excerpt from my journal…

9 June, 2017

Twenty minutes. I have twenty minutes to make an impression and I’m wasting it with this drivel. I’ll apologize now and get it over with, but I won’t promise that there won’t be more apologies as the text continues to unfold. And, to say the text will “unfold” is just convenient flowery talk for the idea that I am currently writing with no real goal in mind other than to fill up a page and kill the twenty minutes I originally mentioned.

WC12-001 27-1I am succeeding at both. I’ve got a paragraph written and I now only have 19 minutes to murder.

You may have noticed if you look at the divisions, the chapter headings, the markers in this document, that there are days missing. A good journalist, not necessarily a news writer, but merely one who at least claims to verb it along, as in one who journals, I would think would create an entry every day. Within every 24 hour period there would be written documentation, a document, some text, that would be associated with that calendared span of time.

(stop the clock – I want to go get a warmer on my coffee and taste the biscuits I pulled out of the oven about 30 minutes ago. Yes, they will be cold by now, or maybe tepid, the butter won’t melt through them, but they also won’t burn my sensitive mouth. And my mouth is sensitive. brb.)

Okay. I’m back. Sorry about that. Yes, the biscuit was tepid, but still tasty with a slathering of butter and some peanut butter that I made the other day.

What? You don’t make your own peanut butter? It’s really quite easy. I have one of those Ninja food processors. I buy jars of peanuts at the market when they’re on sale, usually one unsalted and the other dry roasted or lightly salted. I’ve used the “honey roasted” peanuts before and it’s a little too sweet for me, but still, it tastes mighty good. I’ll do it specifically if I am making some peanut butter for, say, my little sister, who likes such things. Anyway, regarding the making of peanut butter, I just dump two jars of on-sale peanuts from the market, usually 2 for $5, into the Ninja food processor, secure the lid, and turn it on crush. It takes, oh, about seven or eight minutes for it to get good and smooth. Then all I have to do is use a spatula, and sometimes my fingers, to transfer the peanut butter into a plastic container. Yeah, I should use glass. Maybe when I get to California I’ll get some glass containers. As for using my fingers to assist in the decanting of peanut butter from the Ninja to the storage unit, the blade gets kind of gunked up and it’s hard to scrape it clean without really getting in there with my fingers to get to every nook and cranny. The peanut butter is valuable and should not be wasted.

With that, I have achieved my goal. It is now 9 a.m. and twenty minutes past my start time. I’ve written a short piece which I will analyze before moving on to my next chore. Thank you for the privilege of your time and attention, and if you feel as though you’ve been cheated, well, I apologize.

A Comment On Normalization.

People I never thought would do it are trying to normalize the Trump “election.” I find this just as bad as supporting him in the first place. They are insinuating that things may not be as bad as “we” thought. No, they will be worse. He is ignorant of how government works hence the actual governing will be done by the Senate, the House of Representatives, and a retro neoCon Supreme Court. Trump’s VP is a Creationist who has urged employers to not hire LGBT persons and wanted to redirect funds meant for assisting persons with HIV/AIDS to Sexual Identity Corrective Programs, Trump’s chief counsel and strategist is an anti-semite conspiracy theorist. The list goes on.

No No No.

I will remind you that, despite disliking the presidency of George W. Bush, his dad, Ronald Reagan, and other conservatives, I accepted them as my president, and I did not fear for the fate of the country, my countrymen, or the world. With Trump, I fear the worst. No. I will NEVER allow this miscreant and torrid organism to be normalized, nor will I smile, tell jokes and play nice. My chest has been rent asunder and my heart and soul and my struggle toward intelligence, enlightenment, and understanding all have been assaulted and a diseased and unctuous pus has been ejected onto my wounded corpse. The acceptance of this willful sin against humanity is even more abhorrent than the ignorant support of it before its implementation. I, with the full force of the courtesy and dignity that I can muster, respectfully request that you walk away from me. I do not want to witness your glib, smug, and embarrassing capitulation to this unfolding terror.

 

–Stuart Dummit  13 November, 2016  O’Fallon, Missouri USA

I posted the above note on Facebook earlier this evening. Immediately I began to get some positive feedback from some followers. This is just an expression of my feelings about the 2016 American Presidential election and the “business as usual” attitude that many of my acquaintances have adopted. I cannot stand by and do or say nothing. Please feel free to share this if the sentiment rings true to you. Thank you.

out

October 11 was National Coming Out Day. Kind of a big deal for some. Here’s what I posted on Facebook and Google+. 

MaxAndMe

Me coming out to my best friend, Max. He seemed to take it well.

Okay. Really. If you folks haven’t realized that I’m a guy that likes guys, you haven’t been paying attention. That being said, “coming out” is one of the most reality renting things I’ve ever gone through, and it’s always a work in progress. People of my generation and from similarly non-cosmopolitan areas had few if any role models, making the process more confusing, alienating and horrifying, despite being ultimately liberating and transformative. Today, with social media and a more inclusive social landscape, things are getting better, but that doesn’t mean realizing that you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender is any easier. Friends and families still abandon their own when realization and self acceptance blooms in a person. So to “come out of the closet” is still a pivotal experience in many people’s lives. It impacts everyone in the person’s personal sphere and rearranges how that person navigates through life. It can be painful. It can be alienating. It can be needlessly permeated with guilt, grief, and fear. Do not take it lightly; embrace it, celebrate it, treat it with respect and a sense of wonder. What you are witness to is nothing less than a self generated transformation that can elevate that person to a wonderful new place or it can lead to isolation and malignant sadness. Do not take it lightly but support it with your heart, your spirit, your love, your words and actions. National Coming Out Day – we celebrate it for a reason. Everyone can join in. Admit to yourself and then to your world a truth about yourself no matter how mundane or radical. Embrace your individuality, realize that you’re still a part of a community, and allow yourself to accept yourself and others for all that makes you, You, and You, one of Us.

 

Regarding the Inevitability of Reflexion (a fragment)

What is it that I believe?

I believe that I exist in as much as I think about myself and I think about things outside of my self. That I remember from one moment to the next, from one day to the next and back again that I have thought about myself and things outside of my self is as much an indicator that I exist as anything. There is no proof other than my own perception that anything inside or outside of myself “is,” so there is no accepting nor denying of it except through my acknowledgement of it. I do. I choose to believe that I exist. That is all that I can do and it is all that is necessary.

I believe in limits. There are boundaries to everything that I perceive. Even when I turn my attention to the infinite, it becomes finite in my perception because I am incapable of understanding or knowing intrinsically anything that has no limits. It is by virtue of limits that I am able to define things. By limiting any thing, idea, notion, concept, corporal substance or ephemeral miasmic nebula, I am able to say to myself, “this thing is this, but not that.” It becomes a part of a magnificently complex venn diagram, labeled circles and polygons inscribed on paper illustrating inclusion and exclusion, shared and non-shared qualities, boundaries and bleeds. Even the bleed, in its analog existence, has an area that includes and excludes it.

I believe in the coexistence of analog and digital measurements. I believe that there are measurements other than these and that I am not able to perceive them. This leads me to:

I believe there are things other than myself that exist independently from me. On some undefined level of existence or perception all things may, in fact, be connected and constitute a very different foundation for being perceived (not an “exists or does not exist” paradigm,) but that is outside of my current purview.

monolith

from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I believe in the existence of a higher power. To call this thing a god, or God, would be easy but would be incorrect. By giving it a name or category diminishes the work I have done in trying to understand this phenomenon and all too easily allows an element that I’ve addressed earlier to crush my current understanding of it; this higher power exists in a state where limits as I perceive them, do not exist. This thing cannot be a part of my venn diagram since it cannot be contained within a circle or polygon, anything outside of the mark creating that circle or polygon would not be included in my understanding of the higher power and thus disqualified – inclusion and exclusion are not qualities inherent to it. The problem, of course, is that inclusion and exclusion are things, and the higher power contains all things, either real or as potential, then they must be a part of it, or It. I can make a further case for this paradox if I speak to a notion that the higher power is somehow “self aware.” This would be for some a required quality of a god or God, but I wonder if this, for me (or us) lofty state of being is, to this god or God or higher power or Higher Power something so trivial that its presence or absence is irrelevant. Perhaps, and hopefully, the awareness of the meta-intelligence is so much more than can be imagined that to it or It, such awareness is petty and unheeded, much like any force of will required to maintain ones own presence. For some reason I just thought of Alice in the garden near the beginning of Through the Looking-Glass when she becomes aware that to stand still on the chess board she must move, and to move, she must stand still. Such is the dynamic of my imagined mind.

I believe that everything that I have thought or written up until this point could be, might be, should be, probably is, but might not be, completely or in some major or minor part, wrong.

I believe that swimming in the earth trumps walking on water.

I believe both that the only thing within my current perception is now, and that all things, all moments in time exist simultaneously.

This and the last three assertions of what I believe are like imperfections in the glass that constitutes the support for a mirror that I gaze into from the side, oblique, with no understanding of directionality or concept of tangential-ness.

Based on the construct I have created, or has been created for me, or simply that I find myself in, this episode of thinking about what I believe and do not believe, and the subsequent attempts to elucidate and validate them, is part of the inevitability mentioned in the title of this essay…

[At this point I stopped writing. I am certain that I had more to say, more to explore and write about, but for some reason I didn’t finish. Perhaps it was time to go to work, or the pot was over boiling, or there was a knock at the door. That last option, I can say with canny certainty, did not happen. This is not a bad bit of exploration, though not fully formed, and I question its ability to survive on its own, though I am moved to let it go into the wilds and see how it fares.]

©2016 Stuart Dummit

Did you hear the one about…

Did you hear the one about the homeless person who was carrying a sign saying “Will work for Food,” and Donald Trump walked by and asked what he could do to help, and the homeless person said, “If I could just work for a few hours for minimum wage, I’d have enough to buy my daughter something to eat.” And Trump said, “Here – go get your daughter and the rest of your family and we’ll get you cleaned up, get you a good meal, a place to live, and we’ll help you find a full time job that pays a living wage.” And the homeless person said, “Thank you, but why are you doing this?” And Trump said, “Because we’re all human, and life doesn’t always offer everyone the same opportunities, so as someone who has been lucky in life, I know that it is my responsibility to help my brothers and sisters in any way that I can.” Did you hear that story? No? Well, that makes sense, because it would never happen.

©2016 Stuart Dummit Fair usage permitted.

there is nothing in the title worth spending any time with

—a particularly troubling element of my evolution

aegis314

I have gotten this far in my life by luck and the aegis of others. There is no way for me to plumb the truths and realities that conspired to bring this salvation about, but it is not for me to do in this place nor at this time. I will acknowledge it and let it sit, alone, unexplained and wanting of a cover to keep it moist and warm.

Reading Homer lately, and Joyce, and Aristotle and a bit of Calvino, some Grimm and McCarthy, I have amassed in my brain a host of voices that aren’t at war with each other, but neither do they always mix well, like cocoa and sugar, peanuts and salt, gin and Retsina. These voices and their peculiar frames of reference have taught me things that continue to gestate in my head. They have led me down paths that peter out into thin and meandering bare spots on the ground that fool me into thinking they lead somewhere, when in fact, they may not. It occurs to me that those ways have never been trod and I am exploring new ground, but then doubt makes my sphincter itch and I turn back in search of civilization and something to wipe my butt with. And then, still, I am tempted to try that way again.

Some elements of my reading continue to cycle through my brain, the temptation to explore those faux paths again (and again,) and so I discuss them with myself from time to time. I would talk with others about them to get their reactions, but I’ve not found anyone with a clean enough mirror to reflect a lucid and cogent argument or rejoinder. I wonder about punctuation. Too much or too little? Why quotation marks when the text indicates so clearly who is speaking? And if not, then is there value in the idea that the idea represented by the words has been cast out into the world and exists independent of a speaker? The question mark is good, as is the period. Omission is key. I use exclamation marks too much and I’ve been criticized for my use of the ellipsis, but they help me map the ebb and flow of words as I hear them in my head. Would I be a better orator than writer? Are the two so very different? Perhaps I should consume more Aristotle. Nevertheless, my study of Joyce brings those things into focus, and my study of Joyce harkens me back to Homer. And from Homer, or rather, with him, I’ve explored the frame stories of the Arabian Nights and the folk tales of the Brothers Grimm. And then, and you see it there, my want of beginning a sentence with a conjunction; what reason would I have to do that? and what does the conjunction join? but I digress…and then I turn my attention to McCarthy who is more an artist than a story teller, and the role of story teller is often linked to the role of writer, not artist. But no, an artist tells a story, but in a different way. Thus, McCarthy’s oft used second person present tense voice; the reader does not follow the speaker, but accompanies them, experiencing as they experience, only a time delay measured in letters and spaces within the sentence. Brilliant.

Frame stories, layers of fiction, told and seen from the side of one who experiences it, remove the other and all that is (left) there is the reader. Allow the words to move (right) across the page at their own pace, let them wander, even down paths that thin into bald patches on the ground and disappear into sparse underbrush — no path now, only terrain either alluring or menacing. Either of those might entice a reader or writer or artist to follow.

What is the purpose, though? Why write? Why read? Why art? Why establish any fiction? If it is for escape then each person must evaluate their position in life. Why are you escaping from something so limited? What happens if you die while you are not there? Do you know what you’ve wasted? Stupid shit. Bad wager you hairy cunt.

Just a thought…

So, I’m reading Homer’s Iliad and the TV is on in the background, sound turned down – I do this when waiting for one of my news shows to come on, or if Chris Matthews is constantly interrupting the person he’s “interviewing,” that always pisses me off, but I digress – so, I’m re-reading the last paragraph about the mighty Greeks storming the walled city of Troy when I notice a flicker on the TV screen. I look up and see some guy dancing around in a drug store. Curious, I un-mute the set to hear what is going on. It’s an ad for Trojan condoms. I look down at my book, then look up at the screen, then down at the book again. I scratch that itch on the side of my nose and look up again and say aloud to the TV screen, “You guys know that the Trojans lost, right?”