angels: n; 2. It has been said that the least of angels stutter when they attempt to speak with man and stumble when trying to flee from the divine.
apple: n; The first man was told that if he ate from the tree of knowledge and in so doing gained knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. this, contrary to popular understanding, was not an interdiction but a statement of fact. stated simply— attaining the supreme knowledge would ensure immediate release from existence. For some reason all subsequent commentators on this fact have understood release from the scourge of existence, from eternal being, to be a bad thing, a thing to be avoided at all costs.
asceticism: n; Every ascetic, when asked why they are going into the desert, or into seclusion, gives the same response— because you will not be there.
cruelty: n; 2. The cruel irony which arises when you have lived the life you have wanted to live is that you learn that in truth there is another life, always somewhere else and often of another time, which is your proper life. This knowledge seems to be a punishment, one enacted by a world that does not suffer the insolence of those who dare to live their own lives. But the world is probably not this powerful, or coherent. And so this knowledge may instead be a gift and the very fact that you have a proper life, this wonder, may be something that cannot survive being touched. It may be something that can only be glimpsed from afar, from a life lived faithfully as though it were your proper life. And this gift will always seem a punishment until it is understood that there is cruelty in gifts, in knowing, and that this cruelty is something that must be welcomed as your own.
destiny: n; In some language, in some proper language, destiny is a synonym for solitude.
dreaming: v; 5. Some believe that we dream perfection, sublimities, things which are not ours to dream and which are hoarded over by a jealous and miserly god. Our waking lives are a prison devised to keep us from dreaming. But we escape this prison. And every time we are captured, and returned. Every time that is until at last we find a way to escape… for good.
horizon: n; If you look far enough eventually the entire planet turns away from you.
illness: n; 4. Illness is the weakness in our divine prison. fever is always our attempted escape.
perfection: n; Any notion of the perfectibility of mankind has forgotten that foolishness is in itself perfect.
pinion: n; The pinions of desire are blue-tempered and mordant.
poet: n; 57. To be the next step when there are no more steps to be taken.
value: n; 5. If something has survived as a value it may be because this survivor is adept at hiding, at escaping extermination. And what we value is nothing more than this surviving and not the form of the creature. In other words, for us the significance of any value is only that it has survived. to say that we value charity, for example, is to appreciate, perhaps even revere, the fact that something has hidden beneath the idea of charity, has disguised itself as charity, and has in such a way escaped time… and we wish to do the same.
wine: n; When you drink good wine you do not become drunk, you become good.
writing: v; 8. The physical act of writing effects something, also physical, in the brain, the end result of which is a mental transformation. this activity, if continued for decades will result in a brain and a mind so different from that which began the process that one would not be exaggerating if one were to refer to the former and the latter as two separate people. Avery real birth and death have transpired in the course of the life of a single person as though this was the proper developmental course of a human life. The writer who has persisted in such a way, having already experienced the death that was the precondition for its birth, does not fear death. Death is always expected… any moment now. At most, death’s arrival will be a surprise— only because it has been expected for so long that its absence has been interpreted as an act of rudeness, an insult… death didn’t even call… and so the persistent writer has begun to clear the table and put away everything that had been prepared for the expected celebration.
(recent excerpts from A Personal Dictionary)
© Mike Schertzer, 2005