On the Nature of Evil – Quotes of the Day

I subscribe to a Page-A-Day calendar email, so every morning I wake up to a new quote or suggestion for living a happier, less stressful life. This morning’s gem was particularly resonant, so I figured I would share.
“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.”
—Simone Weil
That got me thinking, of course, about other good quotes I’ve seen about the nature of evil. In lieu of yet another examination about evil, I decided instead to present them here without comment.
‘The real thing about evil,’ said the Witch at the doorway, ‘isn’t any of what you said. You figure out one side of it – the human side, say – and the eternal side goes into shadow. Or vice versa. It’s like the old saw: What does a dragon in its shell look like? Well no one can ever tell, for as soon as you break the shell to see, the dragon is no longer in its shell. The real disaster of this inquiry is that it is the nature of evil to be secret.’ (Gregory Maguire, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West)
“Evil is a point of view.” (Anne Rice, Interview With the Vampire)
“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil. The triumph of anything is a matter of organization. If there are such things as angels, I hope that they are organized along the lines of the Mafia.” (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., The Sirens of Titan)
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)

Just because you are struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.

I’ve officially lost it. I may or may not be sitting in my living room, carrying on a one-sided conversation with my deaf cat about how small he looks in our now-clean living room. (He is a runt…) Topher may have watched Henri, le Chat Noir a few too many times, but since he hasn’t started meowing pithily at our matching water fountain I think it might just be the deaf thing.

I get the feeling he doesn’t enjoy the camera.

Meanwhile, Tej just keeps it cool wherever he can escape from Topher or the humans…

…unless the human has a camera.

It’s been a quiet night. If it was chilly outside it would be the perfect night for unpacking my thoughts and going over each one by one. I could write pseudo-philosophical poetry about anything and pretend that I’m 19 again and mostly without any cares – and yet, strangely, unhappier than any average 19-year-old should be.

That’s the struggle I’ve been having – I feel that I’m at my most creative when I am upset or melancholy or even just caught up in how things used to be, but other than “normal” frustrations I find it difficult to stay in that frame of mind. I know, a good problem to have, right? I love the darkness, both physically and metaphorically, but I no longer live there. My life now is in the light.

Perhaps I need to stay focused on what’s ahead rather than picking through what’s behind me. Digging through the past has proven to be an exercise in impotent frustration – I understand nothing more than I ever did, and I feel like the outsider I am when I examine the memories of the girl who was me, and who is me…but who, at the same time, could never be me.

Just…don’t ever let me get back to the uber-sappy crap I used to write. I may or may not want to kick my own ass when I come across it.

Well, this may or may not have had a point. I’m not too concerned about it, so you shouldn’t be either. And if you are…

Setting good habits

I’ve had enough of New Year’s resolutions. Everybody knows (some better than most) that the very act of resolving to do or change something in the coming year is as good as admitting that six months from now that particular part of one’s life is going to be pretty much the same. The only resolution I’ve made in the last several years that I would make again, if only to underscore the irony, is to drink more — that’s right, more — because by following the formula of resolution =/= follow-through, I will actually (once again) drink less.

It all goes back to a “lifestyle” mentality; resolutions, like diets, are short-lived and usually undertaken as the result of peer pressure or an adrenaline shot of “This is the year!” and, when one’s body or psyche have had enough of sudden changes it revolts…and we revert.

That being said, what I do like is the idea of taking personal inventory once or several times a year, to evaluate who I am and where I’m going and, most importantly, what habits I’ve developed, can develop, or need to break to help me be the best person I can be.

One of the good habits I want to set is one that I started last year: writing something every day. I’m not so concerned about the material or the medium, as long as I’m thinking creatively; the goal is to spend ten minutes just throwing things on a page (or a screen) to get my thought process flowing. My creative center is screaming for some attention, and it’s in my best interest to maintain that balance.

I have a long list of other habits to make and break, and I’ll likely be discussing more of  them on here. But for now, just getting this down on the screen is enough to feel like 2012 will be a productive year. (And, look Ma, I wrote something!)

What are your goals or resolutions for 2012?


A little bit of Christmas joy…maybe.

Sorry I suck so much at blogging, blog. And sorry, followers who are ostensibly interested in what I have to say, for not saying anything.

It is what it is.

I can’t believe we are only two days away from Christmas. What I can believe, though, is that I’m hardly looking forward to it. Maybe I should change my name to Scrooge…

Okay, maybe that’s overstating the point a bit. I am excited, to spend time with our families and to share the gifts that we painstakingly picked out from suggestions and inspirations, which shall remain nameless of course (no peeking!).

I am simultaneously pleased, sad, and humbled at our choice of charitable contribution this year: helping a young college student who lost her mother just this Thanksgiving. I’m pleased because I know we are having a direct and positive impact; sad because I can only imagine how it would feel to go through Christmas without one of the most important people in my life; and humbled because this is the first year that we followed through with our plan to give something back. It certainly won’t be the last, however.

Tonight we’re going to the airport to pick up my cousin, whom I haven’t seen in…God, I don’t even know how many years it’s been. So much time has been lost, and even now I keep glancing at the clock and counting down hours and minutes until that trip. This reunion will truly be the greatest holiday gift for our family.

My wish for this holiday is that we find some time for silence. Between all of the driving hither and yon, splitting meals and present time and everything else that is going on, I just want a few quiet moments to sit back and reflect on what has come, gone, and changed forever in the last year of our lives. I want to stop all of the noise and listen to my inner voice, the one that remembers who I am outside of school and work and the constant “go-go-go”, and let her remind me where I’m going.

Most of all, I want it to be 60 degrees and sunny on Christmas.

It is what it is.

So we all know that I can’t go too long without blogging about my personal life — even though The Writer’s Closet is doing quite well in terms of a niche blog, I still have to get out all of the other stuff going through my head that’s not even vaguely (okay, maybe vaguely) related to writing. And, as much as I love having a hard-copy journal, that’s just not good enough anymore.

It is what it is.

This is what I get for being up so early on a Saturday — nothing going on, wondering if it’s going to storm or if the sky just likes looking somewhat ominous to remind us earthbound folk to stay on our toes. I’m venturing out momentarily to pop in and see Forest, which will be nice because I’m pretty sure it’s been more than four months and closer to six since I’ve seen him.

Beyond that, I don’t know what I’m going to do — get back on here and ramble, surely, and probably post an epic about wedding planning. It’s just a lazy day…

Briefly, though, let’s cover the blog — truly, “it is what it is.” Posts will likely be all over the place, just like a personal journal, but hopefully I’ll get some interaction going on here. The unifying theme (since I really have to have one) is just my life — no more, no less. I’ll try to keep things sorted with the tags and categories and whatnot, since I’m getting much better at using them, and we’ll see what happens.

Here’s hoping for some rain…after I get home. After all, it’s the best writing weather.