Black & white

black n whiteyOne of my most unattractive traits is my need to reduce things to the starkest terms. To force things to their conclusions, label ‘em, deal with them in their simplest terms and file them away.

I can do that with people. Friend or foe. Genius or fool.

I can do that with movies, books, food, pens. Thumbs up or down.

I can do that with opportunities, trying to figure out what something might amount to, whether it’s worth doing from the get-go. I know what it will be like to go there on vacation, to eat that, to watch this, to do that.

1 or 0. The binary life.

In some ways, this is an efficient way to live. I can sift through things, sort ‘em, leap to conclusions and move on. In other and more important ways, it’s dumb and limiting.

When you thing you know what some thing will be like, why live it? But no matter how smart I think I am, I don’t really know how things will actually turn out.

The most interesting things happen in the grey areas, in the open spaces, unpredictable, chaotic and fecund. Fecund because they aren’t gridded out and regimented. Because they follow the laws of nature which are chaotic and random and constantly shifting.

Learning to live with ambiguity is one of the toughest things I have done. But if life has taught me anything, it’s that you never really do know what’s going to happen and it’s self-defeating and ridiculous to pretend that you do.

18 thoughts on “Black & white

  1. Danny, On Saturday, I went to a family reunion. There are some crazies in my family and I dreaded it. For a week or so before, I made myself very stressed over going. Needless to say, it was wonderful! It is absurd to think that I know people, places and things when, with each new day, it/they change and sometimes for the better.

  2. Agree with every word. I can have those tendencies as well. In my calmer moments I try to be more open and when I do I experience the richness that life an offer. But hey we ain’t perfect. :)

  3. “Fecund.” One of my favourite words. Along with “ambiguity”.

    This is hot writing, Danny – from your unlabled, unpredictable, wonderful heart. Thank you. X

  4. We all grow and change…..if I am not growing it is time to bury me! Yet, we often are tempted to lock others in time, assume they are the same as they were when we first met them. When I was teaching young children, it used to make me sad when a child was seen as the naughty one, when others seemed to expect them to be making trouble. Soon the children, themselves would “fit into that role”. We need to make it “easy” for others to change and grow. Danny, you taught us all that even in the darkest hour we can live and move forward. That is the golden joy of your “Everyday” journaling in pictures when words just don’t come.

  5. I am used to doing the same thing.. And as a cruel joke from life I’ve had to face my own prejudices and re-think about them 😋 but it’s always so enriching and sometimes humbling to know that not all is black or white. Great post! Thanks for sharing! 😊

  6. Great post, Danny. So many people need to hear this. And it has been timely for my own personal judgement of a recent (and as yet unresolved…possibly ongoing) development involving a clash between my fantasy of the future and reality that I did not see coming. “Who knew!” could be my new mantra.

  7. I am the total opposite. I see hundreds and hundreds shades of grey. It makes it very hard to make a decision when I can see each point and why someone would reach that conclusion. Right now, drawing is helping me try to reduce things into their barest shapes and not the millions of atoms that make up life!

  8. I always wonder what has happened in your life that inspired you to write things. This fits me in my younger years, but it fits my son perfectly where he is right now. Thanks.

  9. Danny… You and I have something in common, we were the support person to someone who was in a tragic accident. Although we don’t know each other personally…I feel like we are connected through our sketching, fellow artists with a similar past. I am a ridiculously happy person & appreciate life in a way that most people don’t. The contrast of the horrifying experience reminds me every day that THIS day is actually, pretty darn great (I’ve been in worse places)! I have the same mentality that “you never really do know what’s going to happen” and I really appreciate each moment like it’s a delicious piece of dark chocolate. I am black and white too & I’m really great at compartmentalizing my feelings – for better or worse. It took me a really long time to work up the courage to read the story of what happened to your wife. I knew something terrible happened for years, but I didn’t know what. I think I had to heal a little more myself before I could read your story. Anyway, I appreciate you and I love your Black and Whiteness. Who cares what’s going to happen anyway? It’s really about the now. If you live for the later…you will never really appreciate the now.

  10. Living life as if it is black and white sure does simplify things. BORING! I see things as shades of grey, chiaroscuro. Variety is the spice of life and in art.

  11. Good, good word Danny. Love your thoughts and yes you are right, but I just don’t get it most of the time. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Couldn’t agree with you more, Danny. Not sure if you’re familiar with Krista Tippett’s work but she often refers to “the vast middle” and I think about that in your references to the “grey areas” and “open spaces.” I can’t deny that so much of my life (and myself) falls in that wide space between black and white. Appreciate your post here.

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