2004-11-09 - 10:54 a.m.

Uh... have I mentioned lately how much I hate my job?

I didn't always hate my job. Once upon a time I loved my job. I even loved it when things went to pieces. In fact, I thrived on the crisis-du-jour and longed for crashes and tricky bugs to fix. It gave me a huge rush.

And now I don't. Jen says it is because I am getting older, mellowing out and what have you. Maybe she is right. I think there is a different reason. Now, I have other things for which to live. Like my cat. And my friends. And my writing.

Speaking of writing, you must read "Sonny's Blues" but James Baldwin. In fact, you should read it out loud. Really good writing benefits from being read aloud and this piece is really good. The writing is excellent, the characters are compelling and the ending packs a wallop. I read "Sonny's Blues" and Flannery O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" last night for class, and I loved both of them, but I think I likes "Sonny's Blues" better because the writing itself was more fun. In terms of depth of theme, O'Connor can't be beat, but this Baldwin story is so full of poetry that I have to say I would much rather re-read "Sonny's Blues" than "A Good Man is Hard to Find" so I will probably choose to write my paper on "Sonny's Blues".

"Sonny's Blues" is about two estranged brothers, one of whom is a recovering addict. And, in a surprise move, I am going to see my recovering addict brother this weekend. We aren't estranged, but we never had the depth of communication that one should have with one's brother especially when we suffer from so many of the same pains and agonies. And I am trying to communicate more deeply, openly and honestly with people.

So, I didn't remember what "Sonny's Blues" was about when I started it. I was just reading it for my class tonight. When I realized what it was about, I almost cried because quite frankly I am scared of going to see my brother this weekend. Stefanie tells me that I am scared because I might have to act like a human being for once in my life instead of a cold, hard rock who exists merely so people can lean on me when they are weary. It is hard to always be helping and to never help, but it was also so much easier than admitting weakness.

I resolved to be more open and then God throws this in my face. I feel like this is my test, my chance to show if my money is where my mouth is. And I don't think I'm up to it.

I read the story so carefully, hoping to find a bit of wisdom to help me understand what Joel is feeling. I don't want to offer him advice, as I hate advice, but I do want to show him that I want to communicate. The lesson I walked away with from "Sonny's Blues" is that we all suffer and we all (on some level) know we cannot escape our suffering but we all continue to try and avoid this suffering. Joel chose alcohol. I chose writing. Both are drugs that ease the pain and let us get through another day. Is his really worse than mine?

Reading "Sonny's Blues"
Wishing I had the words and the guts to really talk with my brother
Plotting a backup plan if this whole "being human" thing falls apart

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