n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Friday, January 13, 2006


For an "early Valentines present," my mother got cr a new flat screen tv, which honestly I have yet to watch something on (and so I have no opinion). Mum told me to send cr out to the car to find it, and commented that when he saw it, he would "go beserk." In terms of what beserkian characteristics cr demonstrated, he took one look at it and said with a black face:

"This is what caused the downfall of Rome."

To which I replied, "What? Widescreen TVs?"

"Well, yes," he said, "the sheer decadence of it all."

Ah, but two seconds later he was embracing downfall and carrying it within.

In terms of my own decadent "early Valentines present," I have New Boots with sheepfur on the inside of them. They are black, calf length, and I've been dancing around pretending to be Napolean Dynamite and being very very happy about the thought of Warm Feet in Chicago. My poor little toeses so very much hate being cold.

I've been painting the door. My mother calls the color "terra-cotta" and I call it "pink with brown." It looks pretty good so far. I like painting. I have paint on my face and I'm not interested in wiping it off.

Coming Home to Chicago--
In answer to a "few" folks' solicitous inquiries (a "few" as in lots and lots of people here, which makes me wonder if they want to get rid of me, and some people back in Chicago, which makes me wonder if they need to prepare for me, and some people in other states, which makes me wonder why they care), I will be returning to beloved Chicago on January 20th in the evening. That's a Friday. That's a week from today.

Yes, it is rather late. Yes, I am looking forward to it. No, I'm not going to come back standby earlier, because in true Holiday Fashion, I have to do some cat-dog-fish sitting. I just realized: not a winter holiday has passed in the last four years that I wasn't watching someone else's animals. I hope to get some writing done, because I'm having a hard time finding my way back into "fiction mode," and I also get to go to my fathers and scrub his nasty kitchen linoleum so that I might be able to afford February rent. So, this is where I'll be for One More Week.

But I miss you dreadfully, Chicago.

Compassion or Empathy--
I got into an interesting conversation last night about the difference between these two. We finally decided that empathy is being able to put yourself in someone else's place, and compassion is being able to show understanding and nonjudgement even for those things you can't feel from within someone else's position. I was startled by this conversation, and began to wonder whether it is possible to have empathy but little compassion, or compassion but little empathy.

According to the dictionary, always a limited way of thinking about such terms:
Compassion is "deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it." It comes from the latin root "compat" which means "to sympathize," and further can be broken down to com + pat, which means according to the dictionary "to suffer," but I reckon more accurately would be "with" + "emotion."

Empathy, on the other hand, is "identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives," or "the attribution of one's own feelings to an object." The "em" in this case would be "within."
Thus, the primary distiction would seem to be whether you are "with" or "within" emotion. Interesting, no? Also, when I think about it, "empathy" could be negative because it could mean projecting your own emotions in a "false attribution."

So, really, one could be short-suited on one, but not the other. I think I'm stronger suited in empathy (a positive thing for a writer), but admire compassion more. Up for discussion: any personal preferences?
I love your blog, The rain is getting old here too. You describe your surroundings and your readers feel like they are right there....BeautifuL!
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