Oddments

In search of story


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Disconnections: August 20.18

The chase and the catch, continued from yesterday.

You see “In search of story” at the top of my blog.  For me, trying to write a story is like trying to enjoy a root canal. But I listen to others in an effort to learn about story. And this is what bothers me about the machines: they yield the tidy catch, thereby rendering the messy chase obsolete and attendant stories extinct.

My Grandma Mauck and her siblings would fight to the verbal death about who was born when. With them, it was all about the chase. If they’d had Smartphones to consult, our Thanksgivings might have been quieter, but I wouldn’t have learned about their internecine wars and I’d have been deluded into thinking all my relatives were rational.

My Grandma O’Hern would celebrate summer, no matter how icky hot, with a mountain of pierogi; family and chairs would appear magically and morph into a small city around the table. If they’d had iPads, would I have heard the accounts of how Baby Edna had to walk because Grandpa’s hootch rode in the baby carriage?

How can I hope to develop any story-telling abilities at this point in my life when people are nose-dived into their gadgets, and mind only the catch?

It is arguable that if I don’t know how to tell a story by now I never will. I guess I am stuck in my own messy chase, trying to catch the skill of story-telling, dodging the thumbs of the world.

 

 

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Disconnections: August 19.18

Recently I posted a photo of a blissful Jack Russell (one Lulu by name) with her slimy ball. The question posed was this: which is more fun, the chase or the catch? Chasing and catching had been on my mind.

It used to be that when someone asked a question in a group the others would offer answers based on what they knew (or thought they knew). A hodgepodge formed and grew: bits of memory, stories, irrelevancies, maybe even an argument or a snippet of song. Various voices could be heard.

A lively chase would have been run.

Now the response to a question in a group is silence. Eyes are down, thumbs fly. In half a trice there’s an answer. The catch is caught. Quick, straightforward, efficient. Also sterile.

I think this is not merely the grumping of an old curmudgeon; I think this is the plaintive cry of the writer. What is lost if memory isn’t tapped, stories aren’t told, if no one is wrong, when the path goes straight to the answer, no detours and no curves and no dead ends?

I accord technology the wonder due it, but I’m uncertain about what happens when we don’t dive into our own personal data banks and goofy lives to try to find answers. I’ve been dismayed at how often people dive into their clouds instead.

I grant there’s a place in life for efficiency.  Sometimes the best way is the fast way. But I think the writer in me wants the chase and feels rebuffed in some way by the mere catch.

There’s another part to this. Another post, another day.

 


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Disconnections: June 1.18

I still haven’t figured out how to remedy this problem inserting photos in my posts. I haven’t yet turned to the folks at WordPress because I don’t even know how to ask the questions. I am darkly frustrated by the not-knowing.

Usually when I am frustrated I turn to my beloved outlets of baking or gardening or drawing or playing the piano or — I must admit — housecleaning. Doing is the antidote to stewing. But now I have something called CPPD. It goes nicely with my HHT, don’t you think, dear reader? If I live long enough, I’ll be a whole bowl of alphabet soup.

Many old people have CPPD but without symptoms. I have symptoms. To quote myself, PHOO. CPPD is incurable, its damage irreversible. Mine is deemed “erosive” because of the bone damage. How scary is that? Bone erosion? Now I cannot use my hands as I used to. This is as deep a disconnection as I can imagine. My hands have connected me to freshly baked cookies and fresh herbs and Bach Inventions and sketchbooks and fitted sheets tight on the mattress.

Taken with the osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, the CPPD gives me the image of a swarm of microscopic ants with my skeleton the picnic lunch.

When technology beats me up, when I hear of yet another school shooting or another holiday from truth, I want to grab a shovel or a spatula and DO something. Will the ants leave me anything with which to DO?

 


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Connections: January 2.18

On New Year’s Eve I stood in awe at my back door. The last of 2017 blazed white and stark: sun on snow. Blinding and beautiful. Demanding. Not to be ignored.

“Do you have a lesson for me, 2017?” I asked.

I listened. Nothing. But in the listening, ironically, I saw. The air danced with tiny prisms, minute shards of ice twinkling. Was 2017 winking at me?

Maybe the lessons of 2017 don’t come until 2018.  Maybe never.

But still the imperious, taunting beauty. Isn’t it trying to say something?

I got a camera for Christmas. I was so excited! But the memory card got nothing. I tried it back in my old camera. Still nothing. “Why are there no pictures?” I asked my cameras, old and new. They, like the old year, answered nothing.

That’s a lot of Nothing with which to end a year. Or with which to begin a year.

But the beauty is constant. Radiant and sparkling. Cold and soulless. I cannot show you, dear reader, and I cannot seem to hear what it is saying. It has sealed the old year and encases the new, tight-lipped. I meander from door to window, wishing I could take a picture. Wishing I were 6 so I’d have the problem-solving skills I need for this digital world. But I’m not and I don’t.

So for now some good coffee, a comfy robe, a blog post. A thank-you to all who have left a friendly note here. A determined turning-to, armed with chocolate, so to smite the Nothings.

 

Connections

 


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Connections: August 3.17

 This won’t fit into your pocket

and it won’t put you on to the ‘net

but there are so many places you can’t drop it

and it doesn’t mind getting wet.

It doesn’t compete with today

and its digital glossy chronology

but holds to a steady display

of yesterday’s hand-wrought technology.

In gilded and courtly demeanor

it sniffs in aloof pantomime

though a smartphone is somewhat leaner

it’s unmoved by the passing of time.

 

 

Thanks yet again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Connections

 


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Connections: May 20.17

Cog and wheel

wire and spring

precise, confluent

mindless thing.

Sterile, tidy,

engineered

no surprises

nothing feared.

True to function

whole and part

metal head

plastic heart.

Unencumbered

all-efficient

never messy

work proficient.

Do I envy

mindlessness?

Sometimes no

sometimes yes.

Thanks again to the S.W. Berg Photo Archives.

Connections