I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 03, 2016 - 12:14 p.m.
There are days that I open up Word and have no idea what I'm going to write. This is one of them. I've been talking quite a bit about writing recently and one thing is that I've written so much, literally millions of words, that it's become easier. While I prefer knowing what I'm going to write I feel confident that something will come to me once I start typing. Oddly writing is art while typing is just a skill. That shouldn't be, they are just different ways of recording words. Till typing was invented people didn't separate the physical from the mental process of putting words on paper. Now I don't even put them down on paper. I put them into a computer that then displays them on a screen. Then other computers take that and transmits them to your computer which displays them on your screen. But the wordsmithing is all in my head. Hey that's a word I can use divorced of the technology, wordsmithing. I didn't even know if was a word other people used but spellcheck accepts it so I guess it is. Writing is a lot shorter.
One reason I'm writing about writing, excuse me, wordsmithing about wordsmithing, is that I didn't do anything yesterday. I have too many days like that. So what's the one thing I can always write about? That's right, food. Dinner was particularly good. I made perfect Cajun chicken breast. One thing I did different was add MSG. Yes, that's now a staple. If you haven't tried it you should. It adds a subtle layer of flavor. I pan grill the chicken. That's the easiest thing to get the timing right on. You look from the side to see if it's turned from translucent pink to white. When it's white all the way through the chicken is done. It will be so juicy. You leave it on another five minutes, what most people do, it comes out dry. I had peanut butter on a banana for a late night snack. Forget the bread, put it right on the banana.
I'm listening to Coltrane's My Favorite Things. It affects me just as Mozart and Bach do, this is music in perfect harmony with the universe. Everything is in balance. It is not peaceful, it's peace. The song has decided what I'm going to write about.
Paddy Chayefsky somehow wrote about today's presidential race back in 1976. He got the technology wrong but the tone exactly right. When I look at my Facebook feed this is what I see.
I see so much anger and it's so misdirected. Not only that it's so ineffective in driving change. Do you know how people respond when they are attacked? They reflexively become defensive and they counterattack. When I see Hillary attacked I have to resist going over in my head the flaws of Sanders. But when I see Sanders attacked I find myself defending him. I love Bernie. I've been a fan of him in the senate for as long as he's been in the senate. The one thing I don't do is respond angrily to angry posts and comments. I get mad but I try very hard to not respond when I'm mad. I sometimes write things but then don't post them. Anger distorts reason. We shouldn't make decisions with our emotions.
I'm not saying be complacent. I'm not saying to not be committed. Apathy is its own path to ruin. What I'm saying is to argue without anger, without contempt. Don't listen to Howard Beale "the Mad Prophet of the Airwaves" listen to this little guy. He's known for giving good advice.
I'm not a huge Star Wars fan and this from the first of the prequels but Yoda is right. Think how you feel when you hear the anger of Trump, Cruz, or Palin; they are not people you want to emulate. Yoda might be a syntactically challenged as Palin but he makes a lot more sense.
When you're angry and want to post something about a candidate or his or her supporters take a minute first. Even better listen to 13 minutes and 45 seconds of perfection. Then go out there and work for what you believe in but don't be angry at those that believe otherwise.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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