The greatest emotion…

…is sometimes expressed most quietly.

To Jenn, from whom I have accepted the renewed gift of storytelling, I thank you for allowing me to draw a character loosely based on your biographical details.

The real person’s qualities outshine the fictional one and is so much more fun to share a dance without purpose, design or pretext.

May your friends and family forgive me if I draw them in poor lighting or exaggerated grotesquely.


A shoutout to Reverend Tom today for a good message.

The pastor at my hometown church, the man who dropped everything at all hours of the day and night to be with my family a year ago as my father lay dying, had a few good words to say during Mother’s Day, the last day of the Easter season in the Christian religion tradition.

In reference to the Bible passage that Tom called the “high priest” prayer by Jesus, the 17th section of the book of John, a set of tales told in sequence by a good storyteller, a personal witness of the events, per tradition, Tom said that we should commit to prayer before taking action, just like a Sunday service is itself a continuous prayer — children’s choir, hymnal songs, sermons, prayers, etc. —  in preparation for the rest of the week ahead.

And, as Jesus said, our goal, he prayed, is that we might be one, a species in unity like Jesus was united to God, his father.

Despite our differences.

Unity in Christ is bigger than our differences, in other words.

Unity, not uniform behaviour/looks, in seeking the love of Jesus and our expressi0n of unity through charity.

Ultimately, the question is not that or how we disagree in our forms of prayers and understanding of the words given to us, but on what unity in Christ we agree to share with others.

We are tiny specks, children of the universe, who rarely grasp the intricacies of life, from the interaction of sets of states of energy at subsubsubatomic levels, to daily social problems and solutions, to connections at time scales of galactic levels.

We are, however, members of the same species, regardless of subcultures, belief sets, clothing choices or musical preferences.

Let us treat each other as if we live on the same planet.

I, for one, seek out the best ideas and practices within our species to move us out of the doldrums — away from the tautological chaos (making fun of our seriousness when misplaced), toward the application of useful chaos (where theory meets practicality) — and into the later decades of this century with one word on our lips — success.

Actions speak louder than words.

Thanks, Tom.  Your words today have moved me to action, humbling me out of my selfish, temporary depression, realising even the tiniest speck, me, has a place with all the others to make a worthwhile difference, especially when we work together as one in pursuit of unified motives, allowing subcultures to contribute at their own pace and own voice.

The Map! The Map!

Guinevere wants me to write about her.

Other characters wait their turn.

Words fail me today, my fast-food-sized menu of a vocabulary and grammaticalarianiamistically-challenged phrases.

The hallowed echoes of a hollow hall, where eight enthusiastic faces sang dressed in black not madrigals, regaled us with their ringing voices last night.

The sanctuary of church has only one purpose for me — meditation upon the infinite.

How you anthropomorphise the infinite is your concern, not mine.

Rather, your concern interferes with my meditation.

A cathedral ceiling should reflect the echoes of pipe organs and windpipes.

Sermons are for those without a voice of their own.

Church was once the social sewing machine that stitched subcultures together at the family and community levels.

Now that recorded music and other aspects of church life are available on a pick-and-choose-at-your-convenience at your local convenience store where wafers (leavened and unblessed) meet your bodily needs, the reasons that some went to church are met away from the edifice.

My thoughts are my sanctuary, my heaven and hell.  An author is quoted as saying, “You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul. You have a body.,” allegedly C.S. Lewis the entertainer.

Last night, the Huntsville Collegium Musicum invited the community to hear early choral music in Covenant Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m., an invitation I found at 6:30 p.m. while looking online at for events to attend and get me out of a house whose cathedral ceiling echoed with the sounds of recorded television shows.

Grumpily, my wife agreed to go with me, sans (le) dîner.

Happily, I drove her there.

The program consisted of religious and secular music.

There were no church social calendar announcements, no children’s Bible lesson, no Karaoke Jesus, no cappuccino and Christ, and no sermon.

It was heaven on Earth!

I closed my eyes and felt the soundwaves bounce against me (my wife saw colours and emotions dancing when her eyes were closed).

I opened my eyes and watched the physical manifestation of  joy on the singers’ faces flow through their bodies and out of their mouths which changed shape to shape musical notes and sung words.

This is the one and only purpose for a church.  All the rest — the Sunday school lessons, the social outreach, the weekend retreats — has no meaning to me.

[Except for the one small detail that my wife of 26+ years I met at summer camp (Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk, NC) when we were 12 years old so, yeah, I owe a debt of gratitude to the whole social environment of religion (co-ed summer campers in the woods reading the Bible and sharing sleeping bags?  how disgraceful!) that put us two together (but don’t worry, Church Lady, we didn’t kiss until after my wife turned 19).]

After my wife and I ate at a VERY LOUD restaurant called Drake’s, which killed any reverent mood we were in but filled our bellies, we returned home, suffered through many a lame skit on SNL for a few good laughs and turned on the main computer in the living room to play early choral music and listen to the echoes bouncing off the cathedral ceiling.

Some of my neighbours still get up on Sunday mornings to gather socially at whatever version of church they prefer.

This here, in front of a computer screen, is my church, the litanies composed in my thoughts rolled out in the holy text of a limited vocabulary, my wife sleeping with our cats at the other end of our country cabin of a house in the woods, within miles of native American burial mounds and hallowed cemeteries.

To last night’s singers, I salute you.

You make the long, lonely, expensive trip to celestial bodies worth the effort.

Which reminds me, if killing eliminating others cleanses my soul, what am I going to do if I’m the only living soul on Mars whose zest for living — his savoirfaire, his je ne sais quoi, his fly in the coffee of his petit dejeuner — is so strong that snuffing out Earth-based lifeforms will be his only salvation?

Will you survive to read the next blog entry?

And if you do, will you serve as a humorous aside, hero amidst tragedy, lone wolf , space pioneer, Bright, ascetic, or salt of the earth?

If you don’t work, no one can say who you work for

Yesterday, while typing a blog entry and deciding whether to post it (the one containing jokes about Boston bombings and social aftermath), a framed copy of a Marconi Wireless stock certificate and tobacco card images of Marconi himself(!) fell onto the carpeted floor of the study, the glass shattering, shards bouncing, potential splinters pointing up in bayonet charge positions.

I am not one who sees signs and signals in my everyday life.

No, I create them in my fiction, instead, knowing how much our sympathy networks naturally tend to use random events as silent/subliminal signals from our companions and readers thus need not suspend their disbelief for long when encountering a character who would see a fallen picture frame and interpret the “pick up sticks” pile of silicon slivers in a symbolic manner.

The I Ching of clear bling, in other words.

Molten sand as messages from the gods.

We like continuity.

We want to believe that something is good or bad for us on an as-needed basis.

And I, dear readers, want to give you what you want.

Snakes in the grass, the devil in hell, drunk drivers and deadly sunburns.

Guardian angels, smart detectives, good Samaritans and healthy sunscreen.

Throw them in the clothes washer, set it on “extra tumble” and show you the results in a story about the universe you think you live in.

In a dream last night, a man wearing worn clothing, a man who looked like he had worked outdoors all of his life, probably on a farm, sat next to my father while our family sat down for dinner.

As I gave the pre-meal prayer, the man started crying.

He turned to my father and said that his family, the Dukes, had been good, law-abiding citizens, the men all members of the Masons, attending and caring for the Masonic Lodge on a regular basis, yet when his father and uncle recently died, no one, especially the Masons, showed up for the funerals.

My father inquired about how the Dukes had let others outside their family know about the deaths.

The man said they didn’t, they expected God to tell the community about their suffering and their needs for love from the community.

My father fell into silence and looked at me.

I had stopped praying, having faltered on a phrase I can not remember.

I started praying again, asking the Almighty to let the man know that the Dukes were asked to suffer during recent funerals so that the man would be at this meal with us at this particular time, so he could the people next door who had come to see the arrival of a newly-adopted baby by my parents’ next-door neighbours.

We turned and looked out the window to see people of all shapes and sizes, nationalities and beliefs crowd onto a carport to gain entry to the house next-door.

The man continued crying.  He just could not see why it had to be his family to suffer in silence.

I woke up in the dream state, my eyes open, seeing the silhouetted trees outside the sunroom where I had fallen asleep on the sofa earlier in the evening, yet also still in the dining room with my family and the man, watching the people next door slowly entering the house in single file.

As the dream continued, I asked myself what I expected from the dream.  What were my dreamlike/subconscious thoughts trying to accomplish, assimilating symbols, strengthening neuronic connections, by having this dream?

I stopped praying.  We let go of each other’s hands.  My father nodded at me and continued to console the crying man, quietly talking to him about the wonderful life that the Dukes had in order to be able to share the luxury of a family-only funeral, a luxury which the community had not been given nor would ever have.

I fully woke up.

I rolled from my side and onto my back, wrapping the heated blanket a little closer around my body.

I rolled back onto my right side, a pile of boxes atop a sofa table blocking light from the neighbour’s driveway lamps.

The dream itself was what it was, a subconscious reminder that the one-year anniversary of my father’s death is approaching, following on the heels of my birthday.

I lay on the sofa, unwilling to get up and write down the dream, wanting to see what my emotional state at that moment felt like.

A little bit of sadness remained.  Yes, I missed my father’s ability to work openly with community leaders to ferret out the misfits and reorient them toward positive community service before they became law-breaking criminals.

I also knew that Dad could not help everyone, despite his best efforts, because some people’s personalities are well-formed and cocooned from outside influence due to their upbringing, their beliefs as strongly set in black-and-white/good-and-evil stone as my father’s.

As my father knew, I had developed a personality different than his.

Perhaps because Nixon was my favorite U.S. President, a man known as Tricky Dicky, who, like me, used the available material to accomplish his goals, regardless of the material’s origin.

“Judge not lest you be judged” can also mean the same thing.

It’s not my place to condemn someone to hell.  I want to use everyone for my one-and-only purpose — establish viable colonies of Earth-based lifeforms off this planet.

Meanwhile, the rest of us live and die for my entertainment, providing fodder for stories that you interpret as meaningful messages about life itself.

I am my own reader as well as a writer.

I write for myself first, planting clues in this and previous blog entries about what I want to write later.

Unlike the man in my dream, my wife and I would be happy if no one showed up at my funeral.  We are private people who enjoy meeting others when we eat out, go to dance lessons, etc., but are just as happy to sit at home by ourselves with our own hobbies to occupy us.

Are we any different than you, dear reader?

Contemporary Tempo

We have two ways to handle the situation but who’s counting?

Most importantly, you can choose to make your future or react to the past.

I choose the former.

Just like, right now, Monkeynaut chooses to ferment in my belly and tickle my tummy…


…making my ears ring hours after listening to the bells, chorus, Celtic band, organ and orchestra at an annual musical spectacle of a local worship centre called the Living Christmas Tree at First Baptist Church.

I could write a few hundred character sketches based on the people I show at tonight’s show but I won’t.  I’m enjoying too much the aftereffects, the buzz, of a few gospel tunes, Celtic airs and choral harmonies…

Christmas music and beer — some traditions are just too difficult to overcome.

That’s why I long ago taught myself not to condemn others for their lifestyles.

Who’m I to judge what’s going through your thoughts as you struggle to live your life the best way you know how?

Old-fashioned or newfangled, we are who we are and mostly who we want to be.

I have some mischievous stories in my thoughts that I better not write while I’ve had a few to drink.

I know better than to regret later being the real me behind the layers of masks that masquerade for this show we call a universe within a blog.

Well, all right, if you insist…what’s one teensy, tiny story amongst friends, right?

Let’s listen in to the characters who are already in your future but you don’t know it yet…