Monthly Archives: March 2016

Extravagance

Guest Post 
by

Ivo Lucchitta

My friend Ivo Lucchitta is a geologist by trade (retired) and poet by heart. He is one of the best users of the English Language I know, even though it isn’t his native tongue and even though he has four or five other languages fluently running around in his head. How he keeps his thoughts organized is beyond me, but I think you’ll agree that the following piece is organized into a delightful style!

Find Ivo’s book, Hiking Arizona’s Geology, here.

I do not consider myself an extravagant person. Quite the contrary. I cut a plain, maybe even a rather staid figure. But sometimes I amaze myself.

One such occasion was last Sunday. “So, what happened then?” What happened then is that I gathered a large quantity of glass jars that I had sitting around, the purpose being disposal and recycling. “Yeah, and what is so special about that?” What is special is that most of the jars are baby-food jars. “You are really trying my patience now”. No, no, hold it. They are daughter Maya’s baby food jars, and she is about to turn 50, so those jars have kept me company for half a century.

To tell the truth, the jars have been very well behaved: they have not grumbled or argued, they have caused no trouble, they have not minded being in a dark place, they have not decayed, and many have been useful by holding screws, washers, and other bits and pieces. Even the empty ones held the promise of coming in handy some day. What more could one ask for? The jars have in no way deserved this sorry fate.

I had actually started to think of them as artifacts of archeological caliber. Who knows, a few centuries from now academic archeologists might find much job security in studying them and writing innumerable learned papers on the strange habits of people in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Objects used as ornaments, no doubt. Bright, shiny, conspicuous. A tad heavy, perhaps, but then women will put up with much discomfort to make themselves more attractive.

Could the jars perhaps have been filled with colorful stones or even jewels? Embalmed humming birds? Dried flowers? Irresistible perfumes? Powdered aphrodisiacs such as rhinoceros horn? Oddly, the jars bear no holes that could be used for attaching to something, but they do have a strange spiral rib at the open end, perhaps a glyph in an unknown language. Maybe an invocation to an unknown god. Clearly ceremonial.

Perhaps the jars were actually intended to hold something, most likely sacred, in keeping with their splendid appearance. Holy ointments? Offerings of incense, myrrh, the blood of sacred oxen? We will never know.

More to the immediate point, I cannot fathom why I came to dispose of these objects. Such beauty discarded, such potential wasted! What got into me? It must be something to do with age. One gets impatient, one becomes irrational. One even indulges in extravagances that would have been unthinkable in earlier years.

I just hope I won’t live to regret this rash action, but I am fairly sure that tomorrow, or in a few days, urgent uses for baby-food jars will come streaming in through windows and doors to assault me and make me wish for less extravagance, and better sense. It is only to be expected.

March 14, 2016

A Dream …

… ripped from the pages of The Daily Drivel!

Another one of those dreams. We’re living in some urban place, like our old home in Arcadia, but not that specific. Some sort of disaster has happened or is about to happen, maybe economic, maybe nuclear … not clear … but society is breaking down and the people in our vicinity are leaving their homes for points unknown because it’s generally perceived that it’s dangerous to continue living here.

Dystopian. Maybe this is what the Syrian refugees feel, but worse. In the dream I plan us to leave home in two days, but a woman that we know tells us she and her family are leaving tomorrow, and I ponder whether we should leave with them or wait another day. There are  dangers to balance against actions.

Here’s another one of those incidents in a dream which makes me wonder: A man walks toward me, and I expect him to continue walking by, but instead he surprises me and stops and engages me in a conversation that I can’t anticipate. Did I—the objective I experiencing the dream—put this in it? If so, I totally surprised myself. How did I do that? How can you possibly surprise yourself?

This makes me wonder if maybe there are personalities—characters—walking around in my head (probably everybody’s head) independent of the objective I. That’s as hard to grasp as the notion of me surprising myself. But I wonder if it’s true—that the subconscious is walled off into partitions in most of us, and the characters inside only come out to play at night in dreams. Except for the schizophrenic or multiple personality folks (or those prolific authors who arouse my jealousy) whose characters come out in broad daylight to take over.

That’s my idle speculation for the day, my daily drivel, but on the dystopian thing, the dream? With the world threatening to come apart at the seams over the last few years, and a narcissistic mad man poised to take over the reins of the Republican party and maybe the country, I wonder if we should be collecting more canned goods and stocking a “getaway container” in our storage room.

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The Play — A Dream

Lifted and edited from the pages of The Daily Drivel, 2013/11/10

The play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the consciousness of the king.
– Intentional misquote of you-know-who

“All the parts are filled,” the young man told her. Odd, that she should think of him that way, the young man, because she was young herself.

He was in the play. She had been in the play, but left. He was new and didn’t recognize her. Now she’d returned, skirting the periphery, recalling her role, remembering the lines which were more than lines, which were more like part of her, which were more like who she was, or had become, or had been always.

The dream story skirts the periphery of the play, and we learn the details only gradually. It turns out the play is life itself, and the actors, outside the play, are incomplete, are like their own dreams, and they wake again, coming alive when they act out their roles.

We don’t know the name of the play for a long time, until it comes to us in an epiphany. The play is play for them, but also serious, involving, making them live more intensely than life itself. It’s about love and danger and betrayal, perhaps murder. And the actors’ outside lives are only shadows slinking in a shadow-box outside the reality the play has become for them.

She was a dancer in the shadow-box, become a dancer in the play. It was one of her talents, one of the reasons she was a chosen one. She’d danced better than ever before. Or since.

She’d not been an original cast member; she’d joined long after the play became a hit and began it’s long run. She’d come to own her role, receiving praise from the critics and adulation from the fans. She’d come to own the role, and the role, her.

They ran it four times a week: Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday matinees, with pickup rehearsals Wednesday afternoons, into evening when necessary.

She’d played the lead female role. The leading man, her lover, became her lover outside the play as well. As in the play, they fought incessantly and made up on occasion. As in the play, she became pregnant, and as in the play, had an abortion.

The play was her life; her life, the play.

Addendum from 2014/10/25

Just a thought running through my head in the wee hours this morning while drifting around and about sleep: What if characters in a play or movie talked about the actors who play them?

Pillow talk after wild sex:

“What do you think, Susan, about Wilma Smith, the actress who plays you?”

“Not at all like me, John; she’s pretty much a jerk. How about the guy who plays you?”

“I have no idea. We’ve never had a conversation.”

“You ought to get to know him. It might improve your performance in this movie.”

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Blogging?

From the pages of The Daily Drivel, 2014/07/22

Maybe writing a book is the easy part. Maybe getting folks to read it is an order of magnitude harder.

Those are some of the thoughts running through my head lately. I finished most of the writing back in March. Then came the publishing trauma culminating early this month. Finally comes the promotion and there’s so much to learn, so much to do, and so many ways to go about doing it that getting started is drinking a river, or, to mix metaphors, sinking in quicksand. You struggle to reach out for something substantial, something to grasp that is obviously the way, the righteous path of promotion, but there is none.

To blog or not to blog? That’s the question, but only one. Whether to face the seething hordes on Facebook, twitter with the tweeters, press the words on WordPress, schmooze on GoodReads, start a website, or do a hundred other things . . . well those were the choices you avoided all that time because you were having too much fun writing, as if the writing was an excuse to avoid the real work, which is pitching. When the excuses are done, what do you do to cure pitcher’s block?

And so far, that’s only talking about the internet and avoiding all the other things that must, should, have to get done to keep your book from lying there motionless like an invisible lead fart, unseen, uncared, unloved by any but its mother, when you really want it to walk around on its own two sturdy legs, admired and respected by all.

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