Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Every Thing?

Dear Curious,

The internet doesn't have everything- I know because I checked.  I looked for something on how to get brave- physically, I mean.  To be courageous in your body- to be fearless about falling, say, on skates.... 

There is a thing called a 'three-turn' on roller skates that I have spent many hours reading about and watching, and imagining myself executing, but I continue to freeze or put my opposite foot down when the moment comes.  Nothing I found helped, but there is a lot on the internet,and here are some of the topics that are well covered:

Getting out stains,

skin conditions,

how to leave your lover,

learning to play guitar, 

and how to live with yourself just as you are, even if you cannot do a three-turn.

The internet also has this great trick tutorial, and you can try it.  And maybe this is why one looks at a tutorial in the first place?  To get some advice on how to walk a mile in the other fellow's shoes?  To try to be something a bit more than you are at present?  To gain a bit more insight?  To be inspired to try?  Alas, I am not sure that I will, because I still cannot find any information on how to be more courageous, fearless, and brave.  You will be wondering, though, about what I did find on bravery, and what I found wasn't practical really at all- none of what I read would have helped a person to ask for a raise, or start a conversation with a stranger at a party; most of what I read defined courage as a willingness to sacrifice, to risk injury, for another; as a firefighter or an EMT would do.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

A new town....

Dear On the Move,

Would you choose a new town by the contents of its library?  You betcha!  Ah, but, perhaps you like your town, but your library is lame- easily fixed!  Get all your best books, pile them up into a wheelbarrow, and roll them to your library.  If you cannot bear to part with your best books, then buy the library new copies.  Presto!  Your library is now great!

I frequent three libraries, and these three have access to systems of ever more libraries, so there are books aplenty.  It's a curious thing, but my requested titles from the library often come from a specific branch: The Blanchard Library in Santa Paula.  Blanchard is often the only library in the system that has the book I am looking to read. 

It makes a kind of venerable paradise of Santa Paula for me:  I think of its orange blossom laden breezes and mild weather when I see the Blanchard bookplate in the various volumes.  I think of the wonderful group of librarians who tend this rare and special collection in the small town.  I think of them shelving these lovely volumes, and making little decisions: "Hmm, not enough shelf space for a nice copy of Summer Lightning,  guess we will take out a few more John Grisham novels, or this biography of an ex-president;  oh, here's a lot of space, if we just get rid of these books on stock market strategies for personal retirement accounts!  Also, there are some picture books on football that we don't really need, either...."

They meet after hours, the four or five of them, to make these decisions about our future as readers, and they bring tea and coffee, which they spike with whiskey and grappa.  They speak quietly, and laugh loudly, even a touch vindictively, as they weed out the books that might make our inner world a less beautiful place.  The rejoice in the books that open doors and point to expansive horizons, and they shun those that regurgitate stereotypes and give us only what we do not hate, instead of offering what we have never even imagined. 

A book can say anything- consider that for a moment, as it fills you with awe.  Stare with me at the vast firmament of words and possibilities and notice how tiny we are.  That dome above is the place that books are born- writers choose out of all of that, out of the whole of everything, a line which defines a story in a world, and they do not need anyone's permission or anyone's cultural conventions; they can write, they can build their world, completely free of our expectations, desires, or morals.  It's an absolute freedom and it commands our respect.

Likewise, if a writer abuses that power, they should be shunned, especially by wise and powerful small groups of tea-swilling librarians in small towns.  To the librarians, the keepers of our literary treasure and our collective imagination, I say ''shine on you crazy diamonds!'


Now that your appetite for a book of unconventional narrative and power has been whetted, consider reading my latest request from the Blanchard Library:  The Hearing Trumpet, by Leonora Carrington. On page 21 she gives us this: 

At times I had thought of writing poetry myself but getting words to rhyme with each other is difficult, like trying to drive a herd of turkeys and kangaroos down a crowded thoroughfare and keep them neatly together without looking in shop windows.  There are so many words, and they all mean something.

A little about Leonora Carrington, and a little more about her from her cousin.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bathed in the shadow of the moon.



Dear Watchful,

What a treat!  We just took an eclipse tripse to see the totality, as they say.  I loved the camaraderie of my fellow moonie loonies, scurrying out to places with widenings in the road to camp and sit and wait for the moon to arrive.  If you haven't ever, I hope you will next time! 


All images courtesy of Cole E. Harvey.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

what I saw there






















Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Say Cheese.


Dear whom it may concern,

Of course, you will have to look for some role models, some people to instruct you in what you want to be.  Advice like this comes from all over-  I mean, there are so many places to learn how you might want to be, to act, to speak, to move. 

It's a pleasure to find people to be like-  my pal in grad school and I used to walk to university looking for 'posture models'- students, staff, and faculty that stood up straight and walked well:  You know, like they had a book on their heads, not just a book on their minds.

Anyway, I found a model recently for how to be photographed with friends and family in a video slide show that backed a German song sung by Marlene Dietrich.  She was all over the people she was photographed with-  not like a cheap suit, but she leaned close and embraced or touched each person she was photographed with like they were her dearest companion.  It inspired me to express a little more feeling when being photographed, and I think I might try a little more verbal flourish with you, too, because I sincerely desire your comfort and contentment, and I'll not let a little trifle like self-consciousness come between us.

L. T.


The video was sent to me by my bandmate:  It's an accordion band with two members.  Before you die of envy, form your own band.  It's easy!  Here is what we have: 

Two accordions. 

One player who can read music and actually play accordion. 

Another player (me) who has read music in the past and does not mind playing accordion poorly.  

We have not yet played together, but this is a trivial detail, as I am sure you'll agree!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Fish and candy.

Dear Ones,

You can always call on me-  I am ready to help in any way I can.  Ready to make a cake, or lend a hand.  If you need to get a message to me, leave it in the phone book, under 'M,' in the booth in Rhylolite.  I'll get it.

For today, two songs that share subject matter.  These two songs are dearly loved:  Both, because they are so plaintive; and the one because the singer is ready to negotiate, while the other just begs earnestly. Imagine a kind of compound of the two: I'll give you fish, so please don't take him just because you can.

Friday, August 4, 2017

For your consideration.

Dear Listeners,

The song for today is hard for me to judge- because it is made of local ingredients, and Jade Jackson would sing in her parents' delicious restaurant, and the train would rumble by and I would think, 'lucky, lucky again!'   In other words, I am fond of her, and her environs, so I recuse myself from determining if this song will or will not open doors for you, blare out your car window on a on a winding road, change your mind for the better, stay with you for decades of good, solid use, or hum you out of a dark alley.  I hope you will watch it and listen and decide for yourself.