The Daily Postcard: Popping the Clutch, July 3rd

Where to begin? These are some crazy times. I am trying to balance family, the pains and repairs of home ownership, taking more hours at the money job and writing. Twenty years ago I would’ve killed to have these grown-up problems. Thirty something me would’ve been chomping at the bit to have work-for-hire gigs in independent comics and other publishing mediums. Thirty something me wrote umpteen million book reviews a week and scrambled for freelance journalism jobs. I was two years into a marriage that seemed about to peter out. (We just had our 25 the anniversary) ) I was a dad to a 1 year old daughter and a preteen daughter, finding my way in the local poetry scene. My buddies and I created some original theater and directed some repertory pieces. I gained weight terribly. By the time I reached forty, I weighed 235 pounds, heading down the road to Type 2 Diabetes. Now, at 53, I weigh between 160-165 pound. I am consistently losing weight in a healthy way through diet, exercise and medication. I’ve gone from 2X and 3X shirts to small shirts again. Is there a point to this tirade? No, not really. I’m just kickstarting my fingers into writing mode. I am trying to navigate past the fatigue from working extra human service job hours. I am so close to finishing a comics piece that might contain some of my best writing. Thirty something me is saying, “Blah, blah, my best writing…blah! blah! You always say that, Gooden.” Fifty-three year old me responds, “Kid, if you don’t aspire to make the next piece of writing or art your best each time, then don’t bother.” Thirty something year old me just flipped Fifty-three year old the bird.

-L

l

BOOK REVIEW:

The Daily Postcard: Review:
The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragon Slayer: A Book of Poetry and Music

By Vashti Stopher Klein
Artwork Designs by Carol Collett

In the late great experimental composer John Cage’s Silence, Lectures and Writings he writes, “The emotions-love, mirth, the heroic, wonder, tranquility, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust- are in the audience.”

Vashti Stopher Klein might have adopted the above as s maxim when she created her book of poetry, lyrics and music, The Soprano, the Monster and the Dragon Slayer.

Reading her work and listening to her perform, it is obvious that she knows her audience’s essence. She knows and incorporates all things that make them–their triumphs and fallacies, their exultations and lowest denominators of behavior–their flawed, and as Warren Haynes from Government Mule sings, “beautifully broken”, humanity. In the epigraph of her book, she quotes Dylan Thomas:

“Poetry is what in a poem that makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever your own.”

Klein’s words, lyrics and voice make the reader’s toe nails twinkle. They also contain a bitter sweet and sad wisdom of life experience and heart wrenching spasms of love won, lost, denied and unrequited. She expresses this eloquently and brilliantly, encompassing all of her audience’s (to borrow a biological term) phenotypes. She shows this and comes full circle to the Thomas epigraph in the first five stanzas of her poem “Painted Pink Toenails” She writes:

Oh the promise of freshly Painted pink toenails!
But who will see them?
Only I.

Only I will relish their significance,
a symbol of youth,
Love,
Passion,
Hope, desire, Him.

And will it be this way
forever more?
Am I destined
From this point forward
to be their only admirer?

Time was when each night
I slathered lovely creams
On my legs and arms,
though I was young
and didn’t need them.

And now I am old
and they look dry from neglect;
a casualty of the lost
Hope for love.
Except for tonight
I have pink toenails…

Creating literature and music runs in Klein’s blood. She comes from a long line of musicians. Her influences are eclectic, ranging “from that heard on a Kentucky farm, to a Gaelic pub, to a concert hall.” In the digital editions of her book, Klein provides her readers with links to YouTube videos of her vocal performance of her songs: “You are Here”; “Look Away”; “The Heart of Things”; “Meant to Be”; “The End of Forever”; “My Wishing Well”; “The Whispering Wind”; “Love is a Holy Thing”; “Path to the Sun, Moon and Stars”; “Don’t Let Go”; “Because You Love Me”; and “Whatever He Wants”. Gleaned from her lyrics and listening to the tracks on YouTube, one can hear a loving painstaking perfectionism and craftsmanship in the composition and production of her music. Take for example, the song “Look Away”. At first, the lyrics on their own seem almost banal and full of greeting card sentiment. However, the song’s piano instrumentation and Klein’s vibrato vocals give the lyrics the power and spirituality of a prayerful hymn. For example, Klein writes:

I crossed over oceans
And rivers to try
To fill all the holes in our lives
But I found it was something I could not do Unless you were willing to try.

So the years passed away
Without giving a clue
That our love was fading away
Until the day came
When somehow we knew
There was nothing left to save.

It is highly suggested that if readers want to experience the full impact of this song, or all her songs, they should read her lyrics while listening to the music. Obtaining a physical copy of her book is highly suggested. While reading and listening to “Look Away”, readers can smell the oceans and rivers she has crossed, hear their waves in her singing as they crash the bow of a beaten ship. Her beautiful voice expresses a forlorn weariness, trying to carry a relationship by herself, her tremulous vocals filled with sorrow, an inevitable acceptance of giving up.
From her music, lyrics and poetry, it can be deduced that Klein is influenced by Folk Singers like Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Peter, Paul and Mary. One can also feel the impact of Gershwin; twentieth century musical creators such as Rodgers and Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim. Also, there are hints of the pop stylings of Lennon and McCartney, and the lyrical playfulness of Cole Porter.
Similar to the artists mentioned above, Klein is also a great story-teller, like a bard. This is apparent in the beginning, from her introductory short-short story (also the title of her book) The Soprano, the Monster, and the Dragon Slayer. The introduction is not only a fairy tale, but it is also an important thread to the entire book and collection of music as a whole. In the story, the main character, The Soprano (Klein slips in a little Easter Egg homage to Shakespeare in this tale, which slyly confirms that she is indeed a bard of tremendous prowess.) becomes very ill and can no longer sing. A Dragon Slayer comes from afar and says that he can save her life. He opens her chest with his sword and removes the hideous creature that made her sick. The Soprano recovers and heals, experiencing a catharsis and transformation into something better. More than an elemental, more than earth, wind, fire, air and water. She becomes a goddess, her song an incorporation of all the elements at once. Klein writes, “Her voice started at the core of the Earth as it flowed and whirled, up, over and through the rock, granite, and gritty soil of her entire life. It wended its way up and through every molecule, every muscle, every organ in her body. She took the deepest breath of her life and began to sing from her unencumbered, grateful heart.”
The tale will undoubtedly come across to some readers as a metaphor for surviving cancer or some other life-threatening disease. In part it is, but like mentioned above, that metaphor is a smaller but important thread with many, many other threads. Klein emphasizes this and heightens it through Carol Collet’s artwork. Collet is an award winning quilter. Such incredible and astonishing results from their collaboration took meticulous planning and scheming; weighing and matching Collet’s art with the themes, narrative and tone of Klein’s music, lyrics and story. Klein is also a filmmaker. With her filmmaker’s eye, mental gift of literary narrative and song writer’s ear, all juxtaposed, she and Collet weave material into an entire tapestry masterpiece that illustrates and celebrates the best and the worst of all us. Klein says it best in the second verse of her song “The Heart of Things”. She writes,

But dreams will come and they will go Like the ocean waves that ebb and flow the only constant thing I know
is life goes on until we grow.

Vashti Stopher Klein is an award-winning filmmaker and folk singer-song writer in the Washington, DC metro area. Through her music label, Butterfly Effect Productions, she released the 2014 album The Heart of Things, In 2015, she released the album Path to the Sun, Moon, and Stars.
Carol Collet, of Carol Collet Desert Studio, is a fiber artist, teacher and award winning quilter from Scottsdale, Arizona. Her artistic talents extend to unique quilt making, mixed media art, wearable art, fiber art and jewelry making. Her work has been published in periodicals like American Quilter.

Lee A. Gooden

Book Review

The Daily Postcard: New Book Review ,
God Has Infinite Frequency: Aphorisms For A Fractured Age

By, Jonathan Masters
Publisher: Foundation For Inner Peace
84 pages

Available 1/15/21

Over the years, I’ve read more than my share of so-called new age/self-help books that incorporate, out of context, psychological; religious; philosophical, and scientific terms and concepts. Authors of these books, know that certain words and ideas give their work a sense of validation and, albeit, a false, all-knowing deep profundity. Such authors understand that the average reader’s knowledge of science and the esoteric is limited. Living in an era of “fake news” and “alt facts” why would anyone bother to fact-check or research? Thus, charlatans have carte blanche to haphazardly throw terms and ideas like cow chips at readers to see what sticks.

Jonathan Masters’ book, God Has Infinite Frequency: Aphorisms for a Fractured Age, could have easily fallen into the above category. It does not. Masters does not allow his readers to be bamboozled by their very human want and need for blaming their misfortune and sadness on a higher power. He writes, “These beliefs [of and all-seeing, all-knowing higher power’s responsibility for our misfortune] are tools that can disconnect us from personal responsibility and power; disconnect us from feeling and from ourselves. They permeate everything we do, how we are, how we think, how we act. But reference to an external power different from the experience of God; the experience of a living, integrated truth; harmony with all it is. Heart based, and with extreme appreciation for one’s self and creation.”

While reading Master work, I also got sucked into a book called The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson. Not a Patterson fan, nevertheless, Lennon has been my hero since I was ten years old, although, my hero worship of Lennon has lessened over the years. Reading about Lennon during the anniversary of his death, put me in a despondent mood. Before re-reading Masters’ book and writing this review, I had to finish the Lennon book, and I had to process my myriad of conflicting and contrasting feelings. At the conclusion of the biography, I could not get pass my initial gloom. I picked up God Has Infinite Frequency and read it from the beginning again, slowly. I started to make connections with Masters’ words and Lennon’s lyrics, specifically to his song:

“God”

“God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”

I didn’t consider his lyrics to be dark or despairing. Processing both Masters and Lennon together, I remembered that we are all human and flawed. But that’s okay. Masters’ work is the other side of the coin of Lennon, the brighter side. However, after Lennon exorcised his demons through the rest of the song, he did find God again, the kind that God Has Infinite Frequency understands. The last lines of

Lennon’s song are:

“I Just believe in me…Yoko and me.”

Lennon’s song, his whole oeuvre, is a prayer to his humanity’s divinity, it’s sacredness and Godhood.

God Has Infinite Frequency is a tribute to the multi-faceted deity, that is grandly us-you and me. Masters, does what Walt Whitman said to do in the first stanza of “Song of Myself”, the beginnings of his magnum opus, “The Leaves of Grass”:

I celebrate myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume, you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

In celebration of ourselves, we smile and embrace one simple act, before the beginnings of a kaddish to unlimited potential of humanity. Masters writes,”It is often hard to recognize that our primary relationship is with ourselves. There are so many pieces, reflecting from so many different directions. That is why self- discovery often starts with closing our eyes.”

There is so much in this aphorism, lyric, koan, prayer, whatever you want to call it- to invoke that kernel or essence of what is humane in the word humanity. Masters’ God Has Infinite Frequency would have been…well, no pun intended, a Godsend to me in my early twenties, when I went through a terrible break-up with the mother of my first child, and whom I thought was the love of my life. I was not mature nor experienced enough to handle the destruction of the fragile fledgling universe I built with, and mostly around this person. Physically, emotionally and mentally, I was brought down to my lowest denominator. All that I thought was right and wrong, my ethics, my values, a world of black and white, were tainted by grey stains of self-fulfilled guilt and unrealistic expectations. I was not seasoned enough to rise above my predicament . My indignation only deepened my descent into the mire of pain and jadedness. I lived and loved by example. Raised by a strong single mom, I went to great polar lengths not to be like my abusive father. I vowed in words and proved by my actions that my children would always come first. More than betraying me in the arms of another man, my partner made me a see-you-on- the-weekend-father, which to me, was the epitome of failure.

To reboot myself, twenty-something me voraciously devoured works of literature, philosophy and religion…unaware that I was looking for meaning and validation for my own personal human condition. I wish that God Has Infinite Frequency existed then. Masters’s work is reminiscent of those books that I read in my early twenties to rebuild myself, including, but not limited to, Robert Prisig’s books Zen and the Art of Motorcycles Maintenance and Lila, The Complete Works of Carlos Castaneda, Dan Millman’s The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet, and John Lennon’s posthumous book, Skywriting By Word of Mouth. Reading these books helped me redefine myself, which is also aptly described in Masters’work. He writes, “The basis for peace, harmony and truth is that we understand and experience ourselves as infinitely valuable divine beings.”

If only I read the above words when I was twenty-one. Upon re-reading God Has Infinite Frequency, and with hindsight brought on by traumatic conditioning (I’d like to slap the person the came up with the saying, ‘that which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’), I’ve come to the realization that even if I had read those words at twenty-one, I may have had not been ready for them. My pain and guilt might’ve clouded my reason and closed my heart. Masters’ book contains a section called:

“The Closest Thing to the Opposite of God is Guilt” He writes, “Guilt has no feelings, fear or remorse. Guilt will drive you into the ground until there is nothing left, and then tell you it was your fault: you should have done better. You cannot argue with, reason with, make peace with or accommodate guilt. You cannot go past your guilt, either, except temporarily.”

Maybe fifty-three year old me shouldn’t be so hard on twenty-one year old me. After all, my young incarnation was nothing but raw nerve, muscle and in love with being in love, desperately seeking it unconditionally. All I had for examples of ‘true love’ were my gleanings from pop-culture, movies, books and songs. I plodded through and I plodded on. I continue to plod, but I plod in celebration of being alive. I plod with joy. Masters writes, “No part is left out – our pleasure and pain, our hopes and dreams, our successes and failures…Joy comprehends the difficulties and suffering of the world, and expands to others to meet them in the heart. Joy is for and from all the universe and connects us to everything.”

God Has Infinite Frequency is a small book with a great heart and a great brain. Readers will burn through it on their first read, perhaps finding themselves disappointed the first time around. That is because many people equate quality with quantity. Masters’s book appears to be a scant seventy-seven pages, interspersed with various photographs, drawings and paintings that seem unrelated. His art selection might even act as visual binaural beats or tones upon some readers, slowing them down, altering their thinking and emotions. Do not think for a moment, that Jonathan Masters, a professional consultant and teacher of meditation, under the mentoring of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (another John Lennon Jungian synchronicity connection), inventor, businessman and musician-picked the photos, painting and pictures, etc (as well as the artists and his other collaborators) for his book at random. Everything in God Has Infinite Frequency is designed with specificity. The whole time while reading and re-reading his works, I felt a kind, purposeful warm and humble smile emanating from the pages. Masters explains it best in the final section of the book. He writes, “… we belong to the vast totality – our small individualities like so many spots on the leopard, vanishing in the grass, hidden in the Savannah on Earth, rounding the Milky Way, in our tiny corner of space – and an integral part of the whole cosmos.”

-Lee A. Gooden

Book Review: Murder, Inc

Murder, Inc: How Unregulated Industry Kills or Injures Thousands of Americans Every Year…And What You Can Do About It
Written by Dr. Gerald M. Goldhaber

“The Warning Doctor”

While reading Dr. Goldhaber’s informative, enlightening and empowering book, I was reminded of an incident that occurred when I was a young child. I became fascinated with an old industrial pedestal fan, the kind with the steel blades that moved with the speed of an airplane propeller. It kept the air circulating in my father’s friend’s workshop. The fan didn’t have a cover. The owner, to my delight, would talk into the back of the fan to sound like a robot. I didn’t understand the science behind this at the time and I didn’t care. I only wanted to be a robot too. While he and my father were not paying attention, I went up to the back of the fan to make my voice sound like a robot. Imagine my surprise, when I found a warning label that I thought was what my grandfather called the “funnies.” It was structured like a comic strip with 3-4 panels. At that time, I was obsessed with comic books and the Sunday Funny Papers. I had just begun to learn to read. I tried to read everything, including that warning label. It demonstrated in graphic detail what would happen if someone were stupid enough to stick their hand in the blade of the spinning fan. I pondered this “comic” while making robot noises. The owner of the shop and my father noticed my antics. They rushed to stop me from decapitating myself. The shop owner quickly unplugged the fan, while my father picked me up and looked me over for amputations. No one listened to my protests, namely, that I had no intention of hurting myself. I just wanted to read the comic and be a robot. That was my first encounter with safety labels. It would not be my last.

My father and his friend made me hyper-cognizant of all the safety labels in life (including mattress tags). I always found them to be obvious and insulting to my intelligence. I felt that the people (I have to face facts, I am not exempt from this idiocy) who injured themselves by doing stupid things that the labels warned against were examples of natural selection at work. While reading Dr. Gerry Goldhaber’s book, Murder, Inc., I realized how vital they really are to honesty and the evolution of modern civilization. Dr. Goldhaber is one of the intellectual entities that runs a team which creates warning labels. Warning labels that are designed specifically to protect consumers from harm and the industry from pricey and decimating lawsuits.

The nation’s leading safety warning communications expert, Dr. Gerry Goldhaber, has worked with 100 of the top 500 corporations, 50 of the top 100 law firms, and governmental agencies like the FDA. In Murder, Inc., Dr. Goldhaber explains the importance of protecting American consumers and industry, and the criterion needed to create effective warning labels. He writes, “…we try to: (1) identify the at risk; (2) determine the precise nature of the hazard and its concomitant risk; (3) determine whether codes and/or regulations suggest or require a warning; and finally (4) further determine whether the potential hazard is known or unknown by the typical product user or consumer at the time of use.”

When an industry elicits Dr. Goldhaber’s aid as their ethical and moral compass, his guidance invokes in them practices that are beneficial for the longevity of their business. This seems to be anathema to our current accelerated globalized economic climate of instant gratification and instant profits. Murder, Inc. shows us that time and time again, companies that are honest and forthright about their products by providing sound and helpful instruction to protect their consumers do better in the long term. Companies that knowingly distribute poorly manufactured and dangerous products enact a “reactive economic model,” more concerned about the short term profit motive and reacting after the fact to injuries and deaths. The end results are class act lawsuits that cost more than what it would have cost them to fix their product in the first place. Surprisingly, many companies adopt the “reactive model.” Murder, Inc. explores a variety of companies that implemented both proactive and reactive economic models.

Dr. Goldhaber writes, “In recent years, we have witnessed some terribly disturbing and shockingly blatant examples of corporations attempting to hide—or simply engaging in outright denial of—any knowledge of seriously defective components in their products. It is often only due to scores of horrific incidents resulting in unconscionable numbers of fatalities and injuries that these deceptions come to light in the glare of subsequent media scrutiny.”

With Murder, Inc., his website and Youtube channel, Dr. Goldhaber, is like a muckraker “from the Progressive era. His work conjures the spirit of muckrakers from America’s past, like Upton Sinclair, author of The Jungle, a novel that exposed the awful practices of the meat packing industry, and Ida Tarbell, founder of investigative journalism and author of The History of the Standard Oil Company. His work is also reminiscent of more recent muckrakers, like Hunter S. Thompson, Bob Woodward, Greg Palast and Erin Brockovich. Brockovich feels the same, because she wrote a piece of introduction and appreciation in the beginning of Dr. Goldhaber’s book.

Erin Brockovich writes, “…we are able to find out things faster than ever, to sort through information, to become more self-aware, and to protect ourselves better than ever. That is a good thing, but most won’t know how to use that technology for research. This book is a wonderful tool that can help people navigate their way through a plethora of information.”

As muckraker, though, Dr. Goldhaber in Murder, Inc., doesn’t demonize capitalism, or those who are proponents of our capitalistic consumer society. He understands that for the American public to survive and thrive, businesses, consumers and regulatory agencies must exist symbiotically within the system. All three must be held accountable and work together in what Dr. Goldhaber calls the “legs of a Proactive Safety Triad.” Murder, Inc., states that the best way for the triad to work together starts with the manufacturer’s full principled disclosure, consisting of the following ten steps:

1. Warn specifically for hidden hazards not likely to be known by users at the time of purchase or use.
2. Don’t warn for open and obvious hazards that have high awareness among the public.
3. Follow all appropriate warning codes, standards, and regulations.
4. Communicate efficiently without sacrificing needed warnings and safety information.
5. Avoid information overload/obfuscation with clear, succinct, easily understood language.
6. Clearly communicate both the nature of the hazard and the consequences of exposure.
7. Provide appropriate instructional information to avoid the hazard and/or its consequences.
8. Design warnings conspicuously (appropriate size, color(s), signal words, location(s), etc.).
9. Use pictographs to enhance the comprehension of a warning’s written language.
10. Use the best, most appropriate communication channel(s) to deliver the safety message.

While it seems that it would be in the best interest for every company to give full disclosure and use the proactive economic model, Murder, Inc. gives examples of businesses that thought they were too big for failure or thought that they couldn’t afford to recall faulty products. They chose the reactive economic model.

The most recent example, “The Takata Corporation shipping out millions of potentially explosive, shrapnel-firing airbag modules that have killed 11 people worldwide, to date, and resulted in the largest and broadest automobile recall in history. It has affected at least ten major auto manufacturers and has impacted millions of lives.”

Then, there are the companies that take the high road, like Daikin from Japan, creators of industrial-size AC units. Takata is a manufacturer with over “15 billion in annual sales and operating in 140 countries. They also hold the distinction, to the best of my knowledge, of having never been sued in the United States for failure to warn about the potential hazards of their products …this company’s approach to the issue of principled disclosure that has enabled it to remain lawsuit-free. Their story reveals how the process works well when it is done right.”

Murder, Inc. also discusses government regulatory agencies like, but not limited to, the EPA and the FDA. According to Dr. Goldhaber, our governmental regulatory agencies fall short at the protection that they are supposed to provide consumers. Large amounts of money from lobbyists of big businesses have caused our current administration to roll back and lessen regulations and protective elements within manufacturing that impact our food, environment, pharmaceutical drugs, etc. It seems that it is only going to get worse, to the point where America’s citizenry’s health and well-being suffers. Again, the short term immediate profits reactive economic model is implemented, at the expense of the future.

Easily accessible to readers and with a keen sense of humor, using pop culture references like Monty Python to reiterate and illustrate points, Murder, Inc. shows us how principled discourse and accountability shared between industry, consumers, and governmental regulatory agencies can ensure properly functioning products that are safe for public consumption. It also shows us how shared accountability is for the betterment of everyone worldwide.

1.

Uncertainty of Knowing

The First 3 Pages of my novel, “Uncertainty of Knowing”

Uncertainty of Knowing

By Lee A. Gooden
PART 1:

Cooper’s Glenn 1988
TOP SECRET
Property of C.X.A
IF NOTEBOOK IS FOUND
PLEASE RETURN
TO PROPER OWNER
C.X.A
COLANDER XAVIER ADAMS

Kids and cornfields go together like…well…like peanut butter and jelly, Martin and Lewis, Clint Eastwood and orangutans, Gene Kelly and singing in the rain…and Deloreans and time travel.

Fourteen year old Cole writes in his pocket notebook. Sitting in a small grassy clearing, he taps his pen on his chin and looks around at the sea of cornstalks that part and rejoin, waves beneath the wind.
He waits for his friends. The wait doesn’t bother him at all. It gives him a chance to think and to write. For Cole, writing and thinking time goes by faster than normal time.
He smiles at the crashing and cussing sounds coming from the woods. Quickly, he jots down some new thoughts in his notebook.
They were about as subtle ass…as (silly ass) cattle (no, cows sound better).
They were about as subtle as cows… Moo…cows sound butter. Ha.
First, there was Jon Milton. He came out of the forest like…Aphrodite out of the sea…No, yuck. He came out of the Sticks like a newborn kitten fresh in the morning sun…eewww! Gag, yourself much, Cole…

Capping the pen, he places it in the middle of the notebook and slips the whole thing into his back pocket. He pulls his shirt tail down to cover the notebook’s tell tale bulge.
“Hey.” Jon Milton says, stumbling from the woody perimeter
“Yo.” Cole replies.
“Prentice is in the howse, let’s rap.” Doug Prentice says, obscured by the undergrowth. A second later he pops into view, his left eye black and blue.
“I hate that crap.”
“What crap?
“Rap crap.”
“Stuff’s cool.”
“So’s ice.”
“What da fuck does that mean?”
“How’d da fuck should I know.”
“Fuck you, Milton.”
“Bite me, Prentice.”
“Why you guys so late?”
“We were making a sandwich out of yer momma. Right, Doug?”
“Yeah, she takes it up the ass. Did you know that, Cole?”
“Well, so do you.”
“Shhhh, dude, you’ll make Jon Jon jealous.”
“You fickle two timing bitch.”
Later that night, at an old rickety dining room table used as a desk, Cole writes:
They were best friends, tighter than tight and as cool as…slick shit. Ew, no. They were all smiling, connecting on many levels, a complete circle. Life was good…no…life was a snot sandwich. GaRoss…dude. No, No…wait…
Got it.
In a forbidden cornfield, wind blowing, sun shining, life green and thriving with vibrancy…they were immortal in a summer that was forever…
…AND…
PART 2.

Cooper’s Glenn 1997

They finished fucking.
Julie, nestled down into the cleft of Doug’s arm, fell asleep.
Doug fucked. He didn’t make love. The idea of love making, the expression itself, drove him nuts. He questioned its validity, “looove-making”. Doug doubted the authenticity of any term or expression with the word ‘love’ in it. Terms like,
“love making”, “parental love”; “maternal love”; “paternal love”; “platonic love”; and, especially, “unconditional love”, made him wince.
Bullshit.
It was all bullshit.
And yet, every time he left Julie, broke promises, lied and weaseled back into her life, she welcomed him. Without a moan or groan of complaint or contempt, she accepted him. She shared her bed with him and his needle tracks.
He would’ve understood and would’ve expected her to bitch at him. If she yelled, threatened and ridiculed him, so be it. He approved. He needed her anger. He needed her angry. She had every right in the world to want him castrated and decapitated.
Her silence was maddening. He asked her, begged her to say something reproachful, something spiteful and hurtful. He deserved her rancor. He tried to goad her into despairing words or vengeful actions against him. Something, anything at all to assuage his guilt.
But no.
Doug couldn’t sleep.

The daily postcard

Huxley quote: So relevant today

Found the below Huxley quote in the latest Aeon Newsletter. I went through a Huxley kick when I was a teenager. Must reread his stuff soon.

-L

“Agitation over happenings which we are powerless to modify, either because they have not yet occurred, or else are occurring at an inaccessible distance from us, achieves nothing beyond the inoculation of here and now with the remote or anticipated evil that is the object of our distress. Listening four or five times a day to newscasters and commentators, reading the morning papers and all the weeklies and monthlies – nowadays, this is described as ‘taking an intelligent interest in politics’; St John of the Cross would have called it indulgence in idle curiosity and the cultivation of disquietude for disquietude’s sake.”

The Perennial Philosophy
-Aldous Huxley

The Daily Postcard

THE DAILY POSTCARD: KER-RUNCH, STOP-TIME AND BODY AND SOUL:

Writers write and read. That seems like a given, right? Sure. I’ve always been an avid reader. I do not stick to specific genres, I move all over the place. Everything I read leads to something else. I’ve got a huge stack of “to read books”. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I’ll never read all the books I want to read in one lifetime. That used to bother me, now, I smile at the challenge. I’ve mentioned before that the best artists (writers, musicians, painters, etc) not only make people feel and think with their work, but also make people want to make their own art…become creators themselves…a perpetuation of art. Sometimes the greatest compliment and artist can receive from their peers is “damn, I wish I did that.” Theses days, my first instinct when I read something that blows my mind, besides “I wish I did that.” is, “How can I use that.” I’m not talking about plagiarism or stealing someone’s intellectual property. No, I’m talking about applying the artist’s method, technique, or, whatever you want to call it, to better myself holistically not just as a writer. It’s kind of hard to explain. Think of bunch of Jazz musicians riffing off each other’s improvisations.

Where are you going with this, Lee? Damned, if I know.

But, I guess I do know.

While I was in Florida on vacation, I read Frank Conroy’s memoir “Stop-Time”. It blew me away. When I was a child and right up into my teens, I thought something guided me. That the universe or a muse, something outside of me was setting me up for a certain destiny. I still get caught up in instances of those feelings. Reading “Stop-Time” gave me what felt like precognitive chills toward some kind of completion, an important completion beyond my awareness. I don’t think that makes sense, but I don’t care. I’ve been aware of Frank Conroy and the famous Iowa’s writer’s Workshop for years. I had every intention of reading his works, picking them up at some used book stores. I read “Stop-Time” in basically one sitting. It put me in what I can only describe as an altered state of consciousness. Now, I am reading Conroy’s novel Body and Soul. It is so good that wishing I wrote it isn’t enough creator angst for me. It is so good, that it makes me want to give up; put down my pen, hang up my fedora and smash the laptop.

But I won’t.

Perhaps, my angst is also partially caused by the many wakes and funerals I’ve attended the last couple of months, the latest one, today. Mortality breathes heavy in my ear, a pervert with COPD talking dirty in the receiver of a clicking and popping landline phone.

I’m also on Ker-runch time for a project.

Alright, enough of this rambling.

Back to work.

-L

Essays and thought bytes from Lee Gooden