“Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still you had the feeling that you wanted to stay,
You knew it was right, wasn’t wrong.
Still you knew you wouldn’t be very long.
Go or stay, stay or go,
Start to go again and change your mind again.
It’s hard to have the feeling that you wanted to go,
But still have the feeling that you wanted to stay.
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, si, do.
— Jimmy Durante, The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
This little ditty has been rattling around in my head the past day. I wasn’t really aware of the lyrics as my mind marched up and down the cadence of the song. It just followed me from the shower to my day job to the grocery store. I had several little excitations floating around my head after I finished Day 2 of the 100 Day Project. I was buzzing with pearls but they all fluttered away.
This morning I sat down to write about the monster antagonist in the book I’m working on and the song popped back into my head. Then it clicked. the book I’m working on is about overcoming a painful ambivalence. That mix of repulsion and desire, fear, and longing, the ache of helplessness, and the oceanic joy of sloughing off the blanket of a bad attachment.
Have you ever had a toothache or even an abscess and done nothing about it?
Then it’s gone and you wonder how you lived with it that long or what made you consider that it would change if you did nothing drastic?
This makes me think of these early days of Biden’s term and the decisive action he’s taking. I was never a huge Biden fan but during the Obama era, the main criticism of Obama’s adoring fans (I’m his adoring fans), is that he played too nice. He was so stuck on bi-partisan politics that he ended up being ineffectual. Too much about wanting to please everyone and seeing the good in people who are turd brains.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is clearly a bad hombre as was her leader, Imprisoner of young children-in-chief, Deporter of dreamers-in-chief, School shooting denier and Q-anon spawner-in-chief, Jews with laser beams-in-chief, a cubic zirconia version of a real estate mogul in chief that people kept indulging.
There’s no time to sit down and have a cup of tea with an axe murderer. There’s no both sides to crimes against humanity or farkakte conspiracy theories. They weren’t about to bring The Celestine Prophecy or The Secret to the Algonquin Round Table. We just have to stay the course.
In my story, the protagonist faces strong headwinds of a similar kind of gaslighting topsy turvy world, the consequence of having been open, of having been undiscriminating, loosey goosey with conviction, but another future is coming and she doesn’t have to hold onto the paltry present just because it’s not mapped out. The only way to move forward is to imagine a future, not fear trotting out into a foggy nothingness. Maybe it serves to just imagine the ambivalence or scary situation as a moment in a past that hasn’t come yet and just assume there’s a future because there has always been one. Say wha? You know what I mean.
I really don’t know where this all concludes (somewhere in the future) but since Day 3 is drawing to a close, I’ll end it here and now. Stay the course.