Recreational thought

It’s a regret, when it occurs to me, that my situation over the last few years has taken me away from what I might describe as recreational thinking. To call it thinking describes it too narrowly, but I don’t know of another word to describe what I mean. When I look back to other times, to times richly described in this very blog, what I see are tangential thinking, and thought inspired by feeling or emotion. I recall, for example, writing once about the poetry of — at a time that I had been carried away by some of his poems (if I recall correctly, I blended it in with an appraisal of Greene’s End of the Affair. Another time I wrote an impression of the movie Age of Innocence. These were rich pieces drenched in personal experience and perspective.

I hope I still have such material in me. I don’t know though because it’s been a while. When things are as tough and as tight as they have been for me these last few years you live very much in the here and now. There are bills to pay, demands to fend off, angry people to respond to, a tangled complexity that I’m forever trying to untangle.

In this condition it’s rare for your mind to stray into areas that might, in present circumstances, be called frivolous or indulgent. It’s not just the pressing reality of effectively existing on the razor’s edge day after day. It changes your thinking too. Because I must I have a much more adversarial, and occasionally belligerent frame of mind (exacerbated by our dire political situation, which weighs heavily upon me these days). I see things framed through that perspective more often than not; and as things I must do or respond or act upon.

A return to more indulgent contemplation would be welcome not just as a sign that my life has returned to some semblance of former normality. I would like to think it’s also a truer expression of who I am. I delight in those tangents. I love being made to think and feel. It’s rewarding to let my mind creep out on a limb. In key aspects that is who I am – or who I was before; and who I want to be again.

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