Memories of Elephants

at some point
don’t you wake up
somehow
and
decide
NOT TO BE EVIL
or do you
look in the
mirror
and realize
that
what
looks
back
at
you
is
dark
and
hollow

 

 

 

 

artwork by robert montgomery at robertmontgomery.org

 

Waukegan

We talk too much, Miranda, her feverish sister Sasha said, in her low voice, no secrets come out without silence.

I do. Somehow I’ve come to believe that the last thing a writer or any artist thinks about is to make himself comfortable while he’s working. Perhaps the discomfort is a bit of an aid or stimulus. Men who can afford to work under better conditions often choose to work under miserable conditions.

He had cited his favorite writer, well at least for now, Sampson was irresistible and he knew it and felt guilty and ashamed of his unabashed pheremones and good breeding (his mother was an angel with a pixie wit and his father was some sort of apostle hero who was actually his uncle because his father turns out was some sort of wandering bipolar didn’t know it cad…and hence, this is how I revisit Perseus, Medusa (the new Molly) and the myths of a new generation based on the hidden meanings in the ancient revolving door myths:

In 1939 he went to Greece to visit Lawrence Durrell; his sojourn there provides the narrative basis of The Colossus of Maroussi. Cut off by the war and forced to return to America, he made the yearlong odyssey recorded in The Air-Conditioned Nightmare. Then in 1944 he settled on a magnificent empty stretch of California coast, leading the life described in Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch.Now that his name has made Big Sur a center for pilgrimage, he has been driven out and is once again on the move.

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4597/the-art-of-fiction-no-28-henry-miller#

I think these questions are meaningless. What does it matter how long it takes to write a book?

-Henry Miller

From the meaningless questions to the imagination of the future:

Imagine if sixty years ago, at the start of my writing career, I had thought to write a story about a woman who swallowed a pill and destroyed the Catholic Church, causing the advent of women’s liberation. That story probably would have been laughed at, but it was within the realm of the possible and would have made great science fiction. If I’d lived in the late eighteen hundreds I might have written a story predicting that strange vehicles would soon move across the landscape of the United States and would kill two million people in a period of seventy years. Science fiction is not just the art of the possible, but of the obvious. Once the automobile appeared you could have predicted that it would destroy as many people as it did.

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6012/the-art-of-fiction-no-203-ray-bradbury

I read everything by Robert Heinlein and Arthur Clarke, and the early writings of Theodore Sturgeon and Van Vogt—all the people who appeared inAstounding Science Fiction—but my big science-fiction influences are H. G. Wells and Jules Verne. I’ve found that I’m a lot like Verne—a writer of moral fables, an instructor in the humanities. He believes the human being is in a strange situation in a very strange world, and he believes that we can triumph by behaving morally. His hero Nemo—who in a way is the flip side of Melville’s madman, Ahab—goes about the world taking weapons away from people to instruct them toward peace.

I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual.

The experience of great loss appears frequently in his work.

He recently told me he still lives by his lifelong credo, “Jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down.”

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/6012/the-art-of-fiction-no-203-ray-bradbury

There’s no way to know…

…if this were true, you just have to go with it, I imagine myself surfing again on a perfect morning in the perfect temperature water amongst friends, no tiger sharks in the making or anything wrong with a perfect day, coz you get those once in a while even if Henry Miller turns out to be an anxiety-ridden, rule-maker not rule-breaker, and Jack Kerouac was delightfully all over the place but feels in the end like a Dead Beat Dad, since my generation, the X-girls, the generics, embraced it, not afraid of hiding out on the plains of nowhere. Until it means waking up Rumplestilkskin style, 25 years later after a bad, bad lapse in acceptance of what others refer to and agree upon as reality. And I’m not just talking psychedelic experiments, but the ways of art, or physical training that likes to puff up its spiritual bases (see tai chi, yoga, martial arts that are humanly impossible and make you feel like ben wa balls, the equal and opposite reaction).

Repeated exposure to threatening stimuli also causes sensitization of the nervous system. Sensitization results from a pattern of repetitive neural activation or experience.

Image

The Math of Story, pt. 2

Or the continuing math of the continuing story.

the deep dark motion


an expanse that happens to come and go  unpredictable,
since the emotion attached to the action or inaction beckons 
self-flagellation, mutation, abomination.
But today that is not the way I feel or think perhaps it is the sunshine perhaps it is the adherence to whatever shreds of practice can be maintained in constant (chosen, assigned, managed, apparent) chaos, a swirly world of why is no one listening to what I want?
Why am I not absolutely perfect, never misunderstood, completely influential, with flawless, arguments, solutions to every problem and that other thing, which remains to be seen, will eventually be determined as I am trying to sort that out each day as part of the healing I must face, or die. Literally I won’t be able to continue the way I was and that is both frightening and freeing–not so much for the baked-laced-drench-your-desires-saturated-over-consumption phase that occurs in many artist’s awakening and they use it as an excuse to get fucked up. Not that so much. This is one of those shifts they talked about but I was too far up the valley to feel it until now and I don’t want to jinx anything and go back to the shitstorm that usually seems to present course for me to chart my way through.
 
I want, more Lonesome Dove cattle drive than Bonnie and Clyde so I can focus on things that I want to put energy into —  because sharkland beneath the sea of sharks swimming and eating and swimming and devouring everyone who is good, with those dead eyes.
on a stretch of road
littered with lost souls, we held our tongues.
so now, in this
day to day
existence
we can’t tell
which
is easier
and all we want
as days go by
is less trouble
less testing
less trying
for needless senseless random exercises in futility-
no. no more of that please and thank you.
even if no one reads this, no one cares, no one knows a god-damn thing – there will be no random futility here. That’s been disassembled and analyzed and I’d be happy to explain my theorems to you, they are well thought out. What else ya gonna do but work out those kinds of academic problems when you’re living a block from skid row and it’s hard to tell where your next meal’s coming from sometimes.
 
but no matter
no mind
that’s all
behind
us now
get it
driving fast
write off
the past
and then the hush that came before the roar…

It’s as if
the sea does part
but
these days
it
happens
on the
freeway

Prometheus has a mistress

yet it is not
surprising
that few people know this

Icarus
ascending
nobody cares
this time
it’s hot in
the desert
she is sick
of wasting time

granted,
the mistress must
wait
each day
for
him to come
home from
workprometheus hurts

AH, Prometheus
I could love you
better than
Athena
Prometheus
moulder of mankind from clay
tortured by Zeus, reborn every day?

accelerated then degenerate
as is
the ancients way

Soul Sauce Sabbath

The days

pass by

as numbers

I never

wanted it

to be

this way

and yet

it still

is

That is all good and well

but

in

your

hands

it’s

still empty

 

The end is always the beginning

and this all started with

sitting around

on my hands

panicking

why do you add a “k” to panic?

why? who makes these rules? I just want to know.

 

But if I knew, I suppose I’d be disinterested.

 

At this point, the best I can hope for is to be almost as good a writer as all the writers I love and study and emulate. At this point, all I can say is if someone threw a kid at me, I’d take care of it better than you would expect, because I would be better at taking care of someone else than myself, always have been, and that is perhaps the thing I most lack. At this point, I have said it all over and over again, but I suppose I could be accused of never being clear, never resolute in my decision to tell anyone the absolute worn out, baton down the hatches truth, because I know they simply couldn’t handle it. Whenever I tell anyone my ‘story,’ so to speak, they either know NOT what to say, say something dreadfully pitying or judgmental, both of which make me want to punch them in the face, or they somehow reveal that although they could possibly be intrigued, it would be after I was already dead. Eponymous is always the way to go with writing.

 

Unless you’re in love with it. As I am, and have always been. Squirreling it away in the fall out shelter because someday someone is going to come along and use it to start a fire.

 

 

Or perhaps the problem was not so much one of lack of skills as of fit. If you found yourself frustrated by the organization’s constant demands for quick, one-off solutions unlikely to add value over the long term, you may be a “craftsman” who’ll do better in a slower-paced company where management values well-designed and thoroughly integrated programs. Or if you found that constantly communicating and vetting your ideas in a large, bureaucratic organization was tedious, perhaps you should consider a smaller, more entrepreneurial company.

Once you’ve gleaned the two or three key lessons you should draw from your experience, move forward and don’t wallow in self-doubt or what might have been. You don’t want to ignore important messages about what will be required to succeed in your next job or that will help you target the best type of organization. However, your most valuable commodity is self-confidence. so don’t let that be eroded. As painful as your departure may be, with the right attitude and reflection you’ll take away some important lessons that can give direction and focus to the rest of a highly successful career.