Fragments for Records 5/20/20


Deer stalk from the woods to my split-rail fence in the morning when the grass is still wet. A single doe. Young bucks. We stand twenty feet apart in that stillness, watching each others’ eyes, and pay reverence to what silence remains. I want to tell them things it is too early to piece together: that the ancient Japanese believed deer were messengers for the gods. But in our private worship services the sermon is the not-saying.

 “Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.”

Jorge Luis Borges (author / scatterbrain)

When I was younger I used to daydream about keeping a diary out of the romantic idea that it would stand as a record of my existence; that someone would cherish it when I was gone. But I never had the rigor for it. In my office now there are dozens of journals and notepads. Some virgin white with possibilities. Others inked with fragmented notions and the false starts. No forensic process could arrange my library of stops and starts into a cogent history. My thinking is scatterbrained- at best associative. What I write now is too.
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”

Kurt Vonnegut, Player Piano (author / scatterbrain)

Lately I watch documentaries over The Black Death and the Dust Bowl to sleep. They comfort me because disasters in the past can’t do anymore harm. I read apocalyptic science fiction like J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World in which good men go mad and chase the black sun. They reassure me since I have never had a sense of the future. Kim Stanley Robinson, in the article linked below, offers “But science fiction is the realism of our time.”

I want to tell the deer we run over the same trails; that we can run and I won’t give out. Without jiu-jitsu I depend on trail running, yin yoga, calisthenics and kettlebells to stay in motion. If my body is still for too long then my mind and emotions run off, tripping over one another as they go. Einstein saw god in universal laws, but still held his daily walk sacred.

“Falling in love is not at all the most stupid thing that people do–but gravitation cannot be held responsible for it.” – Albert Einstein (theoretical physicist / scatterbrain)

So here I sit absentmindedly going through journals and notes with one screen open to this, and another to the novel I am charging hard to finish. My future is as uncertain as everyone else’s. To map seven days is to schedule eternity. But I have these scraps to stitch into a record. The only way to leave an honest accounting of a life is to wrap it in fiction and poetic license. What most wants told is best confessed by characters, or shared in the not-said.  

Listen to this 

Massenet “Thais Meditation”

Read this

“The Coronavirus is Rewriting Our Imaginations”  Kim Stanley Robinson The New Yorker

Watch this

Kurt Vonnegut documentary (1983)


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