Rasma Says

Musings, deliberations, flashes of unaccounted for brilliance…

The Best Laid Plans….

2014 Wimbledon Championships – Day Eleven

I can’t wait for Wimbledon.

Each summer since 2006, when I reluctantly indulged my sweetheart’s interest in watching the game, I have been hooked on the visual candy of green and white that is the splendor of the All England Lawn Tennis Club Championships at Wimbledon. That time it was Federer vs. Nadal, a pair of masters who taught me – within minutes really – why tennis is a gripping, breathless, engrossing spectator sport.

Spectator, yes. I love to sit and watch it, though moments of spontaneous childhood memory recollected in tranquility do rush over me from time to time. Peggy Mead tried to teach me to play tennis when we were about twelve years old. She knew the game, had a mother who played, and they both had the cute white skirts. I had my jean cutoffs and a fair dose of ambition to learn. I was a master at big ball sports: kickball and soccer and dodgeball were favorites, and when I got older I played basketball for my school. But sports that utilized small, impossible to see balls – baseball, and now tennis – were my version of Everest. Unlike some people, I was not particularly driven to master my Everest. I had already given up on baseball. The odds of aiming the ridiculously narrow bat to impact with the tiny dense ball zooming toward me at lethal speech were no better if I swung with my eyes open or shut. I hated the game. Tennis, with its large round racket, improved my odds of actually hitting a ball immensely. Where I hit it is another thing. I remember Peggy instructing me on placing the small beveled edge of the leather wound racket into the web of my thumb, making the racket an extension of my arm. Except on the backhand when my right arm needed to be supported with my left hand, as if it were a bent and broken wing. What I remember most is how I quickly retreated from the logic of scoring that included something about French eggs and amour; and how I loved to finger the tight squares of the racket mesh, staring at it in fascination as the concept of “cat gut” tried to find a suitable place in the logic of my brain to settle.

The unfortunate thing about watching Wimbledon on the arctic seacoast is that one risks missing summer altogether. There was a year when the two weeks of Wimbledon contained the only sun we got that summer. Every year about this time I start to question if it is really how I want to spend a third of my precious summer break. The answer is yes, as long as I can multi-task. So I am saving up half-an-eye-half-a-brain chores that I can do while I watch. This year my goal is: website update, including blogs.

Anyone watching my blog for activity will be reminded of watching for groundhogs. Maybe you’ll see one on the day in question, maybe you won’t. And even if you do, it might portend another six months of silence.

All that is going to have to change, because – *sigh – I have lost my newspaper column. The regional paper has decided that the weekend column which I and five others share will be scrapped as of this month. My entry on June 29th will be the last one, ending the era. I think the column ran for a good ten years or more before I joined it a few years back. It is the fate of paper journalism, alas, to drop some of the less obviously lucrative features. Although a fair number of readers have told me they look forward to my column coming every six weeks, so I know at least a few papers are sold on my account. Still, I shall not play the luddite. As my daughter – a media analyst in the making – said, maybe they are going to replace the column with something even better. Let us hope so.

But on a personal plan, what I have noticed is a frightening tendency in myself to say of late, “Oh, I don’t care about that topic, can’t write about it anyway…”  What? Was I only ever interested in what was going on in the world because I might get a column out of it?

Well, yes.

Sorry, but that is how we think. By “we” I mean at least some of us who write. My poet friends used to say about any calamity, “Well, maybe you’ll get a poem out of it.” Since I started writing the column three years ago, I have taken notes on any and every topic that interests me – from school reform to religious cartooning to language and politics – in order to turn it into a column. If someone asks me a question that gives me pause, such as “Do you own a bunad?” or “When are you going home (meaning to the USA)?” the wheels start turning… hmmm, I have something to say here, what will my take be on this for a column? I pull out my Scrivener and start taking notes.

I have noticed the last week a certain alarming ambivalence in myself to pay attention to any news story, because I won’t be writing about it. I am sure this will pass. Especially since I realized that I could revive my blogs that have more or less gone to seed and write my column-like musings there.

Isn’t that what I used to do? Isn’t that what blogs are for?

This requires no little amount of sorting, rearranging and updating. Not least, my website, which has been in a state of suspended animation ever since Apple stopped – for some damned reason – making the idiot-proof iWeb software that I used to make the site back in 2007. IWeb was so brilliant that people hired me to make them websites, as if I were a graphic designer. My website could be easily updated and republished. I made sister sites for teaching writing and presenting my work in Norwegian.

All those websites lie in a rusty pile, like a fallen civilization after the apocalypse, NYC at the end of the Planet of the Apes. I have to do something about them.

That’s why I’m looking forward to Wimbledon. Half an eye and half a brain will allow me to catch the matches, and make some sort of headway with my website, come rain or shine, come hell or high water. All thanks to – gulp – the end of journalism.

3 comments on “The Best Laid Plans….

  1. Lynnee Lorentzen
    10/06/2015

    I can’t figure out how to like this without creating a wordpress account but then I get all gripped about what my name should be and the one I really want is taken. So, anyway, I like your blog post. don’t be a groundhog please.

    • Rasma Haidri
      11/06/2015

      You have to join the cult… mmmmmwwwhhhhaaaaahahaha!

    • Rasma Haidri
      21/08/2016

      Ha ha! I know the feeling! It’s why I abandoned Facebook, or committed ritual FB suicide, because of that pressure about identity and publicity. Thanks for your comment!

Comments are closed.

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This entry was posted on 09/06/2015 by in I Fri Dressur newspaper column, Writing and tagged , , , .
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