Variation on the Word Sleep

Monday, December 20, 2004

Goodbye Chunky Rice

Last night I couldn't sleep so I re-read Goodbye Chunky Rice -- you can read the first couple pages of it here. Once again I ended up in tears -- in a sort of good way though. There's the pain of loss and movement -- the anguish of missing people whom you have left or who have left you for whatever reason, but at the same time that pain is an integral part of the beauty of the connections we make with each other. Every painful goodbye is as much about the beauty of being together as it is about a future of being apart.

There's my clicheed idea of joy and pain as inseparable. Clicheed perhaps, but it seems the only way to see life that really makes sense. C.S. Lewis (and probably a fair number of other people) have suggested that humans have a "God shaped hole" which we attempt to fill with many things, but which only God offers real relief from. I disagree -- I think that this is one of the negative ways that people use religion. I don't think we have a "God shaped hole" -- I think that the yearning we have that we can never seem to fulfill is part of what makes us human. Rather than a God shaped hole I think people tend to use a hole shaped god. More people use consumption than god these days though:
Oniochalasia (noun) - buying as a means of mental relaxation.
Now I'm just rambling off into the distance. In summation -- it seems that connecting with other people is the place where real meaning comes in life. The simultaneously tragic and beautiful reality is that inherent in every joyful connection is it's painful ending. To quote the Flaming Lips:

Love in our life is just too valuable
Oh, to feel for even a second without it
But life without death is just impossible
Oh, to realize something is ending within us
Feeling yourself disintegrate.
Life is beautiful.

p.s. Incidentally Craig Thompson who wrote Goodbye Chunky Rice has a new book called Blankets. Judging from the first couple of pages it looks fantastic -- I'll have to pick it up as soon as I have some money.


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