Friday Fragments

Because it’s Friday, and I don’t have to make sense.

This may become a weekly Thing, but I reserve the right to change my mind.

See, the thing is, I have all these fragments of ideas for posts, but then the thought of allowing myself the luxury of sitting still and spinning one of them out into a complete and polished post is daunting. So, I give you: Fragments! A whole collage of them! Or a mosaic, perhaps. Oooh, pretty! Fragments!


I have had long hair for most of my life. (It isn’t so long now, but that’s another story. Or is it?) As a kid, I would get terrible tangles in the hair on the back of my head. Trying to de-tangle them felt so difficult and painful. My mother would try to help me, but I would scream and fuss. Sometimes, she’d have to give up and reach for the scissors. Other times, I’d try to hide them by smoothing a layer of hair over the mess, but I knew they were there, and so did everyone else. I couldn’t see them, but they were a presence.

(One of my dirty little secrets is that there have been times when this has happened to me as an adult, too. ‘Nuff said about that.)

The whole concept of tangles has become a powerful metaphor for me. I have a lot of tangles in my life. They just get bigger and bigger, harder and harder to imagine taming. I may not always have to look at them, I may try to layer something prettier on top of them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.


Chiaroscuro. That’s a word I first encountered in a slender classic voice-training manual — Vocal Wisdom, I think it was called. As I recall, chiaroscuro referred to a vocal quality that was both bright and dark at the same time. This was supposed to be especially beautiful and electrifying, something to strive for as a singer.

I remembered this. It’s really the only thing I remember at all clearly from that book. Chiaroscuro.

I think it’s a word that comes up in discussions of photography, too. That would make sense. Light and shadow.

Well, yesterday I was thinking about the negative thoughts that keep cropping up in my head (tangles?) and about my desire to replace them with positive thinking, affirmations. (I almost wrote “aspirations.” Yeah, those too.) Optimism. Hope. Self-love.

Then, in a flash of despondence, I thought to myself, “But it will never stick. The dark thoughts will never go away completely.”

Then — eureka! Epiphany! Dark thoughts! Chiaroscuro!

So, my head will be forever filled with both bright thoughts and dark thoughts. Maybe that isn’t such a bad thing after all. It may be beautiful and electrifying — even, perhaps, something to strive for.

“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.” — Arlo Guthrie

…Why this?

You want to know something that I’ve been obsessing about for over a year now?

Sometimes I don’t carry a handbag at all. I keep my wallet (with attached keyring) in one pocket, and my cell phone in the other. I carry my journal (which I nearly always want with me, to the point where my family calls it my “security blanket”) in my hand, like a clutch.

Sometimes I do carry a handbag. When I do, it seldom contains anything other than those three items: wallet, phone, journal (with pen attached).

You wouldn’t think that any of this would be such a big deal. The thing is, I keep trying to make this into a decision. I am a person who never carries a handbag! I want pockets in all my clothing, because I always need them! No, wait, I like handbags. I am a person who carries a handbag! No, wait, I’m not. No, I am! I am, and that’s final! No, wait…

Please, please tell me I’m not the only one who obsesses over trivial stuff like this.

And I think that just about wraps it up.

See you next Friday. Or not. Or maybe even sooner! Hey, that’d be cool!

2 responses to “Friday Fragments

  1. Hello!

    I just wanted to say that your fragments here are beautiful. I hadn’t thought about my tangles in a very long time… and it is an apt metaphor!

    And Chiaroscuro – My conception of this comes from a song… which refers to painting (oooh, it’s actually about something else though…) I loved the song for the concept far more than I loved the music itself, but in my memory they are still attached. And I’m not an artist, but I have a music background (long ago & far away) – and I LOVE that this word/image applies to music too! Never knew that, but, Of course!

  2. Pingback: Things I Learned This Week

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