Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Largest Library in the World

Anyone who has known me knows that I have always loved to spend time in libraries.  My employees used to joke about it.  I'd say I had to leave the job site in order to do an estimate, or a touch-up from an old job.  They knew that might be true, but that afterward  I'd be in the library for an hour or two.

Now, and for several years ongoing, the largest library in the world is right here on the internet.  I can research virtually any subject instantly.  It can be distracting.  Today I have wanted to write *something* for my blog, but something else is constantly interfering, trying to lead me astray.  Where's my discipline?

And then, even if I find the discipline to try to sit quietly and collect my thoughts, what if don't remember what I was so urgently, or even eloquently, remembering in my mind the other day, while I was working on a job somewhere, or driving.  Yes, I still take notes, but you know what I discovered in my decades of trying to learn to be a writer?  I discovered that being a writer wasn't the most important thing in my life.  Oh, I had some successes.  I have had some things published.  And I know I could have tried harder.  Go ahead and guilt me.  "Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving," a friend once said. 

I used to try to write at least a short letter, via email or posted on a conference, every day, but I have gotten away from it the past six weeks or so.  I have been so utterly caught up in the writings, interviews and videos of David Wilcock.  And the books and the website of Whitley Strieber.  I'm reading at as fast a pace as last summer when I plowed through the works of Jim Marrs.  One of these days I'm going to have a little more coherency in my thinking again.  I'm going to be able to reflect more clearly and patiently.

It hasn't helped that the weather has brought us the worst heat in several decades, for many weeks in a row.  Finally last week it cooled, and I could do some physical work again for more than an hour or two in the early morning.  I need that physical work to cool my brain.

I have to admit I'm a little nuts over David Wilcock, he is so optimistic without being a pollyanna.  I know he's nuts, but I have always been attracted to the crazy ones -- "crazy wisdom!"  He prophesies a golden age beginning very soon -- not without severe trials and turmoil, which we certainly see in the world right now.  I have glimpsed it myself.  I have seen it in the scholarship, in the numbers of great books being written, stunning revisions of history -- as with Graham Hancock, for just one example.  And in many wonderful biographies that have been coming out for many years now.  There is a great one, out for a few years now, on the life of Edgar Cayce, America's "sleeping prophet," as just one example.

It is in the science, the physics, biology, and chemistry of life.  Awesome discoveries have been compiled by David Wilcock, the nature of DNA, the existence of the "time-space" continuum alongside the one we are mostly familiar with (and limited by), the "space-time" continuum. 

Well, one of these days time and space will arrive for me to communicate more on these and other momentous, "paradigm shifting" (as they say) subjects.  Great times are here!  It is important to see at least some of the big picture!

But now my wife has come home from her wanderings and getting ready for me to help with the family cookout.  And, before she gets me, I simply must find out whatever became of "Rhinegold, the dry beer/Extra dry-flavored treat/It's not bitter, not sweet/Won't you try extra dry Rhinegold beer!"  Only the internet can tell me.  If I'm even spelling the name correctly.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Finding One's Tools

It all started with Dad's tool box: it was a treasure chest of toys for his sons!  Why use a rock for busting caps when a hammer is so much more cool?  "Who's been into my tool box again?"  Uh oh, forgot to put it back.  Guilty looks around the breakfast table on Saturday morning.  Poor Dad, I had my own place and a family and I was still going back, borrowing tools, and not returning them.

I never owned many of my own tools until I started doing odd jobs, and it wasn't until my Uncle Alvin cleaned out his basement workshop and gave me whatever didn't go in the yardsale, that I came into a few half decent power tools: a small drill/driver, a workshop jigsaw, what else?  It was so long ago when I held a 9 to 5 job that left me spare time to work in my basement workshop where I made some rudimentary furniture.  Some of these items are still in service today, in my daughter's home.

Later on we moved to a large apartment and I had a porch where I put up pegboards with hooks where I could spread out all my beautiful tools and admire them, together with various charts, plans for furniture and sheds, etc.  Alas, that was the last time I had much predictable spare time for over 30 years.  I started my own business and, except when I finagled time for learning the art of writing, and occasionally a hobby such as family ancestry, it was like working three jobs.

We moved to a new community halfway across the country and it was a small house.  I had to start up a business all over again.  It was enough work to try to keep the van organized, to keep all the tools and supplies in order so you could find what you needed for the particular job at hand.  Usually if you were busy at all (contractors don't say hello to each other, they ask "busy?") you're tired at the end of a job and you throw all the tools into as many milk crates and 5-gallon buckets as you need, thinking you'll sort them out later.  And the day comes when you have to -- or go broke getting ten copies of everything.

Still the day comes when you cannot for the life of you find a simple goddam flat head screwdriver.  I always used to have such a nice selection, each one poking into his own hole, minding his own business.  Or an exacto knife, or putty knife, or tape measure.  How simple can it get, Lord?  Now don't tell me.  I already looked at the place I remembered it last.

When I had a big business (big for me meant 6 or 7 up to 12 or so employees), we had one man take every Friday afternoon to put the van back in order.  Later, the van and the old station wagon we used to transport employees to the job site.  Every helper was supposed to be responsible for his or her own tool bucket.  Of course, pockets get emptied out at night and putty knives and exacto knives start getting lined up on dresser tops.  So, explain to me, why, when you are constantly buying and handing out these things, plus storing extras in various places so that you don't have to run all the way from Montauk Point to Commack just to get one stupid screwdriver -- well, of course I'm exaggerating -- but why can't you find what you need when you need it?

So the dread day finally comes when you must absolutely dump all those crates and 5-gallon buckets out onto the driveway and at least do some sorting.  What do you find?  Bundles of putty knives, bundles of dusting brushes.  What are they doing all huddled together like groups of sheep against the fence in the pasture corners?  Do they secretly migrate together in some fantastic, phantasmagoric psychic Tool-Land?  I never could figure it out.  Yesterday I couldn't buy a small flathead screwdriver: now I have five of 'em.

Many's the time I'll simply improvise, for lack of a tool.  I still can't find my angle-finder.  It's in one of these 5-gallon buckets somewhere in storage.  I spent a couple of hours searching for it, no luck.  I did find the two-foot level that I couldn't find last week.

Now that I've been semi-retired for a couple years, there are 5-gallon buckets waiting for me out there in the storage shed, waiting a long time.  Maybe I'll have time to go through them and treasure the jobs and the people each tool will remind me of.

New Post

Computer frustrations: I cannot seem to move past the "error message" when I edited my profile here.  Help! was no help at all.  Oh well, maybe my daughter can help me later.  The blogger software seems to want a photo but offers no simple way to enter one from my documents page....

So I shall probably lose my wonderful, warm, witty and enlightening entries on my profile page!  Alas, I shall have to do it all over again!  I am accepting this fact of life a heckuva lot better than I ever used to.

The incident has temporarily destroyed my peace, however.  My beautiful peace from which I had every good intention of typewriting out long, long streams of ultimate wisdom, interwoven with engaging, witty, heartwarming little tales from my bounteous past.  Forget about the past!  Be in the NOW!  Move on!  Yeah, but....

Reminds me of a kid back in the sixth grade, whom Mr. Cadwallader nicknamed the "yeah-but."  Rhymes with rabbit.  Every time teacher would answer a question from him, he would start another question with "yeah, but...."  Maybe everyone has a "yeah-but" phase of their life, where they hear a truth, and they have to go "yeah-but."  There seem to be some who do this their whole lives. Good listeners will grow quiet and try to stay quiet for a while, or later, try to get back to that place of hearing that truth.  For truth is a food, it is manna from Heaven.  Some truth may come your way, from that "still small voice," if you can hear it -- right in the midst of a fierce emotional debate.  In fact, the emotions seem to be necessary to enliven the ears, especially the inner ear.

"Well, my truth, Mr. Simcrack, or whatever your name is -- my truth is my back is killing me, and I have to go to work anyway today.  Have you got anything for that?" 

I can appreciate that, I fought back pain for twenty years, and it still can bother me at times.  I hate taking pain relievers like ibuprofen, although they will work if you don't take them every day. 

This is a hard lesson, maybe one of life's hardest.  Maybe, just maybe, your guardian angel, or some force that you do not yet recognize in life, for good or ill -- and however you care to define it for yourself -- is trying to show you a larger picture.  Physical pain is a MEANS to an end, not an end in itself.  Physical pain LIMITS what we can do with our body.

I always found it helpful to think of the four bodies: physical, emotional, mental or intellectual, and, finally, the spiritual.  "First the natural, then the spiritual," Dan Wright always preached.  So, if the physical body is limited, a purpose of that (for nothing happens without a purpose, whether we like or accept that or not), then that might be happening so the emotional body has a better chance to discover itself, or the mental body, and then, finally, the spiritual body.

The final limitation on the physical is old age.  We can fight it off, we can forestall it-- Jack LaLane is a recent prime example of one who finally had to succumb, in his nineties, after several decades of physical fitness regimes and great positive thinking.  When you die, will you have some sort of a spiritual body prepared for yourself?  The religions say that this work is done for you.  For instance, Christianity says Jesus "saves" you.  I don't know.  I was "saved" for a couple of weeks when I was about 13 years old, so maybe I am saved this way. 

Maybe you can find salvation in good works.  I remember a story of Richard Nixon crying out in anguish to his Secretary of State: would he be remembered for his good works, after he died?  Since his presidency was ending in a state of disgrace, at least in man's eyes.  I cannot apologize for Mr. Nixon, but surely God's eyes encompass a heckuva  greater scope than man's.  Many a greater man than Nixon came to the end of his life in a state of despair, and one in particular in the 20th Century, one whom many including myself have regarded as a great teacher of mankind -- the writer D.H. Lawrence.  Not only did he seem to die in despair, but he lived much of life in financial hardship and the physical limitations and suffering of tuberculosis.

Well, I get tired of all this talk about suffering and meaning.  I'm going outside in a while and do some carpentry.  What a country, what times!  Here there is a nuclear plant with ongoing explosions in Japan, and a flooding reactor in Nebraska that has been damaged by a fire.  Someone said, what a change in the media.  At the time of Three Mile Island in 1979, if I have that date right, there were minute by minute updates in the news. Today there is little but denial concerning any major story.

"So, what the "f" are you gonna do about it, Silax Gimcrack?"  

I'm going to continue to stay near to the current of anger and rebellion that has always been alive in the body of this American experiment.  I find it by living in a real community that was started by a living, modern day prophet, even if he is now departed.  I find it by living with people I love, even if most of them are not very sophisticated politically (they say the same about me, that I'm just a misguided liberal).  But we keep talking about it.  No one is going to change, but we can talk.  And others can be enlivened by that process.  It is not some dull, dried up intellectual debate, but a living part of our life together.  We can talk because there is an underlying respect and love that has been tested by years of work and community life together.

Just as with physical pain limiting the physical body, so the more difficult and painful emotions of fear, anger, grief, desire for vengeance, etc., limit and temper the emotional body.  No one wants to see a political leader cry, but, as a dear friend told me the other day, his favorite three words in the New Testament are "...and Jesus wept."  Sometimes it seems to me that's all a person could do in the face of these calamities of today.  Collectively we are doing it to ourselves.  We are bringing these natural disasters of Mother Nature on ourselves in order to experience the painful emotions that will eventually, God willing, give rise to a great new intellectual body of thought, and a collective spiritual body, a common Soul of Humanity.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Arguing with God, the Corruption of Leadership, Is There Hope?

Uh oh, I don't have any wisdom in me after all.  Where did it evaporate to?  Wait!  I have the wisdom to know not to worry about wisdom's returning.  I know there is a place I can get to.  It requires work to get there.  Some meditate, some practice yoga and/or martial arts, I just prefer to go about the business of living.  There are always jobs to do.  I could pick up the weed-eater right now and go weed eat around the community center and the kids' play yard.  I've done that before, I'll do it again.  I'm feeling a little guilty that I haven't done much for others lately.  I don't think I need to feel guilty, not by my age after working for other people for 50 years.

So, I'll hang with this writing job a bit longer today.  Human nature is so funny.  I know there are great things inside me that need saying, that will be said, God willing.  I know there are great things that need hearing, by me and by many.  Life is really very simple, too simple for most.  We make the simple things so complicated.  I have to laugh when I fail three or four times at the simplest plumbing repair.  It's because, not just plumbing, but the expert construction trades in general -- I just don't do them everyday.  Shortcuts, necessary steps, whatever, tend to be forgotten.  Or I'm thinking about a song I wrote, an essay I'm planning, and the thoughts get in the way of the work.

Usually, though, I'll get into a job, and thoughts come.  Then it's a question of whether the job can be laid aside for a while, so that I can at least jot down a few notes.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I'm working with my emotions lately.  I found an old song I had set aside, it brought up too much pain for me.  Emotional pain takes a lot of energy.  But if there were no pain, life would be an unceasing stream of joy.  What would that be like?  Reminds me of a sign in the old school in my community: "If everyone here were just like me/ I wonder what this place would be."

What of another possibility?  That we could live with a lower level of emotion?  This is indeed what most seem to choose.  Our leaders, politicians, journalists, ministers, seem to choose to try to reason with us.  The age we live in is still called "the age of reason" by many scholars.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident...."  Some have argued that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution represent the greatest flowering of the human reason.  If only we could get back to that spirit that motivated those documents....

But reason and thinking with only low levels of emotion becomes dry and stale.  Where is our fresh manna?  We have to have some truth here, not just clinging to old truths, political, religious, personal.  If we let them go, will they return?  Perhaps if we get desperate enough, we'll have to risk an old truth.

Some people seem to live at a continual high emotional level, always mad at the government, someone who cheated them, someone who "dissed" them.  Others tend to be fearful, and certainly there is much to be fearful about.

Hallelujah, the plumbing repair seems to have taken!  I'll check it every few hours.

* * * * * * *

O.K., yes, I have returned.  I have been busy, in the writing side of my life, with the New Cafe, which has been undergoing a revolution.  A combination of old and new leadership has emerged after some months of chaos, and that is how it should be.  Some few remain bitter, but we'll live with them.  After all, we enjoy a bitter taste in our food to balance the sweet, do we not?  That makes it more of a full-spectrum community.  It gets dull when you're just preaching or listening to the choir.

I'm reading a book that has been on my shelf for several years:  Frank McCourt, "Teacher Man."  It is very well written and inspiring, about his 30 years as a teacher in the schools of New York City.  Frank is the author of "Angela's Ashes," which became a worldwide bestseller in 1996.  "'Tis" was his second effort, and did not move me as much, for whatever reasons, as his first and third books.  I'm just halfway through "Teacher" so I won't say more til I'm done.  But how enjoyable to discover another great book, and to rediscover this truly great man!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review of "Poetry" at Amazon

See my review of the South Korean film, "Poetry", at  I have written several other reviews there, also.


Friday, June 3, 2011


"There's nothing to writing, all you do is sit down and open a vein."  I was mistakenly attributing this quote to Ring Lardner, Jr., but now I am told that the writer Red Smith coined the phrase.

At its best, writing is a kind of a creative suicide, and it's not surprising to me that many great and many very good writers have ended their own lives.  And some have embraced a kind of living death, as writer Henry Miller describes in his Time of the Assassins, the best book written, I believe, about the creative struggle of the artist..  Now I am not espousing suicide here, just trying to be realistic.  The best writing leads to a death of the little self, is another way of saying it, but that doesn't quite capture the pain of the struggle.

It's not just about writing, it's about creating.  I always felt I would become a better writer when and if I ever found a creative community to live in.  I was correct, though in a way I never could have imagined.  Amazingly enough, the community I found had existed for over 30 years when I finally discovered it, and it was only 4 and half hours from my home at the time.  Little by little I surrendered my old community and friends, my marriage, my business.  I leaped into the unknown.  Not everyone can do that, thank God, this poor world is insecure enough without more of my type jangling everyone's nerves.  My poor wife to whom I was forever announcing changes.  "We're moving to Chicago, we'll live over a laundromat and I'll work at the 7-11, we'll meet new people and we'll be poor again!"  No wonder we had to divorce.

Does there ever come a time when we artists can move into that creative realm, work for a time, and leave it quietly to be resumed another day?  With the faith that that wonderful place we had just found, could be discovered again?  I mean, can we do this without driving everyone around us crazy with our intensity, our obsessiveness, etc.?

I once read that Mel Lyman, when he was engaged in a good piece of writing, learned to just simply put it down just when it got flowing really well.  Why would any artist in his or her right mind do such a thing?  I have thought about this for many years.  It seems to me that that energy that we tap into in those times is not "our" energy, not even "our" thoughts.  It is something from out of this sorry world, if it's any good at all.  Anything else is just practice, and I'm not talking about that.  This is just practice, what I'm doing right now.

The writer Michael Ventura once wrote that the day after he wrote a good essay, he felt like he'd been hit by a truck.

Something else that Henry Miller wrote, whatever you do as a real creation, you have to give it away freely.  It is a free gift to your fellow man, if it is anything at all.  Making a living as a writer, or artist of any kind, is something else again.  So there is definitely a "vow of poverty" involved here, whether we recognize it or not.  Miller never had a checking account until his fifties.  By that time he was no longer writing so much as he was painting.  "To Paint Is To Love Again," is the title of a book he wrote about that transition.

I'll revisit this subject.  This is all I have time for today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

To Be Continued!

I lost a week, my bad.  I plead too much going on, too much confusion.  I will return, I promise!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Storytelling Part 2

Ah, it's good to be back home.  It's good to be facing the blank electronic page.  A lot of people share with me how they would like me to write, what they'd like to see, etc.  I don't mind, I even enjoy some of their suggestions.  But I have to find my own way through the forest.

I was remembering Arthur Kennedy.  This may or may not be his real name.  I only knew him in the third grade when he arrived at our school; later he had moved away.  Arthur would today be labeled hyperactive, I'm guessing.  Many of us felt relief when he was no longer with us.  I'm sorry I have no idea what happened to him.  But my remembrance of little Arthur is associated with the beginning of storytelling in my class.  My class of about 25 then, which remained together all the way from Kindergarten through senior year, adding another 15 or so when school districts merged.

Somewhere near the beginning of third grade we students were encouraged to come to the front of the class and tell a story.  It's interesting that I have accessible memories of storytelling at Arthur's time and later, which was my time, in the fifth grade, but nothing in between.

Arthur was crazy about telling stories; he practically ran to the front of the class.  "I went out behind my house last night after supper, and this Nazi jumped me from behind a tree!"  He put a lot of expression into this, jumping up and down.  But already Mrs. Palat was on him,  "Arthur, no, no, no!  You stop right there young man.  The Germans are our friends now, Arthur.  You sit down right now and tonight, for your homework, think of a better story."

Poor Art.  The next day he tried again.  "Saturday after breakfast I was out walking behind Mrs. Kelly's when I saw this JAP hiding behind her fence, getting ready to JUMP ME!!!"

"Arthur, this is ridiculous!" screamed Mrs. Palat.  "The war is OVER, Arthur.  The Japanese people are our FRIENDS!  Now you sit yourself right down again until you can think of a better story."  If he ever did, I don't remember.

It was 1954 and Joe McCarthy was making up stories like a madman, spotting communists under every bush, getting ready to jump us.  The Russians had exploded the hydrogen bomb.  We needed the Japs and the Nazis to be our friends.

Skipping ahead to the fifth grade, I remember Joey and I telling stories in front of the class quite often.  If I remember right, we had kind of a competition.  I only clearly remember my last story, the one I could never quite finish, about a boy walking a great wide white road, could have been limestone blocks.  It took place in Egypt among the pyramids, and the boy held a magic wand which could do whatever he wished it to do.  Some of the other kids used to occasionally ask me, whatever happened in that story?  The story went underground.

Now at this point someone should ask, "Alex, what was going on in your life then?  That your wonderful storytelling ability became wounded?"  And if it were the right person asking, and the right time, I would go along with that.  But for me, now, at this time in my life, that feels rather boring.  I've told those stories; they're old stories.  And, even if I am denying something, perhaps the reader will indulge me.  Because I would rather think of the magic wand.  Because every child has one.  It works for a long time, but it gets battered, bent, and finally broken. 

It is a magic wand that heals.  It gives people a "cubic centimeter of chance" to tell a truth, a truth which sets them free.  It's a part of the package of "becoming again as a little child" in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven again -- this time with a more conscious mind than before.

A beautiful woman told me a story of her childhood innocence and how it helped heal her father, who was suffering from a rare nervous disorder from which he was trying to heal himself.  He was a minister and a believer in faith healing, not because he distrusted doctors or modern medicine -- in fact, he had at one time begun studying to become a doctor himself.  But doctors could give him no clear diagnosis for his ailment, which had left him almost paralyzed for a time.  It may have been food poisoning which caused it.  No one knows for sure.  But the man knew he had to heal himself, this time.  "Physician, heal thyself."  And he had been a physician of the ministry, a preacher of the Bible and of revelations he had received, he felt, directly from the Heavenly Host.

It was a long recovery, lasting a period of several months.  The illness had begun on a trip far from home, and his family was warned that he would be quite different when he was able to finally return home.   When he did return, he told his wife and children, "You have to help me walk every day, and every day I must walk a few steps farther.  If I do not do this I will die."

One evening after supper  he walked with his youngest daughter, and he could not help sharing a few of his gloomy thoughts and fears. "But Tinkerbelle and Tina Maria, they're still o.k., aren't they Daddy?"  asked the child brightly.  The man looked up from the ground to see where his child was looking, and he saw instantly that she had a relationship with two stars overhead, that indeed she had a friendship with these two stars.

"Yes, yes, of course they are alright, my dear."  And his heart was greatly relieved, and he knew he would be better.  And in time, he became totally healed of his illness. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Homer's Story goes on percolating below the surface of my life; I'll continue it here soon.

Of the teachers in my life, who not only taught me but many, and who I knew personally, the last was Daniel Wright.  He used to occasionally announce "story night," and a group of us would gather in a big room and tell stories, anecdotes from the communal history of Padanaram.  We still do this occasionally, though Daniel has passed over ten years ago.  We gather in the "old school" around an open fireplace.  Maybe we pick a number out of a hat, and when our number is called we tell a story that comes to mind.  Last time, I talked about my friend who died, a drunken artist named Jerry, of whom I was very fond.  I'll write about him here in this space someday.

I like this space, I find it very relaxing.  When people are relaxed, the best stories come up.  Today it is already too late in the morning for peace.  The phone is ringing, a trip is coming up tomorrow, people are coming and going.

The best publication I know for stories, whether invented, fantasized, or memoir, is The Sun.  And this reminds me, I have to renew my subscription.  I believe it's $36/year, but there is no advertising in it.  I haven't had any luck getting anything of mine published there, but I may try again sometime.  One of my favorite sections of that magazine is called "Readers Write," and it's always around a certain chosen theme.

A great way to dislodge stories from memory is to attend a workshop of the Foundation for Community Encouragement.  These are held in order to give people an experience of "true community," but a big part of this is people's stories.  Some folks have a sort of continuing, ongoing "story" that they can't stop themselves from telling.  We all know people like this.  In an FCE workshop someone is always trying to nudge or provoke you into telling a deeper story, a more authentic story.  This brings conflict and chaos into the group, and this has to run its course.  People are defensive about wanting others to hear their habitual stories.  For new stories to emerge, there must be silence, acceptance of limitations of time and place and personality, and attentiveness, both within and without.  This can be extraordinarily difficult to achieve in a group setting.  A deeply moving personal story usually cannot be born without excruciating pain, and this pain is beyond individual endurance.  When the pain can be shared in a group, the story can come out.  In this way, we become other people.  We become more than a mere solitary self.

If this movement can be continued over time, under the guidance of an inspired teacher like Mel Lyman or Daniel Wright, then a "group soul" can be born.  Usually it takes a time, a period of years, of communal living, of total sacrifice of the self.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homer's Story, Part One

Not Homer Simpson.  I'm thinking more of a line from Spoon River Anthology, of which I was reminded recently while traveling, when I crossed Spoon River in Illinois.

Which, in turn, reminds me how Edgar Lee Masters' classic was made into a play which used to travel around the country, performed in various settings for many years, after a run on Broadway -- and now one never hears of it anymore, and the music is long out of print.  I used to borrow the lp from a library.  I sang just a bit from the lead song, to my wife, as our little car hurtled the highway, "Spoon River, Spoon River, is calling me home....."

The book is a collection of stories, told from beyond the grave, the stories of the townsfolk of Spoon River.  The line I remember is from a poet who wrote "little iambics....while Homer and Whitman roared in the pines."

Homer is the name I give to the truck driver who accidentally crushed our hero's limbs in the "Get Ahead" story.  His story has percolated under my thoughts for many years.  I've never written it because it always seemed so stupid.  But if we don't ever get out our stupid little stories, maybe we'll end up like Spoon River's poet, chasing tiny rhythms while Homer and Whitman roared in the pines. 

Or perhaps it's even akin to a line I paraphrase from the gospel of Thomas,  "There's something inside you, and if you never get it out, it will destroy you."  That's something like Blake, too, of whom I was reminded as my wife watched the royal wedding yesterday, as his poem "Jerusalem" was sung. 

"C'mon Smack, stop trying to get so heavy, just tell your dumb story," I say to myself at this point.

Homer is our truck driver, a young man in his mid-twenties at the time of the accident, which made him feel pretty bad.  Could he have done anything differently?  The thought plagued him.  In the daytime he could chase it away with the radio, his 8-track, his cb, or even just his fantasies, as he followed his truck routes.  But sometimes in the middle of the night he'd awaken, and not be able to get back to sleep.  Over and over again he saw the scene of the accident, in slow motion, just as they show us in the movies.  It was a cloudy afternoon and his run would have been over in half an hour, but he was not especially tired, and the cloudiness of the day had not put him in an especially gloomy mood -- it was just that, well, he had gotten distracted -- by what?  He couldn't say, he couldn't remember.  It was just for an instant, not even, not even a split second.  And then there was a young man, probably about his own age, running across the highway, a fistful of mail and a newspaper clutched in his right hand.  "God!" Homer screamed, slamming on the brakes as the runner disappeared from view.

Later, a fireman put his jacket over Homer, who was shivering with fear and shock.  "I just didn't see him," Homer kept saying.  "It's o.k., it was an accident," the fireman would answer.  "But keep talking, it will help keep you from going into shock."  At that word, shock, Homer felt like fainting again.  Waves of shock, nausea, fear, and -- so strange as this may sound -- hope, swept over him.  He hoped his victim would live, would be able to have a normal life.  And Homer hoped that he, himself, would be normal again.  Whatever "normal" meant.  He was going to be changed, somehow, he knew that, for a fact, and somehow that was a good thing, also.

"I should have seen him sooner!"  "You don't have to blame yourself," the fireman would answer.  "What can I do to help?"  Homer would ask.  "That's our job, we've got it all under control."  Later, a policeman asked him a few questions.  He had to leave his truck behind while his wife came for him and drove him home.  Another driver later returned his truck to the central warehouse.

Homer even visited his victim at the hospital, and was greatly relieved at his survival.  The victim even seemed quite cheerful, unusually cheerful, Homer thought.  "What?  Did he WANT that to happen or something?"  Homer shook his head.

But he would awaken at night, not so much at the trauma of the accident scene, not after a few months had passed, but rather at the thought, the question, what was it that had distracted him?  For, in truth, he still felt guilty.  He'd stopped at a truck stop before.  He'd seen the cover of Penthouse, the new issue, a young woman in a swim suit.  He'd felt his guts get sucked out, down and out, and then the  empty space, he felt that.  He felt that empty space fill with that old longing, that old man again, that surging desire -- fuck, fuck, fuck, eat, eat, eat, fill, fill, fill -- fill that empty space.

At the time of the accident he had been distracted by a sexual fantasy.  And he felt guilty about it.  He had been unfaithful to his wife just in looking at the magazine, never mind masturbating to it, as he sometimes did.  "Hell," he would think to himself, "I'm not as bad as those guys who run to the strip clubs every weekend.  Or like ..... who even goes to the city once a month or so."

Time heals all wounds, it is said, though I don't know if it's true or not, I do know that time can help.  And Homer had a loving wife, they even went fishing together.  They had two bright, active children, and many friends.  They both worked at jobs at which they found some certain level of satisfaction. 

Ten years passed before the next accident.  This time there was no distraction.  Homer simply ran over a cardboard box in the road.  He wasn't speeding, if anything he was driving slower than the limit.  It was a residential section, and he ran over a small cardboard box, just for the heck of it.  It certainly was not his fault that there was a baby boy in the box.  But he knew something was wrong as his wheels jumped and a woman ran out screaming into the road.  A group of children had been playing, the mother had been pulled away, it was no one's fault.

In the aftermath, Homer became deeply depressed.  He took a leave of absence from work and began visiting a psychologist who was recommended by a family friend.  The therapist was a wonderfully sympathetic woman who urged Homer to try to contact the family who had lost their child, to at least try to offer some expression of apology.  This idea created some consternation in the family as there was a brother who was a lawyer and he urged Homer NOT to attempt any such a thing, as he could be sued.  Homer's therapist would simply ask Homer, "How do YOU feel about it?"  In the end, Homer did follow her advice, and the meeting, naturally very awkward and tearful, DID result in a great deal of relief.  For Homer had to forgive the young mother in question, as well as forgiving himself for running over a box in the road -- and of course the mother and her family had to forgive him and themselves also.

Homer's psychologist would say wise things, such as "Forgiveness and healing are like life itself.  They are things that  can emerge, like a birth.  But death and emptiness are also in the cycle."  "If you want healing to emerge, you have to make a space for it, and that takes work, and you, Homer, are beginning some of the hardest work in your life, I urge you to continue the process."

Homer returned to work, but he continue to meet with this wonderful woman he had met, once a week.  He fell in love with her, platonically.  She was the first woman in his life since his mother that he loved in this way.

Dear reader, thank you for following my story with me.  We'll take a break here.  This story is turning out so differently than what I had expected!  Like life itself!  We'll see next time where it leads.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Get A Head

This is an old story some of you may have heard before.  It begins in the town of Cootiesberg in the state of Forgotonia.  I was reminded during a recent cross country trip during which I drove on several four-lane highways which paralleled, roughly, the various interstate highways.  These four-lanes over much of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, are a nice way to travel, as they avoid the crowded high-speed truck traffic of the interstates.  We did come in to Des Moines on Interstate 80 and I thought many people were insane.  I actually saw their rear wheels slipping, sliding and hydroplaning during some heavy rain showers.  By comparison, the four-lane state and national highways are so empty of traffic it almost seems ridiculous that such money should have been spent for these roads.

Well, a young man grew up in Cootiesberg, one of those oblongated, conglomerated township towns that never fit the pattern for incorporation, fair representation, its own school district, and many other things.  But they did have RFD, by golly.  That's Rural Federal Delivery of the mail.  The only requirement was that you had to buy and maintain your own mailbox and you had to place it on the proper side of the road.  Which, for the young man in our story, meant crossing the road every day to get his family's mail.  And that was fine.  All the time he was growing up, if two or three cars passed in a row, that was a rush hour.  You were unlikely to see another vehicle for a whole hour or more.  Sometimes that was problematical, as when you missed the school bus and had to walk the long two-hour walk home.  You could try to hitch a ride, but usually, in the mid-afternoon, the only car you'd see was driven by  a funny-looking guy who'd wave in a friendly manner but not stop to pick you up.  And he was sitting on the wrong side of the front seat, steering with his left hand.  That was the mail man.

Years passed and our young man left home, traveled far and wide, spent some time in college, but never quite found his true calling in life.  Not to mention getting ahead.  At the age of 29 he finally returned home to live with his aging parents for a while.  The parents rather graciously took him in, as they had taken in many misfits for various lengths of time over the years.  They were unusual people that way.

Every day the young man had to cross the road to get the mail.  The difference now: the old two-lane country road had become a four-lane highway with high-speed traffic.  Not all day long, but during a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon especially.  And, unfortunately, including mail delivery time.

One day while crossing the road to get the mail our young man was hit by a truck and terribly injured.  Nothing remained of him but a torso and a head, but he was saved by prompt modern ambulance and hospital care.  Little by little he learned to use a wheelchair and his prosthetic limbs.  Amazingly enough, as occurs so often in these cases, he was not depressed, but rather felt that God had saved him for a special purpose in life.  Every moment of his life was filled with purpose.  He wrote, he spoke to many via the phone and computers.  Every day he felt happy to be alive.  He was even beginning to get ahead, as some publications were paying money for his stories and other contributions.

Alas, the little town of Cootiesberg in the state of Forgotonia, still stuck to its old RFD ways, despite people getting clipped by cars and trucks while trying to cross the increasingly busy four-lanes while trying to get their mail and newspapers.  And, terrible but true, our young man once again became a victim of the terrible highway, this time losing his torso.  Nothing remained but his head.  Yet fiercely he clung to life!  Modern science came to his rescue, equipping him with a robotic heart, lungs, kidneys, liver -- a complete technological torso.  With laser-assist eye-directed control panel, our hero learned to navigate once again, in time, of course.  Everything takes time.  Yet he learned to travel the yard and brush the morning dew on the leaves of his beloved trees against his scarred cheeks and sniff the fragrances of flowers and listen to the cries of the birds.

What he could still hear and smell, of course, through the increasing din and stench of the traffic. 

Alas and alas again, we had better bring our tiresome story to its conclusion.  For our hero, against all odds, against all premonitions, against all lessons of history, tried to cross that highway one more time.  And we all know what happend:

Splat, squash, shplurt.  All over.  Not enough left over even to cremate.

And so, what is the lesson of this old story?  Some say,  "Quit, while you're ahead!"

Others, "Do away with RFD!"  (And perhaps they have, perhaps because of this tragic story and others.)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Nagual, part 2

Already I have written a page, tried to preview, and somehow lost it!  Oh well, not the first time.  But, as I wish not to have to repeat the experience, I will keep this short.

It has come to my attention that the term "brotherhood" can be very offensive to many women today.  I seem to be bound by a sentimental attachment containing memories of growing up as the eldest of four brothers (no sisters) and a member of the neighborhood gang (no drug dealers back then, just a few porno books, crab apples, marbles, baseball cards, etc.).  Toward the end of my first Saturn cycle on this planet Earth (Saturn revolves around the sun in approximately 29 1/2 years) a book fell into my hands, The Ultimate Frontier by Eklal Kueshana (pseudonym of Richard Kieninger).  This book explains (supposedly) the workings of secret brotherhoods down through the centuries and millenia.  These brotherhoods were defined as consisting of equal numbers of both men and women.  It is claimed that each male member cannot evolve or grow spiritually without the equal advancement of his female counterpart.  I have found something like this, and heard it expressed by long-term marriage partners, that the marriage becomes an ongoing surprise of discovered growth.

 Anyhow, brotherhoods are an intriguing part of life on all levels, from the Mafia, "Skull and Bones" (the secret Yale society of which both Bushes and John Kerry were members), to the highly idealistic Knights Templar, the Masons (who used to have an active lodge in every town in America), and many more.

Yet for me, I find my brothers everywhere, and my sisters.  We are always searching for each other, hearts and minds open, willing to suffer and work toward higher truth.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Hello everyone.

I have  been writing on the internet for some 15 years now, mostly on "register only" membership sites such as NewCafe (where I am "The Nagual" in the Spirit Conference, and where I still sometimes post in the liveliest conference there, "Currents").  I'm open for questions in several areas of religion, spirit, psychology, intentional communities, politics.  I'll answer as honestly as I can, and I will always try to tell you whether I am speaking more from personal opinion (which may carry some weight as I have survived to my present age of 64, and I am widely experienced) or from that higher realm of revealed truth (very controversial, I know!) .   I am a member of no cult, no organized church, no institution, but only a brotherhood of highly idealistic, highly energetic truthseekers -- "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!"  Most people, of course, cling to their money, their status, their institutions -- churches, governments, membership groups-- which give them the *illusion* of freedom.

Blogging here is new to me, so I'll keep this first post limited until I get a feeling for this.  I am only somewhat computer literate.  If you would like to read a few of my essays, there are two published at a site which does not require registration: