Argle Bargle


We esteem nuance.

This blanket has a zipper that jingles as I roll my shoulders.

We had a conversation in the car, because the compound word argle bargle sat in my brain and flashed like a brake light down a heavy incline.  I couldn’t remember what it went.  My sister suggested that it meant nothing more than the title of my post.  I’m here to write it, unsure if I could recall the phrase now that I’ve eaten and read and listened to a few things I found grounding and profound.  A Wendell Berry poem that my aunt’s psychic group posted on Facebook, that if I’ve heard before I had forgotten.  The joyful Humans of New York post on the same – a photo of a Syrian refugee couple newly admitted to come to America.  Werewolf on the streaming MST3K telephon (Kickstartaphon?) which is in my top ten episodes all-time.  I should make that list some time.  Then this song, a refiguring of a hymn, from On Being (which I follow for a multitude of reasons, including their estimation of nuance), which speaks to the way this is the beautiful time of the year and yet it can also be the darkest and most painful.  Loss can be most clearly limned in the icy edge of the calendar when we start to make our self-assessments. And then, Amanda Palmer lyrics again. 

All of this is dancing about in my head, bumbling against itself, looking for places to link up and make a fence to climb.

And I settle down, thinking that I feel a little bit more together tonight, a little bit more grist is in the mill than usual. I recall argle bargle and throw it into the   And I found myself.  I found this place blinking back at me.

copious but meaningless talk or writing; nonsense.

My sister thinks I could write something about this daily blogging. An article or an essay.  I have thought about this once or twice.  I have also thought, in response, that I would need to have ended up somewhere to do this.  I would need to have made the change I have emblazoned in my tagline.   Even though, in my own mind, I know that I have changed.  It’s just been personal and incremental and relative to my own goals and pursuits.  It is not the sprint that others have made.  Then, I read something else from Cheryl Strayed, about two essential writer’s questions and one of them is: What’s the question at the core of your work? and then, once that’s answered,  the second is: “What question are you trying to answer for others?”

Tonight, I think that first question for me is: “How do I claim worthiness?”  And for the world, “How do you live with self-doubt?”

Maybe what I can offer is a vision that incremental change is not shameful.  That an examined life, rather than a fixed life, a “corrected” life, is still worthwhile.  It’s still beautiful.  That this is what the struggle looks like.  Day after goddamned day until you start thinking maybe you could drive that route, or maybe you could get into therapy, or maybe you could go to Italy and meet a stranger, or maybe you could just survive this one morning because you’ve gotten through a few before.  That when you’ve got this low-grade despair all the time because you’re just not right with this paradigm that you hoped that time would grant you communion with, that you can interrogate the assumption you’re holding tight.  About bodies, about love, about food, about identity, and you won’t be swept away.  You can give yourself a little daily therapy and shore up your footing. Maybe someone would get something out of that. Maybe that’s what the argle bargle’s all about.

I was taking the winter chill to heart, curling up with my zippered blankets, but I think there’s still the streak of summer running through me.  This currently blonde Anne Shirley cannot be denied.

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