art, As it should be, beauty, cool, honesty, Information, Reading, revolution, SCIENCE!, television

Good writing and all that good stuff

Writing. I have nothing to write about so I will write about writing. I wanted to be dramatic and say something like Writing is a lost art! Yes, I would just get it out there! But how stupid is that? There’s so much great writing happening right now that to make some ridiculous blanket statement like that is, well, ridiculous. How’s that for losing the art?

In fact, there are so many books of poetry, essays, fiction and nonfiction; movies, even television shows that showcase spectacular writing all of the time that one couldn’t possibly read, watch or otherwise experience in a decade that which is created in a single year. It’s truly astounding. I’ve read mostly unread blog posts that brought me to tears. How cool is that?

One of the things that I don’t necessarily cotton to is off-the-charts shockadelica writing. I remember a long time ago watching ER, which had great writing, but they were one to often go a bit over the top. A patient comes in, impaled by a tree! That was knocked down by a crazed killer’s car! Who had just abducted an innocent child! And the patient was a nun – who had AIDs! Sometimes it was all too much – like when the helicopter crashed! It’s like our threshold for shock had become so numbingly inflated that they had to raise the bar – constantly. Now we have/had serial killers who kill bad guys. Nice, that.

But, whatever, people love it – and the writing is still really, really good. I wonder if there’s an upper limit. Will simple love stories disappear lest they make certain they are vampires in love? Will we be bored unless the love includes one person who is not just a bad guy, but a flesh-eating bad guy?

Took the family to see Frozen today. Nice movie, kid-friendly, visually pretty stunning and all that good stuff. On the way out, my 9-year-old daughter said that it would be cool if it had real people in it, echoing a sentiment I felt throughout the movie. I’ve grown a little weary of the Disney/Pixar and the like cartoon characters. They’re just not all that expressive, although they certainly try, and those big ballooney eyes they like and particularly on the female characters, while once pretty compelling are a bit empty now. The reindeer was the most expressive character in the whole movie strangely.

But the writing was very good. Some of the song lyrics set the teeth on edge with a saccharine coating, but that’s a small complaint. Maybe they’ll bring it to the stage.

But I digress. We’re having a veritable renaissance of writing – and especially in the entertainment industry. That’s where the money is so that’s where a lot of great writers are going. It’s exciting. Let’s hope it inspires lots of young people to take writing seriously. I can’t imagine it won’t.

As it should be, common human decency, God Bless America, honesty, ourselves, poetry, Reading, revolution, The Future, truth

I Resolve to Tweet More?

I struggle with the social media landscape only because it moves much faster – quicker – than I do. My mind is old school. I prefer a conversation or an article and find a tweet or a post lacking. I know that’s the point – the whole 140 character limit and all that with Twitter, particularly – but sometimes it feels like someone walking by the house, opening the door, shouting “Check out this great article on winter bicycling!” slamming it and leaving. “What? Who? Where?!”

But I’ve made it a resolution to embrace it as best I can. Hashtag that, my friend, and wish me luck.

I dig resolutions. I dig New Years entirely. It’s an opportunity to do a time-check. Feels a bit like flipping that Etch-A-Sketch over and giving it a good shake. (RIP Etch-A-Sketch inventor, Andre Cassagnes, who passed in 2013.) I can make grand statements about what I plan to do better, more, less and so on. And sometimes, though not often, they stick, a little.

Every year I resolve to be more focused, follow through, drink less, run more, yell around the house less, hug the kids more (impossible, they’d be smothered), eat out less, eat in more, drink less (that deserves a second nod), pay more real attention to my lovely wife, fix up the house, fix up the yard, …

And I feel hopeful, like it might happen – or some of it. And why not? It’s a brand new year! The perfect opportunity make today the first day of the rest of my life! (That’s from an old commercial, I think. God bless the marketers.)

I told my kids this morning that 2014 is “The Year of Daddy.” They said, “No, it’s not.” “The year of listening more to mom and dad!” “Nope.” “The year of being nice to one another!”

How about that? That’s a good one for us all – politicians, priests, family, strangers, friends and foes. Let’s resolve to be nice, accept differing opinions – we can disagree without demonizing, tearing one another a new one, lying, cheating, bitching, complaining, or even blowing up a teeming marketplace.

Less horrifically in the particular instance, but plenty rotten in the aggregate: What inspires someone, say, BlueBlood42, to feel the need to rip into, say, LadyFirst63, in the comments section of some article? BlueBlood42 hides behind a pseudonym and attacks another pseudonym. The result is simply, well, there is no result. Resolve that crap out of your life.

I lift my beer (struggling with the drinking one) while burping up a little Taco Bell (ditto eating better and eating in more) and say to one and all, Happy New Year.

Stay tuned for my next tweet. It will be momentous! Although frustratingly short, at least, for me.

art, As it should be, beauty, Civics, common human decency, cool, God Bless America, honesty, kids, meditation, ourselves, poetry, Politics, Reading, truth

Perspective from the Mini Van

I was driving the other day with my daughter in the back seat when she asked, “Papa, are we rich?

I looked around me at the cracked and worn interior of our ten-year-old rusted Mazda Protégé, glanced at the 126,000 miles on the odometer and noticed the always-on engine light. My mind wandered to our other 10-year-old mini-van, our 1,100 square foot house in need of windows, siding, and roof among other repairs and thought about the piles of debt our family had, laughed a little sarcastically, and said, “No, Olivia, we are not rich.”

Then it dawned on me and I added, “Actually, we are rich.”

“We have our own home with a roof over our heads, that we can keep 70 degrees when it’s 30 below and 68 degrees when it’s 100. We have more than a thousand square feet in there – plus the basement! We have two cars that run – with just two drivers in the house. We have a pantry, refrigerator and freezer that are bursting with food – there’s no room to put anything more! We get new clothes constantly. We have so much stuff that we get to go to the Goodwill twice a year and give a box or two away to people who are not as rich as us! We have computers, an iPad, smartphones, internet access, and cable tv.”

I was just getting started.

“We have a brand new street in front of our house, and roads to take us anywhere we want to go that are lit at night. We have free parks, schools, and libraries all around us. We have wonderful family and great friends who love us and we love back. We have amazing neighbors. We have our own business that provides six darn good jobs. We are surrounded by great little Vietnamese, Thai, East African and good old American restaurants that we have enough money to enjoy!”

“Yeah, there are a lot of people with much more than us and many with much, much more, but there are a hell of a lot more people on this planet with much, much less! We are blessed! So, hell yes, Olivia, we are rich!!

I half expected some applause to accompany my goose bumps, but when I looked in my rear-view mirror, my little girl was just gazing out the window of the van at the world passing by.

“Pretty sweet, huh?” I asked, and she turned, met my eyes in the mirror and smiled.

“Yeah.”

Aliens, aminimals, art, As it should be, beauty, Civics, common human decency, cool, detritus, honesty, ourselves, poetry, Reading, SCIENCE!, sculpture, truth

the difference between one and not the other – four random recent things written down

The difference between one and not the other will never make sense.

The straight makes the not-straight great.

The static nature of anything is nothing,

It’s really hard to do anything authentic in a stadium.

 

not to be all critic guy but the wait for daft punk’s finally fucking here album Random Access Memory was well worth it.

Aliens, aminimals, art, As it should be, beauty, karen carpenter, Reading, SCIENCE!, truth

“A smartphone in heliosynchronous orbit was issuing human screams.”

This from Harper’s “Findings,” May 2013

I love the word heliosynchronous!
It makes me high.
I would swear that it even pitches my voice higher.
I also think it goes very well with smartphone.
Orbit.

You can’t leave out Orbit!
Another outta-space word right there!
Contains Orb and
telegraphs Orbital.
Orb is religious, sacred. Space bends back in on itself.

Earth the size of a pool ball would be smoother.

Why, it begs, is there a smartphone orbiting Earth? Makes sense that it’s on time and in tune, however, being that it’s a smartphone. But why is it screaming?

I prefer to remain in the dark as to the undoubtedly reasonable explanation and instead stay heliosynchronous to my ignorance.

And in a nod to the power of reasonable explanations, also from “Findings”…

“Scientists proposed that male lions’ skill at ambushing prey in dense vegetation was previously unknown because of scientists’ fear of being ambushed by male lions in dense vegetation.”

Right on, that.

Aliens, art, As it should be, beauty, devil, honesty, ourselves, poetry, Reading

Hagiography

I can’t say how much I love how Edward St. Aubyn skewers the holy, high and mighty, landed, nam-ed, people of his Patrick Melrose novels. But I also feel a similar anger toward his own prodigious talent. Like, well, fuck you, Eddie, with all you got through whatever genetic re-redistribution that led to your own genius! You are the heir to whatever it is you do. You skewer them with the same unabashed cruelty and poetry that they do others. Yes, you are infinitely better and more able, while they skewer, you fillet. And I Iove you for it. But I hate you, too. That cruelty doesn’t come from nowhere.

And that’s the point, I guess. I love you again.

aminimals, art, detritus, devil, God Bless America, Information, poetry, Politics, Reading, SCIENCE!, television, The Future, Uncategorized

We’re just buggin’ the shit out of each other

It started out with stopping by, droppin’ in and poppin’ over. Cave to cave. Cabin to cabin.

Then we learned to write with letters and along came letters written to drop in the box and on to whomever.

The telegraph turned letters into tweets – instantaneous and terse.

The telephone turned everything else upside down, inside everywhere – voices over lines of metal – spoken in Spokane heard in Japan. Conversations across the universe. There was nothing more to say. And when they got into homes, there was nowhere to hide. They had you in your house. The perfect crime.

Then phones divided into cellphones and proliferated. Popping up everywhere, public spaces, intimate places. Joined at the hip. Cool shit. The crime perfected.

Emails hail down upon your desktop, your laptop, iPad and cellphone. Damage occurs.

But that was not enough – we’ve rebuilt the telegraph from man to man, phone to phone. Tweeting everything. Leaving out nothing.

We’re dropping by all the time.

We’re just buggin’ the shit out of each other.