May 29, 2009

successful rootering, an Agents’ week, brainwave habit

1. My kitchen sink line has been cleaned of at least a decade’s worth of sludge.

2. The Agents are leaving for their mother’s house this afternoon after eight days with me. I’ll be able to emerge from my room soon.

3. I like my rest ritual when taking a break during work. In a state of tension, I lie face-up on the couch or bed, breathing evenly from my diaphragm, with my arms stretched past my head. Slowly my arms, of their own accord, make their way to my abdomen, by which point the tension is gone. My arms continue until they’re at my sides, the hands completely relaxed. I’m in a deep alpha state, and after a few more breaths I stand up and return to my desk. Unless I’ve gone as far as a theta state, in which I lie still, pressed into the mattress, sailing.

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May 27, 2009

the future of cinema, support your local paranoid, I don’t have to handle it

1. My favorite movie at the middle school film festival: “Follow Me,” an homage, I think conscious, to The Red Balloon. A boyfriend and girlfriend, holding hands, walk into the school, the whole frame shot in black and white except that the girl holds a red balloon. They part to go to their separate classrooms, and when the girl reaches hers, the balloon escapes and floats back toward the boy, while the boy’s shoes, also red, slip off him and walk by themselves toward the girl’s classroom. Then we see the boy and girl holding hands again as they leave the building at the end of the day; the balloon floats behind them, with the shoes tied to its string.
PS: I recommend this 2007 French homage to The Red Balloon.

2. Within a mile, I twice cross paths with the same ratty little car: it has bumper stickers for 9/11 trutherism, Alex Jones, and Brave New Books. I hatch a plan: I’ll follow him all day, freak him out, make him think the enemy has arrived, just as he’s always dreaded and hoped. Or -- what if I followed him and he never noticed? He’d have to be stripped of his Conspiracy Theory membership!

3. Confronted with a parenting difficulty, I inquire into the stressful thought, “I need to know how to handle it.” Turns out I don’t!

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May 26, 2009

White Powder

When I come back from the restaurant bathroom, Agent 95 hurriedly turns to hide what he’s doing. I hear the unmistakable sound of something illicit being ingested.

“What are you doing, 95?”


“Nothing?” I look to the authority on all things 95 -- his younger brother. “What is he doing?”

“Nothing,” Agent 97 says blandly, “but it has something to do with white powder.”

I shift my glance from one to the other. It’s not time for this problem yet, is it?

“Want to see?” Agent 95 asks. He opens his mouth, curling his tongue down toward his chin, and it is indeed heaped with a white powder: a packetful of sugar.

“Can I have another one?” he pleads. “Just one?”

Sure, it's on me!


May 24, 2009

missing supplies, friend's son, micropreemie

1. When I’m drying off from my shower there are footsteps in the hall. Throughout the week, pens and paper disappear from my desk, and my mouse is attached to someone else’s computer: the kids are here.

2. My friend’s son, visiting with friends from Europe, is driving around the West. I start to shake his hand, but he initiatess the hug that I hesitated to. I make a point of not exclaiming about how big he’s gotten; he asks me what I’m working on, seems really interested. Picks up his part of the check when we go to his childhood’s favorite barbecue joint, which we love showing off to his European pals. Then miniature golf: five teenagers and me, and I get the best score!

3. Agents 95 and 97 are old enough to see movies I would have considered too disturbing a couple of years ago. Children of Men, a dystopia in which the human race has gone infertile. When the first baby in the world is born after eighteen years of global childlessness, battling soldiers cease fire and kneel in wonder, abused refugees press forward to touch its foot.

The wife of a friend of mine has given birth to a sixth-month baby, Charlie, who weighs a pound and a half. My friend sends photos of the child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, glossy purplish-pink, diapered and electroded and breathing-tubed, growing every moment in its sleep. Charlie’s head is as long as his father’s thumb. He wears a pink and blue knit cap, on which his father’s head rests lightly in the recommended comfort hold. His twin brother died. Suddenly, it is difficult to imagine a world without Charlie.

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May 22, 2009

Nomination for the Academy of the Overrated

Glenn Gould, ladies and gentlemen.

It's bad enough to hear him turn Mozart's piano sonatas into the perseverations of a manic robot (and why play a piece if you hate the composer's work? unless you're such an anti-establishment rebel that you record what the label executives tell you to), but he turns the Two-Part Inventions of his beloved Bach into the twitchy expostulations of a streetcorner mutterer.

How much extra credit does one deserve for being a near-psychotic crank and recluse?

And about this worship of classical soloists: they're playing other people's notes.

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Three Automotive Tales

1. The downtown library is on 9th Street. Should I take the 10th-11th Street exit or the 3rd-8th? I try the 10th-11th and am pleased with the results.

2. The guy ahead of me is a red Crown Victoria with a Police Interceptor decal, the paint job glossy except for matte patches on the trunk. He cruises fast and smooth, then slows unnaturally as he comes up beside an elderly Buick driven by a black man. The Police Interceptor takes his time giving the black man a once-over; I can see the bill of his baseball cap turn right, then forward, then right again. Then he speeds up, smooth and silent down the highway.

He’s not a cop. He bought the car at auction from the Department of Public Safety. He’s impersonating a Police Interceptor.

3. There was a fatal one-car accident on the thoroughfare where I make the left turn into my neighborhood several times a day. Within a week the city had lowered the speed limit and put up a long row of black-on-yellow arrow signs to warn of the curve. I’d long expected that one day when I slowed for that exit, which is not visible till about fifty yards before you reach it, I’d be rammed from behind by a speeder who didn’t see to switch lanes in time.

The silver SUV sitting upside-down on the cordoned-off, glass-spattered street. The cross, gilt with wrapping paper and pinned with cloth flowers, that the homeowner immediately erected on the sidewalk.

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May 21, 2009

predawn air, monogrammed robe, professional knowledge

1. Lying in the predawn with the window open, cool breeze inflating the room. Owl, grackles, airplane, traffic. How much closer the highway sounds at night.

2. It's the perfect time for the monogrammed bathrobe, red with yellow windowpane checks, which I haven't worn in years.

3. Others praise the movie, but I know how to take it apart with a scalpel.


May 19, 2009

The Buses Are Late

I'm sitting in the shade under the arch of the middle school entrance, waiting to pick up a student from a field trip. It's after six o'clock: the buses are late, the stressed parents ask each other the time and make sour jokes. A father sits in a parked black Mercedes, the engine idling with the air conditioner on.

Aloof, I get up and step into the bright spring heat, just behind the sprinkler hose that sheds a fine cool spray over the flower bed by the flagpole. On every projecting surface a droplet shines.

In New York the assistant principal of a middle school has died, that city's first swine flu fatality, and eight schools have been closed.

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May 18, 2009

Sunday in Alfheim

The twenty-four-hour coffeehouse dominates the little strip mall in a funky old neighborhood that was a suburb eons ago. On Sunday night it’s a yellow-lit oasis of table lamps and overheads. The parking lot’s crammed full and it isn’t even a night when the AA group next door is meeting; nor are the Earth Art store or the vintage clothing boutique still open.

The outside terrace is full: a spring night, temperature eighty degrees. Rickety unmatched tables filled with students, would-be artists, lefto activists, nonprofit staffers, fringe entrepreneurs. There’s a U-shaped wooden communal table where talkers-to-themselves sometimes congregate. A gray-haired bohemian walks up trailing two yellow mongrels who are connected by two separate chains to the same skateboard. They sit patiently outside the door, skateboard-tied, while he goes in to order coffee. Inside, one of the bathrooms is decorated with a wall-high mural of a red devil and graffiti quotations about hell, while the other contains a mural of an angel and quotations about heaven. Either gender can take its pick. Out here on the terrace, a bumper sticker pasted to the newspaper vending machine says, “Austin women don’t pee on the seat.” Is it a boast? An admonition? A regret?

I’ve wandered into Alfheim, the abode of the light elves in Norse mythology, yet another place that is not my true home. A table of them in black-yellow-red spandex outfits are chatting about their transcontinental bicycle tours: eighty-five miles a day, finishing in mid-afternoon so you can shower, relax, fix your bike. They speak with awe of people who do more challenging tours than that, people who do a hundred and twenty miles a day for thirty days and hallucinate Martians on the road. This summer my table-neighbors are planning a Britain-and-Ireland tour, and when they get a layover day in London, what wild outrageous thing are they planning to do? They’re going to see the changing of the guard.

A sixtyish guy comes up to me and starts a conversation because I’m reading Auden; he asks if I know a certain quotation that was used in a movie. Yes, I’m so knowledgeable, it’s from "Funeral Blues," the poem that begins, “Stop all the clocks.” I look it up, he’s tickled, he writes it down: “He was my North, my South, my East, my West,/ My working week and my Sunday rest/…./Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;/ For nothing now can ever come to any good.” Asks me the titles of my favorite Auden poems and writes them down too, on the top margin of the local newspaper. He comes here two or three times a week, he says.

Like everyone, he has an extraordinary life story, and I know how to extract his without giving much of mine. His has washed him up on the shores of a twenty-four-hour coffeehouse on a Sunday night, dreaming of meeting someone who reads great poetry. And wonder of wonders he’s done so, and I can’t do him any good.

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May 17, 2009

Update on Old Friends

Back in the old days of 2004-2007, I happily made the acquaintance of some very good serious writers who were blogging as well as writing longer, more ambitious works. Two of them were Matt Bell and Josh Maday, young guys from Saginaw, Michigan, whose blog, Dancing on Fly Ash, offered readers a new 100-word story every day. It was an impressive exercise in fortitude, and a surprising percentage of the stories were gems. They crystallized moments of anxiety, fear, or unsettling comedy in the lives of people who were sometimes apparently like the people across the street and sometimes apparently other.

I've checked them out recently and both are still writing prolifically and well. Matt and Josh separately have been widely published in online fiction magazines and have won or been shortlisted or nominated for a number of prizes, including the Pushcart Prize for the best literature from small presses. Both have websites/blogs that are excellent portals for readers who'd like to find out what's hip in contemporary American fiction -- a subject I know little about, being innocently stuck in the premodern age. I feel like I'm taking a course in Contemporary Am Lit, when I click to Josh's or Matt's pages -- and in the good sense. On those sites you'll find reviews, excerpts, and interviews from the current literary scene, an arena filed with gifted, energetic writers you (and I) never heard of before.

On both Matt and Josh's sites you can find links to their published works and their colleagues'. Of particular interest are Matt's long story based on a 1940s news story, The Collectors, about two grown brothers in Manhattan whose obsessive hoarding -- disposophobia -- is a metaphor for the Beckettian despair at the core of many lives. On Josh's blog, Disseminating Josh Maday, you can find links to Kindle and pdf versions of Dancing on Fly Ash: One Hundred Word Stories, a best-of volume. These works deserve lots of readers.

That's one more reason I'm glad I'm back.

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May 16, 2009

Annals of Ambidexterity

I just shaved with my left hand! The first time I've ever done it in my life.

It freaked me out a little in he first minute, until I figured out the correct hand position. Then it went fine.

It leaves writing with the opposite hand, or throwing or hitting a ball that way, or switching the mouse to the other side of the computer, in the dust. This is a blood sport!


unknown feet, tax refund, reborn trees

1. Walking at night, through the lighted window of a house I see the soles of two bare feet pointing at me from a couch. Am I right that they're a little dirty, or is it just hard to see?

2. For two weeks a check from the United States Treasury has been on my desk. It's my tax refund: four dollars. Four dollars! Not worth the time spent going to the bank to cash it. Maybe I'll put it on the same pile with the photographs I've been meaning to frame and hang for a year.

3. Last winter, my neighbor cut off all the leaf-bearing branches of her two crepe myrtles, leaving only the upright multiple trunks, purplish gray, like two bundles of sticks rooted in the ground. This spring both trees are full-leafed and bursting with lilac-pink flowers. So that's why she did it!


May 14, 2009

Bet on the Fly

Agent 95, a youthful character who figured in many posts from the earlier years of this blog, asks me, "How much does my love cost you?"

"Your love doesn't cost me a thing," I vow.

"Yes it does. If you don't get me an iTouch I won't love you. I'll stop speaking to you. If you talk to me I'll act like it's a fly buzzing."

"Yeah? How long are you going to do that for?"

At first they say "forever," he and his younger brother Agent 97, but they settle on next Thursday as a reasonable goal.

"You can't," I dare them. "You can't do it."

"Did I just hear a fly say I couldn't do it?"

"Go ahead, try," I laugh. It's the surest bet ever.

Two minutes later he's asking, "Dad, can I use your laptop?"

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Blue Makes You More Creative

Hence my template.

“It may be nothing more than an association with big skies and the open seas, but beholding the colour blue makes you more creative. Juliet Zhu at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, compared the effects of red and blue on people's behaviour. While red tended to sharpen the memories of her undergraduate volunteers, blue helped to unlock their imaginations. For example, when they were given toy parts in either blue or red, the toys that the volunteers constructed in blue were rated as much more creative than those made with red.”
-- New Scientist May 6, 2009. Subscription required for full article.


For those who don't subscribe to New Scientist, here are the eight ways "to have brilliant ideas," as the cover puts it:

1. Embrace your inner grouch [i.e., dissatisfaction breeds innovation]
2, Let your mind wander
3. Play the piano [or other ambidextrous activities, to encourage communication between both sides of your brain. I'm ambidextrous]
4. Colour your world blue
5. Two's creative company [i.e., collaborate with others]
6. Live abroad [i.e., necessity of adapting to another culture stimulates problem-solving thought and flexibility]
7. Be more playful [see "wild and outrageous"]
8. Raise a glass [Their little joke. "Drinking alcohol does not make you more creative, it just makes you feel that you are."]

In ther words, New Scientist is trying to act like Psychology Today.

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May 13, 2009

Guest Blogger: Chuang Tzu

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m taking a little breather today so I’ve invited one of my favorite bloggers, a beautiful guy all the way from China in 300 BC, to sit in my chair instead. I’m talking about Chuang Tzu, that awesome parable-speaker and explicator of the Tao, and if he doesn’t mind me saying so, let’s face it, he’s a lot more fun than the Old Man himself. So Chuang –- or should I call you Tzu? -– what have you got for us today? Don’t tell me it’s the one about how you dreamed you were a butterfly and then when you woke up you didn’t know if you were Chuang Tzu dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Tzu.

“No, young man, I – “

Because I have to tell you, that’s like a fantastic story but we’ve all heard –

“I know. I’m sick of it myself. Been telling it for 2300 years, time to take it off the set list. No, today I’ve got ‘Owl and Phoenix.’”

Owl and Phoenix? Sounds profound. Very oriental, if you know what I mean. So the owl and the phoenix – I can do plots, listen to this – the owl and the phoenix are like hot for each other, and –

“No, this is a spiritual tale.”

Okay, we’ll give it a shot anyway. How long does it –

“It’s two tiny pages in those little Shambhala editions that you can stick into your phone pocket with room for a three-pack of Magnum Ecstasies to spare. Don’t worry, it won’t tax your attention span. The book is The Way of Chuang Tzu, translated by Thomas Merton (yeah, him). Here goes:

“Hui Tzu was Prime Minister of Liang province. He had what he believed to be inside information that Chuang Tzu coveted his post and was intriguing to supplant him. In fact, when Chuang Tzu visited Liang, the Prime Minister sent out the police to arrest him. The police searched for Chuang Tzu for three days and nights, but meanwhile he presented himself before Hui Tzu of his own accord, and said:

Have you heard about the bird
That lives in the south,
The Phoenix that never grows old?

This undying Phoenix
Rises out of the South Sea
And flies to the Sea of the North,
Never alighting

Except on certain sacred trees.
He will touch no food
But the most exquisite
Rare fruit,
Drinks only
From clearest springs.

Once an owl,
Chewing a dead rat
Already half-decayed,
Saw the Phoenix fly over,
Looked up,
And screeched with alarm,
clutching the rat to himself
In fear and dismay.

Why are you so frantic
Clinging to your ministry
And screeching at me
In dismay?”

Wow, Chuang Tzu, man, amazing. That phoenix. He’s up there, and the owl thinks he’s after his half-decayed chewed-up rat. Dude, that’s the story of my life. How did you know?

[confused] “Which one did you think you were?”

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May 11, 2009

Wild. Outrageous.

I was emailing with my blogging mentor the other evening, and she said:

“It's virtually impossible to get a lot of traffic with the kind ofthing you do. It's very good, but it's not what people consume obsessively. Be more wild and outrageous.... No one wakes up in the morning and asks: What's the latest finely tuned observation.”

Well, I do! So I write it to find out.

In my opinion, what this country needs is some finely tuned observations. What have we gotten from wild and outrageous? Billionaire bankers ruining the economy with their wild, outrageous new derivative securities. Draft-dodger politicians wildly and outrageously invading countries that pose no threat to us. In the age of wild and outrageous, all that matters is explosions: it’s not interesting unless something's blowing up. Which did you read today, the article about the new commanding general in Afghanistan or the one about the soldier in Iraq who shot five of his buddies?

My reply to my mentor:

“Getting a lot of traffic isn't my game. I'm not unworldly enough to think I'll get it with this kind of post. I just have this online journal and write what I want. Wild and outrageous I wouldn't know, unless it happens by accident. It would probably have something to do with popular culture or current events, and that doesn't interest me.”

I wonder: could I ever be wild and outrageous? My first answer is, No, that’s not me. But I’ve learned that there is no immutable “not me,” and that changing is mostly a matter of deciding. Maybe someday I’ll decide to be wild and outrageous. It would be new -- the first time.

Wild and outrageous people are like children, getting the same laugh from telling the same joke a thousand times. Some wild outrageous people are fun and some of them have been geniuses. I like to be around them in order to observe, take notes, and make wisecracks. I don’t think I’d want their inner lives, for the most part. If they stood still for five minutes to think about it, they’d want mine.

Geniuses aside, “wild and outrageous” makes me visualize a group of white thirty-year-olds getting drunk and jumping up and down to bad music, flinging their arms and whooping in order to pretend they have soul. People who boast how “crazy” they and their friends are; whose refrigerator doors are cluttered with photos of people making manic faces, the same exact wild and outrageous faces in millions of photos across the nation’s refrigerator doors. They’re like a movie whose ads call it “hilarious” but which turns out to be moderately amusing in some spots and witlessly vulgar in others.

Aw, who am I kidding? Don't you wish you could do this:

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May 10, 2009


The kids –- should I keep calling them Agents 95 and 97? yes –- watered the lawn this morning, the older one wearing his favorite pants, black and peg-bottomed, with an allover print of white swords. He wears them almost every day. Their mom’s going to pick them up for Mother’s Day, and they did the lawn to pay me for paying for her present. Now they’re watching a disc of the TV series Smallville, and I’m reading Book 5 of the Iliad in a translation-in-progress by a friend of mine, who’s already sold it for big bucks to a major publisher. It’s so good and he’s so painstaking, I can only send him a few little corrections per book. For me, it’s like watching an Olympian being born from the sea.

Carlos, the Honduran guy who mows my lawn, weeded my wildflower plot and mulched my trees without my asking. I thought he was overcharging me for mowing but I see he wasn’t. We each have about twenty words of the other’s language, and we understand fine.

Everything we perceive or communicate is a translation. My eyes, optic nerves, and brain translate the lawn when I examine it to see if the Agents gave it enough water. My linear, one-dimensional words translate the multiform thoughts and physical impulses, far beyond what I can perceive, that come to life when I review the lawn-watering, which is already in the past. This written message translates my "soul," a word which is an awkward, inaccurate translation of something I barely glimpse through a distorting mirror. Translation is all we have, and it’s why Plato was right in thinking we live in a cave watching shadows on the wall. Whether there’s an ideal world or not, that’s necessarily true.

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May 08, 2009

Clumsy Billboard, Porkpie Hat, Heroic Twig

A billboard advertising a local Catholic college says, "All good things which exist are the fruits of originality." I think, "'...which exist...fruits of'...clumsy." As I drive I spend half a minute rewriting it.

The teenage boy in the passenger seat wears a charcoal gray straw porkpie hat, its extra-wide headband printed with skulls and crossbones, tipped down over his eyes as he dozes on the drive to school.

An oak twig with two leaves is trying to cross the interstate highway, as car wind blows it back and forth. A little sedan pushes it half a lane toward its goal, but a pickup truck stirs it into confusion, blowing it into the air and shoving it back. It's like a falcon fighting a storm, the adventure of a lifetime. Come on, we can do it! And if not, so?

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May 06, 2009

William Blake’s neighborhood, Texas radio, Indian blanket, spilled tea

While the service guys were installing the air conditioner coil, I was in the study writing a lesson on Romantic poetry for high school seniors. Blake’s neighborhood in London, Lambeth, during his ten years there “was already acquiring the characteristics of a peculiarly repellent urban slum with wretchedly built and undrained houses,” according to his biography, and with Industrial Revolution encroachments: “a stone manufactory and a wine factory, potteries and dye-works, lime kilns and blacking factories.”

Finishing a long day in the eighteenth century, I sank onto the couch to bathe deep in one of my customized radio stations, the one with Texas music. Lucinda Williams “Blue,” Tracy Chapman “Never Yours,” Neil Young “Star of Bethlehem,” Carrie Rodriguez “Never Gonna Be Your Bride” which is about Austin musicians, Eliza Gilkyson another Austinite, James McMurtry “Choctaw Bingo,” whose lyrics have the most knowing details of Oklahoma redneck life you could possibly imagine. John Prine “Angel from Montgomery,” which is one of the possibilities I might have mentioned if God had ever offered me the chance to write one song in the whole world. But there are a lot of songs in that group.

Out back, the wildflowers can’t stop blooming. For weeks it’s been deep in magenta flax, and now tall stalks of orange and red Indian blanket stand above them. In the past when I’d tried to sow wildflower seeds nothing happened, but this time I sprinkled one packet of seeds over the little plot and kept the soil moist like the directions said and the sun did the rest. Across the yard, the antique rose bush sprawls untrimmed like a teenager, pink blossoms on every twig, branches spilling over the old raw wood deck almost to the bur oak. Looking at it through the window while typing this and getting up to check the quote about Blake, I knock over the half-full mug of rooibos tea that’s on the coffee table. Fortunately the tea stain is more or less the same color as the jute rug.

That’s at least four beautiful things but I can’t help it.

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Research Headache, Cancelled Meeting, Double Saber

Do you know the blog Three Beautiful Things? It’s run by an Englishwoman named Clare Grant, and the idea is simple: every day, she describes three beautiful things she experiences. The idea itself is a beautiful thing, and, inspired by the original, a whole community of three-beautiful-things sites has arisen, people from dozens of nations visiting each other to swap beauty, preserving tiny moments that wouldn’t otherwise have been recorded.

I wish I’d thought of it first. Then I’d never lack for something to blog about. Hey, wait! Do I have to be the first one to have thought of something before I can try it? It would be beautiful if I learned that that isn’t true. So here are three beautiful things I experienced yesterday:

I did so much research for an educational writing project that I got a headache.

I was looking forward to attending a get-together for some people in Austin who do The Work of Byron Katie, but it got canceled because I was the only one planning to show up.

I felt out of my depth learning a double saber form in tai chi, thinking, “I’ll never get this, everyone else can do it better than me,” as I twirled two sabers over my head and around my body in a room with ten other people struggling with the same moves, blades barely missing blades and bodies.

Oh, you don’t think those things are beautiful? I’m certain that if I happen to remember them on my deathbed, I’ll smile at the memories. People work hard and get headaches; they plan and the plans fall through; they try to learn and it can take a long time. We are that beautiful.

The saber moves I can’t do now will become easy habits. I’ll do the freelance project competently and get paid for it. And without going to the get-together last night, I spent two happy hours doing The Work on the phone with one of the group.

You can watch your baby’s head emerge from the womb into its first light; you can sell a novel; you can watch the sun set from a cliff on the Aegean. You can make a plan that falls through, and give yourself a headache, and learn painfully slow.

I don’t know whether I understand something or I just have a particularly fortunate life.

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May 02, 2009

My Favorite Blog

How fortunate that my favorite blogger should also turn out to be my son! And how fortunate that even if I didn’t know John, I’d respect and admire his rigorous intellect and forceful prose. So do the many front-line bloggers who read and link to him, such as Instapundit.

His creation, Jaltcoh, follows in the modest family tradition of naming blogs after oneself. He writes about politics, society, law, philosophy, and, on Fridays, music—mostly indie rock, and also classical and jazz, all of which he knows a great deal about. I love his weekly Music Friday feature with its video links to new music. They’ve taught me about St. Vincent (the singer-songwriter, not the holy person), “Grace Kelly” (the song, not the movie star), Regina Spektor (an angel disguised as a pop star), and perhaps most interestingly, Michel Petrucciani, a brilliant jazz pianist who was born with, and prematurely died from, osteogenesis imperfecta –- a disorder discussed, by coincidence, in a link in a nice comment by Sissy Willis on a recent post of mine.

If you’re wondering where to read first in Jaltcoh, I recommend the top right corner of his sidebar, where there’s a feature called “New to this Blog?” It clicks to a list of his twenty favorite posts from his first year, to a post about his favorite quotes, and to a random-post finder. I’ll recommend three that have been particularly instructive for me:

1. 15 Rules of Blogging for Myself

2. Michel Petrucciani (1962-1999)

3. 10 things you’re not supposed to point out

Go over there right now, go back frequently, comment, and link. Enjoy!