Be Free!

I am grateful for everyone who subscribes to my sporadic musings. To show my appreciation, I’ve decided to start a Patreon.

JUST KIDDING!

I have paid off the kind and capable people at WordPress to remove all  of the advertising from this blog and its sub-pages. Your time and attention are valuable.

Thank you!

And apropos of nothin’, here’s a teddy bear in the mud. Just because, you know, we can; we have the technology to post random stuff for indefensible reasons.

2017-05-25 10.04.27-2

New Tools

badger and harvest 9.1

I added 2 new arrivals to the little stone jar on my desk today. They came from CWPencils in NYC to southern CA in 3 days, which just amazes me. How does the post office do that?

I’ve tried them both and of the two, I’m most impressed with the General’s Badger. It appears to be cedar, feels round-ish much like the Semi-Hex in my hand but it writes a little darker and smoother. Good point retention. It’s one I’ll want to keep stocked up on. My only criticism of the General’s pencils is that their yellow paint is thin. At 75 cents each, I’d expect a little better paint job, but that’s a pretty insignificant thing. I buy pencils to write stuff down, not to sit here and behold their beauty. It’s just that I do appreciate attention to detail, you know?

The Musgrave Harvest is my first #1 pencil (yes, in my life, as far as I know) because I wasn’t paying attention when I ordered it and assumed it was a #2. But I’m happy I was distracted because I really like it too; it’s also a real pleasure to use. The core is soft, it writes smooth and dark, and for a sharper hex it’s still comfortable. It’s not cedar, it’s possibly basswood, which is fine. The Harvest is 35 cents each but the paint seems more thorough. And though I’ve seen it advertised as a yellow pencil,  it’s obviously orange; exactly the same paint as the 909 Ceres.

It’s always a better day when a few new pencils come to town. Write on, y’all.

Differently

“I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.”

~ Franz Kafka

Event Horizon

Scan-023b_back_yard_delano (Medium)

 

I spend my life looking

for the beginnings of the ends of things.

I watch clocks and listen to breathing.

I take notes about the evidence of pain

and pull at the loose threads of heartbreak.

My greatest fear is the great alone;

the event horizon of deep sorrow.

 

– J. Kyle Kimberlin
8.25.2018

Creative Commons Licensed

How civilizations heal

This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal. I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.

  • Toni Morrison 

This Chair By Appointment

I like a barber shop. It’s one of those places where things make sense, where there’s no subterfuge or duplicity. Guys are getting their hair cut; besides some conversation to pass the time, that’s all that’s going on. No one tries to sell you something you didn’t come in for, nothing you didn’t know you needed. The arrangements may involve subjectivity, but when you’ve been getting the same haircut for so many years, there’s zero temptation to be impulsive anymore.

When I finished college in 1986, I wandered the wasteland of hair salons for 5 years. Then my brother recommended this place in 1991. Since then, every haircut I’ve gotten has been in this simple but perfect barber shop; except one, because I needed a haircut when I was traveling. Best guess, about 150 haircuts in 27 years, all in the same chair. And 3 generations of the same family have been my barbers there.

In a world rushing headlong into an inscrutable maelstrom of change, I cherish continuity, simplicity, and the extraordinary gift of someone who knows what you like and appreciates a joke. I double dog dare you to name a better place to find that than a barber shop.

Too Late, Too Soon

I am reminded tonight, adrift as I am again in the horse latitudes of creative inertia, of a line from the writer Anne Lamott.

“Ah! Stuck in the shit! And it’s your fault, you did this…”

Believe me I’m deeply motivated to blame others for the reality that I’m creating nothing out of nothing. Jean-Paul Sartre said “hell is other people” because the judgments of society are always in our minds, so we are never free. Even now as I type this, all alone in my condo — with no impressions of the outside world but the gentle exhalations of the freeway and the whisper of the sprinklers coming on — I am not free.

You are going to judge me, aren’t you? People who know me and people who don’t are going to read this and make calculations, draw conclusions, read between the lines, assume and presume to understand. And brains will have reactions. So you have a claim on my freedom from the future, as I have a claim on your attention from the past.

That is a weird concept: You’re in my head, for better or worse, and I’m in yours. And it seems to be a kind of magic. But if we’re not careful, it’s more disillusion than illusion, less trick than trial.

Sadly, that is the Grand Illusion, that we have the capacity to know each other, or even to know ourselves. Nevertheless, that is the poet’s job: to look out at the world and explore and illuminate moments subjectively, with the self as primary subject.

It’s late – the mind drifts. I leave you with a few ponderables from my Commonplace Book, perhaps to be parsed furtively in a future post, if God wills it:

“No matter how piercing and appalling his insights, the desolation
creeping over his outer world, the lurid lights and shadows of his inner
world, the writer must live with hope, work in faith.”

— J.B. Priestley

“Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”

— Sartre

“In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable.”

— John Steinbeck

“No one deserves to know the real you. Let them criticize who they think you are.”

— Unknown