Archive for People

Where is the logic and the compassion?

The expression “privileged white middle-class men” is a generalization and a disparaging expression that I have often seen and heard used by “privileged white middle-class women” to call attention to these men’s lack of compassion and concern for the weaker members of society. This borders on a form of gender-hatred and some sort of class-hatred. As long as it continues to be this way I do not want to participate in society. I will stay here on my couch and will do absolutely nothing. The struggle for humanistic values is a useless one if its own participators have not reached higher levels of understanding and communicating than this over these last few 100 years.

I won’t, of course, do nothing, but it’s how I feel today. Tomorrow I’ll start over. Some day, but perhaps not on this day, we will reach high enough.

I do not care much for Easter, so I’ll end this with,

Peace & Love, everyone!

The Thing-Finder

This piece is about a young woman who tells a story from her childhood. I am not sure about the grammar or the use of some of the words, and I have not bothered to revise it, but since I like it, I am posting it anyway. For now, only the story is important.

“I used to find things for my father. You know, like a treasure hunter, but without a mission. He called me The Thing-Finder. I found many things for him over my childhood years and he was proud of me and always let me know how thankful he was for it. Often it was things that he’d lost somewhere, or that he’d forgotten about. Other times it was new things; things that roused his curiosity. Those times we would sit and wonder what it was for, or used to be and how we could use it for something.

Once, when we were out walking and chatting our way through the city streets on an early Sunday morning – having sneaked out before the others had awakened – he said that it would have been nice if we had some money for a cup of tea somewhere. In the middle of his sentence I had spotted something on the pavement a few feet away from us. I dived off in the direction of it, grabbed it, and came back to him, holding my hand up to him showing a £5 note. He laughed with joy, but told me that I could do anything I wanted with it; it did not have to be used for tea. We had tea. And it was a particularly excellent Sunday morning.”

Ghost town misadventures

It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.

Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.

Pressurized

Trying to make me do or say things I do not want to do or say is not OK. Not even by a long-shot. To quote Lewis Black, “…that puts a lot of pressure on me… and I don’t respond well to pressure.”

Last year ended well, however. 2011 had its ups and downs, but all in all I had a great year. I’m very thankful for that. This year can only get better.

The third one this evening

It used to be simple. Or so it seemed. I got what I wanted – sometimes. Or if it was that I just stumbled upon it and got lucky. Still, it never went as I wanted it to. Some things did, though. Some things did.

A tied up goat, waiting in the clearing, just moments away from its fate. What would it do if given the chance? Would it live its life differently? Would it know the difference?

Now and again there are fleeting rays. Of what, I do not know. Sometimes they seem to be like rays of the sun, but only for a moment, then they’re gone, like they were not there.

I get off the bus and walk away. The city is dark, wet and noisy. I walk home on the silent back streets. There’s rain, but I hardly feel it. A street light flickers and dies. The third one this evening. I close the door behind me, walk the few remaining steps and lie down. I breathe slowly and try to feel something good. I try to make sense. One breath at a time. Slowly, deeply.

Dipped in tar and rolled in feathers

It’s a hard task being a humorous man with important things to say about life. When I am trying to be funny, people take me too seriously, and when I am trying to do good things for other people, I get criticized as a person (not my deeds, strangely enough).  I’d hate to be in Santa Claus’s shoes in this town. He’ll probably be dipped in tar and rolled in feathers before Christmas.

There’s something about her

Woman Eating Apple - photo by Ambro

Woman Eating Apple - photo by Ambro

I’ve been thinking about my female characters. Or any male author’s female characters, for that matter. Commonly I, and perhaps everybody else, as well, see what we want to see. Some ten or fifteen years ago, on a sunny spring day, I walked through a small town. Having walked through the whole town, I thought that there seemed to be a disproportionate number of females in that town. Unusually attractive as well, I thought. Strange. That didn’t seem statistically correct. So I walked the same way back, but this time with my eyes a bit more objective. It wasn’t true, of course, there were an equal number of women and men, and there were, of course, all kinds of beautiful and ugly, just like everywhere else.

How do we portray people we never see? How does a man portray a female character and vice versa? Supposedly men are from Mars and women are from Venus and we don’t even speak the same language. When it comes to me, I don’t really understand any human being fully. But then again, I’m from Earth. The point is: who are these people? What do they not tell me and what do I not see?

So, how do I portray other men and women convincingly? Do I really have to understand all the motions? Or can I just simply describe what everything looks like to me and hope that it is close enough to get away with?

I’m a man. I do not have a vagina and I cannot give birth. I’m raised as a male, and all what comes along with that. As a boy all my friends were boys. However, I had a mother and I have a sister, and have had a few girlfriends and a wife. I have three daughters and most of my friends are female. Still, I know less about the female mind and of women’s true feelings, than I know of the male psyche. Or so I believe, anyway.

In an attempt to rectify this, I read a lot of female authors these days and preferably literature where the main character is female. I need to know the character I am writing about. I cannot write about someone I know nothing about. Well, I know some things, but not nearly enough. So I study.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing her. I will get her right sooner or later. It may, or may not, be a fairly accurate account of a woman, but she will be there.

An expanding universe

It’s the 11th of May and there’s a tree in full bloom outside my window. The sun makes it stand out against the building behind it and I just want to climb up into the tree and be there. Nothing else but just to be there, sitting on one of its branches, watching the people pass by and catch a few rays of sun between the flowers and the leaves.

I used to do that a lot as a child. Sometimes when I got fed up by being with my friends, I would climb up a tree with a book or something else to read and sit there for an hour or two. I’d watch the people walk by; I would listen in on their conversations and really love the fact that nobody knew I was there. Like a fly on the wall.

That feeling never went away as I grew older. It still comes back now and again, but it has been a long time since I climbed a tree. Instead I go to a cafe, which is much like sitting in a tree, except they all see me sitting there.

Perhaps some would say that it is bad listening in on other people’s conversations, but I look at it as a class room, a place for research. Without life and other people, I would have nothing to write about. Of course, I could write about myself and what happens to me, but that universe is not in itself big enough. This universe of mine (we each have our own) is a product of many things, including the people around me and I am the main explorer of it. However, even though almost endless, it’s not big enough.

The explorer in me wants to travel to every part of that universe which holds all our individual universes. My life is not going to be long enough, of course, but I aim to explore much more yet. For every place I go to, my own universe expands.