It’s Wonderful to Be Here; It’s Certainly a Thrill

By Jack Canfora

That Title is the First of Many Beatle Allusions I’ll Likely Make and the First Sign of My Infatuation with Semi-Colons

I’m very honored and excited to write for this lovely blog, still replete with its new-blog smell. My inaugural submission will be short and I hope at least semi-sweet.

The fact is, I’m late to this party, and that’s down to the fact that my head has been a blank canvas recently. I don’t mean “blank canvas” in its good sense, i.e., alive with possibilities. I mean canvas in the sense of a boxer who’s just been laid out on one, and blank in the sense of, well, that’s pretty obvious, actually. I find myself so bereft of thoughts that I’ve resorted to using words like “bereft” in the hopes you won’t notice.

That’s not quite true. In fact, it’s mostly untrue. I feel bad about starting our acquaintance off by lying to you. I’ve an almost endless stream of thoughts sloshing around my skull, often repetitive, and none of them kind or positive, either to myself or the world at large. I sort of don’t get people who don’t feel a little weighted down by January, unless they either have a birthday in January or live in the Southern Hemisphere. Even then, I’m a little wary. For myself, I was born with a brain able to detect the cloud in any silver lining (n.b. for what it’s worth, I’ve seen plenty of clouds without silver linings. What about those white, cotton ball cumulus clouds, I ask you rhetorically?), I am often pinned down by depression. Of course, my depression isn’t purely chemical in composition. My mindset, cultivated in a household that was, while very loving and supportive, was also neck deep in gloominess. But, as I’m pretty sure you don’t take my insurance, we won’t be going down that rabbit hole today.

My Point in All of This Awkward and Less Than Compelling Self-Disclosure…

I have an all-you-can -swallow buffet of medications helping me fight the fight. The wise African proverb, “It takes a village of therapists and pharmacists to raise Jack out of bed,” is also very much in play. What is blank isn’t my internal monologue, it’s my imagination. That requires energy I can’t really muster at the moment. One of the characteristics of depression you have to admire is its genius for self-preservation. What helps depressives most, usually, are activities. Exercise, social interaction, and creative work (really any work that takes your focus) are exactly the endeavors depression makes all but impossible to do. See? I’m even using italics to compensate for not coming up with something more articulate to describe this phenomenon.

But this is one of the reasons why I’m so, what’s that word people use? Happy, yes, that’s the one. That’s why I’m so happy to write for The Heart of the Matter. Because it is a community of writers and readers whose intelligent emotional inquiry and obvious empathy and positivity is one I can stand to learn a lot from. In exchange, I am willing and able to barter exhaustive and soul-chilling amounts of Beatles trivia and self-indulgent polemics on the tragic underuse of semi-colons.

This, it seems to me, is a fair trade. Remember when I promised this would be a short post? Those were the days. Anyway, I’ll drone on in granular detail in a few subsequent posts with some obvious, unoriginal, but still worth mentioning posts about how modern life has created such rich soil for the growth of alienation. But it’s nice to know (n.b. I learned yesterday that the word nice originally meant dull-witted; stay tuned for more useful nuggets like that!) that there are places, like here, which push back with gentle, persistent firmness against that. To quote Shakespeare, “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” Except of course, it won’t be a waste of time. So, since brevity is the soul of wit, (Shakespeare again, but a different play), I’ll edit it to the pithier and more accurate, “I like this place.”

14 thoughts on “It’s Wonderful to Be Here; It’s Certainly a Thrill

  1. You amaze me for your ability to be candid, funny, brilliant and expressive all the while claiming not to have to have anything to say.

    Because for one, you’ve made me feel better about how I feel about January. I hope you can do the same for February and March. And also, about the fun we’ll have here at the Heart of the Matter digging in to the full spectrum of what matters because it seems to me that I’ve learned that mostly from the days where I haven’t seen the silver lining. I mean I didn’t learn it ON those days but about those days.

    So glad you are part of the party. Can’t wait to learn from you about what really matters!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. One of the first mandates of the Ancient Greek thinkers was “know thyself”, and, yes, it comes with all sorts of clouds and all sorts of linings, but it seems like you’re pursuing that wise path, and encouraging us to do the same?

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Welcome aboard, Jack! Appreciate your humor and candor — thank you for that…and for your endless witticisms where you deploy Shakespeare in ways brand new and fun. Beatles trivia, too? Woohoo! 😊

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Right! Not to mention the idea that this could be a place that pushes “back with gentle, persistent firmness” against “how modern life has created such rich soil for the growth of alienation.” That’s a lot to live up to but won’t it be fun trying?

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I was coming down here to say how refreshing your humor and candor are and it seems I’m not alone. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have (or don’t have) to say. Welcome to the party!

    Liked by 5 people

  4. Agree with all of the previous comments, Jack. And your wit and humor were a silver lining to my day today. So, thank you for sharing what you didn’t have to share, because in sharing what you didn’t have to share, you did in fact share a ray of sunshine into this overcast day. 🌤️

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Great post—there’s a lot about it that I loved, and this is the part that grabbed me: “…because it is a community of writers and readers whose intelligent emotional inquiry and obvious empathy and positivity is one I can stand to learn a lot from. ” Since I’m reading and writing here, that must mean that I am a member of said intelligent community. Thanks for validation—it will help a lot the next time I try to figure out how did something so stupid, or when I sounded like a babbling idiot in a conversation with folks with a brain. Thanks. I needed that! Looking forward to more!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are a charter member of the intelligent community, Julia!! Thank goodness we’re all here to shore ourselves up on the days when we sound “like a babbling idiot in a conversation with folks with a brain” as you so aptly put it!

      Liked by 5 people

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