Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Up in Smoke

Today on the way back from driving my daughter to school, I saw a fire truck at a school and a car up in smoke on the access road. Trouble, but under control, and no ambulance. Just not a good start to that particular day...

The heart goes out in so many ways, to so many people, and I'm glad people can sometimes share their burdens, prayers, sympathies, wishes, woes, and joys by way of social media these days. Sometimes I get worn down by the political messages and self-promotional moments, and sometimes by the trivialities, but mostly I am glad to rejoice in good news and to be able to send good vibes to those who are suffering.

And grateful for the great ideas and art & lit posted via link!

I always love The Writer's Almanac, which today reminds us that it is the birthday of Michel de Montaigne, essentially the inventor of the essay--the essai or attempt to go forth in words, discursive-ly, as we say now, which can imply both rambling and reasoned discourse.

As a blogger, I take to heart, and cringe a little at his advice, "Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved." Ack! I hope I don't belittle myself by embracing my own whimsy! And I hope I am not full of self-praise when I announce my own good news. A comfort is that other bloggers worry about this, too--The Scrapper Poet worries about the "me, me, me" slant even as she shares the good news we want to hear!--and so I hurry to her aid!

It's good to remember that Montaigne himself acknowledged, "I am myself the matter of my book" and that he frequently uttered the gentle self-deprecation "Que sais-je? (What do I know?)" (as we learn in Wikipedia)! Surely it's a matter of striking a balance.

Or perhaps a match. Hmm. Set the world on fire? Or go up in smoke? What, ultimately, will one's words do?


Collagemama said...

Ah. I must ramble less. Got it. Or ramble with the Allman Brothers, but don't smoke.

Molly said...

Feels tricky sometimes, to be sure. You don't belittle or self-congratulate. Whimsy = good. Celebrating successes = good. I for one am glad to take part via cyberspace.

Kathleen said...

Thanks for hilarity and reassurance, you two!

Ha! I'll put that in my pipe and smoke on it!

Ruth said...

Much has changed since de Montaigne's day, yet we keep reflecting on the same issues in our writing. I think people can tell when we take ourselves too seriously, or not, and relate to us when we humbly share the realities of our lives, finding in them their own life and truth.

Kathleen said...

Ruth, thank you! Yes!