Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein
Woman with a brilliant mind

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sucking up bitterness, spitting out honey

A boring sort of alchemy

It's days later and I'm still sick with disappointment. It doesn't help that I keep searching the same old media sources for some kind of hope. The best idea I've read out there is that we can keep our ideas out in the culture.

In my great grandparents' time, they were so damn happy to come to the US, they learned English, kept their Dutch to themselves, went to work in the silk mills in New Jersey, and voted Republican. I think that might be because they hated the Catholics.

And on my Mom's side, they were jack-Mormons who went to Idaho and Northern Utah. They were Scots-Irish too. Relatives of the hillbillies. They were Republicans too, probably because Republicans weren't prohibitionists and they liked their alcohol.

I feel it inside me how great my ancestors were in the grand total of things, and their ways were good. Not joyful, not triumphant, but decent.The lovely picture of television families going on picnics was just not what it was like. Love wasn't pretty.

The blueprint

Gertrude has been every religion, and she's told me hair raising stories about things people did to each other under the protection of religion and culture.

Everyone is human and religion doesn't stop that. She says, in her view, there is only a sum of small things that makes the difference between a good system and the lack of one.

The first tenet of the blueprint, Gertrude says, is that all the power that ever was, or will be, is the one right here, right now. Everyone has an imperfect realization, of what's good, and everyone has just this moment to tap into what little bit of power there is behind what we see and what we choose. It's not much but it really adds up.

Alchemy is lots of small steps, most of which don't exactly make you feel comfortable. Things get crushed, burned, mixed with caustic chemicals, set on fire, pulverized, compressed and thus purified.

 This is happening all the time, and probably if I use this suffering to accept what life forces upon me, I will be doing what is supposed to be done. I and my people got too comfortable and we lost our ability to work hard for things we wanted. We will get it back only when we are forced to.

But... Life was not supposed to be a picnic.

What I was born to be and do, I have to accept and work with.

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