I am thinking about this name business. Annie Dillard said “Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” I am also reminded of a joke in the form of a first person story an older friend once told us. When we first moved to our small coop apartment building there was a couple who were long-time residents here, I’ll call them Henry and Tess. Neither one is still living, but it was Henry who told this joke about sexism to my partner and me. He said, yes when Tess and I got married 55 years ago, we agreed on a way of doing things in our marriage. She would make all the small decisions and I would make all the big decisions. Thing is, we’ve been married 55 years and there’s still never been a big decision.
I think in writing, I am trying to understand which of the small things are actually the big things, or the thread between small and big; big and small. And I am always interested in the connection between writing and knowing and understanding things.
Somehow all of this relates to naming. How are the ways I spend my days, related to the issues I care most deeply about? What would capture that perspective– that the small things are part of a bigger whole life in which I/we do have certain deep values and concerns?
In a life, there are many moments when we have the chance to take a big defining stand against racism, sexism– class oppression, glb oppression, or not to take a stand. We just don’t always know ahead of time which action will be very significant, a turning point for ourselves or for someone else. Or put differently, there are myriad things that we do day to day that may not seem significant, but may be very significant. For the good or for the not good.
I know this is true mostly because I can remember and recount many instances starting in childhood and through the present, in which a word of appreciation or encouragment, a connection with someone, a sharp word or dismissal by someone, has either inspired or flattened me; has been helpful or a hindrance way beyond what I think the person on the other end could possibly imagine.
You don’t quite know what will be significant until you try something. I think you often don’t even know it was significant after you’ve done or said something. Now I feel myself getting further afield here, but I think all this is somehow connected to me figuring out a proper name for this blog.