Page 3 - February 2021
P. 3

           jack foley                              RAMBLINGS

                    OCTOGENARIAN ANTICS

                                                                        TO A FRIEND

                                                                     Please  understand:  Pity,  compassion
                                                                     is  not  the  same  as  self  pity.
                                                                     Compassion leads out of the self into
                                                                     another, into the world. Self pity leads
                                                                     only back into the self. It is ego stuff.
                                                                     Self pity shows up frequently--and not
                                                                     as  an  ornament--in  your  poetry.  You
                                                                     suggest  in  your  note  that  poetry  for
                                                                     you  may  have  been  a  way  of  talking
                                                                     back  to  your  mother.  You  can  get
                                                                     beyond that difficult childhood feeling.
                                                                     Like  me,  you're  an  antiquity.  As  a
                                                                     doctor  you  certainly  used  your
                                                                     feelings  about  yourself  to  move

                                                                     outward,  to  feel  pity  towards  others.
                                                                     Allow  that  passion  to  grow  in  your
                                                                     work. As an emotion, the idea that my
                                                                     life  is  TERRRRIBLE  boo  hoo  goes
                                                                     nowhere      except     into    kvetching,
                                                                     complaining.  Let  your  difficulties
                                                                     move  you  into  world,  into  beyond
                                                                     yourself.  You'll  find  that  that  gesture
                                                                     opens  you  to  further  feeling.  It  is  the
                                                                     gesture  made  in James  Joyce's  great
                                                                     early story, "The Dead" and, really, in
                                                                     everything he wrote. Tell your mother
                                                                     to  go  to  hell  and  get  on  with  your

                                                                     weeping. It marks you as human.

        litterateur                                                                February 2021
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