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First Sunday of Advent

Sunday 11/29/20

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. When I was a kid, we had one of those Advent Calendars with the candy--you'd get a little piece every day when you flipped open the cardboard sliver. Or else there was that model with the Hershey Kisses tied with a little felt ribbon. I was speaking to someone the other day and they were telling me about their grandchildren, how excited they were for Christmas, adding that this is the way of children, and it means something more to them. I wondered whether I should be embarrassed, or think I've done a component of adulthood incorrectly on account that I love Christmas more than I did as a child, though it's very painful for me right now, with where my life is, in my quest to overcome that which I must overcome. And of course the total aloneness.

But I don't think I've done anything wrong in this regard. I think it speaks to spirit and wonder, and one's capacity for the latter, and development--amplification--of the former. I know that someday if I am where I wish to be, have received the recognition I merit for what I do, and get to have the audience I am made for, and for whom I make everything and have given my life, my joy regarding this holiday will not be quantifiable. And will come across that way in all I say and do. That's not now, of course. I like gift-giving, and I like getting gifts. When I picture myself back in Rockport, I am surrounded by the things I love--books, films, every single live recording of the Who and Dylan and everything Beethoven ever wrote, in immaculately ordered closets and cases comprising my exhaustive library of art. I'll have created my own art for all-time that day, I'll have enriched the life of the person I'm with, and vice versa, and I'll sit and read, and listen. And yes, look forward to what I'll be adding--a complete set of 1930s baseball cards, a new Doors box set, a long OOP Henry James biography.

When I was a kid on those Advent Sundays, it was often cold. Sometimes there was snow. I liked those Sundays best. Early in the morning my father would drive me to a rink and I'd play hockey. Back home we'd get a football game going, me and my friends, and absolutely wreck each other--always tackle, always laying people out--in someone's backyard. I liked to imagine I was Andre Tippett or Alan Page. After that I'd come home, and I'd read Dickens' Christmas ghost stories. Not just A Christmas Carol, but all of them, losing myself completely. And I'd end my day by listening to J.S. Bach's Advent and Christmas-season Cantatas, curled up for hours, mesmerized in one sense by his writing, but always understanding what he was doing--it made so much sense to me as I was beginning to piece together what I was as a writer, and what I'd be someday.

This morning I've been listening to Bach's Advent Cantatas, under the baton of John Eliot Gardiner, with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. I've done so much work this weekend. I've done a lifetime of work this weekend. I'll go into that later--for now I must hit the streets and tend to my heart so that I can endure all of this hell for some time longer, and have those future Christmases of which I speak. As I noted on my Twitter page that no one sees, reads, has any interest in, or responds to--this is the sound of becoming more human. Embedded now in a journal that is the reading form of that.


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