Friday, February 10, 2006

Serendipity on the Internet

I got this surprise email this morning from David Giacalone, former Harvard trained lawyer, now turned poet, due to reasons you'll see below. Turns out that he was attending Harvard the same time I lived and worked in Boston, though we didn't know it at the time. The Ellen he refers to in the linked blog entry below is a friend from Wales, whom I've known online for several years. When I read David's blog further I found that he wrote beautiful haiku/senryu (see the additional link to his site in my links column). I wrote a haiku writing online friend in Canada and SHE knew his name. They'd just shared first place in a recent haiku competition and she'd been planning on googling him to find out more about him! Small world!

At any rate, Ellen, on a first visit to his site had tagged David for the 'name five weird things about yourself' thingie that's going around the blogs now (and no, we won't get into Michelle and Michael being able to touch their noses with their tongues here). David posted i'm just not that weird (honest) (the Wednesday entry) to explain why his Weird-Tagged list isn't finished, plus he discusses discovering my link through Ellen's blog and the fact that, like him, I have CFIDS.

Below is the blog copied, but visit both of his sites. His senryu are truly lovely.

His blog entry:

i'm just not that weird (honest)

How embarrassing for a so-called "creative," curmudgeonly pundit-haijin: I've been Weird-Tagged and can't come up with any examples of "weird habits" of mine, much less five of them. Although I just might end up with a plethora of examples, I think I'll email a few friends and family members to see if they can help fill my Weird list.

Meanwhile, a little background on getting tagged: Ellen M Johns, of the Coffee Granules weblog, reached all the way over from the UK, and tagged me at dagosan's haiku diary -- apparently during her very first visit there (yes, pretty forward, indeed). Ellen was tagged by poet and author Pris Campbell. At Pris' surprise-filled Songs To A Midnight Sky weblog, I learned that Ellen is waiting to see whether I, and the four other males she tagged, "have risen to the challenge!!!" Great, more performance expectations.

Reading about Pris Campbell, I discovered that she -- like myself -- has been living with CFS/CFIDS (chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome) for many years. On her website About page, Pris begins her story:

"I didn't start out as a poet. I wanted to be a novelist until a major illness wiped out that idea. On September 23, 1990, I woke up with a severe case of what was later to be diag-nosed as CFIDS. . . .

"When this illness hit, I felt as if I had been transported to a place I no longer recognized."

Although I have talked about my having CFS at this website (mostly in the context of having to stop posting or switch formats to conform to the illness' limitations and frustrations), I have not said much about the great transformation this illness has caused in my life. Of course, I bet my astute readers could figure out what it might mean to lose one's profession and livelihood, all financial security and most social contacts. Nor have I discussed the dispiriting aspects of having a mere
"syndrome," that sounds trivial, doesn't make you "look sick," and offers no roadmap back to good health.

Prior to CFIDS, Pris had been a 'health nut' and former clinical psychologist, who was an aspiring author. She biked daily, kept a garden, and was active with friends and in the community. If you are at all curious about this illness, which has greatly affected the lives of hundreds of thousand of people (plus their families), I recommend that you read Pris' story -- and her tips about how to relate to us CSFers.

One thing Pris and I appear to have in common: an appreciation for the insights and values gained living with this illness. When I thought I had to give up "ethicalEsq" (the prior name of this weblog) for good, I wrote something worth repeating (if only for my own edification): I know that some of the new friends I've made out there in Web Log Land are a little worried about me and my health, but they shouldn't be. I'm not seeking sympathy by telling personal details in this public place. I've learned some very important lessons while dealing with a serious health condition over the past decade, and I'mg lad to have learned them and lived them. Besides discovering my own inner strength, I found out that there are things far more valuable to me than the typical American symbols of "success" -- power, influence, recognition, wealth.

I still haven't learned how to pace myself, to avoid doing my body harm in a constant hyper-weblogging mode. Maybe Pris can share some of her experience with me.

On the other hand, perhaps she can lend me a few "weird habits" so I can get this darn List done. Soon, Ellen (honest).

Speaking of poets, here are a few poems from Lee Gurga that fit my mood tonight:

arc of a rubberband
back and forth across the room;
winter evening

first snow --
little boy laughing
in his sleep

the sky black with stars --
coyote tracks up and down
the frozen creek

lee gurga from Fresh Scent (1998)


Michelle e o said...

It is a small world. Lovely poetry too. And I can't touch my tongue to my nose, Julia and Michael can - I'm just weird enough to WANT to have that ability =)

Pris said...

Hi Michelle
I know. It amazes me how many people we stumble across in common, even though we have the internet. It's still a big world.

Darn, sorry about the tongue mix-up. I'll have to tease Michael and Julia, instead:-) Michael has already said he will NOT take a photo putting peanut butter to his nose with his tongue lol.

And what a treat to meet David. His senryu site is filled with lovliness!

Brian Campbell said...

In this big world, we're always connecting people like ourselves. That makes it a small world. And if you're the kind who writes senryu, well, small as the form itself. Senryu-writing Campbells unite! (Actually, I have yet to write a senryu... oh well, you get my idea...)

Pris said...

Hi Brian
I understood you completely:-) Now, some day you must really join the Campbell senryu society and write just ONE??

Michael Parker said...

LOL! You're right, Pris. No tongue and peanut butter shots!

I really enjoyed reading this post. I too am amazed at how small the world is when you really get down to it. Also, this is a wonderful poem. A great post!

best of wishes.

Pris said...

Hi Michael
These particular haiku weren't David's, but he has his on his senryu site, too. Yes,he's very good!

david giacalone said...

Pris, Thanks for bringing me into your web of friends. I want to encourage folks to try their hand at writing haiku and senryu. There are some useful pointers and links in "is it or ain't it haiku?". Two years ago, I promised myself that I would write at least one haiku a day (after writing about 3 in two years). The results can be found at my dagosan archive, and I hope they will make others think, "hey, I can do that!"

Thanks to everyone for their kinds words.

Pris said...

I'm ading your dogosan link, too. I love your writing. Right now while I'm so dizzy with this cold, a daily dose of haiku might be just the medicine I need since I can't write longer things at the moment.

And you deserve every compliment you receive!

mouse said...

Hi Pris, Thanks for this post. It does so eloquently state the road of transition from one physical state of being to another. I am particularly wary of enlightening people to my condition in the flesh so to speak because I feel that I am somehow burdoning them. Also because I hate the sounds of sorry spoken in my direction over this. It is a very good post!

Pris said...

mouse..I, too, hate pity as we all do who have physcial conditions that profoundly affect our lives. At the same time, we need to enlighten people, so it's a bind.