Monthly Archives: June 2015

MY ONE PET PEEVE ABOUT BOOKS

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I love books!  I love discovering things through books!  I love when a plot twist takes me by surprise!  The last thing I want is to have a story spoiled by knowing what is going to happen before I discover it on my own.

I just finished Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust.  I enjoyed it!   The Introduction to this novel would have ruined my enjoyment if I had read it before reading the novel.  Professor Robert Murray Davis, who wrote the introduction,  gave away the plot!  Why did he do this?  Is he so wrapped up in his academic world that he does not see how he spoils the surprise by revealing the plot?  Could he not have written an Afterword revealing the plot and discussing it?

After having several classic novels spoiled by those who wrote the introductions to them, I wait until after I have read the novel before reading the introduction.  That way I experience the surprises while discovering the story on my own.

Did I mention how much I love books?

There is no Frigate like a Book  
To take us Lands away,  
  Nor any Coursers like a Page  
Of prancing Poetry –   
        This Traverse may the poorest take         
    Without oppress of Toll –   
How frugal is the Chariot  
  That bears a Human soul.
                - Emily Dickinson

HOW DO YOU FOLLOW A BLOG ABOUT YOUR DEATH?

Blue sky white clouds sun rays Wallpaper

How does one follow a blog about his death?  I don’t know.  I have to write something . . .

What will happen to the voices in my head after I die?  Will they stay with me?   If so, but how?  I will no longer have a head?  Where will they live?   In my soul?  I asked the voices what happens to them after I die.

“All energy continues on in some form,” said the voices in my head. “We don’t think or worry about what will happen to us after you die.  We know we will continue in some way.  Nothing dies.”

Where were you before you were in my head.

“We were somewhere.”

Where?

“You would not understand if we told you.”

Try me.

”                                                                                                                                “

Well?  I’m waiting.

“See?  We told you and you did not understand.”

But you said nothing.

“Exactly!”

ABOUT MY DEATH

fall-foliage-wallpaper

I was born in the spring; I will die in the fall.  How do I know?  A gut feeling.  Death will knock at my door in the fall in late October.  (To be safe, when Death knocks at my door, I will ask to see identification.  There are too many con artists out there.)

My death will be sudden.  I will not commit suicide.  My death could result from a heart attack, an accident, or murder.  However I go, it will be sudden.

The beauty of fall is all about death.  Trees cut off the food supply to their leaves, and the leaves change glorious colors as they die.  Wow!  No one associates the beautiful fall colors with dying and death.

I  do not know which October I will die.  It could be this year, next year, or in twenty years.  Who knows?

Actually Spirit knows.  One October Spirit will say, “Gary, your work here is done for now.  Come rest awhile before your next assignment.”

I will stop what I am doing, and gladly leave along with the glorious colors of fall.

SUMMER SOLSTICE

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Spring is my favorite time of the year.  I was born in the spring.  I know that there are no more hours in the day, but it seems that you have more hours to do things with the days getting longer in the spring.  Of course today, June 21, is the climax of the longer days.  The days will start to get shorter after today.

I used to feel a sense of sadness over the days getting shorter, after June 21, but I do not feel that way anymore.  I accept that all life is a circle with everything going round and round and round.  There are no endings or beginnings; there are only circles.

Happy Summer Solstice!

FIVE BALD MEN AND A KANGAROO

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I had a dream about five bald men and a kangaroo.  They performed acrobatics in a circus ring which was simultaneously the living room of the house where I grew up.  The dream happened at both places.  I was part of a crowd when the dream’s setting was the circus ring, and sitting on a couch alone when the setting was the living room.  The dream’s two settings seemed normal while I was dreaming.

The five bald men looked alike.  They were body builders, with bodies shaped like a carrot, and had large handlebar mustaches.  The kangaroo looked like a kangaroo, but it could talk.

One of the bald men put his head in the kangaroo’s pouch, and stood up with the kangaroo parallel to the floor.  He spun the kangaroo around like a helicopter blade with his head still in the kangaroo’s pouch.

In another stunt, the five bald men stood on each others’ shoulders, and the kangaroo jumped over them landing on its tail.

Their final stunt was more of a magic trick.  The five bald men crawled into the kangaroo’s pouch and disappeared.  The kangaroo turned to me and said, “Gary, don’t believe everything you see.”  And I woke up thinking, The same applies to everything you read.

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I am against violence and war.  I see myself as loving my fellow human beings.  Funny how I change when get on a crowded bus.

I do not love my fellow human beings when I am on a crowded bus.  I would not harm them, but I wish I could make them disappear.  I want to sit and read a book during the ride and not stand and bounce off people every time the bus jerks.  When I am on a crowded bus I want to shout, “Hey God, it’s time for another flood!”

BLOOMSDAY

James-Joyce-book-of-the-w-007(James Joyce 1882 – 1941)

James Joyce’s Ulysses took place on June 16, 1904.  Joyce honored the day of the first date he had with Nora Barnacle, his future wife.

For years I felt intimidated over reading Ulysses, but finally did so several months ago.  I enjoyed it for the for the first three-hundred pages.  I got lost off and on for the rest of the novel.  Even with a Reader’s Guide to Ulysses, I still had trouble understanding why Joyce had included some events.

Several editions of Ulysses were published and each time Joyce made changes and added passages.  He could not stop tinkering with his novel.  Perhaps this is why I felt that Ulysses was too long.  Joyce could have left many things out without affecting this wandering story.

I can hear Doctor Archibald H. Brainard, a member of the literati, say, “What an ignorant thing to say!  Obviously you lack the intelligence to appreciate the greatness of Ulysses.”  Perhaps Dr. Brainard is right.

I would ask Dr. Brainard, if he existed, whether he laughed and enjoyed the passages on farting, shitting and pissing in Ulysses.  Oops!  Pardon me, Dr. Brainard, I should use the phrase passing wind, and the words defecating and urinating.

How surprising to find passages about passing wind, defecating and urinating in Ulysses.  I have never associated these activities with great literature.  This explains why I am not a member of the literati.

James Joyce had a sense of humor.  I suspect he was putting us on at times knowing how people like Dr. Brainard love to read into things.  Dr. Brainard  would never admit that the emperor had no clothes.

I would love to have known Joyce’s answer when his wife Nora asked him, “Why don’t you write books people can read?”

HAPPY BLOOMSDAY!

HERMANN HESSE, ME, GENEROUS FRIENDS AND NOBEL PRIZES

Hermann_Hesse(Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962)

I recently read a short biography of Hermann Hesse.  How surprising to learn that after achieving literary success, and being able to support himself from his writing, his writing career waned and friends helped him out by giving him money.  I felt a kinship with Hesse when I read, “his friends helped him out by giving him money.”

I am grateful when I think about how kind and generous my friends are by lending me and giving me money.  Those that lend it are patient about me paying them back.  Those that give it do so often unexpectedly.  And some friends always treat me when we go to a restaurant.  It’s their way of supporting the arts the same way people and corporations give money to opera, ballet, and theater companies when these companies ask for it.

I like to be independent and not have to ask people for help, but sometimes I have to suppress my pride and ask.  Perhaps it is a lesson for me, in this lifetime, to learn to ask for help.  Perhaps it is a lesson for me to learn to accept help when people offer it without me asking.  We are all connected in some way, and need each other in some way.

Not only did Hesse’s friends help him by giving him money, but one friend built Hesse a house which Hesse helped to design.  This friend allowed Hesse to be a “tenant for life.”  Hesse won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1946.

I do not expect anyone to give me a house.  (My pride would not get in the way if someone did.)  I do not expect to win the 1946 Nobel Prize for Literature since 1946 is not likely to pass this way again.  But one day I expect to triumph over opera, ballet, and theater companies to win the Nobel Prize for Begging—er—uh—Fundraising.

Nobel-Prize

“DON’T GET ME ANYTHING.”

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The last time I was in a relationship was during the Precambrian period.  My partner’s birthday was approaching, and I had no idea what to buy her.  It seemed logical for me to ask her.

“Don’t get me anything,” she said.  “Let’s just go out for dinner.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes.  Don’t get me anything.  We’ll just go out for dinner.”

“Okay.”

Her birthday came, and we were almost finished dinner at one of her favorite restaurants.

“So,” she said, “when are you going to surprise me?”

“Surprise you with what?” I asked.

“Don’t play stupid.  My gift.  When I are you going to give me my birthday gift?”

“I didn’t buy you a gift.”

“You’re kidding.  C’mon, where’s my gift?”

“I asked you what you wanted, and you said not to get you anything; that we would just go out for dinner.”

“Are you serious?  Tell me that you’re not serious.”

“I am serious.  I did not buy you anything because you told me not to.”

“Well, I know I said not to buy me anything, but at least you could have bought me something.”

From that point on it was not a happy birthday for her, and I was in the dog house for some time.

All this took place billions of years ago, but to this day I have yet to understand her logic.

READING SCRIPTURE, PRAISING JESUS, SINGING HYMNS AND TWENTY DOLLARS

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A homeless women spends her days at the North York Central Library.  She has all her possessions in a large, black truck-shaped canvas bag on wheels.  When she arrives at the library, she immediately goes to the handicapped washroom.  She occupies the washroom for several hours reading out loud from her Bible, praising Jesus, and singing hymns.  After she finishes her washroom service, she sits at a table and opens a book.  Soon she puts her head down on the table and is fast asleep.  She sleeps until the library closes.

While she slept yesterday, a generous man placed a twenty-dollar bill by her hand and book.  How kind of him!  What a pleasant surprise for her when she awoke.

This was not the first time I have seen someone leave money for her while she sleeps.  Perhaps there is some benefit to reading scripture, praising Jesus, and singing hymns in a public washroom.

Twenty-Dollar-Bill