Month: September 2014

The Something of Whatever Whenever – Someplace, Somewhere

(found by the dumpster or in the kitchen sink or underneath the hearth of an abandoned fireplace)

Josie –

I do not very much like this place that you have sent me to visit. I do not very much like this particular society filled with these particular people all doing this particular thing.

I have questions for them, Josie, and – as much as I try to pose them innocently and without judgment or harshness – whenever I ask them a question, they all get rather upset. And do you know what happens, Josie? Josie, just guess!

They turn on me. They accuse me. They call me names, and they scream, and they make me feel as if it is necessary for me to feel bad about myself.

And I want no part of it. I’d much rather like to leave than get a stern talking to from one of these particular people from this particular society which seems overly concerned with doing this particular thing.

I just feel differently, Josie. That’s all. That’s the simplest way that I can phrase it. All of these particular people from this particular society are all very much preoccupied with the doing of this particular thing (or – within reason – an assemblage of things closely related or in some way similar to this particular thing), and I – quite simply, Josie, and quite innocently as well – am not.

I do not have a problem with it. However, I do realize that in order for me to successfully assimilate and become a part of these particular people in this particular society I will soon have to sacrifice my hesitancy, or whatever misinformed aspects of my worldview cause it, in order to become similarly determined to do this particular thing.

It is as if there is no middle ground, no compromise. The particular people that inhabit this particular society are all quite enamored with the accomplishing of this particular thing, and they interpret any deviance or any call towards deviance from the task of accomplishing this particular thing as a threat to themselves fundamentally as people.

And so some end up on a cross or alone beneath a Bodhi tree or just sent to the desert without anyone to record their triumphs.

It seems quite shortsighted. It seems quite ridiculous, in fact.

Although, each must be given their own, even if that courtesy isn’t always reciprocated.

Wish me luck,

Josiah

The 8th of September 2007 – Monterrey Bay, California

(found by the docks and splashed with some angry sea foam)

No, Julie.

I get it. I understand completely, totally, one hundred percent. I’m your guy, and I get it.

I’m Mr. Compliant, Mr. I’ll Be There For You, and that’s what I am whenever, wherever and however you need me.

You need a shoulder to cry on? Mine’s free.

You need a pair of lonely eyes to search into? I’ve got them right here.

You need a hand to hold onto, one that you worry might be a little cold and clammy and attached to a greater, sicklier being? Well, put it there, partner.

Project anything you need to see onto me, as I am that special, clear bit of glass that can act as a mirror and show you exactly what you’ve always desired. Or maybe, just maybe – or just hopefully maybe – there’s some perceptive person out there who can see right through me.

But that’s no matter.

Make me the lonely, lost soul that’s tied up in the bushes and twisting in the wind, and I’ll be that, mold myself into that.

You need a puzzle? You need an enigma to ponder over? I’ll play the aloof cat that only comes out at feeding time.

You need something to worry about? You need a distraction from the decay of your own being? I’ll blurt something out, simple and easy, about death and dying and the decay of your own being.

You need a joke? You need something to laugh about until you cry just enough to blur the edges of your vision? Well, here, give me a moment to get my clown makeup, to remold this frown into a smile just as tragic, and let me tell a few jokes.

It’s not too hard, Julie. Not hard at all. I’ve been acting, don’t you know, playing a part this whole time. This whole entire time, and it’s just to make it easier for you, just to keep you from realizing that, deep down, I really do hate you

So I can keep it up. I can cycle through the charades and flick through the facades and give you a nice and tidy representation of myself. Just make sure I don’t slip up. Just make sure that, whenever you realize an inconsistency in my own self, just make sure that you let me know.

Because, of course, you know best. You know me best. You need to know me best.

Best,

Killan

The 1st of December 1993 – Utrecht, Netherlands

(found…To be honest these get boring to write unless there’s some connection with the larger text or some foreshadowing to be done. Usually these words are random and meaningless, but that doesn’t stop the world from turning, okay? Wait…don’t leave. Here come words that aren’t italicized…)

My Good Friend Mehmet,

It was a while ago when you asked me the question, so I will not blame you for forgetting that you ever even asked it. But – understandably or no, expectedly or no – the question has hardly left my mind, even though the circumstances are long gone and should be themselves forgotten.

It was patience, Mehmet, demonstrated subtly and in the smallest ways.

I know that you will be reluctant to accept this comparison and that you will – probably with simple politeness dominating your reasons – refuse it completely. But, Mehmet, I am very much like a dog, a dog in training.

(In fact, after coming up with this analogy, I realized that it could easily have been made to involve a young toddler instead of a dog. But, listen, I prefer it with the dog somehow.)

But you’ve seen these dogs, Mehmet, these dogs from the shelters downtown, where they take in mutts from the street and hand them off to suburban families with children and barbeques and lawns to mow. I’m sure that you have. These kooky dogs that wag their tails awkwardly and shy away when the neighbors come into the yard or that bark when you hand them a treat and, in fact, seem to hate you for it. They’re weird dogs, Mehmet, just a little off.

And these dogs can be punished – they call it disciplined, they call it taught – with a boxing around the ears by a rolled-up newspaper or some harsh squirts from a bottle of cold water, and so they become skittish and shy and nervous at all hours of the day and night.

But, Mehmet, there are some people who have some special talent. It’s these who can get even the damnedest of lost souls to calm down and relax and jump onto the couch and snore as if they belonged there for their whole, entire life.

They have a naiveté, these special ones, an innocence and a patience to forgive the kookiness, let it slide by and assimilate it into the normality that we all believe should surround us.

That’s what it was, Mehmet. Patience.

Regards,

Hugh

The 12th of September 2011 – Boston, Massachusetts

(found in a frame and hooked up onto a wall, to be appreciated and such)

My dearest Max,

Remember the second half of the sentence, please!

We can all get into trouble for our simplifications, for some of us need simplicity like water or air – and, of course, some of us need the exact opposite in the same measure and for the same reasons. That is why it is of the utmost importance to remember the second half of the sentence. In fact, it’s important to stress it, almost above all else.

Yes, the first half is more destructive and flashier, and it explodes in the ear like a bomb. But the solace and the lesson comes in the second.

Greats before us, greats much greater than you or I have gotten into similar trouble with similar sentiments about one’s death or another, and who or how they’ve been killed – of course focusing on the gore and not the inspiration that follows it, that can be taken from it if attention is properly paid.

There is nothing, Max.

Absolutely nothing.

No truth. No meaning or tradition. There are no rules or values or faiths, loves, pains or disgraces. We are solipsistic consciousnesses floating through an ink black void.

And, of course, the sentence has another half.

There is nothing, Max, but what we make of it.

Choice is infinite, and the sincerity of an action is all that we have to judge another, if we ever decided to exercise petty superiority.

Just as a soundless tree can fall in an empty forest, sunsets can only be seen when we are there to see, when we are present, when we choose. And we can choose to see sunsets wherever, given that we are disposed to that sort of sight.

Of course it is possible to dwell on the blackness, but any ideology can encourage seeing evil in everything that is labelled “Other.”

We shouldn’t care about what anyone believes as long as they are able to enjoy beauty everywhere they look.

The only truth is to be true.

Keep that in mind.

Regards,

Jiminy

“Know Thyself” – The 17th of May 2009 – Portland, Maine

(found covered in x’s, o’s and smiling faces)

Dear Julius,

You must tell me, and you must tell me this instant, how it is possible to know anything. How is knowledge of the world, its nature, or human beings and their nature, how is any of that even possible, when it is so easy for a single individual to not even know himself?

If I, self-assured as I am wont to be, can be so wrong about every detail of my character other than my name, then how can any man even know for certain that the sky is blue or that grass is green?

Is not, then, knowledge just delusion, and knowledge of our knowledge just a mad certainty of that delusion?

For years – not years, Julius, but decades – I operated under the certainty that I was the shy person, the quiet person and the conservative intellectual. I wasn’t at clubs or bars or dancing and singing. I was at home, with a book and a quiet companion, swirling a snifter of brandy under a dusky light. I was holding a glass of red wine beneath my nose and holding court in the corner of a party – one of those refined and worthy parties – while some man wearing an ascot and coke-bottle glasses and a woman in a woolen skirt and opaque stockings laughed at my jokes about Brechtian despair.

What could have ever tipped me off to my delusion and my despair?

How was I to know that the source of my loathing and my cynicism was not caused by some external conflict, a tension between myself and a perpetually unsatisfying cast of characters rotating through an even more unsatisfying setting?

How was I to know that the brief moments of exuberance I’ve stumbled across in my life were not caused by luck or happy accident and that they did not have to be the exceptions to a rule, but the rule itself – given that they were treated as such?

How was I to know that I was instead a creature of that exuberance, capable of laughter and smiling at any moment, able to fly off into passionate rants about beauty and love and kindness just as easily – in fact more so – as I can about hatred and suffering and pain?

But now I am certain of that. I have decided to smile, and so I will smile.

Lacking desperation,

Paulus

 

Read more excellent responses to today’s Daily Challenge here:

  1. http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/purpose-of-life/
  2. http://abozdar.wordpress.com/2014/09/16/tune-of-a-night/
  3. http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/good-golly/
  4. http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/bestowing-joy/
  5. http://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/sad-face/
  6. http://lifeconfusions.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/suffering-and-war/
  7. http://vexingpoint.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/daily-prompt-happy-radars/
  8. http://reallyjustwords.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/its-about-snoopy-the-sniffer-dog/
  9. http://agirllikemee.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/judging-happiness/
  10. http://anawnimiss.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/of-how-things-look/
  11. http://yichinglin.com/2014/09/17/pizza/
  12. http://sayadpoet.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/in-tune-daily-prompt/
  13. http://mojowritin.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/robertas-happiness/
  14. http://dragoneystory.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/to-give-you-all/
  15. http://camembertandchocolate.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/radars-gone-berzerk/
  16. http://lifeassirli.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/pretending-to-be-happy/
  17. http://itsalwaysanewmoment.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/wake-up/
  18. http://thoughtsofajunkiemisfit.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/welcome-mat-please-walk-all-over-me/
  19. http://memeep.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/happy-radars/
  20. http://debooworks.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/the-problem-with-our-masks/
  21. http://angloswiss-chronicles.com/2014/09/17/daily-prompt-happy-radars-look-on-the-brightbad-side-of-life/
  22. http://risingrave28.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/radar-detection/
  23. http://bluenotebacker.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/blogging-101-saying-hi/
  24. http://sethuiyer.me/2014/09/17/happy-or-sad/
  25. http://kindlingword.com/2014/06/25/ode-to-joy/
  26. http://teepee12.com/2014/09/17/stay-clear-of-landmines/
  27. http://allquestions.org/red-pill-and-blue-pill/
  28. http://petrd1.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/h-dar/
  29. http://emo1956.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/happy_radars/
  30. http://joantatley.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/addiction-to-a-peephole/
  31. http://yzhengblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/meddling-with-others-happiness/
  32. http://keyboardpizza.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/calling-mr-blueberry-scone/
  33. http://lifeisgreat0.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/cry-and-laugh/
  34. http://psibrone.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/the_smirk/
  35. http://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/we-are-not-as-invisible-as-we-believe-ourselves-to-be-2/
  36. http://psychologistmimi.com/2014/09/17/your-celebrity-like-employees-gauging-happiness-and-anger-before-they-quit/
  37. http://designersophisticate.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/smiling-faces-smiling-faces-tell-lies/

The 17th of August 2010 – Loyola, California

(found…I don’t know)

My dearest Max,

You cannot ask me that kind of question and expect anything close to a suitable answer.

“Why?”

“Why, Uncle?”

“Why?”

That’s the exact question that’s been echoing in my head for decades, Max, honestly and truthfully, decades.

It’s unavoidable, and – I fear – without some sort of physical treatment, it is a question that I will never be able to escape.

It’s popped into my head at some of the most inopportune moments, from times of celebration to moments of despair.

“Why?” I thought when I saw a group of men celebrating the result of a football game.

“Why?” I thought when a hearse passed me by and was followed by a limousine filled with teary-eyed family and friends.

“Why?” I thought when I paced around a small apartment, shouting the infernal question over and over and over again to empty walls.

“Why?”

“Why?”

“Why?”

See, Max, I was twenty-three and peeing in old milk bottles. I was twenty-three and alone in a moldy, drywall box. I was twenty-three and so unsure of myself that I couldn’t help being actively unsure of everything else around me.

What I can tell you, Max, is that any journey through the desert will result in the discovery of an oasis. In fact, I can guarantee that. What I cannot guarantee is whether or not you, thirsty as you are, will ever be certain whether those oases are real or just figments of a dehydrated and desperate imagination.

But, Max, the realization that saved me is that real things do not exist. Real things are created, and real things are made real only when they are treated as such.

“Why?” I thought, suddenly, but now addressing that ragged face shouting out of my mirror.

“Why not?” I thought, and I stepped from the hot sand and into the shade, and I bent down and took a sip of water.

It was then, Max, when I saw a sunset, flaming pink across the horizon, bloody just as my heart had been when I tore it out of my own chest and began my journey towards a Truth whose existence I had always doubted.

And I felt a beating inside my chest once again.

There is no point to negation, Max, and affirmations are always more useful than their opposite, even affirmations of falsehoods.

We should build with our questions, not destroy.

Regards,

Jiminy

The 3rd of Jardunia 193042 UDA – Smilingsburghvilleton, Happinesshampshire

(found under a kite with a key and a kipper as well as something else alliterative)

Marcy,

Yes, my dear, I know that I am quite ridiculous. But, then, consider this.

You, darling gracious, are an absolute vision when wearing that pink chiffon dress with the pale yellow lace around the shoulders.

Yes, Marcy, I know that I am quite ridiculous, and say it all that you want. Shout it, in fact, from the heavens, and let all the occupants of our universe be alerted to that simple fact.

Say it all that you want, but I must warn you of something.

We get nowhere, Marcy, when all we do is observe and state the obvious.

But, with all of that in mind, I will go ahead and do it anyway.

I have seen quite a many magnificent thing, dearest Marcy. I’ve been to the top of the world, as well as its bottom. I’ve sat on a grassy hillside and watched stars fade during yellowing dawns. I’ve waited there, patiently, as the sun descended and bathed the sky in oranges, then reds, then purples until those same stars returned to say hello.

I have to say that I quite prefer the sunrises. They quite remind me of the way children dance in the street during a holiday break. I don’t know why, and I’m not sure that particular question is even worth asking. Perhaps they just have a similar effect on me, Marcy. That’s what it is. I’m sure.

Which brings us to the point, I guess, as well as an end to my incessant babbling, my string of word after word after meaningless word, growing longer and longer with each and every phrase and sentence.

Yes, I know that I am quite ridiculous.

But I have packed a picnic basket, and I would like to invite you to watch the sun as it travels above us today. I’ve picked out quite the spot on that grassy slope.

Who knows how the day will unfold, but I anticipate that it will turn out to be exquisitely enjoyable.

Perhaps we will give it an ovation as it dips out of view, before it’s crowded out of the sky by all those other stars.

I await your reply with bated breath, which is why you’ll have been woken by my knocking on your door, why I shoved this paper into your hands without word or warning, why I’m still standing here, cheeks growing purple, on your porch.

Yes, I know that I am quite ridiculous.

But some things just cannot be helped.

Look behind me, just right now.

Have you seen such a sunrise?

Smilingly,

Patricia