Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Do stories ever end and other deep thoughts

Before a personal story ends, Memoir writers decide that there is enough of a story to be told, to be penned, to commit to. Reflection and significance are ingredients. Compelling is important. And how to begin requires selection of an end for the unending. I am a derailed storyteller because I can never decide upon an ending.

When this entry was conceived, there was 100 days remaining; to elect a new president and to make ready my primary daily bread assignment for go live. These turning points are not ends. They may be middles or starts. What comes later – the benchmarking measures like the 1st 100 days of the presidency and questions about the completed project speak to the lack of true ends.

New tools allow us to manage or compile data and images and the elements of story. Sometimes pseudo stories emerge much like pseudo poems from folks exploring sentences and fragments instead of paragraphs and chapters. New tools can inevitably make endings ever more, less likely. Time capsules of experience accumulate. Folks like me get to avoid deciding on a larger scale than outside of the moment’s distraction – about endings. Volumes of reflection, commentary and noise emerge – and stories that could change, heal or inform salt and pepper the abundance.

Blogging, this hybrid commentary journal process was activated by me to reflect upon significance. Scribble. Distraction. Curiosity. Ponders. All in a format that allows me to avoid questions wrestled by true storytellers. Maybe coming of age with the TV drama view of story, most of which now tell multiple stories simultaneously and attempt to develop characters serially, neatly prescribed time, foreshadowing and tension until there is a fade to credits has contributed to my dilemma.

I began to read the World is my Home. I did not get to the end yet. It has been months since I set it down. I started it in the middle, as I recall. The 1992 biography of James A. Michener was published 5 years before his death, an end marked by his decision to remove life supports. A collection of selective reminiscences, his story for me did not end when I closed the cover of the book nor would it have if I were on the last page. It continues here. His story lives on because they were scribed. Each new reader restarts the story. And every new writer underwritten at UofTexas at Austin by Michener funds ensures his story never ends. This novelist did story his way. He followed his intellectual curiosity, informed his style from the experience of opera arias and ultimately his narration rewards the reader or listener with knowledge. His large novels are said to be absent psychological insight. I have purchased but have yet to read his sagas. A novelist that could have been a blogger is an indulgence that I can not yet invite in to my frame of reference. So I digest short stories. This week it is People I wanted to be.

Go Live is less than 100 business days away and the day job is carnivorous. Is eating my soul, flesh eating? Deep thoughts are set aside as core hours begin now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Conversation and the value of versus: Poems

Tension is a building block that can engage the audience within story; it is known to add challenge to conversation and is said to exist naturally between science and faith. Its value is 2 sides of a coin: and often a headache. As an element of style - it must be worked, to work.

The New Poet Laureate is getting air time. I listen. I wonder if a good poem every 10 years does a poet make? I wonder if a poem a day is a good expenditure of time. And then I know the truth: calories need burning. So I borrow an impromptu haiku from the poet from my middle and smile knowing birth is not under-rated, poetry is.

Time displaces truth

Tumbling down the rabbit hole

I am far too late

Monday, July 14, 2008

25 cents is the price of a miracle

Charlie is my Dad. His refrigerator magnet says WORK is a 4 letter word. He retired at 55. He is now 80. He putters, finding ways to save dollars and cents. He dabbled in stocks and bonds for a decade or so, but got out before all that went totally bust. He spends his days being Judge Judy trained. Other lifelong learning is aided by History, Discovery and the Weather Channel.

This weekend we shared lentil and cactus soup which he made, followed up on some health insurance claims, and discussed the behaviors of our mutual companions, feral cats and my rescued Bull Mastiff pup, Jake. I can not play cards well enough to bet a quarter, so I watch him play one of the 100 something ways to play solitaire. We chat. He mumbles about gardening in pots. We do have some healthy basil and a few strong tomato plants. I say we because I purchase the starter plant or seeds and he tends to them. The price of motivation. He has discovered our Hot Tub. Now that I mark his calendar on the date when it has been treated, he is using it regularly. I needed to learn how to communicate this readiness for use in a manner that would not offend. It was challenging. I failed a few times but I think I am finely on track. And as to the Hot Tub, he is on track as I fail to use it. More chat or exploration about short term memory. I try to remember tidbits from the news which I think may be triggers for conversation and potential stories. I work at conversations. I had scribbled a few things down that are not handy at the time we chat. I think hard: mental gymnastics and then realize that the term I was trying to recall intellectual aerobics. The differences discreet would be fun to follow. The memory was a description Tony Snow used to describe Meeting with the Press. I then think that if I have a storied life I will be a success. Both references come from elegies of the kind the video world provides: Sunday Morning Articles. Then distractions abound within me and Dad is no longer in focus. The miracle I wish for is that a card player will appear that will risk an occasional quarter. It does not take much for Dadto put up walls. Failures with neighbors and Senior Center - mostly bad timing but he took it all too personal which make me the only community he truly has. It is a tall order being a community and it does not take much for me to be distracted. The voices in my head say you need you time now, dad has had what you can give today. Balance too is difficult.

Sometimes I sense too much in common with this hermit who lives like a troll in the back house. So much unsaid here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

transitions abound

A year of substantive change:

Graduations: Graduate School for Cliff and High School for Heather
Global volunteering by Dan (shown here with nephew Alex).
a baby born to Valerie and Paul (MacKenzie J.) on the 4th of July.

All are solid moments of accomplishment for them and pride for the family.