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My ain gate

July 9, 2009

Pardon my patois; as I hover at the cliffhanger edge of finishing the second novel I have read by Sir Walter Scott in three weeks, I’m beginning to think in Scottish dialect. For those who haven’t been tramping with me through miry holms and bogs, my title simply means, “My own way.”

The title came to mind as I was picking raspberries. I’ve no idea why the title occurred to me, but the reason I was picking raspberries was because it’s one of few things I can still do without wracking my RSI-burned hands. It’s also one of few things I can outside the confines of the interior of my own house. If I’m lousy at healing, which is what I’m supposed to be doing, I can probably claim average competence at picking raspberries, and maybe slightly better than average competence at picking titles.

But I’ve had little use for titles lately, because I’ve had little to title. Writing is arduous and tedious and frustrating with voice-recognition software. Writing used to be satisfying and a joy. It no longer is, and God has not seen fit to restore or replace this avocation.

I have found much and unexpected pleasure in reading Walter Scott’s historical novels. Perhaps they are something of a replacement for writing, at least for now, with an ironic twist thrown in. I used to rail against novels the way Scott’s Covenanters rail against his Jacobites — though the abolition of all novels would scarcely ever have been something over which I would have volunteered for the gibbet.

Lately I have pondered whether a Christian rightfully aspires to fun. I’m not sure I have ever understood fun, either in my pagan days or as a Christian, but I think in general I was too self-conscious to have fun. If I caught myself having fun, the fun was over. I can recall sitting at a pool, watching people having fun diving and splashing. I thought they were interesting life forms.

I’m in an awkward phase of healing. A long, long plateau stretches ahead, looming like a waterless world under a blistering sun. The physical condition is on its own schedule. And I, who have always scheduled everything and prided myself on my superior-being sense of organization, am at a loss to contrive a schedule for mourning. I resent the gnawing grief, but the loss of use, or at least, important uses, of one’s hands, is something one grieves. I rue very deeply the loss of the ability to type and to hold up a book in my own hands.

I need a time-out and I can’t justify it because I can’t identify what it is that I need a time out from.

I am unable to type these words and I can barely stand to hear them as I speak them to the inane, indifferent software that scrambles what I say. But for something inane, its algorithms can’t be much simpler than some algorithm that might have put a man on a planet of the Alpha Centauri system. Still, the word “some” took four tries. Bad, Dragon, very bad.

There are periods of mental agitation when the firmest of mortals must be ranked with the weakest of his brethren; and when, in paying the general tax of humanity, his distresses are even aggravated by feeling that he transgresses, in the indulgence of his grief, the rules of religion and philosophy by which he endeavours in general to regulate his passions and his actions. — Old Mortality

  1. kamelda permalink
    July 10, 2009 3:56 am

    God gives beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning. Love you, dear Lauren.

  2. July 10, 2009 8:15 am


    In line with your own words, Sir Walter Scott’s Old Mortality hero Henry Morton, his memory-laden gaze upon a stream, says this:

    “Murmurer that thou art… why chafe with the rocks that stop thy course for a moment? There is a sea to receive thee in its bosom; and there is an eternity for man when his fretful and hasty course through the vale of time shall be ceased and over. What thy petty fuming is to the deep and vast billows of a shoreless ocean, are our cares, hopes, fears, joys, and sorrows to the objects which must occupy us through the awful and boundless succession of ages.”

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