Friday Philosophy: Thought Salad

I’m not in my happy place today.  At least so far.  I’m letting myself be drawn into discussions I’m better off avoiding, if only for my own sanity.  Lately I’ve been seeing signs of the same sort of thing that drove me from the other place…and I don’t see signs of anyone creating another place to escape to in the near future.

I don’t like putting up walls, really.  But when it becomes obvious that there is a central issue that I and someone else are never, ever going to agree on, I find I am much better off to not discuss anything like that issue with that person.  And sometimes it gets to the point that I am better off leaving.  I have a history of leaving, some might call it running away, just like I have a history of being told to get lost.

The former is always painful, but I have found that I can eventually get over it.  The latter is a thousand times more painful and one doesn’t get over it.  Ever.  At least this one doesn’t know how to do so.

But sometimes the former is necessary to do because one foresees the possibility of the latter.

This is a subject that is probably too painful for me to explore deeply at this time of my life, so I have a collection of …oh, let’s call them vignettes…to offer this evening.

* * * * * * * * * * *

For some unknown reason, my skull came to my attention this past week.  I have a strange skull, at least the cranium part.

I have what is called a double crown.  At least I was informed of that all during my childhood.  So I decided to research it online.  I discovered a whole different meaning for the term, referring to what I would call having two different tops of the head, hair-wise speaking.

The skull has sutures: one, of circular form, in the case of women; in the case of men, as a general rule, three meeting at a point. Instances have been known of a man’s skull devoid of suture altogether. In the skull the middle line, where the hair parts, is called the crown or vertex. In some cases the parting is double; that is to say, some men are double crowned, not in regard to the bony skull, but in consequence of the double fall or set of the hair.


History of Animals

I do not have that.  What I have on top of my parietal bone is a lump of more skull.  It makes me measure about an inch taller than I would appear to be.  I have no knowledge about what caused it or what it might mean.  All I have are memories of people making a thing about it when I was young.  For all I know, it was all based in Wive’s Tales.  My searching skills did not yield any useful information.

When I was a kid, I was told it meant I had more space for a brain, with the implication that therefore mine was bigger.  That was a heavy burden for a kid.  At least for this one.  Because we all know that in our society, bigger is supposed to be better.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I was also remembering about accepting the label “poet.”  I remember, however erroneously that memory might be, that it was Katherine Cummings who first said that to me.  Or maybe she was the first one who I took seriously.  After all, Kate was a university librarian.  She should know.  Right?

And I thought about the burden accepting such a label can be.  A big part of that, of course, is that I would have to write poems.  Can’t be a poet if you don’t have some poems to show once in a while.  frosti‘s wedding gift of Kim Stafford’s reminiscence of his father, William, that I have been slowly savoring has been especially helpful in that…and I’m looking forward to the summer when I can read the rest of the books.  I just wish I could see well enough to read like I used to.

I wonder about what effect being a small, sensitive child with a double-crowned skull in the presence of Mr. Stafford might have had.  I revel about having been in those secret places Kim mentions in his book.  Once again I was there when…if only as a fleeting butterfly.

And I wonder about the difference between someone who really crafts poems, over a long period of time, for it will be an even longer time until they are heard or read, and someone like me who publishes what she writes within hours after it is written and has the audacity to call the work poetry.

* * * * * * * * * * *

In “…and say why not.” on Monday, exme wrote:

if you are not up for reading ramblings of a reminiscent, tangential and seemingly unrelated nature, please move to the next diary…;)

I’ve been thinking about that, as well.  Most of what I write is of the sort exme describes.  So I wonder about whether as what I write becomes more and more tangential, will the audience become less and less present, until perhaps I am only writing for myself.  And as much as I believe that doing so serves its own purpose, I wonder about the advisability of placing that writing where it is being placed.

My life is often “of a reminiscent, tangential and seemingly unrelated nature.”  I live an existence on the level of metacognition.  Each day is an exploration of what it means to be a human being, each event a potential challenge to my humanity.  I can only write about the existence that I know.

Why do I do so?

Existentialism is a harsh mistress.

* * * * * * * * * * *

But NLinStPaul, in Right Brain Consciousness, told us about a different frame of reference from which to see the world, as presented by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, a woman who got the chance to examine a stroke from the inside.  I have yet to integrate that frame with my own.

Aha.  I get it now.  I knew there must have been a reason the crown thing came up.

What of someone who habitually combines what are traditionally thought of left-brain and right-brain activity?  And what of the place of cross-fertilization?

From wikipedia:

The corpus callosum is a structure of the mammalian brain in the longitudinal fissure that connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres. It is the largest white matter structure in the brain, consisting of 200-250 million contralateral axonal projections. It is a wide, flat bundle of axons beneath the cortex. Much of the inter-hemispheric communication in the brain is conducted across the corpus callosum.

Of much more substantial popular impact was a 1982 Science article claiming to be the first report of a reliable sex difference in human brain morphology, and arguing for relevance to cognitive gender differences.

Oh, really?  My interest is piqued.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Pretty Bauble

A Friday

At my computer desk

eight Wordpad files opened

I strike the keys

that transmogrify

into the symbols on the screen

readable, if one is able

and also can see

and chooses to look

My mind wanders

The Canyon


between here and there

Forest Hills and Bird’s Hill

full of mud and nettles

and The Trail and The Log

and The Creek

full of crawdads and frogs

and squiggly things

I sit and think

and watch a squirrel

or with luck, a chipmunk

And I wonder

About the difference

between someone

who really crafts poetry

over a long period of time

for it will be an even longer time

until they are heard or read

and someone like me

who publishes

random thoughts

truths maybe

sketched out

and strung together

cut and slashed

within hours after it is written

and has the audacity

to call it poetry


cannot be determined

by the writer

But I preferred

The Woods

to the Canyon anyhow

and seldom went

to The Meadow

And now to create something

that looks nice

while I can still see it

–Robyn Elaine Serven

–March 28, 2008

* * * * * * * * * * *

If nothing else, now I feel better.  Sometimes trying to create something beautiful is enough.


Skip to comment form

    • Robyn on March 28, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    …if you prefer.

    Rush:  Subdivisions

  1. Seeing the candidate wars come here…at such a late and COMPLETELY useless date has put me off of my feed too.


  2. I think I found some relief for you:

    When I was a kid, I was told it meant I had more space for a brain…

    This can be parsed to read that you did not actually becomed burdened with extra brains. See?

    Don’t you feel better?

    • Alma on March 29, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Stay in the “safe” essays.  Thats what I do.  If one I’ve been following starts heating up, I just don’t go back to it.  Best way to stay relatively calm.  🙂

    • kj on March 29, 2008 at 1:00 am

    is coming to town!  Yeah!  but not until next October.  still, good news.  🙂

  3. … as many times as I deem necessary, just my one voice, my own individual feeling:

    As part of your audience, you never need contemplate losing my attention.  As long as you write and I know where to find your writings, I’ll read them.

    Your staunch fan,


    • kj on March 29, 2008 at 1:06 am

    And I wonder about the difference between someone who really crafts poems, over a long period of time, for it will be an even longer time until they are heard or read, and someone life me who publishes what she writes within hours after it is written and has the audacity to call the work poetry.

    well, i know what you mean by the “audacity.”  i know a poet, i mean, he is a Bard of the Ninth Degree.  when he tapped my forehead (metaphorically metaphysically speaking) i sort of felt like, oh god, The Bard’s gone soft in the head, he thinks i’m one a him and i’m sooooo not.  so my question is, is someone who labors over every word and rarely shows the world the words a poet?

    i’m going to go dig out my William Stafford book.  i think it’s the one with darkness in the title.  be back.

    • frosti on March 29, 2008 at 1:30 am

    I just don’t read essays I don’t like.  I am going to vote for whichever Democrat, so whatever is written doesn’t matter that much vis a vis candidates.  That is the byproduct of being a voter in a late primary in a small state, I suppose. And being an Independent.

    Your poetry differs from many others in that it is abstract and directly philosophical, but there is nothing wrong in that.  Of course, we all know you are exceptional, one of the rarest of intellects, so just express your opinion and be done with it, is my advice.

    Surprisingly, someone I just met told me he viewed me as a writer, which I never incorporated into my persona, as I never thought I was good enough.  The background we had is stultifying.  It was a breakthrough for me to be told this at this age in this space by someone whose opinion matters to me and who is completely impartial.

    Also surprisingly, I had compared his home to the woods.  The garden is like being creekside, catching crawdads.  The interior is full of amazing materials, such as a recycled gym floor that evokes sounds of sneakers squeaking, balls bouncing and jumpropes slapping the floor.

    We were lucky to have grown up in a lush woodsy place, which can seem long ago and far away, but it is still there for the exploration in the mind.

    I found myself writing only for myself. It is still valuable.  You are lucky to have a place where you are one of the leaders, so stay here!!  You have found acceptance of many people.

  4. …to rec all the way down the way I’d like, relationship drama taking up real world morning, blah blah.  But…Robyn…just wanted to say please don’t leave.  I have a lot of political opinions and crap like that but none of that, the fact we’re on a farkin’ political blog aside, is important.  Getting to read (albeit as time allows) the thoughts of another transwoman, who is in many ways very different from myself, on all this stuff…is important to me in ways I can’t quite express (possibly because I’m not quite awake).  


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