Friday, March 27, 2009

Lao Tse & the Tao, According to Lemuel Washington in MIXED ANIMAL

One time I was fixing the springs on Dill Ring's barn door. I wanted to test out a motto from the Toa The Ching, namely, "You know, Dill, profit comes from what is there, usefulness from what is not there."

Dill puzzled over it, sniffling and poking a stick at the back of his own hat so it come down over his face, then fixing his hat and doing it again. "Zatta riddle?" he says.

"No, it's a spiritual motto."

"Oh." He asked me to repeat it, which I did. Finally he says, "How you figger?"

"Well, for example, profit comes to me for fixing your barn door, but your barn door is useful to you only if you can open it, and when you open it it ain't there, so that things could usefully go in and out where it was."

"How you figger it ain't there? It's there, it's jest open."

"Yes, but it's not where it was when it was closed."

"It's near enough to be there when you need to close it again."

"Ahem, yes, but if you was a horse or a cow or wagon going through it, it's gone enough that you're going to think it's not there."

"What do I care if my horse or cow or wagon think the door ain't there or not, long as they go in or come out the barn when I want ‘em to?"

See, Loa Stu never met no Dill Ring. I should of knewn better than to spiritualize a bumpkin. They always had some way to slip out of the higher mindedness you were trying to trick them into. That's why preachers don't allow no wiseacre backtalk from the peanut gallery. I was the only one I knew that believed in deep communication, but you couldn't have it with yourself unless you pretended you didn't know what you was saying half the time.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Inexplicable Unedited Post

Ha, Tom. I'm wrong all the time, in this forum & out. Hope we dont have to agree on everything to be pals.

There's a group mentality in every group. There just is. It's the glue, for better or worse. Usually, to me, it's worse. I dont trust groups, never have, never will. Yet I'm in a couple groups, here & off, and give back as much as I get, I believe. Every group brings a struggle, conformity & individuality. I see most people leaning to the conform side of the room, even writers. It's something to witness.

I dont like mean individuals. This Klazart truly, to me, seems like a gentle soul, manipulative, slippery morally & all. It's just my take. It's more important to me who somebody is, and how they are, than whether theyre a trickster. I have a little trickster in me, too, I hope. His book itself needs so much editing it's hard for me to tell what's there, but then I'm real hard to please, and easily distracted.

There's also a group purpose. The group purpose on Authonomy is writerly & twofold: get new perspectives to improve the work, and get published. As I understand, no top rated novel's been published there. Meaning, far as writing goes, the purpose is get new takes to better the writing. If your book is getting bettered, it's good. If somebody makes friends with somebodies at the same time, that's added good.

Far as the "community of individuals" go, I enter mysteryland. I try hard to treat everybody like an individual more than as part of a community, starting with me. The community is there, to me, when it's good, so that the individual can develop. Develop into what? A writer, in this case, and a better person. So, I agree, it's bad, if Authonomy is damaged. But is it? Time will tell. I bet not. Ive read threads there & it looks resilient. There are a lot of people taking it all in stride, with much humor & some stoicism, which surprised & gladdened me, and also bodes good for the future of the place. Official Authonomy's response is heartening to me too. Sounds like there's problems there that this mess has drug into the light to be tinkered with. But overall, naw, I dont think it'll hurt anybody or anything. I dont get the ratings much, it's over my head, and I could well be dead wrong, but if new eyes are shedding new light on a book in progress, it's good.

As a person, I try to be a humble part of the groups I'm a part of, and be of service quietly, set some kind of odd example. But as a writer, it's all individual to me. Not in terms of dog eat dog, because I've never had much ambition, better or worse. I'm like an alien turtle in this game. Writing, seeing, voicing what I see, to me, that's all individual, on here or off. That's why I question all groups, from that outlaw in a rocking chair take. If Klazart was a mean fella, I'd likely feel different about this, or not piped up at all. It was him getting branded as a bad rotten person that stuck in my craw. He might well be, but I dont see it. I could be wrong, but I dont think him or this mess'll hurt Authonomy nor anybody in it that keeps their eyes on the prize.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Comic Friends, Influences & Advisors.

Mad Mag, and Cracked, and Humbug, and a million comic books with their simplicity, brevity & clarity. Early TV--Jackie Gleason, Red Skelton, Gracie Allen, Sid Caesar & Imogene Coca, Oscar Levant. My friend Allen Freeburne. Uncle Remus. Emily Dickinson. Mark Twain. Bob Dylan. Flannery O'Connor. Alan Watts. Nathaniel West. Joseph Heller. P.G. Wodehouse. John Kennedy Toole. And, of course, the great, the master, the shy emperor of comedy, Franz Kafka.

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Knock Knock.

What are you talking about?
Knock-knock. You know, the knock-knock joke.
I don't get it.
You've never heard of the knock-knock joke?
Oh, come on. Are you serious?
Yes. What knock-knock joke?
How could you not have heard of it?
There's ten trillion things in the world. Have you heard of every one?
Well, OK. I find it hard to believe, but.... I go knock-knock and you say who's there. Then I say something and you repeat it and say who after it.
Because it's a joke. You'll see. OK. Knock-knock.
Knock-knock who?
Not knock-knock who. You say who after the second part.
Say who's there.
Who's there?
Who's there?
Damn it, now I forgot the joke.
Damn it, now I forgot the joke who?
Don't say anything.
Don't say anything who?
Stop it.
Really stop it or stop it who?
Forget it. Forget the whole thing.
I'm sorry. I'll get it right.
Why don't I believe you?
Gimme another chance. I've never done this before.
Are you kidding me about that?
Are you kidding me about that who?
I knew it!
I knew it who!
That's it, I'm going.
Who's there?
Good bye.
I'm sorry. Come back! Knock knock!

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009