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BY Michael

04/01 Direct Link
They say we are not supposed to celebrate April Foolís day today. Some are concerned our jokes may be in poor taste. Iím going to have to take sides here. It seems to be the new me, taking sides when it is safer to stay on the fence. It is necessary for all of us to speak out against idiocy wherever we find it. It is necessary for us to point it out, to bray like donkeys, and to alert everyone to its presence. It is dangerous stuff and will surely be the death of us if we let it.
04/02 Direct Link
Last month I was talking about trains. I was particularly focused on the older steam locomotives and got sidetracked at one point talking about the complexity of the different technologies we use to create motors of various kinds. I didnít even get into springs, falling weights, or running water. I am looking past all of this to a point where as a small boy I took my first ride on a train with my mother down into Kentucky. The locomotive, a huge old iron thing, came bellowing out of the fog to pick us up. I thought It was magnificent.
04/03 Direct Link
I feel banged up, stiff, and bruised this morning. The persistent dry cough and weepy eyes have me convinced that I have a low-level case of Covid-19. It sure does hang on a long time, but that is the way with colds and flues with me. I rarely get them, but when I do they hang on forever. I think itís been five years since my last one. Of course, it could just be allergies. I got allergies. There are the usual two theories: Who knows? And, Who cares? I will feel better when I get out for a walk.
04/04 Direct Link
I found some of my fatherís art out on the internet the other day. Actually my son found it and forwarded it to me. My father flew in the B-26 Marauder during WWII. During that time, he painted the nose art on some of the planes, including his own, The Louisiana Mud Hen. Toward the end, the Mud Hen was shot down, but his flight crew had been inexplicably scrubbed from the mission that day. The Hen went down with a substitute crew. I found a scrapbook of his art in the attic, but it disappeared. My mother, I think.
04/05 Direct Link
April 5, that is today. Very soon I will go out for a walk. I will go singing out into the cool of the morning with the incipient rain in the air. It will be relatively safe as I will have the neighborhood to myself. It is Palm Sunday. It was Palm Sunday. That was a different day in a different time. We still hear the echoes of that earlier Sunday, some kind of wave propagated over time. A wave of cause and effect. A wave over the words I even now set down. First I will make some oatmeal.
04/06 Direct Link
It is morning. Now it is evening. It was morning. Now it is evening. Lightening is harsh in the sky. The thunder shakes itself against the house. First it is dark. Then the sky lights up. Rain rolls in waves against the windows and hammers the pavement outside. There are rumors of tornados and power failures. I finish teaching for the evening and come downstairs to take my evening meds. I think it is cooling off now. Iíll not bother to turn the heat on though. Itís really been too warm in here today. Soon I will go to sleep.
04/07 Direct Link
What do I put down here now? Iíve got eleven minutes left. I think I have done this before, the count-down to finishing one hundred words. Over the years I have learned to write within the framework of one hundred words. I have learned to think a hundred words at a time. It may be that this does not help my writing. It may actually destroy my ability to write at all. But if not a hundred words, then what format should I write? What structure? To what purpose? I have nine more minutes to go and only six words.
04/08 Direct Link
Sometimes I cry in vague anticipation of things that have already happened. Those are lost vehicles. I called my friend Fred this afternoon. He is in a bed in Oregon these days and he is not doing well. The cancer metastasized before they discovered it. Now I call him on weekends, not sure whether I am a greater help or annoyance. We talk about old times together, and frequently he falls asleep when we are talking. Today I was going to ask about his twin brothers, about the yellow Mustang they bought together. Maybe I will do that next time.
04/09 Direct Link
Outside a woodpecker hammers away at a tree trunk. I have read that their heads are specially constructed to absorb the pounding they take as they drill into trees. I cannot imagine any padding or shock absorption that would be able to deal with that. Nevertheless, the woodpecker continues to hammer at the tree just as I continue to hammer at the keyboard here. I take a moment to look at my fingers. The nails are trimmed, and the fingers are scarred. They are my hands, unique to me. Itís not impossible for them to be duplicated; just highly unlikely.
04/10 Direct Link
Some day I will clean up my study. Oh sure, I will file papers and pick up the floor, for sure. I will clear off the cedar chest and throw away the junk cluttering my desk. But I will also dust in here. I will dust every object carefully and put it back in its place. I will even eliminate some of the objects in there. I would like to have a more spacious office, but if I did, I would just have more area to clean and obviously I already have more area than I can keep up with.
04/11 Direct Link
When I look at a person, sometimes my brain does a strange thing. Instead of seeing a smile, I see an ape-like creature baring its teeth. I see jawbones, and raw muscles around the eyes. The eyes themselves are something fluid and detached. I see the skeleton and the musculature all firmly attached. I see bones in the feet and brains in the skull. I see a hairy animal, an almost alien thing with its own history and culture, a thing driven by hormones and impulses that often make no sense and that are often only there to ensure replication.
04/12 Direct Link
The font is big on this screen. Everything is big. I like that. Otherwise the room is a bit cramped, especially if I look behind me. Even looking forward I see every surface crammed with stuff, every piece of it something I need for my life, and this is my lifeboat. This is where I keep my provisions and the things I need to keep moving ahead. The time when I will no longer move ahead is inevitable and I wonít dwell on that just now. That is for another day, maybe many other days, both ahead and behind me.
04/13 Direct Link
There were the daffodils. Yellow. That was one thing that had entered my mind. There may have been something else. Sometimes, well, often, my mind is not filled with things. More often than not it is overwhelmed by a mixture of hard images and sounds and the sense of half-imagined memories and soften pictures of my surroundings. It is there all at once, each competing for focus, each trying to drown all the others out. How am I supposed to work with all this going on? The sun. Fred dying. Matthew dead. My father walking in the woods. The daffodils.
04/14 Direct Link
This is obviously not my 100 words entry for today. I will move into the real entry gradually. It will find me. I wonít find it. What do I mean by that? Am I implying organic process? Am I saying the entry, the final piece, has an existence of its own, that it is right now somewhere looking for someone to give it life? It has paused by my window. It is watching now, thinking, feeling the weight of the air around it. It has decided. It is sliding noiseless through the window. The air in this room is warmer.
04/15 Direct Link
It snowed today. It snowed for most of the day. I was up late last night and early this morning. No, I didnít sleep much last night. When I looked out the window around 1 a.m., I could see my car covered with snow. This morning when I woke up a dusting of snow was covering the deck outside, and several times today when I looked outside I saw it snowing briskly. It seems late in the year for snow, but itís not. My motherís birthday is Mar 4, and I can remember several years having frosts after her birthday.
04/16 Direct Link
My father used to get up at night too. He would roam the house while my mother slept. He would make coffee or fix himself a bowl of cereal. At this time the house is noisy. Youíd think it would be quiet with the world asleep but there are sounds. There is the refrigerator, and there is the sound of the furnace. The coo coo clock announces the hour and there is the well-controlled sound of the ratchet guiding the pendulum back and forth. There is the sound of the ringing in my ears. Always the ringing in my ears.
04/17 Direct Link
Iíve been thinking about changing the timer I use for work. In the past Iíve used one with a loud alarm. I always liked this timer because I could hear it easily. My students can also hear it, which I have always accounted a good thing. The noisy timer tells them that the session is over, and it is easier for me to end the session and move on to the next student. All good things have a downside, just as most bad things have an upside. The downside here is that the student may find my noisy timer rude.
04/18 Direct Link
I came here for something. I even set a timer to limit the amount of time I would spend on it. I have no idea now what it was to be. I pick up my coffee mug. I can feel it warm against my fingers. I can feel the coffee hot against the roof of my mouth and the sides of my tongue. My eyes havenít really opened this morning. I should open them. Iím sure the sky is glorious out there. I marvel now about the blanket of atmosphere surrounding our fragile planet. Everything is so small. So small.
04/19 Direct Link
I can see that burning ball of sun on the horizon burning a hole through the trees and the woodpecker is already hard at work outside my window. Itís a marvel that he can do that so relentlessly with his head. Maybe to him it feels good. It feels good to me to sit upright here. My back gets a little stiff when I sleep. I think thatís often what gets me up in the morning. I can feel the morning behind me already, pressing me to move faster. I pause a moment here, just to let the it sweep by.
04/20 Direct Link
Itís time to start back up here. It may be long past time. I admit it. I have been distracted. I have been distracted by useless shiny toys. Are they truly useless? I suppose we can justify all manner of bad behavior by saying that we shall all die someday and that all effort is wasted. But the very logic I use to justify my continued existence gives a lie to this. Life is a defiant shout into the darkness. It is an insistence that we once existed and believed enough in that existence to shout in the first place.
04/21 Direct Link
Itís a gloomy day, but I donít let that bother me. Iíve other things to bother me. Thereís the Covid-19 virus. Now thereís a thing to bother a person. Not only are we being stalked by a genuine killer, but we are locked down in defense against the killer. No going out into the street to greet your neighbors. No driving to the local audio salon to drool over the latest goodies. I really miss that part. Even a simple trip to the grocery store is no longer as simple as it once was. You really have to be careful.
04/22 Direct Link
Iíve cold feet. No, I am not afraid; my feet are literally cold. I think it may be the mat under my desk chair. The mat is a hard plastic and seems to draw heat out of my feet like concrete would. I stretch my feet out farther under the desk to where they are on carpeting. Perhaps this will be better. Normally I would wear house shoes up here. My girlfriend bought them for me. I am used to having house shoes on my feet. They protect my feet. They keep my feet warm. I donít like cold feet.
04/23 Direct Link
Iíve gotten away from playing the piano since the virus hit. The virus generally seems to affect different people in one of two ways. Either it makes them unemployed or it increases their workload. I have fallen into the latter group. My employer asked me to take on extra work. It seems that Korea is now full of people (possibly not working) who want to take online classes. I think a number of them were taking traditional classes, but now they find the online versions to be safer. Hence, Iíve found I just donít have the time I once did.
04/24 Direct Link
The flowers in the back yard are nice. Tulips are taking over now where the daffodils once reigned. I am unsure as to what exactly it is they reign over. Is it my aesthetic sense? Without my observing them, would they be significant, or would they be simple plant parts working away unnoticed trying to reproduce their kind? Iím not big on planting flowers, or pulling weeds, or any of those outdoor, bend over, and snort up fertilizer kinds of things. Some people see that as a deficiency in my personality. I view it as a sign of my sensibility.
04/25 Direct Link
The flowers in the back yard are nice. Tulips are taking over now where the daffodils once reigned. I am unsure as to what exactly it is they reign over. Is it my aesthetic sense? Without my observing them, would they be significant, or would they be simple plant parts working away unnoticed trying to reproduce their kind? Iím not big on planting flowers, or pulling weeds, or any of those outdoor, bend over, and snort up fertilizer kinds of things. Some people see that as a deficiency in my personality. I view it as a sign of my sensibility.
04/26 Direct Link
It seems to be in my essence to make things. I am always about making one kind of thing or another and when I canít be actually about making something I am dreaming up ways to make things. I am putting this or that idea together with another one, stacking one object atop of another, or inserting tab A into Slot B. It is compulsive. What kinds of things satisfy this notion of creation? What behaviors? It can be as simple as putting up a shelf. Or it can be as difficult as playing Rhapsody in Blue on the piano.
04/27 Direct Link
I think I hear rain falling on the roof. I look out the window just in time to see a globe of water fall from the eavestrough. I can hear it now, drumming on the roof. In the air outside I can occasional drops falling. Sometimes I can see entire sheets of rain. I think of what it would be like to be standing out in the rain, feeling the chill of the drops hitting the back of my neck, soaking through my shirt. My shoes splash in the grass and water rushes in from all sides filling my footprints.
04/28 Direct Link
I think of my father often. I see him in my imagination wearing his blue carpenterís uniform, the jeans, brogans, and work shirt. His blue eyes are clear. His hair is damp. He must have recently washed it, but I did not notice him going into the bath or coming out. He does that discreetly somehow. He is like that. He moves in quiet camouflage. You donít know he is there. He doesnít seem to take up enough space for a two-hundred-pound man. He is physically balanced. You rarely notice his hands moving, yet they are not in the way.
04/29 Direct Link
Iím sliding around a curve in my mind now, rounding a fold in my brain, slipping into a crevasse. Darkness closes around me as I sink into the folds. Again I rise and again I see the sky. The motor in my ride is purring confidently, talking to me in its metal way and we move smoothly together across the landscape of grey rumpled matter tinted with red and sparks here and there as ideas flash across synapses and are gone forever. We are in search of the memory. It is in here somewhere. We just have to find it.
04/30 Direct Link
This will be a small entry. It will be hard to see. You will have to look for it. It may even try to hide from you, a frightened, timid, cowering beastie. If you look down at the bottom of the page, in the left corner, you may see it there, trying to be inconspicuous. It may have even managed to shrink itself even further, may have slipped out of the frame entirely, dripping like some oily fluid from the outer corner. Be patient. I think it needs to be here. There is something about this place that suits it.