before the cemetery
a gambling house:
LAST CHANCE CLEANERS
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2009 08:53PM by petersz.
No, cause those idiots are going to get us all killed
Pfft. A few psychos with some basic chemicals, ya, real threat to the human race. They lucky they cowards, they do anything of any importance and the world will jump down their throat. Not even bush's puppeteers will be able to fuck up that coalition.
It is amazing how some people can be so racist, judgemental, and knowingly ignorant.
Somewhere Yogi is smiling.
it ain't over til its over
Did you have something you wanted to share with the class K.Q.?
Here's a tribute to 2008 from JibJab: [sendables.jibjab.com] />
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2009 04:13AM by les712.
A funny and cleverly done reflection on the past year, Les.
Hey, has anyone heard from Johnny? He hasn't been around for a while and that's unlike him. I hope it's something fun and enjoyable that has kept him.
Re: Frivolous Conversations #88
Posted by: JohnnyBoy (68.194.80.---)
Date: December 30, 2008 04:50AM
hmmm.....it seems that no one will know I'm here if I don't comment !
Happy New Year everyone !
"may it be a damn sight better than the old one"
it is up to us to change the small worlds we live in and their connections with the larger world of events, but I second Jhnny's sentiment.
I'm sure this will come as good news to most of you, but I will miss you all. I will be offline for several months. Thanks for all your concerns. A couple of clarifications before you ask.
1. My health is fine.
2. I'm not going anywhere.
3. Please don't send me any private messages or e-mails because I will not be able to answer them.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2009 02:21AM by les712.
Surely this is not good news to any of us, Les, and why you would think so is perplexing. Whatever it is, please know that you will be sorely missed and that you have many friends here who will be hopefully awaiting your return.
You certainly will be missed, but good luck living your life.
Well, as long as you promise to come back, then you have permission to go !
I second what everybody said, Les. I hope you return soon, you will be tremendously missed. Be well !!!
You better not be dying on us old man.
No such luck, Percival,
Thanks for your concern everyone. Rest assured that I will miss you all much more than you miss me and that I would be here if I could.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2009 04:51PM by les712.
Good luck with whatever it is that's taking you away from this.
When you come back online we will have something to celebrate.
When you get back, I'll slap you for saying people want you gone.
I double what the others have said, Les, and look forward to your return.
In the meantime, thanks for reassuring us that you are not unwell.
I'm sorry though, that you told us you are not "going anywhere". We could have had fun competing to suggest the wildest possibilities: e.g. walking the Appalachian trail; going to a monastic retreat; kayaking across the Atlantic; circumnavigating Antarctica; going undercover as a law enforcement agent; etc, etc.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/08/2009 10:15PM by IanAKB.
I think Les is Batman.
The poems I have posted this month, "Song to the Imagination," "Breathing," "Beginning to Be Unfinished," "Ink on the Tracks," "The Turtle," ns "No Way,' have been attempts on my part to write poems which either show the process of writing or have tried to direct the reader to the process through which they were composed. This is not exactly lyric poetry, nor is it primarily meditative in the traditional sense. I am never quite happy when I cover over the creative process, making the product, glistening in its seamlessness, more important than the proc3ess. I know this a preeminently post-modern practice, considering the experiments of Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, and even Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. And this is always an experiment which has inherent in it the possibility of 'failure' in terms of any of the poetic theory before the late Twentieth Century. Maybe I'm not capable of writing a polished piece right now.
I guess it is always ok for an audience to ignore what does not meet its tastes. I only hope it is more worth my while to experiment with poetry than use all my energies on my soapbox.
Try something you haven't done before...at least in your poems...and your reading.
I agree the creative process is important, but it is such an isolated activity and so individual in nature, that I sometimes wonder if it merits a lot of discussion as to its efficacy as an educational tool. Anecdotes and stories of how poets and other creative people come to develop their work are certainly interesting, but I don't see them having much value as an aid to others. I think doting on the process sometimes can have a paralyzing effect on the artist, retarding creativity rather than stimulating it.
You say that you're "never quite happy when (you) cover over the creative process, making the product, glistening in its seamlessness, more important than the process." I think the product...the output of the creative process without regard to how it came to be...more relevant. It is this "glistening" that ultimately endures and moves the audience.
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/2009 11:20AM by hpesoj.
I guess I am more interested in how things come about...sometimes. Of course, sometimes I like a good pancake, without the instructions.
yeah, can you just stop hacking into my computer and watching me work.
I didn't mean to impply (infer?) that there is no value in thinking about the creative process, or that I am disparaging your poems in any way. On the contrary, the six poems you mention are all quite good and I continue to be amazed at how creative and prolific a poet you are.
Why so serious? Is the answer batman? Maybe I'm not a full shilling or up to it. But when I logged on to my remote desktop today, there was someone else there controlling my mouse. And all your comments look like mine. So logically..
I'm not a good enough a poet to assume that my ideas are so good they're worth stealing and I'm not a criminal or even up to anything criminal. No really, whoever you are, thanks for treating me like an animal, is there any point in trying to do anything, ever?! Why don't you go find a heroin addict to harass instead? I'm sure they'd be glad of your "publicity".
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/12/2009 12:44PM by valerie-v.
I just woke up. Since the forum has been down for almost a day, I couldn't post anything yesterday. But I was starled to see five people had read the poem I posted within five minutes. I didn't ralize anybody else was on yet.
Same to you, see?
What happened???? For over a week, all I got was a white, blank screen when I tried to log in?
It was strange. All I kept getting was streaming clips from Cuban news shows.
lucky you, Steevo.
Hello again, my dear strangers.
Same to you, see?
Hello at last!
Hey guys, Ive been trying to log on and it didnt work... it said that my account had been deactivated or something like, but I havent been gone more than a couple of weeks.
anyhow, I registered again with the same email and it allowed me to do so... but now im g47 rather than G47... sigh...
Good story. I don't know who wrote it. I got it from my brother-in-law (The Colonel). When he says "pass it along" I do.
Cemetery Escort Duty
I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey's. Sneaking a look at my watch, I saw the time, 16:55. Five minutes to go before the cemetery gates are closed for the day. Full dress was hot in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad as ever--the heat and humidity at the same level--both too high.
I saw the car pull into the drive, '69 or '70 model Cadillac Deville, looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail's pace. An old woman got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed; she had a cane and a sheaf of flowers--about four or five bunches as best I could tell.
I couldn't help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a slightly bitter taste: 'She's going to spend an hour, and for this old soldier, my hip hurts and I'm ready to get out of here right now!' But for this day, my duty was to assist anyone coming in.
Kevin would lock the 'In' gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along, we might make it to Smokey's in time.
I broke post attention. My hip made gritty noises when I took the first step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real military sight: middle-aged man with a small pot gut and half a limp, in marine full-dress uniform, which had lost its razor crease about thirty minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.
I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me with an old woman's squint.
'Ma'am,may I assist you in any way?'
She took long enough to answer.
'Yes, son. Can you carry these flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these days..'
'My pleasure, ma'am.' Well, it wasn't too much of a lie.
She looked again.. 'Marine, where were you stationed?'
'Vietnam, ma'am. Ground-pounder. '69 to '71.'
She looked at me closer. 'Wounded in action, I see. Well done, Marine. I'll be as quick as I can.'
I lied a little bigger: 'No hurry, ma'am.'
She smiled and winked at me. 'Son, I'm 85-years-old and I can tell a lie from a long way off. Let's get this done. Might be the last time I can do this. My name's Joanne Wieserman, and I've a few Marines I'd like to see one more time.'
'Yes, ma 'am. At your service.'
She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She picked one of the flowers out of my arm and laid it on top of the stone. She murmured something I couldn't quite make out. The name on the marble was Donald S. Davidson, USMC: France 1918.
She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II section, stopping at one stone. I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek. She put a bunch on a stone; the name was Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.
She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone, Stanley J. Wieserman, USMC, 1944.
She paused for a second. 'Two more, son, and we'll be done'
I almost didn't say anything, but, 'Yes, ma'am. Take your time.'
She looked confused. 'Where's the Vietnam section, son? I seem to have lost my way.'
I pointed with my chin. 'That way, ma'am.'
'Oh!' she chuckled quietly. 'Son, me and old age ain't too friendly.'
She headed down the walk I'd pointed at. She stopped at a couple of stones before she found the ones she wanted. She placed a bunch on Larry Wieserman, USMC, 1968, and the last on Darrel Wieserman, USMC, 1970. She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn't make out.
'OK, son, I'm finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home.'
Yes, ma'am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk?'
She paused. 'Yes, Donald Davidson was my father, Stephen was my uncle, Stanley was my husband, Larry and Darrel were our sons. All killed in action, all marines.'
She stopped. Whether she had finished, or couldn't finish, I don't know. She made her way to her car, slowly and painfully.
I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then double-timed it over to Kevin, waiting by the car.
'Get to the 'Out' gate quick. I have something I've got to do.'
Kevin started to say something, but saw the look I gave him. He broke the rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She hadn't made it around the rotunda yet.
'Kevin, stand at attention next to the gatepost. Follow my lead.' I humped it across the drive to the other post.
When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the short straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny's voice: 'TehenHut! Present Haaaarms!'
I have to hand it to Kevin; he never blinked an eye--full dress attention and a salute that would make his DI proud. She drove through that gate with two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send-off she deserved, for service rendered to her country, and for knowing duty, honor and sacrifice.
I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that Cadillac.
Instead of 'The End,' just think of 'Taps.'
As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer: 'Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home or overseas. Hold them in your loving hands and protect them as they protect us.'
I have a story that should be passed along. And it's funny.
Once upon a time there was an island, heated by the tropic sun. On that island lived idolators. In pursuit of favor from the gods, they erected more and more gigantic monoliths. Great things requiring great effort would surely please the gods. For such feats required many men with much knowledge and strength. Rock from the feet of their volcano would have to be carved, then lifted with even larger cranes made of local trees. Once lifted, they would be rolled over logs to their destination, then lifted to stand.
Perhaps, for a time, these acts did bring fortune. In cooperation of communities, the social status of possessing these abilities, so on. But, as time passed, and ever grander statues were required to please the gods, something strange occurred. Fortunes grew worse, and increasingly so. Despite these idolators having mastered their labor of worship, despite their producing more and greater statues than ever before, things only grew worse.
Oh, yes, you should definitely consider stand-up comedy as a career
A christian, a jew, a muslim, and a hindu walk into a bar. They get in an arguement over the meaning of peace. They kill each other.
This weird thing just happened to me and I want to see if anyone knows what it was. I was sitting, cruising the web, when from out of no where I get hit with this massive and very odd feeling in my head. It was kind of like the feeling of confusion in deja vu but absurdly strong. Hurt like a bastard but in a weird way. Kind of like getting hit with something blunt, wide, and flat. Went away in a few seconds but feeling some similar after effects.
Sounds like it could be screen-hypnosis.....happens if you're staring at a computer screen sometimes.
usually not associated with pain though....I'll research further
Em, very faint, speratic feelings of dizziness, being unbalanced, the following day.
hypoglycemia is a possibility, headache is mentioned as a symptom, but usually post-episodic. otherwise can be as you described.
Your diet is good, right? I seem to recall you saying that
Aye,I eat heartily. Nothing since though, assume I'm fine.
I was once treated by the guy who originally made up the diagnosis 'hypoglycemia'...he confessed that he'd made mistake and that what he'd actually witnessed was a cluster of symptoms that should have individually been ascribed to other conditions...so I don't think that's what you're dealing with...the brain and nervous system do odd things sometimes, far beyond the ken the neurology gang. Hope it goes away and never returns, P.
Can't hurt to get your blood pressure checked
Aye, can't hurt. Thank you Peter.
A year later as European editor of Poetry he [E. Pound] was writing to its main editor Harriet Monro in Chicago:-
Objectivity and again objectivity, and no expression, no hind-side-beforenesss, no Tennysonianness of speech - nothing, nothing, that you couldn't in some circumstance, in the stress of some emotion, actually say. Every literaryism, every book word, fritters away a scrap of the reader's patience, a scrap of his sense of your sincerity.
Every literaryism, every book word, fritters away a scrap of the reader's patience, a scrap of his sense of your sincerity.
I find that true of prose, but isn't poetry supposed to be different? "Literaryisms" and "Tennysonianness" are what differentiates poetry from prose...at least when they are properly employed.
I think the suggestion is that good poetry is the natural use of language, one that is not artificial and contrived.It is a tricky proposition, since we're so often taught in school that 'poetry [is] supposed to be different.' We are taught to not trust our natural felicity with language. I find much poetry in the ordinary use of language and a lot of bad poetry being written by people wanting to sound poetic. This is my opinion, of course, but it was also the opinion of Wordsworth and Pound and every poet from Japan to Harlem who has tried to bring poetry back into the tongue when it has gotten too far from ordinary speech. I remember Basho making the same plea about Japanese poetry when he was critiquing court poetry of his time: too artificial. No one can relate to it as ordinary experience. I know some have argued for a heightened language...and yet/and yet.
I imagine, then, that Wordsworth, Pound, Basho, et. al were not huge fans of Shakespeare (?) Pity. It seems the question is coming around again to what, exactly, is poetry? The topic has gotten much discussion here over the years (see threads below), but I wonder what some of the newer contributors think.
Pound also thought that integration was a Jewish conspiracy, so I take anything he says with a grain of salt
I do hope some of the new people will take up the challenge and tell us why they think it might make a difference to call one piece of writing poetry and declare that another is not.
Please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Pound's judgment about many things was flawed, but he had many useful things to say about writing. I take what he had to say about economics with a grain of salt too, but his understanding of poetry led me to read much wonderful writing I never would have come across otherwise.
btw, This is my second response to both of your wonderful replies. I managed to lose the first somehow while I was looking through the rest of the posts tonight. Ah Well, be well.
I'm sorry for sort of falling off the face of the earth for a while, but have been embroiled in work issues and taking life far too seriously these days. I hope to get back soon.
Well I hope I haven't had too much of a part in making things difficult for you.
No part at all, Percival. In comparison to what I've been dealing with, any of the discussions I've had with you are a lovely stroll in the park. And no matter how frustrated I've ever become trying to find common ground with you, I still consider you one of the many friends at e-mule. It's work related and just has me in a frame of mind that is not conducive to poetry (mine or anyone else's) or to being particularly social. But, just wanted to let you guys know that I'm thinking of you and hoping to get back.
It's good to see your name on the board again, Mary. Thanks for letting us know you're OK, despite the difficulties at work. Hope things turn around soon for you.
Oh good...I thought you eloped with Les
Thanks, Joe. Something's got to give soon, and hopefully not my back or health from the stress.
Johnny, laughing uproariously, I have to say I'd much rather that be the case than the truth of the matter. Unless, of course, he is, indeed, batman. Then I'd be in Carol's shoes. lol. On the other hand, maybe he could take a few of the difficult people I'm dealing with and fly them up to pluto or something. I wonder if Carol would mind if I borrowed Terry for a day or two.
I'm glad, but being so harmless hurts my feelings. Could you say I did a bit of damage, pick me up?
Scroll down to the symbol of the 3rd Panzer Division (1941-1945)
That, good sir, is priceless.
All our poems are like babies. When they grow up to go out into the world on their own, sometimes, we just have to turn away in embarrassment at how they are dressed.
They're still our babies.
postings on the board Sunday, February 22, 2009 5:35 PM
les712 & lg 2
Boo Cipher 3
Total slots on the board 140
20 have taken 28 slots
10 have taken 30 slots
2 have taken 41 slots
I’m busy not going out to watch the Academy Awards
God! Do not ever listen to anyone dis Kenneth Rexroth, baby.
"Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." -Abraham Lincoln
If there is not the war, you don't get the great general; if there is not a great occasion, you don't get a great statesman; if Lincoln had lived in a time of peace, no one would have known his name.
Better that we'd a never heard of him then. Greatness sucks..it sucks life from the rest of us.
Does it now? And the men who built the systems which sustain our society, and thus you, providing so much luxury and excess that you can be here now, talking to us, rather than out in some dark landscape tracking a wild beast which may well fatally injure you, wouldn't they be considered great men?
The whole idea that there is any bit more worth to one human being over any other is repugnant, silly thinking to me. It is why some people oppress others and it is that belief that some are so much better than all the rest hurts us all. The word is elitism. The fertility and creativity of the species is in each of us.
I am only an average man but, by George, I work harder at it than the average man.
And in building this city which has given you so much, allowed you to become a man who is presumably not wicked or cruel, bent by a lifetime of desperation and hardship, how do you imagine things were done? When the roads, and buildings, and sewers, and wires, and laws were erected, do you imagine that men who were less experienced were put in charge? Or simply selected at random? Wouldn't this lead to faulty systems, and thus malfunction and injury?
If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today.
so much for labels, huh.
from the Home Page of Thomas Sowell:
People who want to be complimentary sometimes tell me that I have a “gift” for writing. But it is hard for me to regard as a gift something that I worked at for more than a decade—unsuccessfully—before finally breaking into print. Nor was this a case of unrecognized talent. It was a case of quickly recognized incompetence.
In the early years, my manuscripts came back to me by return mail, which was a lot faster in those days. To drop a manuscript in the mail on the way to work Monday morning and find it waiting when you returned home from work Tuesday night really told you something—or should have.
Some young would-be writers may lament their misfortune in living out in the boondocks, instead of being at the heart of the publishing industry in New York. When I first started writing, in my teens, I lived in New York City and worked in downtown Manhattan. That is how I got my rejection slips back so fast. If I had lived out in Podunk, I could have dreamed on, in a fool’s Paradise, from Monday morning until Thursday or Friday evening, before the brutal truth caught up with me.
Learning to write by trial and error not only calls for patience on the writer’s part, it also taxes the patience of wives, landlords, and creditors. Whenever someone, especially a young person, tells me of an ambition to become a writer, my heart goes out to him or her immediately—and my spirits sink. There is seldom a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, even for those who become established writers eventually—and a lot can happen between now and eventually, like broken marriages, eviction for non-payment of rent, and the like.
Even the mechanics or logistics of writing can be a challenge to figure out. Some of the most productive writers have followed the disciplined practice of sitting down at fixed times each day and turning out the words. Anthony Trollope followed this regimen in the nineteenth century and Paul Johnson with equal (or greater) success in the twentieth century. Alas, however, human beings differ and some of us are never going to be Anthony Trollope or Paul Johnson, in this respect or any other.
Instead of trying to be someone that you are not, be the best at what you are. My own writing practices are the direct opposite of that followed by these prolific and renowned writers. I write only when I have something to say. The big disadvantage of this is that it can mean a lot of down time. There are manuscripts of mine that sat around gathering dust for years without a word being added to them. How then have I managed to write more than 20 books within the Biblical threescore and ten years?
My own particular idiosyncracy is writing several books at once. I may reach the point where I have nothing whatever to add to a manuscript on Marxism or affirmative action, but am bursting with things to say about late-talking children. I go with what has seized my attention and inspired my thoughts at the time. There are days, perhaps even weeks, when I have nothing worth saying in print about anything. I keep a backlog of unpublished newspaper columns on hand to send out to the syndicate during such times, while I go to Yosemite or just hang around the house printing photographs or otherwise trying to keep out of mischief.
Because of this way of working, I don’t sign a contract in advance to write a book, so I never have pressure to write when I have nothing to say, in order to meet a deadline or keep on a schedule. Instead, I wait until the book is already written and then send the manuscript off to my agent, telling her to call me when it is over and she has a contract from a publisher.
The big advantage of this off-beat way of working is that what I write is written when I am full of ideas and enthusiasm about the subject—even if these periods occur only at intervals, with months or even years in between for a given book. Some of my favorite books came from manuscripts that I thought would never get finished.
The manuscript of Basic Economics sat around for about a decade. From time to time, something that I saw in a newspaper or magazine or on television would set me off and I would see an economic principle that it illustrated or a fallacy that needed to be corrected—usually the latter. But, once I had written whatever it took to deal with that particular issue, I felt no compulsion to continue writing Basic Economics. Only after the manuscript had grown to a considerable size over the years did I start re-organizing it and filling in the missing subjects that would turn it into an introduction to economics for the general public. During this long span of years, many dramatic illustrations and quotations turned up from time to time and were added to spice up the discussion at the places where they fitted in.
Similarly with The Quest for Cosmic Justice, which took even longer to emerge from the pipeline. It began as a paper delivered in Switzerland in 1982, turned into a mathematical exercise a couple of years later, and then—after both devastating criticisms and encouragement to continue working on it by Milton Friedman—the whole subject lay dormant until the spring of 1996. At that point, some incredibly fatuous remarks by a colleague at Stanford University so infuriated me that I realized that there were many confused mush heads like him out there who needed to be straightened out. The net result was a sustained period of writing on the subject, leading to a popular lecture in New Zealand in the fall of 1996 and a book published in the fall of 1999—17 years after the lecture that first introduced the basic ideas in the book.
This system may not work for everybody. It may not even work for as many people as the more demanding system used by Anthony Trollope or Paul Johnson. But it is one possibility. My way certainly will not work for an assistant professor on a three-year contract, who needs to publish before he perishes. It is also unlikely to work for the writer whose bills are piling up while threatening letters are arriving in the mail from creditors. But, if it works for you, that is all that you need to be concerned about.
Even when a writer is successful, it is seldom overnight success, and it may be success at getting into print more so than success in getting rich. Even writers who have gone on to win prizes and make the best-seller lists often spent years collecting rejection slips. My own experience may not be unusual. I first tried to sell something that I had written when I was 17 years old. I first succeeded when I was 30. I first made any serious money from writing—enough to buy an automobile—when I was 40. I first made enough money from writing in a year to live on for a year when I was 52. Fortunately, I had other jobs, usually in academia, to keep a roof over my head and food on the table during all those years.
Incidentally, agents can be very valuable in freeing up your time for writing, as well as in getting you better deals than you are likely to get for yourself. Paying them 15 percent of your royalties is usually well worth it. To put it in extreme terms, it is better to have 85 percent of something than 100 percent of nothing. Writers can, of course, sell their own manuscripts and most of us have no choice but to do so early in our careers, because good agents can pick and choose which writers to represent—which tend to be writers with established track records, and whose book sales make a 15 percent commission add up to a worthwhile amount.
What can an agent do that a writer cannot do? First of all, an agent can get a manuscript read by a senior editor at a publishing house, rather than by some lowly reader who is assigned the thankless job of looking for a needle in a haystack among the tons of manuscripts that come in “over the transom” from would-be writers that nobody ever heard of. But why will a senior editor take a manuscript from an agent more seriously? Because the agent pre-screens manuscripts and sends only the ones that will justify the editor’s continuing to take the agent seriously. For those manuscripts that fall below this level, the agent can offer advice to the writer, ranging from a few changes here and there to a suggestion that taking up carpentry might offer a better way of making a living.
The biggest advantage that an agent has over a writer is in sheer knowledge of the publishing industry in general and the individuals in it in particular. Like other things, a given manuscript has a different value to different people. A cookbook is worth far more to an editor who is a gourmet cook and knows all the leading gourmet magazines and TV shows where a good cookbook can be marketed than the same cookbook is to an editor who is great at sports but whose knowledge of food does not go much beyond hamburgers and fried chicken.
Because editors are constantly changing jobs from one publisher to another, just keeping track of all these musical chairs is a job in itself. A writer cannot hope to keep track of such things but an agent can and must, in order to direct manuscripts to where they will have the best chance of being accepted and getting large advances. The same manuscript may be rejected immediately by four or five publishers, while two or three other publishers are frantically bidding against each other to sign a contract for it.
As a battle-scarred veteran of four decades of publishing, I am especially pleased when readers and reviewers comment on how easy it is to read my writing. Part of that, of course, is due to experience—“experience” being a fancy word for all the damn fool mistakes that you finally realized you were making. However, another “secret” of readable writing is fighting to keep editors from messing it up after you have finally gotten it right.
I'm not sure if it's appropriate to post a poem here, but found this and rather liked it. It aptly conveys my state of humour this evening.
by: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)
"YOU are old, Father William," the young man said,
"And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head--
Do you think, at your age, it is right?"
"In my youth," Father William replied to his son,
"I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again."
"You are old," said the youth, "as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door--
Pray, what is the reason of that?"
"In my youth," said the sage, as he shook his gray locks,
"I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment -- one shilling the box --
Allow me to sell you a couple?"
"You are old," said the youth, "and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak--
Pray, how did you manage to do it?"
"In my youth," said his father, "I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength which it gave to my jaw
Has lasted the rest of my life."
"You are old," said the youth, "one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose--
What made you so awfully clever?"
"I have answered three questions, and that is enough,"
Said his father; "don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down-stairs!"
a favorite piece, and yes, it is appropriate to post a poem anywhere, even in your underwear.
...or ON your underwear, if you like.
Thought I'd contribute a little to the frivolous conversation... I heard Kerouac, Ginsberg and crew used to type out their favorite authors word for word, so I've been trying that out with For Whom the Bell Tolls and Magnetism...but here are some Kafka quotes from the introduction of The Metamorphosis, thought you guys would find at least some of it interesting/relevant:
"The special nature of my inspiration...is such that I can do everything, and not only what is directed to a definite piece of work. When I arbitrarily write a single sentence, for instance, "He looked out of the window," it already has perfection."
"My Happiness, my abilities, and every possibility of being useful in any way have always been in the literary field. And here I have, to be sure, experienced states...in which I completely dwelt in every idea, but also filled every idea, and in which I not only felt myself at my boundary, but at the boundary of the human in general."
"What will be my fate as a writer is very simple. My talent for portraying my dreamlike inner life has thrust all other matters into the background; my life has dwindled dreadfully, nor will it cease to dwindle. Nothing else will ever satisfy me. But the strength I can muster for that portrayal is not to be counted upon: perhaps it has already vanished forever, perhaps it will come back to me again, although the circumstances of my life don't favor its return. Thus I waver, continually fly to the summit of the mountain, but then fall back in a moment. Others waver too, but in lower regions, with greater strength; if they are in danger of falling, they are caught up by the kinsman who walks beside them for that very purpose. But I waver on the heights; it is not death, alas, but the eternal torments of dying."
"But what is it to be a writer? Writing is a sweet, wonderful reward, but it's price? During the night the answer was transparently clear to me: it is the reward for service to the devil. This descent to the dark powers, this unbinding of spirits by nature bound, dubious embraces and whatever else may go on below, of which one no longer knows anything above ground, when in the sunlight one writes stories. Perhaps there is another kind of writing. I only know this one, in the night, when anxiety does not let me sleep, I only know this one. And what is devilish in it seems to me quite clear. It is the vanity and the craving for enjoyment, which is forever whirring around oneself or even around someone else...and enjoying it. The wish that a naive person sometimes has: "I would like to die and watch the others crying over me," is what such a writer constantly experiences: he dies (or he does not live) and continually cries over himself."
I've never made friends over the internet, and I'm not trying to be elitist hahaha but the literacy and the level of thought on this forum far exceeds that of my current circle of scum.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2009 11:07PM by obiwan.
Don't let it get you down, Chris. There is more to life than knowledge. This might seem a strange thing to hear from someone who has three degrees beyond his B.A., but remember personal experience, though it is fundamentally flawed, is the best measure of all things and we make our daily decisions on grounds that are not amenable to rational ordering, no matter what rationalizations we might frame for them. I trust people whose judgment I value, not those who have more degrees or who may be able to quote Homer from beginning to end from memory. Kindness toward strangers rate high in my view of a person's understanding of human beings. Blah, blah, blah...like they say, advice is cheap, even my own.
I thought you should know, since this was missing from most newspapers:
You're a 19 year old kid, critically wounded, and dying in the jungle in the Ia Drang Valley, 11-14-1965, LZ Xray, Vietnam.
Your infantry unit is outnumbered 8 - 1, and the enemy fire is so intense, from 100 or 200 yards away, that your own Infantry Commander has ordered the MediVac helicopters to stop coming in.
You're lying there, listening to the enemy machine guns, and you know you're not getting out. Your family is halfway around the world, 12,000 miles away, and you'll never see them again.
As the world starts to fade in and out, you know this is the day. Then, over the machine gun noise, you faintly hear that sound of a helicopter, and you look up to see an un-armed Huey, but it doesn't seem real, because there are no Medi-Vac markings on it.
Ed Freeman is coming for you. He's not Medi-Vac, so it's not his job, but he's flying his Huey down into the machine gun fire, after the Medi-Vacs were told not to come.
He's coming anyway. And he drops it in, and sits there in the machine gun fire, as they load 2 or 3 of you on board. Then he flies you up and out through the gunfire, to the waiting Doctors and Nurses. And, he kept coming back...... 13 more times.... and took over 30 of you and your buddies out, who would never have survived. Medal of Honor Recipient Ed Freeman died August 20, 2008 in Boise, ID , at the age of 80. May God rest his soul.....
(Oh yeah, Paul Newman died that day too. I guess you knew that. He got a lot more press than Ed Freeman).
Just thought you should know.....
Newman gave quite a bit to charity though. Not to say our society isn't ass backward in its values.
There are indeed people of our species who could be labeled as scum. I've had misfortune enough to be closely associated with them. People who's lives are aimed at the ruination of anything outside themselves, and most often, themselves as well. Others here have seen the worst of us on a daily basis. Some of us are those scum.
But few of these people are entirely in control of themselves, you might say. Perhaps I might put it as, they don't know the value or method of living life peacefully. And though there is indeed a point where these people must be put to an end, not knowing when that point is is to become them.
Mr. P and Peter,
It takes scum to know scum and scum gathers like spit in a spit jar in a house full of smokers. I agree that knowledge is not all that matters, especially not in terms of degrees and diplomas, but i do think stupid is contagious. I do not think that advice is cheap if it is genuinely given and full-heartedly taken. Maybe the more bullshit you witness, the more covered you are in scum.
I do not understand what you are talking about.
“But in the mud and scum of things, There always, something sings”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Aint nobody eva undastands the words that are comin out of your mouth!"
Eh? sorry I was drunk, but it still makes some sense to me.
What I really meant was I'm not letting anything get me down, and scum was just an affectionate term for my friends.
I think i hear shit missiles.
My point was that none of us, especially you or I, are above becoming scum. And that acting as if things were any other way, imagining we are somehow beyond that possibility, untouchable, is the first step to corruption. As to your intoxication, I've seen atrocious things excused by inebriation, you should be cautious of such action.
15454 night's sea
15455 green of the mountain pool
15456 shone from the unmasked eyes in half-mask's space.
15457 What thou lovest well remains,
15458 the rest is dross
15459 What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
15460 What thou lov'st well is thy true heritage
15461 Whose world, or mine or theirs
15462 or is it of none?
15463 First came the seen, then thus the palpable
15464 Elysium, though it were in the halls of hell,
15465 What thou lovest well is thy true heritage
15466 What thou lov'st well shall not be reft from thee
15467 The ant's a centaur in his dragon world.
15468 Pull down thy vanity, it is not man
15469 Made courage, or made order, or made grace,
15470 Pull down thy vanity, I say pull down.
15471 Learn of the green world what can be thy place
15472 In scaled invention or true artistry,
15473 Pull down thy vanity,
15474 Paquin pull down!
15475 The green casque has outdone your elegance.
15476 "Master thyself, then others shall thee beare"
15477 Pull down thy vanity
15478 Thou art a beaten dog beneath the hail,
15479 A swollen magpie in a fitful sun,
15480 Half black half white
15481 Nor knowst'ou wing from tail
15482 Pull down thy vanity
15483 How mean thy hates
15484 Fostered in falsity,
15485 Pull down thy vanity,
15486 Rathe to destroy, niggard in charity,
15487 Pull down thy vanity,
15488 I say pull down.
15489 But to have done instead of not doing
15490 this is not vanity
15491 To have, with decency, knocked
15492 That a Blunt should open
15493 To have gathered from the air a live tradition
15494 or from a fine old eye the unconquered flame
15495 This is not vanity.
15496 Here error is all in the not done,
15497 all in the diffidence that faltered ...
from Ezra Pound
Peter, thanks for the vote of confidence. Keep posting, I read as much of your work as I can.
Marty, sorry I haven't gotten back to you, but my situation has not changed. I may be offline til 2010.
Percival, glad your predicament has come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Terry, I hope your latest medical condition has proven satisfactory.
All e-mule posters hang in there and keep writing!
Good to see you Les if only for a brief period
Johnny, I certainly do miss your great repartee. I do read most of the posts, though not every day like I used to.
I once knew someone who took pride in their kindness and independence. All traits have their faults, as did these. Their children, born savage and foolish, needed constant tending, ridged discipline and punishment, should they be molded into reasonable human beings. But, so independent that other states of mind never occurred to this person, the children were left unattended for the most part. So kind that the very thought of causing others pain repulsed this person, the children went unpunished, their inherited natures eventually twisted them.
This person became sick, and due to the independence that they would vigorously promote, sought help too late, became very sick, and needed tending. Their children came, now old fools, wretched people, filled with ridiculous fantasies of heroism on how they would help their parent. What they neglected to take into the equation was their inadequacies, as is common with this type of person. Naturally, they only made things worse. The parent, sick but not dying, was too kind to tell them the truth of things. The inattention of these foul people resulted in a minor complication killing this story's focus.
People tell me I'm cynical. I tell them the world is far better than they could ever imagine.