Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Blood from a stone

I gave blood yesterday afternoon. I would like to imagine that I gave blood because I'm that kind of guy, a mensch who does his small part to make the world a better place. One my better days, that is probably the case. But mostly it was because they were bugging the shit out me. I could expect a call from the Red Cross about once a week, reminding me how critically low the blood supply had become and could I please make an appointment to give? For a while I ducked the calls, and made excuses, and then I made and broke a few appointments, and over the holidays I made an appointment and then couldn't keep it because I couldn't find the damn Blood Center in Durham. So when the called me earlier in the week, I finally said screw it, I'll make an appointment on the weekend and just get it done.

I had forgotten how much giving blood takes out of me. I came home feeling wonky and tired, and wound up going to bed early. None of which would be so bad, except that I have other obligations crashing down around my ears and can't really afford to knock off early in the middle of a crunch. I suppose it's even possible that I gave blood to avoid having to face the stress of dealing with everything else in my life.

So here I am, with a genuinely worthy act under my belt, and feeling like a loser. Virtue is often like that. Even when we do the right thing, we don't always do it for the right reasons. Making a commitment to give blood, or build a community, or be present with the family, sometimes just leaves you frustrated and tired, and conscious of all the things you didn't do instead.

But . . . and here's the surprising thing . . . it's still good. Somebody, somewhere, who is undoubtedly having a worse day than me, will use my blood. I doubt they will care much about the mixed-up thoughts and feelings of the donor.



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