View from the Top
I climbed my first tree before I was five. Got stuck. Screamed. Daddy had to walk two miles home from work in the middle of a hot West Virginia afternoon and rescue me. Like a cat, I finally learned not to climb down head-first. For the next XX years (I'd say how many, but no one would believe it) I spent time in the tops of trees, where I learned some of life's most important skills -- and pleasures. I'd say what they were (and are) but that would be telling. And you know what they say -- writers should show, not tell. So kick off your shoes and shimmy on up. Join me here surrounded by blue sky and little green leaves. Bring a book if you like, or a notebook. The apples up here are crisp and ripe and free for the picking.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Don't discount any source that soothes you. I now own a collection of exotic chickens. Actually, it's a book on the subject, which lives on my coffee table where, at any time, I can flip it open and lose myself in the -- well, the exoticness of it all. Here's a little something you might not know: "The Araucana from South America . . . lays eggs that have a faint green or blue tint. The native Araucas resisted the mating of their birds with those of the conquering Spaniards, thus preserving the character of these chickens. This breed has ear muffs . . . and . . . wears a beard." Now, what could be more quirky? This little blip of arcaneness I can now carry around in my head and focus on it whenever someone starts trying to screw up my day.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Marking my place in "Ballad of the Sad Cafe"
was a scrap so small and frayed
that it fell out and got lost in the bedclothes,
maybe drifted to the floor
where the vacuum sucked it up
or the cat chased it into a dusty corner.
So, how will I know
where to pick up and start again?
Like that unplanned call from the deathman,
this tiny loss has left me adrift.
It will take a certain offhandedness,
a what-the-hell outlook to start again,
since the plot has left me,
the characters strayed away.
I will just have to trust
or try to make up what's happened so far.
But then, the story may not be
what matters now.
What matters now is the picking up,
the starting again.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Much of my wisdom (or perhaps just my arcane knowledge) comes from the comics. I have learned, for example, that if you live in Dr. Rex Morgan's world, you don't need to move your mouth to talk. Take note of his clamped lips and those of all his patients and friends -- they keep chatting away with no visible changes in those sealed up lips. Or perhaps they talk through their noses. Or ears. (Thanks to my friend Jean Tucker, I've learned of this amazing phenomenon.) The folks in Apartment 3-G, on the other hand, go around with their mouths gapped open like they have adenoid trouble, whether they're talking or not. What's with that? I've also become aware that the characters in some of these strips have taken to visiting one another -- sneaking across the border, so to speak. In this Sunday's, Louisville Courier Journal, Hagar the Horrible and his good wife Helga showed up unannounced in that anthropomorphic strip "Pearls Before Swine." Next thing we know, Dagwood Bumstead will try slipping out for a late-night tryst with Cathy, leaving poor Blondie upstairs thinking he's just wandered down to the kitchen for a sandwich. Where will it ever stop?