. Dissolution is another card. The fragility of it all makes me tremble.

I was thinking about the Ebola epidemic in Africa, how the crazies are already blaming Obama for letting it in. I'm not sure why some things induce such panic (Ebola) and other things are pushed aside, even denied (climate change). 

I was thinking of how we make up stories, card by card, and fuel our illusions.


  1. Wow. I wonder if it isn't a gift that these houses crumble and fall from time to time. Even though we feel a desperate need to construct and reconstruct them, when we are faced with their imminent demise, it gives us the opportunity to catch a glimpse of what might really be important and lasting, even as we race to begin building again.

  2. So much to chew on here, and so beautifully writ. I agree. It's all story. And we can take all the same details and construct them in a new way at any time.

  3. Definitely a subject that interests me. Delusion. Illusion. Confusion.

  4. I do that to myself, make up stories and then begin to believe them. Seems to be a part of being human. The truth is so often uncomfortable and I know I like my comfort, so I lie to myself.

  5. The Ebola thing IS scary, but blaming Obama is asinine. I think humans have a special, instinctive fear of contagion. It's what fuelled AIDS discrimination in the '80s, against all scientific evidence and logic.

  6. Oh, and my God, that is an AMAZING photo. Kudos to that photographer!

  7. i'm a romantic realist (an oxymoron, i know), and prefer to see marriage as a house of bricks: foundations, and then one brick after another, until the house is complete.



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