Archive for the ‘ tidbits ’ Category

Living in a Tragicomedy

Harold decides he is in a tragedy but ends in a comedy.

Harold decides he is in a tragedy but ends in a comedy.

There is a fantastic scene from Stranger Than Fiction in which Harold Crick, a tax auditor, tallies the moments of his life in a little notebook.  His goal: to discover if his life is a tragedy or a comedy.  According to the oldest dramatic traditions, either he will get married (accepted into society and always have backup) or die (evicted from the planet by force of Mother Nature or a fellow human). Sometimes I wish I had a little black book to tell me so.

The baker gives you an extra cookie, no charge: comedy.  Your high school crush comments on your profile picture and says your new summer tan makes you look, quote, “hot”: comedy.  You catch the season finale of Swamp People while channel surfing: comedy.  Flying down the highway at 80 mph, you pass an officer pulling someone else over for a ticket: comedy.  All the little things that add up to assure you that you belong in the world, your place is valuable, and you’re going to make it in life.

You show up for your dentist appointment one day and one hour late: tragedy.  You forget to turn in your timesheet on Thursday—which means your paycheck won’t get issued until the following Wednesday and the USPS won’t put it in your mailbox until the Monday after that: tragedy.  Your bank teller informs you that depositing at the counter will cost you $9 since your account is now “paperless”: tragedy.  The can of soda that you accidentally left in your car’s backseat cup holder explodes in the 120-degree heat while you’re working (caffeine-less) in the 55-degree office: tragedy.  All the little things that accrue as evidence that you have no idea what you’re doing, the world doesn’t want you in it, and life ends when you’re 40 but can’t start until then either (something about paychecks and salaries and “work experience”).

the Master of Tragicomedy: Charlie Chaplin

the Master of Tragicomedy: Charlie Chaplin

So—all taken into account, is a life comedic or tragic?  And, according to Tolstoy, Chekov, and a  host of other brilliant Russian authors, does it even matter whether it’s one or the other?  Is Romeo and Juliet the world’s greatest tragedy or cruelest comedy? The answer: yes.

Life is a tragicomedy.  And the only way to ever make it through one of those is to keeping moving.  Crying, laughing, skipping, or crawling, the show must go on.  Life isn’t a dress rehearsal, after all; so make the best of it, they would say.

I re-discovered in the trunk of my car this week a box of books.  Not because my car is so unbelievably cluttered that I forgot it was there; I forgot it was there because it has become a permanent fixture in my trunk.  This box of books has been in my trunk since Spring 2010.  Yes, 2010.  I put it there after a book swap put on by the English Majors Association.  The problem is that English majors hoard books, they don’t share them.  The leftovers we planned on donating to a local library near our college.  That was my best intention.

What is your "box of books"?

What is your "box of books"?

I convinced myself that even though the books rode all the way home with me when I cleaned out my apartment after graduation, when I visited my friends left behind, they would ride all the way back to the poor provincial library to whom they were justly due.  We all see how that turned out.  Tragic?  Slightly.  Comedic? Slightly.  Absurd?  Absolutely.  And in the face of absurdity, the only answer is to keep going and quit carrying all your baggage around.  All the undone things that sit in the trunk of psyche.  All the decisions about whether or not we failed or succeeded.  They should be mercifully cleared away.

I will be visiting my local library this afternoon—with a tragicomical smile of relief on my face.

Soft Lays the Night

Soft lays the night on my beating heart.

Not one, but two things have I spoken.

Don’t forget to turn in your key

when you pack up your things and sashay  away with a crisp apple between your teeth

the last fruit of a weary yoke.


I remembered you at the dawn.

When the mists rolled in through the asphalt cracks and the brakes tore through the treads.

I was there.

I was there when you cried and shuffled to the three-step dirge.

Don’t look away now, in the soft of the night,

in the pillow of the patterned fall.


I will be there again in the blazing 1 p.m. sliding the card in the slot.

Quiet laps the evening on the memories of my mind,

On the tired places that cannot pull together but lie naked, beating at the surface.


Sleep in peace, and pass on to the Time, my wild-hearted friend.


Soft Lays the Night


Friends with Books

My poor friends—–I am beginning to discover some similarities to how I treat my books and how I treat my friends.  And I hope for my friends’ sake that I get a better handle on things, haha.

I am currently “in the middle” of six books:

Children of Hurin by Tolkien

Children of Hurin by Tolkien

I lied. I finished this one last Thursday. But oh! it’s so good! I forget how large a scale our lives actually fill. Tolkien always inspires me to remember (like Dustin Hoffman insists in I Heart Huckabees) that we are all part of “The Blanket.”

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement by Ian McEwan

I’ve been reading this book since my junior year of college. I insist on finishing it before I’ll let myself see the film. But at this rate…perhaps I’d better bow my head and run to Blockbuster really quick.

The Green Ride by Britain

The Green Ride by Britain

This is my homework from one of my best friends. She discovered that only recently had I discovered what a mage is. Now begins my true fantasy / sci-fi education.

Yossel by Kubert

Yossel by Kubert

In preparation for helping edit the upcoming graphic novel by Meet Justice—which will be one of the first in the nation to deal exclusively with the topic of human trafficking—I am immersing myself in the genre. It’s undoing me from the inside out.

A Moveable Feast by Hemingway

A Moveable Feast by Hemingway

One of my dear friends and fellow English majors is reading this along with me. Damn, I’d forgotten how much I love Hemingway! And here, he doesn’t disappoint as he recounts his Parisian days with the liquid drops of lucid prose that far out perform my own poetic impulses.

Naked Economics by Wheelan

Naked Economics by Wheelan

I find an ironic connection between the balance in my bank account and my interest in this book. Right now, my bank account and I aren’t on speaking terms. Poor Wheelan has been relegated to the out-of-reach corner of my bedside table…

And so I rest my case: many friends, no time, sketchy consistency. To all of you—books and people alike—I beg your pardon.

Parakeet Love

She was so cute and alone in the big parakeet cage at PetsMart.  Bright white, little blue spots under her wings.  A sad, bedraggled, please-love-me aspect.  My younger sister was with me and campaigned vigorously for the tiny thing’s rescue.  Luckily for them both, I had been hoping to bring home a friend for Moxie, my pied parakeet.  And the lovely black deluxe cage was on sale, too.  Damn.

BIjou: Jewel

Bijou: Jewel

Bijou was a skittish little thing.  She and Moxie timidly conversed from across my bedroom during her quarantine.  After about a week, I decided to introduce them.

Moxie was beside himself!  (Yes, I discovered that my earlier suspicions were born out: Moxie was male.)  It was love at first sight, quite literally.  Cooing and clucking and nuzzling and all made of PDA that made my sister exclaim with surprise and laughter.  I chuckled and realized I had graduated from being a parakeet owner to being a parakeet breeder.  Damn.

They spent about 72 hours courting before I let them move in together for good.  They settled into a darling routine of preening, playing, pecking, peeking, and—I’ve run out of p words to describe this parakeet love.  They are cute enough together that they could probably invent another twelve words to describe the nuance of their interactions.

So far, my one complaint: their midnight, 2 a.m., and 4 a.m. games of tag.  Perhaps Moxie is being a bit forward after lights out; perhaps birds simply get bored after two hours of sleep and have to spend some energy.  In any case, I am back to wearing earplugs.  Damn.

Today I looked up how to build nesting boxes.  “Damn.”

2011: The Year of Aquaria

Well, my lovely readers—I flatter myself that you noticed my absence during the lovely holiday months…and the busyness of the “new year” season, which seems to extend from mid-November to mid-March, when it finishes just in time for “finals” and the hurry into summer mid-May.

With sorrow I announce that Psycho and his best mate Sophie are no more.  They succumbed to a terribly frightful disease, the loathsome parasite ich. After an appropriate period of mourning (and practically boiling the water in my tank to purge it of the parasitic pests), I found myself once again meandering down the glorious wall of aquariums at PetsMart.

So, now, I give you:

—-well, now isn’t this frustrating?  I went to upload a video of my new pets, and behold! ’tis impossible without the almighty Video Upgrade! (which costs, apparently, a mere $59 per year per blog).  Hmm…well, I blog on WordPress because it’s free.

While I sort this out within myself and between WordPress and my wallet, I’ll simply give you their lovely names:







Monsieur Hulot



You’ll have to dream of them until such time as I may enlighten your eyes…

NaNoWriMo Profile

Location: Southeast United States

Home Region:
United States :: Georgia :: Atlanta


Favorite novels: The Gunseller (Hugh Laurie), House of Mirth (Edith Wharton), and Northanger Abbey (Jane Austen) to start.

Favorite writers: Roger Ebert, Jane Austen, my brother, and myself.

Favorite music: Chet Baker, Turtle Island Quartet, Red Garland

Non-noveling interests: critiquing films, baking brownies, playing the piano and singing (with the windows open)

Joined: October 31, 2008

This Year: Official Participant

NaNoWriMo History:

NaNoWriMo posts: 0

NaNoWriMo buddies: 0

Brief Author Bio:

After a long sojourn in the academic system, Reisytal has finally decided that she has learned all she would like to learn for the time being and plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Writing and Publications) next spring. Between now and then, she looks forward to actually watching more than one Netflix rental a month (even though a foreign or classic film can actually be worth the whole $8.99 sometimes), earning some spending money working in “detailed retail”, and lingering in the sanctuary of a house of prayer. She may even decide to write an undergraduate thesis for the pomp of it.