The Man in Green

In a land by the sea between the living and the dead —
I saw a familiar man —but could not be sure who he was —
The sun traveled inside and poured from his face 
as he approached with a friendly gait —
a handsome man —
but whose beauty was secondary to the jacket he wore —  
a shade of green, not too dark, not too bright —
the length shorter than is customary for a man
reached the edge of the spine.
I marvelled how different it was from anything I had seen —
and knew its touch was something I could not leave behind —
The man in green — who was otherwise modestly dressed —
took pride in the craftsmanship of this vessel of his —
and opened the door to an inner world —
where major keys lay bare inside  —
and saw it was not finished yet. 

What is a Writer?

What is a writer, if nothing more than a pair of eyes, absorbing information from the environment, experiencing it, processing it, and finally expressing those perceptions through language? There are exceptions, of course, at least in theory. Educated claims, made by persons devoted to understanding a riddle, plucked and gleaned from limited resources, but which without all the pieces of the puzzle, despite dedication, are the valleys and peaks of scholarly visions. But this is the nature of curiosity and passion — a relentless pursuit for answers, the truth. These attempts are by no means futile or insignificant, but help construct a semi-coherent picture of what may have been. The intention to distinguish fact from myth is a noble pursuit.

And so, the subject which has rightfully fascinated investigators since antiquity, a trend which will likely continue indefinitely, is Homer, the greatest epic poet of all time. Linguistic variations of his epic poems suggest that Homer may have not authored both The Iliad and The Odyssey. But then again, investigators can only place his birth between a span of time, centuries apart. Just think of that. Not decades but centuries. Now that is what I would call a huge mystery. And one must not forget that these works were based on an oral tradition, so once again, there are more questions than answers. Homer was also presumably blind. Really? That’s an incredible claim. Perhaps he suffered from an eye disease later in life. Science has proven that eye diseases prevail in later life. And so, the verdict is out on that one, and for good reason, for it leads to a simple but significant question: How could a poet perceive what he expressed without the use of his eyes? My guess is that Milton would throw that theory into the trash.

Libraries: The Pros and Cons

Pros and cons, you say? What reason could possibly invalidate the use of libraries? Why would some stay away from this resource, this goldmine, so essential to our expansion of knowledge and understanding, which anyone can access, and which many do? It is beyond me to fully explain the reasons for this, for I do not possess that authority. However, I can submit an uneducated guess. But in order to do so, we must first begin with the pros:

The benefits are exponential. The brains of persons who consume immense knowledge are strengthened. Harnessed with the power of the Sun and the wind, branches are flooded with the energy of electricity, the lightning of thunderstorms, all bathing under the supervision of the most beautiful star, which is the source of our existence. The brain is irrevocably altered, brightened. Our brain function capacity increases. This brain is the master system of our existence. It controls our every movement, both internally and externally, and responds at the speed of light, while allowing us to remain blissfully ignorant of its power — perhaps intentionally.

For if it were possible to understand its vast complexity, we most likely would not survive that knowledge. We would be instantly struck down from the intensity of that light. And so, the brain is a benign organism, as well, for it knows us better than we know ourselves. It has its reasons. And those most likely act as a protective shield. It knows, for example, how many challenges we already experience while trying to understand a minuscule portion of its system, and so deems it wise, to maintain that percentage in perpetuity. Why? Because, though we are the most pitiful specimens it has ever come across, it still loves us. It knows it would be an exercise in futility (and cruelty) to grant us the authority to access the maze of its peaks and towers. Such a foolish expedition would be the last line in the slim volume on “The Wisdom of Homo sapiens,” as recorded in “The Books of Time”  … And so on their hands and knees, begging, knowing at that moment they were nothing more than a faint and imperceptible object, pleading and begging their soul to flee its paltry shell…their spark expired.

And so, those disciplined souls who cherish the ritual of the revolving doors of knowledge granted through the lending of books may one day reach a conclusion similar to the one above. But those who are utterly incapable of participating in this ritual, mostly for reasons of discipline deficiencies, well, they may be, unwittingly, granted some added protection.

I once borrowed a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, and I became mesmerized. Several months passed — perhaps six, or more, or even a year? — before I appeared before the librarian and explained what had happened. Oddly enough, the librarian chose not to punish me. Instead, she told me:  “Just keep it.”  Perhaps she did this out of pity? Or perhaps she knew I was a vulnerable soul would forever be shielded from experiencing the consequences of the knowledge stated in the previous paragraph?  If so, I am thankful. And I dedicate this piece to the stewards of scholarship and knowledge throughout the world who alone preserve the history of civilization.

 

The Day The Train Left WordPress

This is my final departure post on WordPress…

“The Sequence”

Moving away from WordPress and towards the Sun

It was over a year ago I witnessed an alarming signal from WordPress. It didn’t affect me personally and it did. Someone from another WordPress site had “liked” a piece I had written, and curious about that site, because it had the word publishing as part of its name, I decided to saunter over there, to learn more about that site.

When I clicked on the link, the message I saw was disturbing. The site had been deactivated by WordPress. But why? Gradually,  I came to realize  I had less control over my content than I thought I had.

When I addressed this issue with WordPress over Twitter they downplayed it. But I was not satisfied with their response and I expressed my concern to the team on Twitter.

Anyway, it’s taken close to a year to migrate my content here and into my own .com site. I will provide (at some point) a more thorough comprehensive article about that fine line between ownership, copyright, and ultimately, censorship. But for now, I am just interested in dancing with words

So if you’re still interested in reading what I am writing, what I am painting, what I am photographing, what I have written, get on the train and head over to this station:

thingsthatnevermadeitintoprint.com

For some reason, Google, for now, is showing the wrong url, which opens a page that designates the site as not secure. This is an error based on a single by highly important letter in the url. The correct url is provided above: “https” not “http” That’s the significant letter.

This is not an end but a journey into another chapter.”

And, of course, the next piece will be about the fine print behind Internet giants — at least some of them. It would be a monumental task to research the fine print of all of them, but when you do read the fine print, you discover you are agreeing to their terms, not yours, and this can unwittingly put you at a disadvantage. But I will probably spend more time discussing how to get free from the noose of WordPress’s stylistic dominance on formatting, which is almost virtually impossible. 

Slight detour —

Beyond Physics

This Buddha is made of pewter. I have had him for decades. I found him (or should I say he found me?) in Chicago where I was born and lived until I moved to Maryland in 2005.

He is always with me. He has gone wherever I have gone. And I have traveled to many places, both physically, and throughout the mind, knowing I am nothing more than a drifter along its surface. Still, I attempt to connect the threads, like a spider would, while knowing this is an exercise in futility.

This Buddha is as constant as I am devoted to him. He easily fits into the palm of my hand, and his location is always precise, exact. He never veers away from the middle.

But now that I have stepped into the last chapter of life, and I am in a space, filled with everything I love, Buddha is now anchored between the world inside and the world outside of my window where the sun sets. But there has been a subtle shift that defies the laws of physics and which I am unable to explain. He has adjusted his focus towards the northwest.

At first, I thought I had done something, that I was somehow responsible for this shift, this adjustment. But my pattern has been consistent. Shortly after I awaken, I say: “Good morning, Buddha.” Then I stroke the crown of his head, delighted to see the smile on his face, the fullness of his belly, and go about the ritual of waking up to yet another day. 

Nonetheless, I continued to grapple with this puzzle as a scientist would.  I measured the shifts. They were frequent, and seemed beyond the scope of probability. Further, every time the shift occurred, I would re-center him, while keeping track of the cycle, and continued to ask: Could this shift be nothing more than an subtle act on my part, or could it be something more esoteric, beyond my comprehension?  What role did I play?  It was entirely possible that no-one other than myself was the author of what appeared to be a mystical experience, but which was, in fact, nothing of the kind. Perhaps I had a skill unbeknowst to me as a Magician?  But I did not trouble my already troubled mind much longer with this puzzle, and so I let it go. And in doing so, I was now free. Free to fly beyond the sky.

(Note: This is one of those pieces that will keep shifting until it finds its way home. In the meantime, let it take you wherever it is that you go — even if that place is nowhere.)

 

 

 

 

 

Sanctuaries: The Many Moods of a Room

Sometimes we have to build our own sanctuary, not with our hands, but with our minds, a room we can access whenever life poses excessive challenges, those times when we need a break, a safe refuge. I chose to travel into another age: Vienna, 1783…

And into a single, but immense, room, on a Sunday afternoon. Its architecture? My version of Baroque. The entrance to this sanctuary consists of white double open doors, not far below a ceiling high enough to elevate the mind. I step into the room, wearing my fancy but comfortable crimson flats, and I feel the bounce and vibration below of hickory floors, bathing in the sunlight, and bouncing off white-washed walls, trimmed with gold leaf. The double windows are wide and open, and I can feel a fresh and gentle breeze fill the room with the scent of exotic Spring flowers.

I sink into the cushions of a plush couch, and with my eyes closed, I listen to a greater vibration fill the room, the sound of a fortepiano, direct from heaven, and with a light so intense, I can see it, though my eyes are closed. This light pours into Mozart, who will leave us in eight years, and whom we will mourn until the end of time, and I listen to him finish the unfinished Fantasia for Piano in D Minor. I am in heaven now, interrupted only by the footsteps of a young boy who walks through the door, and I cannot help but feel his joy, for he has wanted to be in the same room as Mozart, though he may not even know it yet, and I cannot resist opening my eyes, and I smile, for I have always wanted to meet this child, and it fills me with joy to embrace Beethoven.