Friday, July 26, 2013

Get Your Own Reality

Before my overdue fees became equal to the price of the book itself, I wanted to share a passage from Saul Bellow's "The Adventures of Augie March":

Read Saul Bellow

"It wasn't right to think everyone else had more power of being. Why, look now, it was clear as anything that it wasn't so but merely imagination, exaggerating how you're regarded, misunderstanding how you're liked for what you're not, disliked for what you're not, both from error and laziness. The way must be not to care, but in that case you must know how really to care and understand what's pleasing or displeasing in yourself. But do you think every newcomer is concerned and is watching? No. And do you care that anyone should care in return? Not by a long shot. Because nobody anyhow can show what he is without a sense of exposure and shame, and can't care while preoccupied with this but must appear better and stronger than anyone else, mad! And meantime feels no real strength in himself, cheats and gets cheated, relies on cheating but believes abnormally in the strength of the strong. All this time nothing genuine is allowed to appear and nobody knows what's real. And what's disfigured, degenerate, dark mankind - humanity.

See Rutger Hauer (as the Replicant, Roy) in Blade Runner

But then with everyone going around so capable and purposeful in his strong handsome case, can you let yourself limp in feeble and poor, some silly creature, laughing and harmless? No, you have to plot in your heart to come out differently. External life being so mighty, the instruments so huge and terrible, the performances so great, the thoughts so great and threatening, you produce someone who can exist before it. You invent a man who can stand before the terrible appearances. This way he can't get justice and he can't give justice, but he can live. And this is what mere humanity always does. It's made up of inventors or artists, millions and millions of them, each in his own way trying to recruit other people to play a supporting role and sustain him in his make-believe. The great chiefs and leaders recruit the greatest number, and that's what their power is. There's one image that gets out in front to lead the rest and can impose its claim to being genuine with more force than others, or one voice enlarged to thunder is heard above the others. Then a huge invention, which is the invention maybe of the world itself, and of nature, becomes the actual world - with cities, factories, public buildings, railroads, armies, dams, prisons, and movies - becomes the actuality. That's the struggle of humanity, to recruit others to your version of what's real. Then even the flowers and the moss and the stones become the moss and the flowers of a version."

Spin Your Top. Frequently.

Maybe this helps explain what has been happening to me. Or not.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cutting Edges

In one of my favorite old movie quotes, the neighbors get together for the typically awkward block party/cookout, and the established neighbor says to the new neighbor "There are two things I admire about you: your wife, and your lawnmower." (Awkward silence). For this is suburbia.

But if I pay attention on my daily rounds I can find lots of activity in Nature's Half Acre. On my return trip from Purcellville, following a temperature-cutting thunderstorm, I stopped to clean my lenses and snap a photo of Mr. Box Turtle, deciding whether it was safe to cross the trail:

And later in the ride, the Prothonotary Warbler crossed my path:

As I jogged the trails with Dog, I had the chance sighting of an Indigo Bunting:

But like every weekend, the chores had to be done. As I dutifully fired up the lawnmower to mow down Nature's Half Acre, I noticed a lot of activity down in the grass. Fortunately, I'm always replaying the scene in Honey I Shrunk The Kids in my mind, so I stopped the mower, and inspected:

This young peep would be saved. This time. Moved into the shade, where the wild strawberries are plenty. Later on I discovered another down by the trail. I couldn't just stop the mower! So I decided it would be fair to leave that section uncut. Let that peep scramble about in the uncut grass.

Oh, and keep your hands off my lawnmower.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Instant Irrelevancy

Not the "Slow Death Funnies" that we used to read back in the day, but the blog. It has been suffering, thanks in part to the iPad, which I find very unfriendly to my specific format of composing. And also, while I'd like to say something epic occurs in each day, there are days when I admit I must have missed it, even though I've been trying to pay attention. 

And then there's the commitment. I don't always get around to spending the hour or so to write it down (I know! There is no way these things should take that long, you say). I've got other things to do, and then it's tomorrow, and who wants to look back anyway? Which probably helps explain the lack of readers, now that I think about it.

So I'm playing Words with Daughter and getting spanked profusely as is the norm, with one eye cocked uncontrollably, gazing inconsolably at the idiot box (as my father used to call it). And suddenly, there it was.

 At the end of The Big Bang Theory, a piece of micro- and true flash-fiction (lasting all of about 2 seconds) rolled into one, disguised as a credit or an FBI warning. The Chuck Lorre Productions Vanity Card, #400. Thanks to the DVR (the subject of another vanity card) I rewound, froze it and took a picture of it. Sent it to my kids. And then I went and found it on the web, of course.

And so here it is, brought to you by Chuck Lorre Productions, happening right under our noses:


I've been told that if you change your mind, you change the world - or at least the way you experience it. Let's take a moment to examine that. The presumption is, if you thought the world was a hostile, ugly place filled with awful people doing awful things, that is what you'd see. Your mind would naturally seek out confirmation for its preconceived ideas (e.g., if you're intent on buying a red car, as you go about your day you'll see lots of red cars). If, however, you were able to sincerely change your mind and see that we are all God in drag, that we are the conscious aspects of a perfect universe which had to create us so we could bear witness and stand in awe before its loving magnificence, then that is the soul-shaking reality you'd be greeted with each and every moment of each and every day. In other words, it is entirely our choice as to what kind of world we live in. With a simple decision, we can suffer in the darkness or play in the light. We can be angry, frightened and enslaved, or loving, joyous and free.
I know. It's a toughie.

Thanks, Chuck. Who would have thought? I think I'll go back and read the other 400+ cards, celebrate your creativity, and pay a little more attention.