Keeping Up the Fight

‘Despair, or folly?’ said Gandalf. ‘It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to false hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.’

‘At least for a while,’ said Elrond. ‘The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings)

Please note that I’m deep into the audio version of Fellowship of the Ring at the moment. I wonder if I’ll ever stop weeping when Gandalf falls into the depths with the Balrog on the bridge of Khazad-dûm. Although I am not of this level of readers, I love that there are such people in the world as these, who discuss many things.

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Day Seventeen, NaPoWriMo

The radio spits out
news that can’t be held
listening as witness,
eyes opening and turning
to the weirdness of snow
on the seventeenth
of April, snow, hail, sleet
doesn’t this seem
more likely than
all that world stuff?
Mid-April, not mid-March
The days are more
February than May
more grey than sun
and all that again today
This weather three sixty
made fields fine brocade,
green and gold and white,
shining drops on each twig
each an upside down world
each the moment’s truth
and then gone.

Day Two NaPoWriMo 2018

The drive in and lunchtime

On awakening,
scrim of snow, April second
all kinds of fake news.

On April second,
the snow, a scrim obscuring,
all kinds of fake news
pouring from the radio
dripping down the screens
Turn them off,
cut short the foolishness
and let anxiety settle
as best it can, if only
to a dull gripping
the snow, though ridiculous
is true. There may be more.
In truth there may be more.
But the lies which cloud
the rest of the world
must be seen clearly
truth welcomed
like the blue break
in those morning clouds.

Mini Stay-Cation

I was definitely due for a little time off. I started out Thursday night by seeing the National Theater Live performance of Julius Caesar in the mall movie theater. Two hours fifteen minutes or so, straight through without intermission. They’d set up their theater so that when you got your ticket you could either be in tiered seating above the performance space or you’d be standing on the same level as the actors, being part of the action as the crowd. Modern setting, Julius was wearing a red baseball style cap, no kidding. And in good Shakespearean fashion it ended with noble speeches over piles of bodies.

Great way to start a vacation.

Saturday I got up pretty early and went to the March for Our Lives in Albany. Very well attended, very inspiring and uplifting speeches from students and old pols alike. I also popped into the Book House to say hi to my NaNoWriMo friends who were doing a meet the author/reading afternoon event for their new publishing company.

I did a lot of little things, I killed a lot of orcs. I found some things like, my calligraphic stash! In a metal lunchbox I’d collaged… maybe in high school or college?

I took this framed piece off the wall thinking to take it out of the little frame it was in and giving it a better home.

But there was a surprise when I turned it over and found this:

I spent quality time with my big cup o’nope this past week and added this to my available avatar/profile photos.

I went out one day and did this (should have tried to get out more to do more of this)

and I practiced my handwriting while trying to learn the gettysburg address.

The Force

What’s happiness? When a totally nerdy, pop-culture iconic movie character says the exact same thing that every freaking thing you’ve ever read or been told by someone speaking to you about writing and art.

There were more than a few times last night that I felt tears well up and that might have been the biggest. I am guilty of reciting the “there is no try” bit. And I’m able to apply that and last night’s messages to more than art-making.

And ain’t that the whole hero’s journey -and the artist’s, to keep going, to learn from everything – success and failure, and to be true to yourself.

Thanks for the reminder. I needed that.

Then and Now – Gettysburg and Beyond

Looking back,I first posted these words here in 2015 after an incident in Baltimore triggered violence and looting. I reposted them two years later, a month after this president took office and thinking about what it means to be American and what is worth fighting for.

Today is the anniversary of those words being said overlooking the battlefields of Gettysburg. Two minutes that sum up what is worth fighting for and why we must continue to fight for what we believe.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Terrorist President

Got up this morning and after awhile thought to look at what Twitterlandia had to offer. [For those who don’t mix with me on Facebook, Twitterlandia is how I re-tweet screenshots of the 45’s tweets. This started when I kept going to verify what I was reading about. Did he really tweet THAT? Yes. And that??? Yes. And Holy Crap THAT??? and so on. Some people don’t do twitter so I capture screen shots and post them to facebook with a minimal bit of tagline after the opening “Twitterlandia:”]

I can’t even say “just when you think it can’t get any more stupid/crazy/ridiculous/preposterous” anymore. Every single time the guy tweets he just makes it more surreal/absurd/beyond understanding.

So today I was thinking about this progression and about yesterday’s attack in London and about 45’s responses and about the very pointed and mocking responses to his tweets and the very real effect of those tweets globally and more locally.

Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States is a terrorist.

One of the things that sets terrorism apart is the erratic, unexpected nature of it, along with the idea that such actions and the resulting fear it causes will disrupt normal society and life, making people willing to do extraordinary things in order to feel safe and normal again.

Who do we have that does this on a regular basis? Yeah that guy.

So consider this a reminder not to get bogged down by it all – do what you can to keep your own life on an even keel – resist in all the ways you can but don’t give up what’s important to you. It’s vital that we continue to resist and insist that our other officials represent us and do what is right. It’s equally vital that we keep on making art and enjoying the world and taking care of each other because that’s what really matters.