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If I were more strong-willed I’d never watch or listen to the news. I wouldn’t have television in my home. I don’t see the point. Must I be reminded every few hours of the suffering in this world?

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Okay, maybe I do.

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I don’t know how to keep room in myself for all of it. It’s a door that is always wanting to swing shut in me. It isn’t easy for compassion to maintain a toehold. I’m a poor host to it.

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Yesterday my partner and I were talking about the difference between cops and real people. It basically came down to cops being assholes and real people being stupid. By that we meant, in our own charming way, that what we see on the job changes us, abrades our soft spots and hammers us into something hard, and that this is something that real people don’t, on average, like or understand. But we come to appreciate this new worn-down and hammered, smooth, hard kind of thing we’ve become.

Of course, this is all total bullshit.

Everyone becomes intimate with pain and everyone learns the same kind of lessons. No one is immune, and no one is more special because they get a larger helping, or a more constant supply.

The other thing is, we’re getting other people’s pain, and that ain’t the same thing.

Not by a long shot.

***

Richard Siken is talking about pain and art in an interesting way on his blog, Aye, Wobot!. About art as a response to the stimulus of pain. I see what he’s talking about. And really, if I’m reading him right, how everything we do, everything we create is on some level an attempt at ameliorating our pain. Our machines, our art, our entertainment, our structures, our language, our clothing, our words, acts, and thoughts.

Ouch.

Ow!

Here, put on a coat and go inside this lean-to. I drew a picture. Isn’t it pretty?

Want something to eat?

Wanna hold hands?

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