Sunday, July 27, 2014


There have been a few doorways I've stood in since my last post. Not sure where they would have led, maybe to a familiar vestibule, maybe to somewhere else. 

One was during the early stages of the World Cup. The field of colors and emblems, order unraveling into momentary chaos and raveling back to order, reminded me of stamp collecting, back when I was a bedroom globetrotter, making colorful rows of peasants from Osterreich, King Leopolds from Belgie/Belgique, and musicians from Magyarorszag. That was when the world was mainly a map, with the British Commonwealth countries in pink, the French countries in green, and Greenland was by far the biggest land mass in the world. Geography forgave history. World War II had happened, but it had retreated to playing army in the Kligermans' back yard. Now we had the Good Neighbor Policy, Japan made our Crackerjack prizes, and the news was a mix of stories with faraway villainy, like the Iron Curtain, balanced by reassuring happy tales, like singing Israeli children.

A week or two ago I lingered over another portal, a product ad in the mail with the hook, Hearing Loss or Just Earwax? which turned out to be a promo for a diagnostic tool called the Video Otoscope. Something about the intrusive familiarity of the word Earwax appealed to me. Good name for a lowly character in a crime novel, or one of Dick Tracy's foes, like Pruneface. Good rainy-day time-waster: check out the list of Dick Tracy villains on Wikipedia. There must be hundreds, from 1931 through 2014. And if you're also a fan of old-time radio and have 46 more minutes, I recall a Dick Tracy radio broadcast from 1945 featuring a cast including Bing Crosby (as Tracy), Dinah Shore (as Tess Trueheart), Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, etc. etc. It's amazing what a little earwax will lead to.

Most recently, a phrase floated by. I caught it in my butterfly net. Here it is: creative hope. I'm not sure what it means, but I like the way it teeters its wings back and forth. I think it can stand up to some pondering.  

There's regular hope, which was the last thing in Pandora' box after all the evils had escaped. It's a good thing, regular hope, but it seems kind of overmatched, pitted against all those scourges bent on sowing terror and suffering. (Though it must have driven the evils crazy when they were all living in the box together.) Practically speaking, it seems to me most effective as an attitude. To remain hopeful. A hedge against defeatism. Hope springs. Fingers crossed. Hoping against hope--which sounds contradictory, but maybe it means like pressing hope against itself, doubling it. As ardently as it's invoked, it still strikes me that hope is kind of passive, if hardy. Emily Dickinson called it "the thing with feathers" and marveled that it never stops at all, nor asks anything in return for its willingness to sing in the storm, as it were. 

But what about creative hope? What would that be?  As I fill this white space with letters, words, sentences, perhaps I am employing hope creatively. Hoping not for something, which may be an investment in disappointment. Investing, instead, in possibility. With creation as your part of the bargain. I create, therefore I hope? No, dude, the other way around. This is delicate. I could be mistaken. 

Maybe it could be hoping for something--change, a non-specific pleasant turn of events--but not just waiting for it. Doing something. Making something. 

I'll ponder on it some more.

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