Random things to think about in December

For weeks I've been trying to come up with a really insightful and helpful blog post. Well, fuck that.

I'm in the midst of a deep wintry fog and so nothing brilliant has been forthcoming.

So now I'm just going to give you a list of random stuff I've been thinking about - and perhaps this will help clear the pipes and soon much useful stuff will gush out from me like a mighty geyser.

1. In Watermelon Sugar by Richard Brautigan

"Our lives we have carefully constructed from watermelon sugar and then travelled to the length of our dreams, along roads lined with pines and stones."

So imagine there's this post-apocalyptic little town where everything is made out of watermelon sugar, where tigers who "have beautiful voices" teach children arithmetic while they eat the parents of those same children, and for fun people make giant statues of vegetables and collect things from a eerie wasteland called The Forgotten Works.

That's the surreal, haunting world of Richard Brautigan's 1968 novella, In Watermelon Sugar.  I read it recently because I have had the great good fortune of joining a Book Club packed with a freshly college-graduated generation of Pittsburgh's new poets and artists - and those whippersnappers are really waking me up.  This Book Club includes the notable new poet Joe Hogle, who has a "science-fiction experiment with my brother" that's rather lovely.

I keep thinking about the book because it's like nothing I've ever read - and what with my PhD in English, I've read a fuck ton. Overall the book is a tender-yet-hard meditation on the way that we as individuals and as a society experience history, fragility, violence and death. Some folks say that it's like a fable - but I'd actually argue that it's much more like a parable.  Remember Jesus spoke in parables - they're a lot weirder than fables, and they pack a lot more spiritual punch.

Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Richard Brautigan spiritually punched me really hard.

2. I haven't really been thinking about much besides In Watermelon Sugar.

3. I mean, nothing really worth reporting.

I've been thinking about this hot guy I like and the way that he kisses. Do you care? Probably not.

4. I've also been too much under the sway of the Nothing and therefore indulging in my major non-awesome vices: self-pity, envy, and Kierkegaardian levels of despair.

I do not recommend at all that you do the same - but I do recommend that you learn more about Kierkegaard, because that dude was amazing.

5. Something that helps pull me out of my despair (and which I highly recommend) is The Outlaw Court.

We've been talking there about what it means to be an Outlaw - and a courtier suggested that being an Outlaw means that "you're someone who lives their truth even in the face of adversity." Another courtier emphasized the difference between being an Outlaw and a criminal: "a criminal recognizes a law and then breaks it; the Outlaw recognizes that there is no law and walks through it."

Wow. Yeah. That.


Posted on December 16, 2013 and filed under Uncategorized.