Monday, September 03, 2012

King Canute

I’m sure you’ve noticed that I spend an inordinate amount of time…and the bulk of these blogs…in ranting and raving and waving my arms, and shouting and cursing and oozing bile from every pore. And every now and then I step back and wonder: why? Much as I would like to be appointed He Who Must Be Obeyed, it’s not very likely that’s going to happen.

And just because I rail against the mountainous waves of astonishing stupidity, bigotry, hatred, and intolerance that continuously wash over us all doesn’t mean I have the slightest control over, let alone effect on, any of them. I’m like King Canute, standing on the shore, commanding the incoming tide to reverse. Maybe I hope that by eliciting your empathy, all of us lined up together on the shore might intimidate the tides. Or maybe not.

I am quite good at self-delusion (though I’m sure you’ve never noticed). Being the ultimate egoist, I tend to talk about things which are closest to my core being and insist on trying to foist them off on you on the unproven and unprovable grounds that you might realize that we occasionally have the same thoughts or reactions, though they are not the kind of things one talks much about to others.

I sometimes feel—to use another nautical analogy—a bit like one of those small crabs which live inside an empty sea shell, which in this case is my mind, coming out timidly only occasionally to bitch about something, then darting back in again.

I spend almost all my waking time writing, either books or blogs or emails. I seem to never be able to find the time for what has always been one of the pleasures of life: reading. However, I recently came across a little book called Another Cat at the Door by C.W. Gusewelle. It’s a collection of totally charming short essays about the author and his family’s inability to turn away stray cats showing up at their door. (I assume the stories originally appeared either as a series of blogs or in a weekly newspaper column.)

Each self-contained piece is tells a complete little tale with grace, humor (and sometimes sorrow), insight, and compassion. Reading them, I wondered once again why it seems to be that my blogs are too often little more than grumpy muttered oaths and complaints. I fear you may…if you have not already…grow tired of being exposed to unrelenting negativity, and wander off in search of happier thoughts.

Mr. Gusewell is not a curmudgeon, and he does not live in a seashell. He spends his time outside, observing the world and others around him, not immersed in himself to the exclusion of the rest of the world. There is little nourishment to be found in feeding entirely on one’s self, but it is exactly what I do.

So I’ve resolved to try to get outside of myself a little more in future blogs: God knows there really is enough good and pleasant things to talk about. And I hope you understand that my apparent unhappiness stems from my soul-deep belief and expectation that people can be so very much better than they are, and my deep disappointment when constantly proven wrong.

So I talk about myself in hopes that you may find I am also talking about you. Maybe enough of us, standing on the seashore, can make a difference. I’d like to think so.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (


Kage Alan said...

My sweet Dorien...never be afraid to swim in the dark and share it. I believe it was the great Kathy Griffin who has repeatedly said "I can't be positive. I just don't have time."

Dorien/Roger said...

Thanks, Kage. A true sage, that Kathy Griffin!