Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 4, 2021

Twelfth Anniversary: My Most Immemorial Year

If the phrase in title the seems familiar, it comes from Edgar Allan Poe’s “To – – – Ulalume: A Ballad.”

The skies they were ashen and sober;
      The leaves they were crispéd and sere—
      The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
      Of my most immemorial year;

Granted, it’s November now, not October.

Twelve years ago, on November 4, 2009, I began Under Western Skies. This is blog post 901.

“Immemorial” is an interesting word. Poe had a reasonably thorough education in language, and knew that it didn’t mean what seems the simplest definition: “not memorable.” It means something rather more like “reaching beyond memory” or “from time out of mind.”

Of those past 12 years, this one has been the most immemorial, insofar as my blog memorialized little of it, making it seem like a time now beyond memory. I can count only a dozen blog posts during that span: scarcely one per month.

As I look back on my least productive year as a blogger, I’m hard pressed to explain why it is I had so little inclination to write more.

It has been — if anything — a most memorable year: a changing of the guard in the United States; gradual turning of the tide of awareness about climate change; not to mention the continuing, compelling crisis on a worldwide scale of the Covid-19 pandemic.

All those topics not only concern me; they also interest me. Why didn’t I write more?

Keeping Track

I can’t say that it was a “lost” year, beyond memory. In fact, by April 2020, as we and the rest of the world shifted the patterns of our lives inward — staying home unless necessary, taking extraordinary precautions to avoid casual contact with other people — I realized that it would be possible to lose many days in a repeating pattern of being home-centered. I began logging what occupied each day, to validate that The Counselor and I were, indeed, busy, doing a variety of things.

While many of the log entries are quotidian — What was the weather? What did we cook? What were we reading? — we were, that log demonstrates, actively engaged. We embarked on a number of household projects, we both pursued our interests in photography, took interesting walks, even expanded our bread baking skills.

No, the year is not beyond memory, nor was there any lack of potential blog post material: lines of shoppers on dark, early mornings in search of scarce commodities; walks that took us past interesting locations in the city, down by the port or along the ocean.

I simply didn’t write them.

No Lack of Things to Write

I even skipped writing a few of the mainstay topics that have regularly appeared here for more than a decade. I reported on a scant few local sights of interest. I wrote no mid-year or end of year summary of books I’d read. There was no celebration of National Library Week nor — for the first time ever — did I comment on my annual New Year’s reading of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”

Did that pandemic-driven inward focus — “hunkering down” became a popular English phrase — predispose me not to project my observations? That’s the most reasonable explanation I can contrive.

Still masked in Los Angeles, we may have some latitude to cautiously venture out again, with dawning hope that the levels of coronavirus infection are declining. I’ll take that as my cue to — I hope — write more regularly. I should, for example, observe November as National Chili Month, post haste. It’s been a favorite topic for me.

A Note to Readers

On each anniversary of this blog, I acknowledge one of the greatest pleasures I’ve derived from maintaining it: contact with readers all over the globe. For those of you still with me, or those visiting for the first time, I hope you’re experiencing some similar sense that we may yet emerge from beneath this cloud. Thank you for reading. Although our losses have been great — including millions of lives — we go on.

Oobop Shebam

Copyright Brad Nixon 2021


Responses

  1. May your next year be more productive. garylarsen31O.2OO.O339

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Interesting take on it. Your “Time out of Mind” comment of course made me think of Bob Dylan, who turned 80 this year and put out what is arguably the best album of his 60 year career. I used the Year of the Pandemic to publish my own book of blog posts, and the second volume is now ready to go to print as I write this. Ironically, none of it has to do with the pandemic other than I was able to use the time to gather all my best blogs into a book and publish it. Happy 12th Anniversary! Thanks for your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Steve. And congratulations on the books!

      Like

  3. Congratulations, a big number in the digital world especially!

    Glad ‘time out of mind’ is not the same as ‘time out of your mind’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They COULD be the same thing. One hopes not.

      Like

  4. So good to hear from you and congratulations on your anniversary. It doesn’t matter how many or few blog posts you write as long as we get an opportunity to enjoying your writing when it suits you. Take care, Marion

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Marion. I’m not really that concerned about attaining a certain number of posts, but I don’t like falling so far off the pace! All the best to you.

      Like

  5. Happy duodecimal. Now you’re going for a writer’s dozen (if bakers get to add one, so do writers). For me the pandemic had the opposite of the effect it had on you. At the beginning of 2020 I’d begun cutting back a little from daily posting, but once the pandemic hit, going out in nature was about the only safe option open. I ended up taking more nature pictures than ever before, and that got me posting daily again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I’ll go for the Writer’s Dozen. Excellent. You keep up a blistering pace, plus extremely good commentary and photographs. Admirable.

      Like

  6. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary . . .” It’s been that kind of year, hasn’t it?

    First, Happy Anniversary and super congrats on your many posts over the years.

    Second, I completely understand why your posts declined this difficult year. The arts are creative endeavors. One must have inspiration, energy, a certain feeling in order to create. That’s tough to come by in an atmosphere of fear and dread. Creativity can’t be forced or artificially manufactured.

    I typically do two new paintings in the first quarter of the year, and then one or two later in the year. This year I did none in the first quarter. In fact, my first painting this year wasn’t done until August. Just didn’t have the feeling, the motivation. So, I totally get it.

    Don’t worry about the numbers. Better to focus on the quality. Welcome back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. It’s agreed — not about the numbers. Still, one hates to lose the momentum. Happy painting.

      Like

      • Mozart was arguably the greatest composer of all time. He had about 100 compositions that could be considered truly great. Yet, that standard remains unequalled. It’s all about the quality.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been one of the lucky ones. Because of the nature of my work — outdoors and solitary — I was able to continue working throughout The Plague, and that same work allowed a good bit of human companionship in the process. Even the daily chit-chat in passing on the docks maintained a sense of normalcy, and it was great. In the same way, my preferred way of spending time out of work, roaming the world with a camera in hand, never was interrupted. There, too, there was a good bit of sociability possible, chatting with game wardens, bird watchers, and so on.

    I’ve missed your posts, and I’ve been sitting on my own tribute to Sir Gawain until it seemed you were sitting up and taking nourishment again. Here’s to a new and better year, and a nice, relaxed slide back into all that literature, architecture, and local lore you love!

    Liked by 2 people

    • All great news. I look forward to being a more diligent visitor to yours and other blogs, another pursuit that suffered a decline for me.
      We were still working, since we work from home. It simply didn’t involve much blogging.
      Gawain will be back. I have hope that the DVD version of the latest film adaptation of the story, “The Green Knight” will arrive in the library, and — if the game proves worth the candle — this year’s effort may involve a first-ever film review.
      Should it not, I’ll have an alternate approach in mind, so prepare yours!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Gawain-wise, I suppose I should add James Joyce’s admonition: Wipe your glosses with what you know.

      Liked by 1 person


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