>when i say rock i mean burden

>

Of the five books I am reading (at any one time), the book, Bread Givers, by Anzia Yezierska came to me by way of the paperbackswap.com website. Do you know it? You post ten books you don’t want anymore. Whenever anyone orders the book from you, you agree to send it to them for free. In return, this allows you to order a book from another member for free. Some of the best obscure books on my shelves come from here.
       Best=books no one else wanted.
Like other websites, this one wants to predict what I would also like. Chances are if I ordered a book about *bread* I might also like a book about jam and eggplant. Or a book about crust and pie dough? MarketingUSA is certain there is a formula that will explain myself to me. The cynic in me scoffs at this. I’ve yet to figure out myself and so I wonder why Amazon and Ebay are certain they can predict my taste or my next purchase.
Still and all. Some things in life are common to us all. I could start a list of our common denominators and by item five your eyes would glaze over and you’d toggle off to another blog. Or, I predict, you might stand up and walk into your kitchen and fix yourself a ham sandwich and a plate of sliced eggplant. But wait. Just as you poke your head into the frig, wondering if you are out of mustard, you remember that I’ve not explained the photo in this blog.  So you close the frig and come back to read the rest of this post.
This is a used book. Someone else was here before I was. Between page one and page thirty-seven, these words are underlined:  pious, lame, sinful, boarders, dowry, beggar. Someone was reading a book about something foreign to her. When I reached page thirty-five, I learned that the person before me did not know what burden meant.
When I reached that part in the book last night, I stopped reading and have been thinking about burden ever since. When was it, in my life, that I didn’t understand the term? I know I lived a stretch of time where the notion of bearing a burden would have been foreign to me, but I don’t remember that stretch in time anymore. 
What and whom defines burden? Is it all about attitude? How many rocks (and when I say rocks I mean burdens) piled upon more rocks become too many?
When I read and when I connect with others, I realize that part of what I enjoy is learning how others pile their rocks. What adds to the pile and what lessens the weight of all those rocks? It’s not something I dwell on, but since the person before me didn’t know what burden meant, I realize I do know what it means. I know what it feels like and I know you do, too. But the negative vibes that result when we say burden are what I balk at. It seems to me that when said burden (and when I say burden I mean rock) comes into our life, a great way to deal with it is to make art. Build the pile, spread it out on canvas, layer it inside a poem, paste it inside a blog. Stand back and take its photo.
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About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

8 responses to “>when i say rock i mean burden

  1. >I'm all for burdens, however heavy. Like books, they're best shared. This is a wonderful post.

  2. >I love my rocks. (And when I say rocks I'm considering the burden metaphor.) Rocks are everywhere in my home (and here I mean literal.) Each one signifies a memory, a place, or a person. So too, with burdens, they seem to be the connective cornerstones of humanity. We all experience them in our unique way, but universally though it seems we are alone in carrying these burdens we can look left or right and see others trudging along side. Yes, the question is, what do you do with this, and where do you put those rocks once you've gathered a pile? You can make mountains, I would guess. You can make altars to some higher being, or you can just put them in your windows or in your flower beds and look at them and think, oh, ain't them some purty rocks? As always, thanks for your thoughts.Mel

  3. >I like the metaphor, and the idea of spreading our burden by layering portions into our art or our poems. It's one of the reasons I think we create, to explain our burdens to ourselves, to process them, and as we name our burdens, to help the feelings attached to them either dissipate or transcend. I also like the idea Melanie expressed of putting our burdens/rocks on display. That's part of what we do, too. Perhaps burden can be defined as the weight of a thing, which can be our joys, too!

  4. >You mind twists in the most delightful way! Love this post.

  5. >I meant YOUR mind, not you mind, buy neveryoumind.

  6. >hi elisabeth -me, too. i think there is a sense of liberation when we accept that life is suffering. life becomes positive and embracing with this POV. good to hear from you.hi mel-rocks are everywhere in my house as well. i enjoyed reading your comment. i've been reading on/off a book called ireland by frank delaney. there is an old storyteller in the novel telling us how each stone has a story. and a good storyteller can take that stone, and feel the exact right spot where the stone could be cracked open in order to reach the story in it. something more random to consider, eh?hi annie-yes, creating allows for the release and restructuring, i think. i know people who have only recently allowed themselves to turn to creativity in their lives and it is a wonder to watch the peace and acceptance come to them. yes, the joy is what we need to remind ourselves of. burdens aren't negative.hi kass,am SO glad to hear my twists come out wonderful! sometimes i wonder about myself…(grin)

  7. >That's so interesting. I read a used book once that had previously been read by a non-native English speaker and boy did she struggle. She gave up around page 30. You could tell because the margin notes stop.I'd love to do a bookswap thing, but it's tough living abroad. You're on Good Reads, aren't you?

  8. >hi sarah -good to hear from you. you know what i am just now realizing that i did start a membership at good reads and then failed to follow-up on it. i need to get back to that. oh yeah, bookswaps between here and germany are tough. some of the best books i've encountered came to me not by my first choosing. i also once collected used books for their inside cover inscriptions.

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