Of Length and Bread

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Longer than a Twitter tweet…

…shorter than a Facebook rant.

A web log post could be long, but it doesn’t really need to be. Length is determined by the wordiness of the blogger, and sometimes by the subject. There are subjects that require more explanation. Can you tell the story of the wolves without first telling which forest they live in? Can you tell the story of your life without telling the reader about your parents?

An archive on the other hand, well, needs a certain…length of loquacity. An archive has a perfect limit. I’ve seen some go far beyond the limit and blow themselves up like dropping a cigarette into a closed gas stove. Such needless self-destruction could be avoided either by not lighting up that cigarette, or by leaving off the gas ’til you’re ready to bake. 

I’ve also seen others show too much restraint, barely reaching a word out to the reader, barely showing interest in their own work, not covering enough of the subject to keep a fan, not expanding the concepts enough to thrill the reader’s interest. It’s like making a donut without any glaze. It’s pulling up short. It’s stopping before you’re done.

Fans can be fickle. They need a reason to hang around. They need some pictures to draw them in, and some words to pass their eyes across, and even some ideas suggested by the words. They need rumination material. They need a seed to nurture. The seed of an idea to make the daily meditation more substantial.

They want something to feed their own writing, or other creative outlet. They want ideas to raise the creativity, like yeast in bread. Who doesn’t want a little boost from outside the brain pan now and then? You can’t live off of your own creativity alone. Everyone needs a little help in the kitchen…

Sometimes from the kitchen of a fictional character such as Joe Bakerman—deliciousness.

Sometimes from words—worlds.

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Choice and Consequence

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For every choice, a consequence.

Every choice has at least one consequence. Sometimes more than one. Sometimes the result is good, sometimes bad. Sometimes beneficial, sometimes the beginning of really hard times.

For a person who recently decided to make a super quick u-turn on a busy street—and finished the u-turn right in front of a police car—the consequence was as quickly received as the u-turn was executed. Unless they were going to the hospital, I can’t imagine the consequence being beneficial. Then again, maybe learning the lesson of not making snap decisions that land you right in front of a law enforcer when you’re breaking the law is good for a lifetime. You might never forget such a lesson, such immediate consequences.

For someone who decided to shoot off fireworks inside their house, and managed to burn down half of their house, the effect of such a stupid decision was immediate. The decision they made to live near a fire station was a good one, but still, they ended up with half a house. Most likely, they had to move out while the house was repaired. If I was their neighbor, I’d be hoping they wouldn’t move back. I’d be hoping their house was far enough from mine that they wouldn’t be able to burn it.

For a group of lawmakers who thought they could conduct political actions behind closed doors that affected the public, and started a riot, they might think again before doing something so stupid. Then again, there are those in this world who have to see the varied negative results of multiple bad decisions before they even begin to understand. There are those who have to learn the hard way.

For a grown-up who teaches a child to blow dandelion seeds across the yard, the consequence isn’t immediate. It could be a time between seasons before they’ll see the consequences. In this case, though, is the result unwanted? Maybe the idea is to get more dandelion fluff to blow around. And maybe the neighbors wanted more. Maybe they wanted the dandelions to grow so they would have something to do to pass the time. You never know unless you ask.

“Are you okay if I blow these dandelion seeds in your grass?”

This Feral Soul

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Time captives could be all the memories a head can hold.

Every old man is a boy dressed in old man leather. Leather shows the times gone by, the extended hours in the sun, jokes told to wrinkle around the eyes, and sorrows borne to wrinkle around the brow.

If he’s been anywhere, he remembers it. If he left the cave at all, he logged that choice in instinctual remembrance so future generations would know to leave the cave. Every hunter was once a caveman. Every gatherer was once a cavewoman. No cave can keep a feral soul inside forever. Eventually the hunger will drive the wild things to explore, to hunt, to discover.

To go outside and smell the scent of adventure is sometimes all a belly needs. On the other occasions, when the instinct is total, the taste for flesh is all-consuming, compelling the natural creature to compete as a predator. The predator seeks out its prey.

Some wild ones rend the entire earth with teeth and nails. Others observe, watching for their turn on the carcass. Carrion lunch. Ribcage lunchbox.

Entire worlds of variety await the predator at the top of the food chain. Moments of panic, running, and hiding await the prey.

Man once arrogantly thought himself the top of the food chain. Then he met the crocodile, the shark, the lion. Mankind decided to buck instinct and return to the cave. Decorating the cave with lights and sounds, machines and screens, mankind got complacent, losing that feral edge. The species developed subspecies: the blogger, the tweeter, the troll. Soon these all forgot everything there was to know about outside. They craved it still. Their skins, the leathers of old men, became pasty, undernourished, without the touch of the sun, without the pressures of wind and rain. Then they knew, instinctively knew, they would have to revert to some of the old ways or consider mass extinction.

Then, one day, a thought came. Make the screens smaller. Take them along on the journey. Instead of preying on the field mouse, mankind could take photographs. Pictures of crocodiles prove a new sort of superiority. Digital capture, digital memory.

Utterly Destroyed

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Give a subjective notion The Breath of Life, as if it’s within your power to do so. Pretend that this thing, your pet idea, exists in tangible reality, even though you know the idea is merely an idea, with its most substantial attribute its name!

It’s easy to do. Take something you think about a lot. Luck. Do you think about luck a lot? It has a name. Good. You can plug it into the system here…now you pretend that this thing, your pet idea of luck, is really real; so real you can hold it in your hand.

Now hand it over to me. Let me hold it for only a second—oops!—I dropped it. It’s broken. Let me try to fix it—whoa!—sorry, I stepped on it and crushed it. You gave it The Breath of Life, and I destroyed it. No worries. Luck is a man-made contraption anyway. It’s only a name we give to good things happening. The problem, of course, is that we have to be able to recognize when good things are happening. Even then, luck doesn’t materialize.

Sometimes it’s helpful to use your good eye. Don’t be ashamed. Squint the other eye and glance at the dessert table. That’s where every good meal comes to an end. It’s where good things are happening. We don’t call anything there luck, though, we call it “pie” and “cake” and “eclair”. Luck still doesn’t materialize. Luck is only a name. The Breath of Life might be fun to make pet ideas seem more real, but it doesn’t decorate like cake, it doesn’t taste better with ice cream on the side like pie. It doesn’t even melt in your mouth like a decent eclair.

Funny though, that if something doesn’t exist, it can never be destroyed.

Now I’m utterly destroyed.

Plif!

No time to waste

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No time to waste——because there’s no time. It’s an illusion. Or a mass delusion.

Charitable offerings: to sacrifice time, to make time, to spend time. But if time is one of our delusions, is the sacrifice a delusion as well? Or could we say the sacrifice is honorable due to the  intent?

Intentions rule over ignorance? How do we correct the ignorance? How do we teach good intentions? How do we teach others that time is measured only by earthlings?

Human hives—decorated with clocks—pretend to rely on precision in time-keeping. Precision, sure. “No one in this house ever says, ‘We’re going to be late!’”

Sure. We eat at exactly the same time every day. We sleep and rise from sleep at the same time every day. We’re like clockwork, we are.

Not only that, but the moments of the day mesh like cogs. The meeting we scheduled lines up, bordering perfectly with our travel, and travel stays separate from our home life, never interrupts, never overlaps. No need for buffers between one event and the other.

Even if this is the second time I said this, the second time you’ve heard it, it has only counted once. Reiterations are relative. Relative to the source. Relative to the recipient.

No wonder we become incensed to listening! We hear things repeated so many times, we barely recognize them after the one hundred and one millionth time. Reiterations make reality fuzzy, disarmed, disconnected in fragments.

No profound recollections will make time’s or today’s faded edges more clear.