travelling with Out of True as it was intended

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So, one day in the mail, this little green book arrived. Poetry?

Who reads poetry these days?

Oh, I know. Guy Clark does. He says this in one of my favourite of his songs:

Here’s a book of poems I got
From a girl I used to know
I guess I read it front to back
Fifty times or so
It’s all about the good life
And stayin’ at ease with the world
It’s funny how I love that book
And I never loved that girl

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Then I went to London, where I met @elaine4queen and this is a photo of her upon first seeing my copy of Out of True. As good as it is, it’s even better with a cuppa.

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Then there was sleeping and such…upon awakening, it turned out Poppet ‘ad been readin’ a bit of poetry on her own while I wasn’t looking. How twee is that, innit?

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Here’s where our Elaine finally takes a gander at the ol’ book itself. She’s awestruck. ‘That’s some top shelf poetry there, I tell you what!’ I hear her exclaim.

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Then later I was in another café in London and I met this lovely couple from Edinburgh. Although I had my copy of Out of True with me, we didn’t talk about it. There’s no real reason for me to include this photo…I just liked them.

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Here’s a photo of the book and my copy of Myrtle Takes Tea in the same café that I was with the Scottish couple.

And finally, a photo of the book on a pile of money with a baritone ukulele. Because it’s my damned blog and I can do whatever I want here.

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Before I forget: the poet is Amy Durant. She’s a friend. A good poet, but an exceptional friend. You can read her daily musings at Lucy’s Football (lucysfootball.com), and although her posts are long and rambling and often have only a very thin connection to reality, she’s that sort of writer you should keep an eye on.

She’s going somewhere – that Amy Durant. Those crazy eyes? ALL. THE. CAPS. She’s going somewhere, for reals. Luckily, she’s promised to take us with her.

keep dreaming on

stairs going up and down

Although I’m not a book blogger, I know quite a few of those people and read them with relish. The thing is that I love reading and really enjoy pulling my favourite parts out of books, but I rarely feel I do a book justice when I try to review it. I suppose I could do it if I planned a bit better, or practiced assembling a thorough and insightful approach to the works I’d read. That’s certainly an option.

So much of my daily life consists of  time management and prioritising that I’d rather let this platform be where I go a bit more free-form. It seems to be working thus far. I truly enjoy the positive feedback about what I do here. Please keep it coming. The more you stroke my ego, the more likely I am to continue creating this content. It’s all on you.

Recently, a group of us read Manhattan Transfer by John Dos Passos, and try as I might, I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about it here. I was knee-deep in pre World War I euphoria and the hypocrisy of Prohibition, but I just didn’t know where to start describing my related thoughts.

then I was flipping through my copy of the book, and I came upon a thought. I’d simply share one of my favourite passages. Not try to encapsulate the whole work – just a brief moment in time.

Jimmy has just had a serious talk with his uncle about his future. It’s one of those ‘Ok, you’ve enjoyed yourself up to now, but now it’s time to buckle down to real life‘ sort of conversations, and afterward Jimmy’s a bit disoriented. I’ll let the writer take it from there:

‘His stomach turns a somersault with the drop of the elevator. He steps out into the crowded marble hall. For a moment not knowing which way to go, he stands back against the wall with his hands in his pockets, watching people elbow their way through the perpetually revolving doors; softcheeked girls chewing gum, hatchetfaced girls with bangs, creamfaced boys his own age, young toughs with their hats on one side, sweatyfaced messengers, crisscross glances, sauntering hips, red jowels masticating cigars, sallow concave faces, flat bodies of young men and women, paunched bodies of elderly men, all elbowing, shoving, shuffling, fed into two endless tapes through the revolving doors out into Broadway, in off Broadway. Jimmy fed in a tape in and out the revolving doors, noon and night and morning, the revolving doors grinding out his years like sausage meat. All of a sudden his muscles stiffen. Uncle Jeff and his office can go plumb to hell. The words are so loud inside him he glances to one side and the other to see if anyone heard him say that.’

Can you see why I like that? It’s this kid facing cold, hard reality and saying, ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,‘ which is what Howard Beale says in the 1976 film Network. But Howard Beale was saying that at the tail end of a career in broadcasting, and young Jimmy comes to the realisation right at the outset of his working life.

Look, I know how important it is to be reliable and responsible. It’s a part of maturity to not just stand up and say whatever the hell comes into your mind. I get that. Yet it’s good for me to remember that I’m not merely a slab of meat to be squeezed into tubes of sausage.

Sometimes life is but a dream. And me? My plan is to keep dreaming on.

perplexed by an unsolicited package

masonry men in Berlin

This is the perfect blogpost for tumblr. That site still confuses and irritates me, but I’ve been spending more time there and eventually I’ll understand how to better create tumblr content.

But…this: what I’m about to write…it’s not a full blogpost. It’s an unfinished thought. It’s the beginning of a story and the promise of more to come. Perfect for microblogging.

Though I don’t post something here everyday, I do try to polish my work before I throw it up here. As you know, I am particularly fond of whimsy and when I employ a bit of it, I get the best response. I’ve somehow found and attracted a tribe of bloggers whose humour I appreciate and who *get* me. Not sure how it happened all of a sudden, but I’m very appreciative.

Enough introduction…on to the story I came here for.

The other day, I received a package in the mail with a book in it. Because of our work, my wife and I get quite a bit of unsolicited material. Brochures, books, and a wide variety of samples arrive by post and it seems there’s always something that needs to be assessed.

But this package was somehow different. For one thing, the letter accompanying the book was hand-typed. Haven’t seen that in a while. Secondly, the only contact information was an address. A street address.

No telephone. No fax. Nothing.

Most intriguing of all? No website. No email address.

Weird, eh? That’s what I thought.

Like something out of a Paul Auster novel.

Would you have ignored it? Well, you’re better at ignoring your curiosity than I am.

Several days later, I wrote a polite letter asking a few questions. Still curious what this was all about (the book sitting ominously on my desk), his letter arrived and I was even more perplexed.

Soon enough, a new letter arrived.

It turns out he didn’t include any web-related contact information, because he doesn’t use the internet. Not at all.

The plot thickens, eh? More on this when I have more to report.