January 20, 2008

The Occasion of Ritual

Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 15:30:57 -0800
From:"James Eliot Quill" <_____________@gmail.com>
To:Send an Instant Message "Liam Joseph Olaf Worland Golden" <____@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: writing assignment #1
CC:"James Henry Welsch" <_@itwaslost.org>

Next assignment, please.

On Jan 7, 2008 4:27 PM, liam golden <____@yahoo.com> wrote:


Today is the first day of our new project: Writing Assignments

The first Assignment is:

JQ - The Occassion of Ritual
JW - The Ritual of Occassion

250 words or more

due: 1/18/08

Liam Joseph Olaf Worland Mary Golden


The Occasion of Ritual

The mention of the Occasion of Ritual leads me back to a certain lost ritual of Quill’s past. A bottle of whiskey is inspiration and incentive, but I require also some initiative, which results in a three or four shot head-start. But there is no occasion. Or, the occasion can affectionately only be called a last-minute panic. I am reviving a ritual that has been drowned in booze for years and in these first moments it can hardly be called such. My initial movements are hampered by the rust on my typing fingers and the prolonged mental searches for words. This has surprisingly little relation to the alcohol, but rather is only the shuddering of an engine that has nothing wrong with it other than sitting inactive in the Massachusetts winter for too long.

Wikipedia, that Borgesian fountain of knowledge (although that article, Mr. Welsch, is bunk), tells me that “a ritual is a set of actions…[that] may be performed at regular intervals, or on specific occasions, or at the discretion of individuals or communities.” An inebriated pondering of this information tells me that this means that any combination of two or more actions is a ritual. The metaphysical implications of a ritual are thoroughly drowned in an overly liberal definition.

Does ritual require occasion? Does anything prompt the ritual of the lighting of a cigarette? In fact, we are bombarded by occasion. We have ingrained countless series of actions that the slightest incitement will cause us to mechanically repeat. The ticket reads “Farmer’s Omelet.” The pan is buttered, the stovetop fired, three eggs cracked, three eggs whisked, eggs dropped in pan, the left hand swirls the pan as the right hand stirs, flame off, cheese, potatoes, onions, bacon, slam the pan against the side, left hand grabs plate, omelet folds upon it. These actions are automatic, but they remain worthwhile. Our obligation is to perpetually provide the illusion of new occasions for the application of old rituals lest the years pass us by in the same bars throwing the same darts with the same microbrew pints in our hands.

1 comment:

Brains said...

If you sing some songs nearby, Misti and I might actually go see you for once: www.myspace.com/missionbellsopenmic