Monday, January 28, 2013

What this Blog Entry is About

Imagine for a moment that you're sitting on a wrought iron bench at the back of a rice terrace in the middle of the Philippines. There's water everywhere, sitting, flowing, dripping. The sunlight is fighting its way through the mist, though, and the rain has temporarily stopped. You're sitting there, staring out into the fog that's filling the valley before you, waiting for a train.

That's not what this blog entry is about. In a veiled way there's meaning there, but you can't get at it unless you have the key. The key inside my mind. So, instead, you'll make up your own meaning, or listen to someone else's interpretation, or not even look for the meaning at all, simply letting yourself imagine the scene I've laid out before you.

That's not what this blog entry is about, either. I wanted it to be, but once I boarded the train I realized that it would not be that easy since the ticket taker was really a cyborg that's been after my sea-shell table centerpiece for days. He has no qualms with killing me, if he can get what he wants, so I've taken the liberty of locking myself into a passenger compartment full of old women.

This would not have been a problem at all (they didn't notice me lock the door, and really they're all very nice), except that they happened to be intrepid members of the Canadian Women's Murder Society from a chapter located in British Columbia. They were twittering away excitedly over an twenty-one year old case of massacre and I was left defenseless against my imaginations.

Suddenly one of them stood and said, pointing a gnarly finger at me, "He's not supposed to be here. He'll ruin our whole plan if he stays! Sabotage isn't something we just fit in around tea and tête-à-têtes, you know."

The sweetest looking one of them all, a plump mother-hen type that was knitting, smiled up at the speaker and replied, "But, Jean, what would you have us do? Throw him out the window?"

"Well…" commented a third, "Does it open far enough?"

I was out the door in a moment and dashing down the hall. Halls in trains are hard to dash down, though, especially when they're traversing Philippine rice country. I ran into the right wall, then stumbled my way across into the left. That time a door slid open and I fell right through. I found myself face-to-foot with a large gnat, sitting delicately on the seat, reading a joke book quietly to herself.

It was then that I began to wonder what on earth this blog really was about. If I meant to make a point about meaning in writings and writing meanings, I may have missed the mark. On the other hand, if the point was about translating meaning out of writings then I may still have a chance.

At that moment the gnat spoke. Whispered, really, "What did the rabbi say to the horse when they walked out of the bar?"

"I'm sorry?"

"No. He said, 'And that's why you're never getting to pick where we go to when we come to town again.'"

I stared at her. And had an epiphany. Suddenly I was being dragged out into the hall again by an iron grip. It was the cyborg. "Ah, ha! That's where you've been hiding! Where's the centerpiece?"

That's when the train rocked violently, then exploded into the air. The cars came apart. People were whooping and screaming. Old ladies drifted by, some still knitting, others still holding a detonator. The gnat flew up and knocked on the cyborg's head, whispering, "Knock knock."

I didn't hear the rest because I was busily catching the sea-shells streaming out of my pocket, and blinking away all the rice falling into my eyes. A horse and a rabbi floated by, and the horse was saying, "And that's why you're never getting to pick where the CWMS vacations again!"

My epiphany was simply this:

If there's meaning in any writing,
If there's gold in every tale,
Then its worth is in ease of finding.
And if it's too hard you fail.

So I handed the ticket taker my emptying centerpiece, Tipped my hat to the rabbi and pushed off into the breeze.
The sun was shining at that point, clear and blazing bright, And I floated off in that direction knowing full well I was right.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Heartless Pen Cuts Like Ice

Some people believe that laughter is the best medicine. If this is so, then I'm the healthiest man alive right now, laughing at them. That was a lie, I'm not laughing. But I simply don't buy that bologna for a minute.

You see, I've always been of the mind myself that ambiguity is the best medicine. Vaguely speaking, it helps people because it gets them to think they're being helped. Whether whatever it is is actually helping people doesn't really matter. It's like the chairman of the FED reporting on what they're up to. Everyone ends up smiling and nodding and generally feeling better without actually knowing anything more than before he'd spoken.

Now, not all ambiguity is a good thing, of course. If you said, 'Eat that bagel or else!' Then the person or thing you were speaking roughly to has only to imagine what the 'or else' might be. And, unless they're a terrifically optimistic person, they are automatically going to assume you mean to do them harm in some way.

So, really, I believe upbeat ambiguity to be the best medicine. Hand a person a pill and say, 'This will help you heart regulate itself to Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail, even when you're not listening to it,' and no one will believe you. Of course, if you hand a person a pill and say, 'This is good for indigestion,' then voila! They'll probably be feeling better in the morning.

'What does ambiguity have to do with anything, Gabe?' who might ask. Everything! Detach yourself and float, for a figurative moment, through ambiguous, fleeting emotions that fake you into thinking you're okay! It's fun! Whee!

Cut the cord to your heart, stop listening to that nagging conscience! Do what you like, it's okay! Don't look any deeper, ignore the discrepancies, bend every message to what you believe! Better yet, believe nothing. It's better that way.

There. Wasn't that the best? I know pretending life is a meaningless, soppy mire of ambiguous nothing makes me feel better! I'm sure it'll do it for you too. Never mind the fact that it never lasts. Just take another dose, you'll be okay. >=)

*breaks suddenly* Sorry, sorry. For the past three paragraphs you've been free falling into the Sar-casm. If you'd gone any farther, you might have died. Or been eaten by a grue, but same diff really. I've just saved your life. Aren't you thrilled? No? Well, laugh. It's the best medicine. You'll feel right as rain in no time.

Digressing a bit, but have you ever wondered about the term, 'bushwacked?' No? Neither have I until just now when I got a sudden mental image of someone getting smacked full in the face with a cactus. That would wake them up. Sorry to have bushwacked you, folks, but I don't actually believe that either laughter or ambiguity are the best medicines. I'd rather not live in a Disney movie where everyone is laughing off their troubles, or in a Tennessee William's play where you approach everything at a ninety degree angle just to make sure you miss it.

Truth to tell, I believe reality is the best medicine. And, no, I'm not talking about something you watch on Tv. Don't make me puke. I'm talking about the driving rain that one needs run through to get to work, or that sinking feeling one has to swallow when one gets that test score back, or the terrifying, unimaginable physical pain of giving birth. That sorrow you feel, the guilt that eats away at you, when you do something wrong? THAT'S GOOD FOR YOU! It's not that it makes you stronger even. It's that it drives you closer to God.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” - 1 Peter 5:6-7

Jesus can take all you cares, your sorrows, and your pains. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Jesus is the best medicine. And that's a fact kids. Take it to the bank.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fabula Custos or, A Footnoted Nation

    Hollow halls, lined with packed shelves, made the room. Everything was rich, dark wood. Layers of dust covered almost all the books. The main body of the room, in the midst of the rows of shelves, had a vaulted ceiling of gilt panels.
    Shadows flickered here and there, antagonized by the light from candles and the fire. At one of the long, oak tables that was covered in books, positioned across from the fireplace, sat a boy. He was typing away steadily at a typewriter. It was the only noise, echoing around the hall of forgotten wisdom.
    His eyes kept flickering back and forth from an open tome to the paper projecting from the machine. His fingers never once misstepped. His face was unreadable, sharp, with green-blue eyes. The hair on his head seemed almost silver, though it might have been the light.
    On and on he typed, only stopping twice in the course of forty minutes; once to feed the fire and another time to fetch a different book from the upper reaches of a shelf. This he scanned through tirelessly until he found what he wanted, then got back to typing.
    Every time a page was finished he'd slide it free and lay it face down in a chest on the seat next to him. The chest was graying wood, a brass plaque on the front. It was faded, but two words were still readable, fabula custos.
    There came a rustling at the back of the room. The youth barely glanced up. Nothing could be seen in the shadows beyond the fireplace, but he already knew who had come. He recognized the clicking of the talons and the brush of the wings.
    “Come for respite by my fire?” he called. “Or a word from a fellow soul?”
    Something, black as the shadows behind it, rocked into view. The head came up, then snapped suddenly sideways, looking at him with one crimson eye. “A little of one,” a trilling whisper came, “maybe a little of the other. It seems such a time since I spoke to you, Observer.”
    The boy looked up at the eagle. A hint of a smile crossed his lips. “Have you come to make sure I didn't miss anything, then?”
    The big raptor bobbed his head humbly. “Never! That would be so presumptuous. It's a cold world out there, boy… One almost forgets the warmth a fire can give when one is using them to always destroy.”
    The boy pushed back his chair and stood. “Sit then,” he said amiably, snatching up a dish of tarts, “and preen your feathers by my fire, Lord Liberty. Have a tart while you're at it. Baked them this morning. Strawberry.”
    The eagle was giant, dwarfing the boy. It's feathers gleamed black in the amber light. The head was a sooty gray instead of the usual white. “Delicious!” he crowed, gobbling up a few tarts. “Where did you get such a recipe.”
    “Funny that you haven't run across it before, it's as old as you. Something Queen Charlotte fancied. I've made a few adjustments of my own, but on the whole it's the same.”
    “She had very good taste. It really is too bad about her husband.”
    The boy laughed. “Don't pretend to care. Personally, I think you were the one that pushed him over the edge! A revolution is never good for the mental health of royalty.”
    “And the mental health of royalty is never good for the people,” the bird countered. “Either they're sane enough to schemingly pursue ultimate power, or insane enough to think they've already got it.”
    “Oh? Into which category does David fall?”
    “A myth and legend.”
    “I saw him.”
    “Then you would know, surely.”
    The boy said nothing, only walked slowly back to his seat. The eagle gobbled down another tart. “A funny thing for you to say…” the boy replied finely. “Considering what your people believed.”
    “Believed,” the other hissed. “is the right word. I've come through for them far more.”
    “Some might say that's because they abandoned their other belief for you.”
    “I dwarfed their silly religious convictions! I showed them what true freedom is and they bowed to me. They are my people, and I'm their god.”
    “God forces no man to believe and none to love, not like you.”
    The eagle shook his head. “Please. Those countries begged me to come to their aid. They asked for me to lead them.”
    The boy laughed. “After you whispered your delicate promises! Who would have said no?”
    “And I have fulfilled! Like no one else.”
    “Not like God.”
    The eagle turned away. But the boy persisted, coming closer again. “You turned them away. You were envious.”
    “And why shouldn't I have been? I was the one promising ultimate freedom.”
    “But that has its cost.”
    “You still don't have them completely…”
    “I will!”
    “You will. You're doing a marvelous job. Your dividing of the youth from their elders was admirably done.”
    The eagle clicked his beak with pleasure. “Liked that, did you? Yes… It was. It was fun too. When they lost I was there to tell them they couldn't win. When they fell I was there to tell them they'd never get up. I was their constant companion. It was I that informed them that their fathers didn't love them, it was I that pointed out how little time their mothers spent with them.
    “I consoled them with cravings that they will never satisfy. I awakened their hearts in the dark hours of the night, long before they were supposed to be awakened. I told them of the secrets behind locked bedroom doors.
    “I never lied to them!”
    “But you never failed to point out when their parents did.”
    “Yes, and even when they didn't tell them the whole truth. I hid nothing from them. I nurtured them and fed them succulent morsels. It was I that fed their lust and envy. I was there for them! I was a father to the fatherless, and mothered the neglected…
    “And when each divide is set, riven beyond repair, I tell them of it. I cry with them and moan with them. I hug them, and whisper to them in the night. 'Your parents will never understand. They're gown-ups.'”
    The youth shook his head. “Such an ambiguous statement… Yet they buy it again and again, never asking for a further explanation.”
    “'And why should they?' I ask them,” the eagle continued triumphantly. “If their parents don't even try to understand them why should they fill in the gap?”
    “But the parents never will. They're another of your conquests that really deserves praise. A cycle of pain and soothing numbness! And of killing the conscience to relieve the soul.”
   His fellow couldn't hold back flapping his wings with delight. “Too true! Too true. But you know I couldn't have them even trying to save their young. After all, they might succeed!”
   “So, you taught them that their young were burdens, and then gave them a way to free themselves… Then you disguised the murders behind a 'right'. You called their babies its and things so that they could ignore the guilt.”
    “A beautiful conquest.”
    “Your people are bathed in blood.”
    “It is not as far reaching as some of my other deeds.”
    “Ah, yes. Your distractions are your crowning achievement. You've filled their heads with business, and made them slaves to what they own. Their watches crack the whip, their loans take their share, their bosses never give, while the TVs pretend to care…”
    “Eloquently put, as always. But don't forget the food! I shove it down their gobs after torturing them with it through their eyes. I tell them that this will be enough, that it will assuage their need. But then, of course, the bile rises, and I'm there with a brand new pill. Or if they find they're tired, 'Come try this harmless swill.'”
    “Now I got you doing it.”
    “But it is a poetic irony. They're so free that it's choking them. Pretty soon I will have them shedding blood to be enslaved.
    The boy shuddered, drawing his jacket tight about him. “But what if God stops you?”
    “It is as you said, Observer. These people have left Him behind. They love me!”
    “At your behest they did. And they don't know who you truly are.”
    “Oh, what am I? Do tell.”
    “A lie. People can be as free as you promise, just as they can be free of oxygen.”
    “But then they'd die. And they will be mine to gather under my wings…”
    “A frightful image indeed.”
    “It will be mine!” the bird snapped. “I don't care what I have to do!”
    “Careful though. The facade might slip. Even now, with that puppet you picked for a head, people are starting to see. They smell a fake. They are starting to see the blood on their hands.”
    “So some of them will. People can never really be as free as I promise. They need something to bow down to.”
    “They are meant to bow down to their Creator…”
    “They will bow down to me!”
    “But in doing so they'd see the lie.”
    “The majority don't care, as long as they're happy. As long as I feed them, and give them their pills. As long as I entertain them and nurse them and whisper to them that they will never die. As long as I remind them that they are not responsible for anything.”
    “So you are a liar.”
    “I do what I must. For their good.”
    “Do you even lie to yourself?”
    The bird smiled, his red eyes glittering. It was a terrifying sight. “No. I want them dead. I want ever soul for my collection. I will have them to comfort me. I will suck on their bones to feed my desire.”
    “But the unborn will never be yours.”
    “A small price to pay,” his fellow sneered, “if I can damn their parents with their death.”
    “Jesus can still save them.”
    The bird ducked his head. “A lie!”
    “Believe what you will. I never lie, though.”
    The eagle glared at him. The boy stared him down. “…In a way, then, you are nothing more than they are.”
    “A lost soul? Observer, how old fashioned you sound. I am a god!”
    “Say it,” the boy laughed, turning away once again. “Call it! Chirp it loud, Lord Liberty. The real God has no need to proclaim it Himself. For the Heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.”
    The eagle puffed out his feathers violently. He hopped off the table. “You have seen too much, boy. It has addled your brain.”
   “Are you going?”
   “I have much to do.”
   “Be careful out there, with you fires and your lies. You wouldn't want to end up like Sodom. Or Rome…”
    The bird cackled as he shuffled out. The boy sighed, sat down again, and got back to typing. “If he thinks he's so great he's more of a fool than I knew. They'll be just another footnote, that nation of his. A passing fancy that led back to dust.”

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Long Time Coming…

*blows off the dust and sits down* …Wow. It's been about six months since I blogged last. I guess life can get in the way. Oh, I need a sandwhich! *scurries off* *back minutes later with a sandwhich and mashed potatoes* Very tasty stuff, this. I make a mean ham sandwhich and the wife's mashed potatoes are to die for.

Oh yeah, I'm married now. That's old news. Well, a month old at least. I have my own apartment now and my own car! It's exciting. Life is happening! And getting in my way, but I'll get over it.

So, yeah. It's been a long time coming, but I thought I'd update the old blog. Maybe even try to blog consistently. That's not a resolution, mind you. Just an idea. Maybe fueled by an epic blog entry that I have written that I'll release later. Just maybe. ;)

I entered my book, The Flying Fix-it Shop, into a contest! Yeah, I know I published it already, but since it's only self published I'm allowed to do that. I don't expect to win or anything. I'm looking at it as good practice. A writer needs to practice the art of selling/submitting his work as much as he needs to practice the work itself. I am hoping, though. A little. Hey, with God all things are possible. If it's His will I'll get published it ought to happen sooner or later.

The other big news writing-wise is that I'm continuing work on my "dark" story. It's the one I may or may not have mentioned before that I started in November, 2011. When I say continuing I mean consistently writing. As in, I'm really getting there. All I can think is that it's the wifey. She inspires me like nothing else. <3 <3 <3 It's awesome! ^__^ Love you, mermy!

Anyways, I'm fifty-eight thousand words into my book and making good headway. Yesterday I wrote roughly three thousand one hundred words. That's more than usual (my stated goal is five hundred words a day), but I was making up for some slacking in the past days.

You see, life is always getting in the way! Job problems, car problems, little joys and big hurdles. The only way I make it through each day is by God's grace and my wife's common sense. Have I mentioned she's brilliant in that regard? Far more brilliant than I think a lot of people give her credit for… But don't tell! I wouldn't want her to get a big head. ;) (Love you, sweetstuff. <3)

Well, that's all I have to report for today. A lousy report for six months of doings, you say? Don't worry. I'll pepper them in through the next several blog entries. That way you don't get too board. ;) Not sure how often I'm going to be blogging, by the way, but I ought to have a special one up here after three tomorrow.

Until next time,

-Lé Foxy