Sound and Fury

I want a well-constructed sentence. With plenty of nice words. Not worried about fragments. Apparently. But let’s not allow that sentence to stand in front a story. Any story. I don’t mind a writer showing off. But don’t let us catch you doing it, for chrissakes.

Did you know William Faulkner outlined his novel, A Fable, on his wall? That’s a little extreme if you ask me. But that man could tell a story. You don’t have to take my word for it. But that wall-script. You can’t know if that was attention-getting or some kind of madness. Or grandiosity. Or just needing to have the pen and the paper in his eyes at all times.

It leaves an impression though. I went to Oxford, MS to look at it in person. A pilgrimage of my own sort back to my birthplace and inside his private quarters. Saw that outline. It left an impression.

Have you ever written a poem? I have. It’s the most embarrassing type of thing you can do. You take a little thought that has enough weight to make a story and then you pick up a chisel and a hammer and start chipping at the letters and words and punctuation and structure. Sometimes you have to paint on it but then that gets risky of turning purple. Or you squeeze words like coal. Super duper hard core pressure and pray to St. Francis de Sales something like a diamond appears. But may turn to crumbles and ash. Dust. But that’s ok too. Because hammering and chiseling and painting and squeezing are good for something.

It’s like running or almost any kind of sport. Sometimes I run. I run in a circle around a park. I don’t run the circle to win the race I’ll never win. And I don’t run the circle because I need to see what’s around it. Running that circle makes me better at smiling. And writing words. And understanding you. And me.

And what about the South. Running from the South tearing my own heart in two so I can love it. Miss it. Goodbye Mississippi and all that writing on the wall. And I will miss it. Buttermilk biscuits. It’s a matter of sound. And fury.


Categories: Creative Writing, Existentialism, Literature, Poetry, Running, Stream of Consciousness, Theater, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music in the Spheres & Vast Forces at Work

The Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, Stefano Maderno's masterwork, in the homonymous church of Rome. photo -Wikipedia

The Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, Stefano Maderno’s masterwork, in the homonymous church of Rome.
photo -Wikipedia

From Bill’s Story:

Childhood memories rose before me… my grandfather’s good natured contempt of some church folk and their doings; his insistence that the spheres really had their music; but his denial of the preacher’s right to tell him how he must listen; his fearlessness as he spoke of these things just before he died; these recollections welled up from the past. They made me swallow hard.

Few people really are [atheists], for that means blind faith in the strange proposition that this universe originated in a cipher and aimlessly rushes nowhere. My intellectual heroes, the chemists, the astronomers, even the evolutionists, suggested vast laws and forces at work.

Categories: Atheism, Baroque, Bill, Bill's Story, Church of Rome, Evolution, Patron Saint of Music, philosophy, Religion, St Cecelia, Stefano Maderno | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Piece of White Bread & Distentio Animi


It never fails. Every time I think about St. Augustine I start vacuuming. And that’s not a metaphor or anything. I actually get out my vacuum and clean. Or sometimes it’s dusting and windex-ing. Whatever the actual form of cleaning isn’t the point. I clean. Don’t mistake me for a long-hair or anything. I don’t always think of St. Augustine. Often I think about cupcakes. And shoes. (Again, not a metaphor). Several years back I wrote a play called A Piece of White Bread–a tragedy in one act. The main character vacuumed when she felt anxious. There was a lot of vacuuming going on. There was also a fair amount of laughing, too. By the audience. It was funny on the surface.

I heard someone explain depression is a condition of the past and anxiety is a condition of the future. And that peace of mind comes with staying in the today. And you hear a lot about that, these days, being present. It’s banded about so frequently that it’s cliched. But it’s not a new concept, the present. I agree with it and all that but when people say it I struggle not to reply with something smart-assy. It really gets on my nerves. But it shouldn’t. I don’t want to be judgmental.

So about The Present. What the hell is it, exactly? And the past. Does the past exist? In our memory it does. Does the future exist? In our imaginings it does. So, if we live with the past and the future simultaneously in our minds, today, then is that, combined with what is happening right now, the summation of the present? Past present future simultaneously animated in our heads?

Sometimes I fall into the folds of a time-wrinkle longer than I anticipate and one may begin to wonder about me, during those times. What the hell any of this has to do with the price of tea in China?  Well, I’ll tell you. If you aren’t shaped by yesterday then you can’t learn a lesson. If you don’t think of tomorrow then you can’t make a goal. And if you feel as though you won’t fall into the 6-foot-deep yawn of this Earth then you are in denial.

And then what?            You tell me.

Until next time. But for now I see some dust I missed, earlier.


Categories: A Piece of White Bread, Augustine of Hippo, China, confessions, depression, essays anxiety, philosophy, St Augustine, Theater, Thomas L Humphris, time | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Shiksa at Shavout

It's pocket-sized. It's in Aramaic, can't read it. Still I carry it around.

It’s pocket-sized. It’s in Aramaic, can’t read it. Still I carry it around.

Triscuits are unleavened. Right? Happy Good Friday and Hag Sameach. Light the candles (for Shabbat) at 7:23 if you’re in Houston.

I like to talk about adventure. In fact, this blog was started as a place for me to discuss my adventure to China. Adventure is my favorite. In fact, I’ve had a few different adventures in my life. South Korea, Yellowstone, China, England. Mississippi. No, wait, I didn’t choose that last one in the list. But let me set the record straight…I’m no adventurer. I don’t have grandiose ideas of climbing all 14ers in North America or any such thing. I’m more of the person who gets an idea and then follows that idea. For example, I decided I wanted to hike along the Great Wall of China. That’s all. And then life constructed itself in such a way that I was able to go teach in China for a year. And I went on numerous amazing hikes of the Great Wall. I saw unrestored parts that were crumbling and majestic in parts of China so remote there was not another soul between us and the horizon. There’s nothing in the world I would trade for that experience. That’s kinda how my adventure goes. With ideas.

And then this time last year, I got another idea. Numerous ones, actually. But the one I’m thinking of, again, is the Counting of the Omer and Shavout. If you know me, you know I’m not Jewish. If you read the title of this post you know I’m not Jewish. But some ideas strike my fancy. The Kabbalist interpretation of these 49 days between Passover and Shavout, for whatever reason, really struck my fancy. Became my hair-brained idea, this time last year. My little personal adventure of the interior, so to speak. The 49 days corresponding with the 7 Sephirot were one thing. And an interesting thing, yes. But the culmination is what really piqued my interest. According to the Zohar, if one stays awake studying the Torah on Shavout (as is the tradition for the festival amongst the Jewish) one is guaranteed to escape death for the following year. Seriously, escape death for a whole year? By reading books? I’m in.

“Dear Google, where can I stay up all night, in Houston, with some Jewish people and study the Torah all night long so I don’t fall asleep like they did back in the old days on Sinai?” typed I.

“Why here you go. Here’s a community of Jewish people in Houston who will have an all nighter on Shavout,” replied Google.

And so I went. Oh, and I called a couple other people who had been going to the same classes with me with similar hair-brains, it appeared.

Did I mention I’m not Jewish? And also, the fellow hair-brains who went with me, also, are not Jewish.

“Are you Jewish?” asked the Rabbi-in-charge’s wife. That was before hello. I wondered if I had made a mistake. Still I pressed on. She welcomed us. She was kind, just confused. Apparently, it’s not common for a gaggle of gentiles to join in this holiday celebration.

We took our seats. We listened to a couple of opening acts while we waited for the Minyan to arrive. The ten men came. The service began. I didn’t know the songs. I didn’t know the dances. I don’t read Hebrew. We did not belong. This was true adventure. The service ended. We had dinner. We stood around like the sophomores at the seniors’ party. I just wanted the Torah readings and lectures to begin. Men in hats with curls asked us questions. We weren’t supposed to be there. Oh, and that’s where I learned that the traditional Jewish community aren’t terribly excited about Kabbalah teachings to those outside the Jewish world. How did I learn that? I told the men in hats with curls that I was there because I had learned about Shavout at the Kabbalah book store. Oops. I wanted to leave. My hair-brained cohorts talked me out of it.

When the lectures and discussions started it got interesting. I liked talking about the Torah. The Rabbi is a redhead. I have an affinity with redheads. Solidarity. He had a great way of leading discussions which were both very accessible without being too “dummied down.” And also, I was surprised that I had remembered so much of the stories from when I took Survey of the Bible in college. I liked the Old Testament portion (minus the begets, of course).

So, Shavout is a month and a half away. Now is Passover. Or Good Friday. Or just another work day for some. But whichever it is, this meandering post from this Shiksa at Shavout is a hello. Happy Easter. Hag Sameach.

But so as not to leave you dangling, I did stay awake the entire Shavout and I did not die the entire year after.*

Until my next adventure,


*Note Bene:  I also did not die the entire year before, either, and Shavout was not observed.


Categories: Hag Sameah, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wk 3: Kennel Cough and The Infallable String Trap

Wk 3: Kennel Cough and The Infallable String Trap.

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The Brains in My Head

The Brains in My Head.

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It’s PHUKET. As in Pop Tart.

It’s PHUKET. As in Pop Tart..

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About Me

About Me.

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Not Exactly Poetry

Not Exactly Poetry.

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About Me

About Me.

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