Smack Dab in the Middle


“The worst mistake a writer can make is to assume everyone has an imagination.” ~ Andrew McEwan

“I’m being ironic. Don’t interrupt a man in the midst of being ironic, it’s not polite. There!”  ~ Ray Bradbury

“A mouth of no distinction but well practiced, before I entered my teens, in irony. For what is irony but the repository of hurt? And what is hurt but the repository of hope?”  ~ Joyce Carol Oates

For once I can’t blame my late start at morning blog post writing on getting lost in the news. I read two long-read articles about one of my literary inspirations. Both were fulfilling for me. I learned a lot. Back when I was a junior in high school a mom of one of my bandmates, another French Horn player, saw that I had brought a copy of Creem magazine with me to school. Creem, for those of you who don’t know, was rock and roll culture magazine. She asked me why I didn’t read something more edifying. She didn’t use the word “edifying”, but that was clearly what she meant. The mom, as it turns out, was a Christian missionary. Another time she took umbrage at a line from a Cat Stevens song  –  “Wild World”  –  that Ralph Martin and I performed, as a guitar/folk duo, at a talent show at our school. I reckoned she meant “Mary dropped her pants in the sand, and let a parson come and take her hand “. But no. It was “But if you wanna leave, take good care, hope you make a lot of nice friends out there, but just remember there’s a lot of bad and beware”. To this very day, I still don’t get it. It should have been the way I saw it. A lot of things are that way for me. Go figure, I have an ego. But I don’t struggle with it, because . . . . well, anything I can say here might it sound like I am claiming enlightenment. I’ve got no aspiration in the matter. I might end up like Eckhart Tolle, and none of us want that, for various reasons. The writer I was reading about is David Foster Wallace. One article was about his abusive attitude against, toward, whatever, women; sometimes violent stuff. I already knew this about him, so I wasn’t shocked. The gist of the article was that genius is a quality that is inherently attributed to men, by it’s very Latin roots, and that it often carries with it a demeaning attitude toward women, sometimes even to the point of abuse. The other article was questioning whether a writer of his caliper, of his authentic genius, can arise in this wacky internet age, where such a large portion of internet users have very little use for people who don’t promote themselves, like they are all special or something. It’s not hard to believe that we live smack dab in the middle of a culture of narcissism. There is no easy answer for that question. Perhaps no answer at all. To me it seems like one of those questions that, by their very nature, do not need an answer. They are meant to make you think. Another of my literary inspirations, Harlan Ellison, posited that people like you if you make them think that they are thinking, but they hate you if you really make them think. Fox news is a good example of this. Where this all leads for me this morning is right on to the banal part of my life. I don’t like going to work, simply because, as my therapist said to me, I am strongly introverted. I love dealing with the public, however. The ironic part is that I love dealing with the public, yet I feel a painful empathic burn from doing so. Sometimes this grows so strong that my actual skin feels all scorched and stuff. I like something that Kurt Vonnegut’s son Mark once wrote. He suggested that extroverts usually stand around patting each other on the back for the really fine work they do, while the introverts are quietly going about actually doing the work. Luckily the crew I work with isn’t like that. Whew. Mark is a fine writer in his own right, BTW. And on that note this post shall hereby be deemed to be at it’s conclusion. That’s a fancy way of saying I am out of time. Bueno bye.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.


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