Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bursting Out In Color

Warm days are returning, and that means... blooming daimones!

It is probable that I will never fathom the mystery of their nature.  But I am not dismayed by that prospect.  I don't have to understand the whys and wherefores of everything in detail.  I am happy to simply enjoy their existence.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

'A Year And Nine Minutes' (an A-to-Z story)

(O.K., all you would-be critics and kibitzers -- I happen to LOVE cheese^^)

All you need is love –“ insisted the song as Sam got up off the couch.  Bring in the torch of romance, sure, and light up your dingy hole – he thought, as a bitter smile crossed his face.  Clicking off the radio, Sam grabbed his jacket, slung it over his shoulder and set out.

Darkness had settled over the street, and with it had come the first soft rain of the spring.  Even though the chill, damp air on his bare forearms was uncomfortable, Sam chose to ignore it.  Facing the night alone, an idiot should be cold – it seemed somehow fitting.

Grim thoughts chased each other in Sam’s head as he walked on aimlessly.  Had he done this or that differently, would things have turned out differently?   It was a pointless exercise in self-torment, Sam knew, and anyway it was months too late, but he could not help reliving the events of the past year – so long ago, it now seemed – and recognizing that, at every critical juncture, he had made exactly the wrong choice.

Jovial regulars singing a tipsy tune in a corner booth;  Kamchatka Vodka in a frosted glass on the counter;  lemon zest and beer foam spilled on a table;  Maryann in her short uniform with the frilly apron, zigzagging across the crowded room with a trayful of glasses.  Now she turns, sees him and smiles –

Only after he turned the last corner and saw the garish neon sign did Sam realize that he had wandered over to Quincy’s.  Probably it was nothing more than the force of habit, he told himself.  Quincy’s, after all, had been his favorite hangout long before Maryann had come to work there.

Raging at Maryann, accusing her of two-timing him, of playing him for a fool;  squeezing her slim arms as ugly, hurtful words come pouring out;  tears streaking her pale face.  Underneath the garish neon letters –

Vague apprehension filled Sam as he made himself push open the door, step inside and look around.  Within, everything was the same as he remembered.  Xeroxed counterfeit bills displayed by the door, signed photographs of semi-celebrities on the wall, the cheesecake beer ad posters – all were there.

Yes, and Maryann, too.  Zigzagging across the crowded room with a trayful of glasses, she turns, sees him -- and with an aching deliberateness, she says "Sammy...".

Related Post:  The theme of the 'Return'

Thursday, February 21, 2013


Once I described myself to my therapist as 'skinless'.  I meant that I felt raw and exposed, like a person whose body is a mass of unprotected nerve endings.

I wish I could be calm and composed at all times, no matter what.  I wish I were able to take everything in stride and withstand all assaults upon my sensibilities with equanimity, like a hard and practiced warrior-philosopher.

But I'm not.  Nor does it seem I ever will be.  I will always have this short fuse, this defensive streak, this mutable temperament -- and more timidity than I like to admit.  And I will keep on wearing my heart on my sleeve and getting angry and blowing up at people I love, only to feel guilty and apologize 15 minutes later.

Sometimes, when I lie in bed trying to go to sleep, my mind will insistently wander down desolate, terrifying crevices, and I'll need to shock myself awake with a shout and a fist to the head.  I'll sit up and take in my dark, reassuringly solid surroundings, then lie back down, only to have to keep my eyes open because if I close them my mind will replay long-ago traumatic dreams and fantasies.

I've always derived particular pleasure from reading descriptions of delusions and hallucinations experienced by schizophrenics, preferably accounts written by the patients themselves -- perhaps it's in part motivated by the desire to set myself apart from them, the need to reassure myself that, despite my brittle fragility, I remain sane.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Another Almost-Story

Stephen Jay Gould wrote an essay titled "The Panda's Thumb".  It's about how evolution tends to work by 'making do' with what's available, rather than building a new organ or part from scratch.  The example he used was how a panda seems to have six digits on each front paw, but what looks like a thumb is actually a wrist bone that's been pressed into service as a tool for stripping leaves off bamboo stalks.  That bone, called the radial sesamoid, is a small part of the wrist joint in most mammals, but in pandas it's been greatly enlarged so that it sticks out at an angle from the rest of the digits, just like a human's thumb.

A possible alternate title I considered for this post was 'The Boasting Panda'.  An illustration in cloud of a story of a character telling a story about himself.


Related Posts:  An Almost-Story2 Creatures

Friday, February 15, 2013

Swing Season

It's not yet officially spring, but there were signs aplenty this past week -- daimon activity!

Welcome back.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Last Week's Thrift Shop Purchase

I just searched the blog for 'thrift shop' intending to link all the little treasures I found at the shop across the street as 'related posts', but it seems I neglected to tag some entries with that phrase, because a number of items did not come up.  The compulsive part of my brain says I should check the entire archive immediately and correct this situation, but I'm tired and the mere thought of the task is just too daunting -- after two and a half years of blogging there are now 751 prior posts -- so I'm going to leave it for now.  Maybe I'll just leave it permanently and pretend the 'Lost Thrift Shop Purchase Posts' are meant to be surprises, like Easter Eggs on DVDs.

Anyway, the manager at the thrift shop had a rare treasure for me;  it's a little ovoid container with lid, three-and-a-quarter inches long and two-and-a-half inches wide, carved out of a single chunk of wood and decorated with leaves and insects in relief.  He said it was made by his own grandfather, who was a master carpenter.  It's just the right size and shape to fit in my hand, and in fact I carried it around with me the first couple of days.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yet Another New Expression Coined

Having seen myself in the bathroom mirror this morning, I've come up with:  "His hair resembled a bird's nest after a strong wind".

Like A Character In A Cheesy Children's Book Churned Out By A Hack Writer In Two Hours

My friend Ev, who is an actual Writer, humorously refers to Hollywood writers as 'schlockmeisters'.  She includes herself, of course.  In truth, I have nothing but respect for people whose job it is to write stories to order;  it takes a great deal of talent and perceptive acumen, not to mention speed and endless patience, to do what they do so dependably well.

Anyway, the title of this imaginary, made-to-order book shall be A Cloud Named Sam.  A drawing very like the above photo probably illustrates page 6 or 7.  The plot is requested to be about a plucky little child-cloud born in Cloudland, where the skies are perpetually gloomy and grey and thick with ever-ready rain, and it begins along the lines of...

Little Sam the cloud had no friends.  He was always off somewhere quietly playing by himself because he was so different from other little clouds of his age.  He was bright, curious, and intellectually adventuresome, but he was also awkward and shy, could not learn any of the games most young clouds liked to play, and easily distracted by things that did not interest other clouds at all.  His parents were concerned about their odd, lonely little cloud, but kept telling each other that he would eventually grow out of it and mature into a responsible adult cloud in due time.

One day Sammy Cloud strays farther afield than usual and loses his way.  Frightened and desperate, Sammy wanders about, flitting this way and meandering that way, hoping to find familiar landmarks, all to no avail.  Then, just when he is near tears and despairing of ever seeing his home again, Sammy espies a strange, bright point of light ahead.  His curiosity overcoming his fear, Sammy makes his way toward the light and timidly approaches the awesomely radiant orb, little realizing the danger that awaits any cloud that wanders too close to the Sun...

O.K., so far, so good.  A nice beginning, no?  I'm sure it's cliché-ridden enough to feel reassuringly familiar and promising of lessons to learn.  I actually would love to read the rest of the story, if only I could come up with a good middle and a touching ending.  I also counted eight points of similarity between myself and Sammy Cloud -- two of them were negative traits, five arguably positive and one neutral.  Rather unexpectedly though, both of the negative ones were also in the positive column.

Related Post:  Sunny Cloud