2-8-18 (a brief sketch of self, on the failure of language, and irony, reluctantly released, too much slip showing)

And it’s all just words, empty phrases and utterances. A man struggling not to drown, is what a writer (person?) is. But all that verbal flailing seems to be the core of the problem. All these extra words are just bad techniques which have to be abandoned in the next attempt. Just an endless sowing of existential angst, a tone which escalates in feverish pitch, but never hits that ceiling, never climaxes.

I’ve been learning Spanish. Do it on duo-lingo on my phone. It’s fun and I can just tear through the exercises, the same strength and weakness of intuitive ability at play. . You can feel the shared history of words from the morphing collective feel of them. Peace, Paz, Pax, Pace.

You know about the Tower of Babel? Ah, fuck it. Point I was going to make was about how language fails us at its critical task, namely talking to one another. Because there’s always this gap of language and inner psychology, that obscures shared understanding. You don’t know what the words mean, objectively or subjectively to the other person, or really to yourself either.

What attracted me to words early on has soured and now often repulses. I was trying to figure “it” out. The whole pie, in and out, and the words were a safe and more importantly available way to get at the thing. But now they’ve not satiated, yet left their remnants, and they’ve warped the vessel.

Not broken, note, just warped. To the point they can just pour and pour and fill and fill, and the original hexagonal spout, from having been turned so many times, has worn round and in the flood it can be hard to find and grip it. What’s worse (better?) is you’ve grown amphibious, developed gills and you can make it work underwater, but other can’t, and they start to pull away for air.

Advertisements

1.15.18 (a brief sketch of self, across the space time continuum, two paragraphs, mittens) 


Woke up from the strangest dream. My family and I, are on an adventure, through some unknown city, a walk back to our vehicle, a familiar, yet different, older van. Chay and I are in the middle seats, and we drive for a mundane moment. Until, we pull into a building and a dream becomes a dream. 

We’re in a tunnel, and before I know it we’ve blasted off, through some worm-hole time tunnel thing. I open my eyes for a second, and it’s a glittering kaleidoscopic other world, seen in yesteryear, too beautiful to stare at. I close my eyes, losing my breath, and reach for my boy’s hand. It’s there I can feel it through the mitten, so real, how soft the loose material is, how it slides on his little fingers in my grip, so real. 

1.11.18 (A brief sketch of self, a fulfilling guitar session, On noble Max the three legged dog, cold feet, the power of birds)

9ish, I’m sitting here writing while Britney puts the kids to bed. Had a crazy guitar lesson, getting to the upper-intermediary stages (a soulless description, no doubt) where I can just go through simple version of a lot of songs, the first time. Specifically through this Youtube Guitar Guru, Munson Music Live.

Started with a slower version of Rocky Raccoon, then I like. But this time I stuck with it, and it actually helped my strumming, trying to slow down and play it along with Munson. Then I did Elvis, Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, and I again the slowness sort of annoyed me, but I went with it, until towards the end where I unconsciously started breaking the 1/4 notes into sixteenth notes, sort of improvising along with the video. After that I went to one that challenges my strumming Tom Petty’s Running Down A Dream, the fast version of that is a challenge to my wrist. But more and more I find myself able to rely on the muscle memory built up in my hands, and actually relax while I’m doing, take that forth dimensional perspective, where I can enjoy or critique what I am doing, see between the segments of music. Then I went on a random chain, Genesis/Land of Confusion, Fleetwood Mac/The Chain and Gypsy, and the last one the good bass strumming, strumming, strumming, through the cords felt very natural, and right along with the music. And it hit me, I was actually playing, like really playing. Hours and hours of sucking, and I probably am still not all that good, but still I can say I know what its like to play the guitar. The full thing, not just faking.

Let me tell you about another creature that doesn’t fake it. Max, the three-legged, semi-adopted farm dog. He came with 1900s house. He’s its official Dog of the Watch. He barks mightily at the vehicles as they hit the stop sign, or go flying passed on the dirt road. He dutifully tracks, all range of animals, coyotes, possums, deer. He’s invaluable. He’s technically the neighbor’s dogs, but I think he was owned by their Father, who lived here prior, I believe. He sleeps under our front deck, and likes to sunbath on the porch. Some asshole down the street shot his leg off, told our neighbors that he was going after their dog. That seems impossible, but who knows, young four legged, freedom loving, dogs can be something. He his a younger sister, a beauty named Lady. And the freezing temperatures iced her electric leash, so sometimes she gets off too. She likes to hop, but like Max, has to be respected for her benefits, namely keep the coyotes and strays away.

It was a wintry mix this morning. Sleet and snow, all hell really. Lil salt particles of ice that whipped against the house. Cold winds that make you run for it. And there was Max, enduring it all, outside as always. Thought of bringing him, but realized it wouldn’t work (Lady too, she stared at me longingly, chained up in the barn). We do let the him downstairs in the basement when the storms comes. He appreciates that, hates the thunder I think. Tries to push the door at times, but he was loving the snow, skipping around in it, making his rounds. I noticed the birds too this winter, especially. How do they do it? Survive the snow, I mean. Even more so the birds. So little. You think about how much blood they got in them, probably not enough to fill half a coffee cup. But I saw it today, a black and grey Finch (not sure if it was a Finch at all), with that striking red on his head, gripping the large tree in our yards. How do they do it? My heels hurt from the holes in my shoes….

11-16-17 Philosophy Through Family (In Praise of Patriarchy)

 

A Musical Accompaniment

I love and hate mankind in portions which may seem unhealthy. That’s the thing, they’ve made the basic human experience abnormal. Normal activity, inexplicable wave like emotions and experiences, which prompt change and growth,  have become negative attributes. Disruption is the critical marker, but then everything is disruptive, isn’t it? The empty fuel tank light, the nutrient deficient belly after dinner, traffic, red lights, bosses, children.

Parenting is the template to understand everything, Nature, God, whatever you want to call it. It answers all wandering philosophical questions, most importantly God’s alleged apathy. It’s not that nature doesn’t care about us, it’s that we are evolving life forms, who begin life dependent, but must be wired to separate from this life-source and function “independently” and keep the goddam wheels on the thing. I guess, cause that’s the problem, there is an element of illusion in that, limits on free choice, limits on our true independence.

Male and female, and they are real things, provide the solution to the paradox. The positive and the negative give balance to the story. Comedy and Tragedy. Adults are rounded out, settled down through parenting. Patience. Principles. Purpose. These are skills you have to have for Nature to flower and flourish.

There is so much illness and insanity in our culture, you can’t help but analyze some of the basics things, food, sex, employment, and recognize these are the problem areas. As a Father, it seems only right that I view these things through often critical lens. And frankly, when I take that position, it immediately draws you into conflict with the world. Power. Patriarchy. Pride. Potential. Dangerous, possibly prohibited words these days.

It’s easy and right to slip into an US vs. Them mentality though, which objectively isn’t historically the best stuff, but frankly in the small social scale is fundamental.

You should hold your family above others. Or even more yourself above the general thing. I remember that demented thought experiment (that’s basically the best of philosophy, imagine nightmare scenarios and make deductions from them) presented in some college ethic course, imagine you’re on the Titanic, shit goes down, and everyone’s drowning, you see your one kid floating away one direction, but there are like twelve other kids close by, drowning on a bit of wardrobe, who you could save immediately, but then your own kid’s gets a seat in Davy Jones’ locker. What do you do?

No question for me. I’m going for my kid. And curse the boat builder and god itself as I did it, and forever. But it can’t be any other way and it isn’t. More or less we all recognize, there’s nothing we can really do about “it”, is there? What’s worse, this problem is what has society at large in the tank. And it’s because from some quarters (rich and familial) has come the argument of over-population, and the value and pleasure in narcissistic mores of life. Which in reality amounts to shitty television, shitty food, and jerking off. But these apparently are enough, until inevitably they’re not, and so we try to drag the old crusty, models, the skeletons now, out of the heap in the backyard, but they don’t stand right, and we don’t have the tools, nor skills to build them again. Shit…can someone get a six-pack, maybe stop at Mcdonalds, maybe pick Grandpa up from the home, he loves tinkering with this shit….

On Farming, Nabokov, Internet, Culture, Knowledge, Writing

Last night I stayed up late watching farming motivation, tomato porn videos on YouTube. The guys was showing how you can greatly increase pollination of the tomato plant by fingering, slapping, shaking the plant, and around the fruiting special bits. Tomatoes carry both the males and the females stuff, so by vibrating the former you impregnate the later. I had noticed last night some drying blossoms on my own, think the heat and lack of water zapped them. Video made me realize maybe they were not pollinated and that made them weaker too.

I’v found my part of the stream and it’s having a cooling effect, or a redirecting of my energy from writing/reading to the farm. Not to say I’ve haven’t been doing either. It’s always there, crawling around, waiting. My JD Salinger binge had me noticeably nihilistic, the Camus stretch ruined me, and then the The Feud by Alex Beam about the friendship and subsequent “fight” between writer Nabokov and Literati Edmund Wilson got my haunches up and has sent me spiraling down the black hole of conspiracy world (Dave Chappelle, Kanye, Johnny Deep, may all be MKULTRA victims and clones). Despite Mr Beam’s and everyone else’s explicit statement not to see any of Nabokov’s work, Lolita and beyond, as confessional or biographical, I couldn’t see otherwise.

I know Tolkien was like that, didn’t like any real world parallels pointed out. I get the psychological need to distance ourselves from the thing. It ruins it for some, like the Wizard of Oz, doesn’t allow them to slip into into suspended disbelief. The real question, is there any other mode? Everything seems made up these days. Don’t know exactly why. Has to be the TV and internet, we live in little electronic bubbles of our choosing, inherently artificial, the so-called external reality has begun to mirrors this process. It all begins to break down at a point, like CNN current meme debacle, old traditional barriers start to dissolve.

I read the news, and about the world, like it is regular installments of my favorite Sci-Fi series. I’m using the internet through tethering my phone. And there’s only one spot that works in the house.. The upstairs window facing north. So the bedroom has become the office. It was nice to have the full desktop back, the youtube, all of it. Senior year of High School,  I made this ceramic block with the word “Knowledge” on it. It’s always been sort of a totem for me, a symbol of first principles.  I set my phone on that, pointed out the window, and it works well enough. And I don’t know while getting reintegrated, I realize  current events are just insane, nightmarish, other-worldly. You try to settle yourself down, cut the anxiety with a bit of reason. And if you shut it off and maybe went and wandered a field, or river, or something you could find ways to forget it, but you sort of don’t want to. You want to see where the story is going. How it will all play out. Stories and book are like that. Trying to write “popular” fictions gets me in a similar way. Conjuring up twisted characters and thick drama, set a tone for the spirit and day, which can sometimes feel negative and costly. I don’t like hurting people, fiction or otherwise, which doesn’t necessarily make for great fiction. It could, but you got to work harder for it, I think. Stop being a pussy, is what the shadow self jeers with.

The field almost feels easier. Just different, I guess. Farm work taxes the body, but nourishes the spirit, art work taxes both, and leads the body to lethargy and the spirit to turn manic. I’ve set up an academic hour in the evenings six to seven oclock, then out to the field for two hours to weed, mulch, and water. Balance. Knowledge.

img_0343

Random Prosetry 

Creation of the World

Go ahead, you can’t hurt it much.
Tenderest phrase I ever heard.
Your memories are dry, brittle things.
A compost pile of self.
Emotions are the needed water, invigorating life, the microbes
Underneath, amoebas to complex structures,
Reinvested in other life forms
Half finished Frankensteins.
Devoid of moisture, fire is the threat to inorganic matter,
A purging mythic Phoenix, more potent, nutrient dense Mater, future building blocks of the Other. 
Born of old men, half baked narratives of a fifty year old alcoholic Sci-Fi writer, loose leafs on the slush pile.

Thought about PKD, the other night. All alone, with a full house asleep, dying to talk to somebody.

He said he felt Rome, experienced it one day, reality flipped, and it was millennia ago in Rome, and then he came back. I tried to conjure that as I sat in bed. I might have felt it for a second, an ocean marinated wind blowing through weathered wheat stock, but the Borg-head of current self rolled on the theater curtain, destroying the illusion. The technological entity of the future, already born, reinvigorated, forever.

Forget the old, its technetronic back teeth chatter. We can built whatever world we want. I see it squid like in the subconscious, dangling a long, notched vertebrae. 

My friend brought it up at dinner on Sunday. The black web of the future, great unknown, the future of true novelty; we have no clue what’s coming next! We try to rationalize, sure everyone throughout history feels like that. In a way, that’s worse though. That everyone has felt this way, adrift, without harbor, quantum sea monsters rattling against the bottom of the boat…

On Father’s Day 

Perfect night to perfect day. Seventies, clear, clouds like warships marching through the sky. Dad came out, went in on a rant about the curse of the family name, showed a big gash in his head, which he got after a pack of unconscientious gals at the coffee shop got him all riled up and he bumped his head on his car getting in. I don’t like when he says that, that we got bad luck, bad mojo, seems a self-fulfilling prophecy to me. 

Why can’t our genes be associated with victory, success, fortune? I smiled though and listen, even joke in a similar vain, accounting my own similar and recent bad luck, AC went out on Honda, needed new rooters and breaks on the truck. There’s no point, and its negative to fight it. Instead I hijack the genes on my own time, the story in my own mind. We have to accept the darker undertones of the tale, a bastard’s journey to kingship, return of the prodigal son. But what does Promise Land look like? I’ve been forced to consider. 

There’s irony in my Dad’s dark outlook, it’s the other side of over confidence. He was always pretty successful socially, friends, girlfriends. In his high school senior picture he looks like Super Man, Christopher Reeves incarnation. Tall, handsome, full head of hair, stylish white bell bottoms. The caption says he’s helping a younger student. He was class President, Captain of the football team, scholarship offers for wrestling. He idealized those times. His Mom and Dad divorced his senior year. I think this is what got him. Grandpa went a little wild, was an alcoholic. I’m convinced Grandma Gene,  Grandpa Pete’s mom, was a witch, a good one. She made little piles of rocks all through out her yard, stacked up at night under the moon and stars. I feel her in me when I stand in the field at dusk; we are happy, at home. 

Britney cooked huge steaks and veggie packs on the grill. Ran a notable grill, orangey grey charcoal stack. Grandpa played ring-leader with the gang. They teased and provoked, debating how the water balloons would be dished out after lunch. I feel and realize my clone like nature watching it all. How we are the same just slight variations in time and space, even my wife, and how we put up facade of separateness, but it doesn’t mean anything. My Mom had a falling out with her Mom, didn’t talk for years. But I realized later they probably thought about each other more cause of that, obsessively and neurotically probably. 

After lunch we had the water ballon fight and then jumped my rider mower, my Father’s Day miracle. I thought it was done, but we pushed it to my Dad’s car while the boys took turn steering. I could tell the old man had the itch to mow, he’s recently moved from his big yard, but he let me have at it, and went inside with the boys.

I checked in on them later, sat there in a row yucking it up and playing video games. There’s something here that transcends the tawdry, and cheap word “love”, but that’s what it is. It makes my cells ache, yearning to make it permanent, imprint it on the over-soul for eternity. But true success is only when you let go, praise and love, but don’t grasp. I finished my mowing. The farm is looking great. I’m happy like kid. Blessed on a perfect day, so lucky. 

Perfect Night in Des Moines 


Source
It was a perfect night tonight. The heat broke, has been ninety plus for almost two weeks. Won’t really rain, just spit. Left our little Eden and went to the big city Des Moines, for dinner with wife’s coworkers. There are those nights, summer nights, where everything thing seems clean, shiny, put together. Des Moines is quintessential fly-over country and I hope it stays that way for ever. I truly hesitate to even brag about it publicly, so as not to alert the unwashed masses of its awesomeness. One of the main reasons is per-capita, pound to pound, Des Moines is actually a world class food city. It fertile lands and deep agricultural roots, along with its geographic centerness has brought many influences and culturals to bare. 

This agricultural industry have created stronger economic health. This and things like the caucuses have made Iowa oddly relevant at times. I think Iowa, and probably that whole region is like the United States’ shire. There’s a good mix of political and ideological left and rightness, which at the current time and day strikes a unique and important balance. People are generally friendly, respectful, and none portentous, excluding the author, of course.

I like my wife’s gang at work. Their ornery and silly, and I’m sure they’ve banded together in the trenches of the modern health care system; these people have seen some shit. We ate at Bubbas downtown. They serve quality Southern style dishes, fried chicken and waffles, chicken fried steak, white cheddar grits, home jams, corn breads, mac and cheese, red beans and rice. They have an extensive booze selection. I had a Bubba julep, bourbon and mint and something called a Porch Sipper which was delicious, think it was bourbon, but had cucumbers, basil, mints and something sour in it. We shared and laughed. The server was charming and informative. Bubbas has a classy old school lounge and bar. And you know what, it shares a sizable class. Hell, right next store is a French-influenced restraunt Django, which look qaulity as well. There are more delicious and interesting things to eat in Des Moines then I can even try to get too. 

Driving around admiring the city, the patios were packed with people, smiling, with their friends, enjoying their Saturday night. Hope. Potential. Food is so much more than just a basic need. I was ranting about this to Brit after I came in from farm chores last night. How I didn’t want to be in Nature, but Of Nature. Part of it, not an explorer penetrating it, controlling it. How I feel a symbiotic relationship with my plants, wedding and watering them, how I nourish them and they nourish me, and how kids and families were like this; you nourish them, they nourish you. Talked about this video I saw about kids in India pulling a giant python out of the river for fun, playing with it, and how we still jump at garter snakes. How it’s better to relax about bugs and critters. Accept the swarm around you, pulsating with life. 

We got home and the skies took to play. Summer storms yearning to rain, but empty, dry. The lightening in the distance, striking a portrait at will. Chay comes to get me from bed, says the grey lights out his open window are freaking him out. Light slices the canvas, highlighting bulking, thickly painted clouds. An ocean of fireflies undulate in front yard of the house, dancing in the electric atmosphere. Fireflies. Never knew there could be so many fireflies….

Snippets 104 

Gipsy Fortune Teller
Houdini-Gresham 

Washington, D.C., the nation’s most beautiful city, heart of the democracy, hub of the forty-eight states was in 1926 also the city most infested with palm readers, astrologers, message mediums, slate writers, crystal workers, and “rag head rackets” generally. In the shabbier residential neighborhoods their shingles, showing an upraised palm, were thick; sometimes almost every brownstone house to the block had its prognostication parlor. (264) 

Snippets 103 


Source

Houdini-Gresham 

Vaudeville tempo had changed mightily during the time Houdini was away, selling Liberty Bonds and making motion pictures. The country seemed to be marching to Georgie Cohan’s “Over There.” Autos were faster and roads were better for them to be faster on. Pioneer Station KDKA in Pittsburgh had begun daily broadcasts and America was in the grip of a new mania soon to replace the Ouija board–sitting crouched over crystal sets with earphones clamped to its ears. The big build-it-yourself radio boom was just around the next corner. And to a generation that had gone through the First World War, the sight of a man jumping of a bridge and getting out of handcuffs under water created no hysteria. (227)