Justin Stone's creekbed

songs, prayers, poetry, stories, art, photographs, moving pictures, fondnesses, tall-tales and meditations

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Location: missouri, el paso

The Anterior Insula and Hwy W

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Beyond the mistakes and the fog and the indulgence and the selfishness, I have spent most of my life looking for stories. I found early on that something in me is filled when I join with them. It is a thing hard to describe, but it has something to do with feeling less alone, less incomplete, less scared, less un-knowing. It is like something you only know by its opposite. This morning in a warm flood of tears I finished “Tenth of December,” the final short story in the recently published short story collection of the same title by George Saunders. The tears were unexpected, but huge, quaking; so welcome, so necessary. A state of seeing.

I always felt disconnect with much of American popular culture, and as I age this feeling has only become more pronounced. The movies, the televised products, the endless unnecessary entertainments and diversions—most all of it leaves me empty, forgetful, unaware and untouched. Filler between dawn and dawn. It is such a common feeling that it almost comes to feel that this is the way that not only everything is, but the way everything is supposed to be. Like a deep resignation, a sentence about which you can do nothing, so whatever, you know, f*ck it. Until you experience this phenomenon’s opposite. “Tenth of December” is that. It is what most everything else today, product-wise, is not. It is an immersion in compassion, connectivity, craft, and the truly funny. It is an immersion in lift, awareness, curiosity, subversive weirdness and necessary questioning.

The good work is out there, as it has always been, helping us help one another, helping us know one another, helping make each of us feel a little less incomplete. This is what humans do. When we wish to be, when we think and focus, we are remarkably adept at it. But the good work so often gets lost, buried, ignored. One really has to compel oneself toward it, to the finding, the digging. I always have to remind myself to keep looking, to keep trying to know. For those tears this morning felt so good. So, so, so good. To release, to reach. To want to be better. I am crying again now even just thinking about it all, thinking about the story. So pure and real and wondrous.

Thank you, George.