Wednesday, September 3, 2008

black ink


Today for no particular reason, I was sad, sadder than I've been in a long, long time. As I usually do, I told myself something I once read in a list of quotations on the back page of a magazine: an occasional despair is the wages of existence and the common inheritance of mankind. Not exactly felicitously phrased, but it gets across the cheering idea that, right this very minute, somewhere not too far away, someone else is miserable too.

Schadenfreude can be -- often is -- nothing more or less than malicious glee, the reason we laugh when someone slips on a banana peel or Wile E Coyote falls off a cliff. But schadenfreude can also be something much softer and gentler -- sympathy turned inside-out.

Years and years ago, heartbroken, I lay on my bed and obsessively read Shakespeare's sonnets. And, yes, it was partly because I couldn't concentrate for more than fourteen lines at a time and because I was trying to distract myself with an analysis of the meter and the rhymes and the sounds that resurfaced in different forms and shapes. But mostly it was because I wanted to tell myself, to keep telling myself, that once, four hundred years before, someone had felt as much in love and exactly as sad as I did now.

14 comments:

Patti said...

Iambic pentameter can be a balm for the soul, no?

We all have sad days..very often for no reason. Hope yours didn't last too long.

diana said...

Very nice heartbeat he has, this guy!
I know what you say....

cinnamon gurl said...

I think that heartbeat looks pretty good too!

I have a wallow playlist on itunes that I listen to when I'm feeling inexplicably sad, for the same reason...

Maggie said...

I hate that sad feeling - the one that sneaks up on you and that you are sure will swallow you whole, eating you from the inside out. Or maybe you just wish that it would.

As an OB nurse, I can say with great pleasure that you have one great looking kiddo - hooray!

thailandchani said...

Yes, it seems to be a normal fluctuation in this life. It comes and goes.


~*

the dragonfly said...

I've had lots of sad days lately. I usually put Buffy on my tv...there's at least one smile in every episode.

Aunt Becky said...

Raises hand. You read Shakespeare, I clean the floorboards with my toothbrush.

Which Box said...

I have far, far too many of those sad days - or, more often, sad passing moments out of the blue. Just had one this morning. Luckily, somehow these days I can shake them off more easily, but it's still a shadow on an otherwise cloudless day.

It took me a long, long time to realize that people 400 years ago, or 1000 years ago, or even 50 years ago were people just like people today, with the same feelings and passions and hurts and loves. It just seemed like History, or a school lesson. Who was it that said there's nothing new under the sun?

Tash said...

"But schadenfreude can also be something much softer and gentler -- sympathy turned inside-out."

Lovely.

Ruby said...

Beautiful picture!

To cheer you up have something cotton-candy-pink-and-sparkling and delicious.

Amelie said...

I like your take on Schadenfreude. And the photo is wonderful.

Dayna said...

Thinking of you, Niobe, and wishing you a sweeter day tomorrow.

janis said...

Funny about you and Shakespeare. When I was younger, I read Shakespeare aloud for pleasure. It made me happy, to be speaking in a different manner.
What a funny world this is.

Hope your day gets more golden.

Magpie said...

I am sorry about the sadness.