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The Restivo Line

February 13, 2014

Day 9 is hard. No use pretending otherwise. We are not yet at the halfway point, not even quite on the verge of the halfway point, but the freshness and enthusiasm with which we began our journey are long gone. No longer can we rely on the impetus of original inspiration, nor yet coast downhill in time to the end in sight, but we must find in the journey itself some reason to keep going. Probably the psychologists have made intensive study of the 40% mark in the performance of tasks of endurance. Maybe someone has given a name to this crisis point. We could call it the Restivo Line. It is the point where quitters lie down, weep, cry out for mama and hot soup — or pudding-pops — while those of stout heart grit their teeth in renewed determination, sacrificing, if necessary, all humane values to a silly and reductive idea of accomplishment, casting aside all simple and godly pleasures in grim pursuit of a fevered, demonic ego-dream. It is undoubtedly difficult for the artist, for this chronicler, and perhaps most of all for you, the public, who suffer the burden of not really giving a shit, which presents a real motivational challenge.

Today is a time for going a bit quiet and looking inward. For this reason I have not hassled our artist today. I trust he will find the strength he needs. Maybe I should have brought him a pork chop. I find pork a great comfort in times of difficulty. Maybe I should have done that but I did not. I will eat my pork chop myself. It is very small in any case, but should be quite tasty with a little yogurt and a pickle.

–“Restivo Watch Day 9: Crossing the Line” (2/13/11)

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

–from “The Dead” by James Joyce

I will take my advice and go easy today, a snow day this year. For anyone who thought the end of the previous post looked a little familiar, that is because like George Harrison I seem to have unconsciously ripped off a previous artist. James Joyce is my Chiffons.

The Smiffs, along with Dwight Howard Johnson and American Girl (who will unconsciously rip off choice items from Tom Petty’s catalog (I have not seen Kevin Costner’s post-apocalyptic vanity project The Postman, but apparently Tom Petty appears in it as himself — not just a legend, but a survivor)) are not letting the snow stop them. Nothing can stop this heartbreaking foppery.

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