Why you must do it now

Why you must do it now

Reading an essay about the legendary rebel Malcolm Reynolds, a thought occurs to me about war and rebellion and human nature.

“I must write about that,” I says to myself, I says, “after I finish reading.”

But when I finish reading, the insight eludes me like the plot of a memorable dream. I scan through the essay again, hoping the words will re-ignite my imagination, but the thought is gone.

Next time, I guess, I’ll leave pen and paper nearby.

But I always have pen and a pad in my shirt pocket.

Next time, I guess, I’ll stop and pull out the pen and paper.

Stop what you’re doing and memorialize that random thought, else it returns to wherever it came from.


Quiet speaks louder than words


Sometimes it’s best to sit in quiet – not even listening, or waiting for God or the universe to speak, just sitting quietly.

And, more often than not, from the quiet comes an answer.

Not “the” answer. Just “an” answer.

Someone wise once said, when you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

When you do know where you’re going, you’ll discover that many roads lead that way.

Pick one and head for your destination.

The rest and the dead: A short short story

the rest and the dead

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

Her companion gave her a look that appeared to be somewhat amused, somewhat concerned.

“What an utterly horrid cliche that is,” he said.

“What? If I don’t get this stuff done, I’m not going to get ahead and we lose the whole account. Or maybe I lose my job.”

“And what exactly do you mean, ‘get ahead’? Get ahead of what?”

She looked at him coldly. “Do you want me to lose this company? Because that’s what could happen if I don’t make this customer happy.”

“What’s so special about this customer?”

“What’s so special about any of them? We should treat them all like they’re special,” she cried. “You never know which one is going to become special.”

“All right, all right, you made your point,” he said. “All I’m saying is you’re only human, and you’re working yourself to exhaustion. Everyone needs to rest and recharge sometimes. The world’s not going to end if you take care of yourself, and maybe you’ll do better with a fresh start in the morning.”

She sighed. “Maybe you’re right. These numbers aren’t making a whole lot of sense anymore. Maybe it’s best if I knock off for the night.”

“That’s the spirit.”

“Make sure I don’t have any distractions in the morning,” she said, straightening her papers and reaching for her briefcase.


“And don’t let me make any more excuses. We have to finish this by noon.”

“You got it.”

She walked to the open door, looked back at her desk, nodded, said “OK, then,” and walked down the hallway and away.

An unpleasant grin spread over his face, and he reached for the doorknob.

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,” he murmured, “and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.”

His laughter echoed off the barren walls as he closed the door behind her.

– – – – –

A Scream of Consciousness

– – – – –

Creativity log

Monday, June 13, 2016: fragments of two short stories

The rhythms of how it is


You will run through fields of spring, leap through trees of summer, hop through fallen leaves of autumn, and hunker down for a long winter’s nap. So run while you can, leap and hop, for the hunkering will come. Yes, you will sleep, sure as you’re run-run-running today.

Do not fear the rhythms of how it is, my child – have the serenity to accept the things you cannot change. Every day you fret over these things is a day that could have been spent courageously changing what you can.

But heaven forbid that you change things that don’t need changing just because you can. That’s the source of so much unhappiness, people who meddle where they’re not needed or wanted. Lie zay fare, I says to them – live and let live.

So: What about getting down to this business of living? What is it, this being-alive stuff? How do you remind yourself every moment, “Hey! You’re alive! Do something about it!”

It’s a matter of looking around and seeing what needs to be done, and then doing it. It’s listening for little cries of pain in the dark, and casting light upon them. It’s feeling your way through the woods until you reach a clearing.

Live your life every day. Never say die until you’re dead.



Words were not meant to lie about like a dog on a summer hammock. They were meant for action, for loving, for intense thrusts in the dark that leave the pulse racing, the breast heaving, and the brightness of the moment etched into memory so that even the aroma of the pine trees outside the window lingers years later.

Words tell stories, words meander around to avoid revealing enough, words describe a meadow for one who has never seen a meadow or will never see a meadow again. Words relay one soul to another. Words show what can never be shown. Words race, words stroll, words shout, words whisper, words love, words hate –

And in the said and done, words separate us from the brutes who would fight with their teeth and nails and fists and clubs.

Words fight? Words fight more savagely than the most efficient render of flesh. Words are destroyers of souls when they are not nourishing and encouraging and uplifting. Like all tools, words are good and evil depending on the motives and intentions of the wielder.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” Ah, child. Worlds can never hurt your bones – not directly – but the hurt to your soul can be incalculable compared with the mere sting and agony of broken bones.

Choose your words carefully, my son, my daughter. A well-crafted set of words can end a war that has lasted centuries, or it can plunge you into a darkness that will last until the end of lives.


Birthday sprint


What is this process, anyway, this download of words and random thoughts from my mind – any mind – what are we really sharing? Will I even think the same way in 5 minutes – 5 months – 5 years? Maybe, maybe not.

This is just a snapshot of where my mind was one warmish morning in March, nearly 63 years after my birth. Hello, future self! Hello, someone I never realized would read this! What is it I did by running this pen over this paper, then typing these words over onto a computer screen and shipping it out to the world?

Did I step on a butterfly 60 million years ago? Or am I just a tree that was going to rot, fall over and kill a T-rex about now anyway?

What is it about stories/novels/movies that touch us, and why do we go back to hear/read/see the stories again and be touched in a new and different way?

The difference between the first reading and the latest is a measure of where we have gone in the meantime. What we are now is not who we were. But it is, too.