Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
On this, his 29th birthday, I still miss Michael, and I love him very, very much.
Happy Birthday, Michael! I love you! ~ Daddy
Saturday, December 8, 2007
This whole experience has been a reminder that we are constantly learning to walk, in one way or another. There are all sorts of steps we must learn to take. First we learn to balance ourselves and stand upright. Then we hold onto something and practice getting one clumsy foot in front of the other. Then someone we trust lets us hold onto their hand while we practice for the real thing. At last comes the day when we let go and take those anxious, uncertain steps and walk.
That is how it has been with so many aspects of my life. When I went to Marine Corps bootcamp, the first thing I had to look for after getting off the bus was the famous yellow footprints. We had to learn how to stand all over again -- heels together, feet forming a 45 degree angle. Then we had to learn how to walk, together -- left...left...left, right, left! "Don't bounce, this ain't a dance sweethearts!" "Get in step, get in step!" "The other right foot!" For 13 weeks I learned how to walk, until I was able to march off Parris Island as a United States Marine.
The latest walk for me, of course, is my writing. I've been learning how to balance, and how to take a few tentative anxious steps. Now, all of a sudden (or so it seems) I am walking -- stumbling and clumsy, yes...but writing! David just learned how to walk, and he will spend the next couple of years perfecting his steps. Soon he'll be walking without even thinking about his steps; he'll only be concerned with where he wants to go. He's given me a refreshing shot of courage, because I know that while I'm having to pay too much attention to my steps right now, before long I'll write and only be concerned with where I want to go.
David Jeremiah Garcia, I love you, and Papa's so proud of you! Now I want to succeed so you can be proud of me.
[Photo: David Garcia holding his Papa's hand at the Milledgeville, GA, Christmas parade, December 2, 2007]
Thursday, November 29, 2007
By December 15th, have a detailed outline of the entire book completed.
By December 30th, have the first three chapters finished.
On or shortly after January 1, send the first three chapters to my volunteer readers -- so far there are 8 of them, one in Oregon, one in Montana, two in Florida, and four in Georgia.
I've started researching agents who may be interested in the kind of book I am writing. It is a fantasy story rooted in mythology, faerie lore (most of which I'm making up), and quantum physics. There is a battle of good and evil -- which is a universal theme, but I hope to put my own very special twist on this theme. Stay tuned.
A couple of good quotes I found today that are appropriate to the plot of my story:
"The myth is the foundation of life, the timeless scema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious."
~ Thomas Mann, "Freud and the Future"
"Man, apparantly, cannot maintain himself in the universe without believe in some arrangement of the general inheritance of myth."
~ Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
I looked up at the stars and watched the heavenly dance about me, a slow dance measured in the steady rhythm of the universe. What is up there, out there, down there -- I say "down there" because in a sense, I am up here looking down on other worlds. When I was a boy, I used to get dizzy looking up. Flying and looking down at the ground from tall buildings never bothered me, but looking up at an airplane or a tall skyscraper disoriented me, made me feel woozy and a little nauseated -- do they make groundsick bags? It is because I realize the concept of up and down is an illusion generated by the random direction of gravity, and gravity, being the weakest of the four physical forces, shouldn’t be allowed to dictate as much as it does. Of course, I know gravity has power over me, and for that I am mostly grateful. It would be most uncomfortable to keep floating out of my seat as I try to type or read. Yet, it would be most dangerous if I decided to fly off the top of a tall building hoping to fly over the countryside to explore its beauty. I would die. That’s what gravity would do to me. Gravity is weak, and it has no conciense. (If I am wrong, I apologize to gravity.)
When I was a boy, I used to love climbing into holes in the ground. Nowadays I am claustrophobic, and there is no way I would go into some of the holes or crawl through some of the tiny pipes that I did in those days. I cringe to think about it now, and yet in a way I long to be able to do that again, to do it without fear. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become fearful of being trapped -- of being trapped in the debris of a collapsed building or the crumpled wreckage of an automobile. Perhaps it’s the looming fear of being forever trapped in the grave. And yet, I feel - I believe - there is something more. The grave cannot hold me. "O, death, where is thy sting? Grave, where is thy victory?" Is there existence beyond death, or is it an all-encompassing, eternally peaceful rest trapped in the debris of a dying world - universe? What is existence anyway? Philosophers debate and speculate and argue and become self-assured, but in fact, nobody knows, not even the most brilliant of the philosophers. All of us are doomed to speculate, to believe, and we divide ourselves most hideously and most violently over issues of what will happen after death. The Muslim extremist kills himself and innocent people because of the promise of an afterlife full of sexual bliss. The Christian fundamentalist spends her life in torment with the world because she believes everyone around her is going to hell "without Jesus". There have been times in my life where I was cocksure I knew. Now I’m humbly uncertain, yet eternally hopeful. But I’m still avoiding small spaces.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
[end of journal selection]
She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.
Friday, November 23, 2007
One of my annual chores was to hunt down a Christmas tree -- always a cedar; I didn't even realize there was any other kind till I was well into my teens. I'd usually have a spot already staked out and hoped I'd remember how to get back to it when it was tree cutting time. I'd try to find the prettiest, shapeliest cedar in the woods, and finding that perfect tree was always a thrill. I can't imaging getting that much deep-down joy from a video game! Dragging the tree out was always a challenge, especially having to tote a hatchet and rifle too.
Yesterday we went tree hunting. We wandered deep into the wilds of Walmart, right into the middle of the garden section, and there it was. A 7-foot Douglas Fir -- it assembles in three sections and comes pre-lit! I never saw one of these in the woods. Dragging it out was still a chore, because for some reason we'd completely forgotten to get a shopping cart. No fear -- He Man is here. I hoisted the box over my head by the straps, and we began the retreat to the checkout counter. Trudging through Walmart holding a boxed fake tree over my head, I felt somewhere between extremely virile and very foolish. Confused shoppers gave me plenty of room.
The tree's in the attic now. We have to clear out a spot to put it. At least that part's the same as when I was a boy. Gabriel was upset that we got a pre-lit tree. "But I wanted to put the lights on!" he said. "What are we going to do with the lights now?" I told him to decorate the outside of the house or the yard -- anything. But if he puts them up, he takes them down. I've done my chore.
Once a year we have a day formally set aside to be thankful. Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is for more than just eating a lot (although that's a pretty neat side benefit). It's even for more than getting together with loved ones (or in the case of some families, getting together with people whom you try to tolerate once a year). It's a day on which to be full of thanks.
This Thanksgiving day found me celebrating with lots of people whom I love -- and eating and napping and taking some time to read and playing my guitar and chatting online with a dear friend. I am "full of thanks". A list of things for which I'm thankful would be too long to post, but would include:
- my family (of course)
- my books (lots and lots of books!)
- my guitar
- getting to be with my two grandsons and my great-nephew (all in one day!)
- my computer (because it opens up the world to me and connects me with friends)
- music (and, in particular, my subscription to Rhapsody music service)
- airplanes (even though I can't afford to fly anymore, I can still say I'm a pilot - I got to fly!)
- a meaningful job (even though it ain't the highest paying one)
- a love of writing and words!
- that my brother survived his near-deadly medical ordeal, and I got to visit with him last weekend!
Blessings, peace, & love to each of you!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
When I was in the eighth grade, I found a tiny live oak tree in the woods in which I was tramping. I knew if I left the tree there, it probably wouldn’t survive, and I wanted it – needed it. I was in the midst of a passionate love affair with plants, and I felt a harmony with growing things that has enriched my life to this day. When my spirit gets dry, I listen to the trees calling. I hear their song.
I planted that tree in a corner of the yard, and I surrounded it with white quartz rocks so it would be protected from clumsy feet and deadly lawnmower blades. The little tree thrived on my love, and by the time I had grown up and left home to make my journey into the distant world, it had grown into a big, spreading tree with limbs overhanging the little road in front of the house.
That tree has listened to me and nurtured me through unnumbered crises and joys. It has watched my children play and given them shelter from the biting sun. It has been home for bird families and nourished the world with their songs. It has been a magical tree. That’s how I have always seen it – and how I always will.
The tree lived in the yard of my mother’s house, and when I had to sell the place, the tree had to go too. What the new owners have done with it, I don’t know. I haven’t had the heart to go back and see. They don’t know that tree, even though they may “own” it. By now they may have even cut it down. There were complaints about how the tree had spread into the neighbor’s yard, and how it was threatening to obscure visibility on the little road beside it. But what nobody knows is that I took the tree with me – in my spirit. I had to – it was part of me.
Thinking about my oak set me to thinking about how we see things – the differences in viewpoints, in perspectives, in angles. One tree – many trees. Here is a tale about seeing a tree.
There was an oak tree that sat on a small hill – a live oak that had sent its first roots into the soil more than a hundred years before. It had stretched out to the sky in praise while its limbs were shaped by the wind and from following the sun each day, and its acorns had fattened generations of grateful squirrels. Many people had looked upon the tree, and each had seen something different.
A carpenter saw beautiful wood with a fine, golden grain. Hard wood and solid that would make admirable furniture that would impress everyone with his art and skill.
A poor man who lived close to the earth saw enough firewood there to keep his family warm through a long winter, to fuel the stove that would belch out pan after pan of biscuits, to give a soft light and take the sharp edge of darkness off the bitter night.
An artist saw grace expressing itself in every elegant twist of limb, in every shadow cast by fat green boughs, in billowing verdure swept across a backdrop of sky and cloud. Her palette came to life with color, and shape and form fastened themselves to her canvas, and she captured a reflection of the image of the tree – and she saw that it was good.
A civil engineer saw an obstacle to his project, an object that must be removed and carried away so progress could be made – until the plans for the highway route changed, and the tree didn’t matter anymore.
A philosopher pondered the tree and saw the mystical Tree – Plato’s Real Tree, but perhaps not the tree itself. It was something to think about, something aesthetically exquisite.
A local historian thought about all the generations of folk that had passed by since the tree had crept from its acorn and established itself on the edge of town, how many significant events had taken place, and this tree (much like the ancient turtles of the Galapagos) had been alive through them all – and still lived.
The birds and the squirrels saw shelter and food, but there was nothing remarkable about that – there were countless other trees (oak, poplar, hickory, maple, and otherwise) that would provide the same thing.
Perhaps the saddest of all were those who never even saw the tree. Their eyes were fastened onto other things, things less permanent, but always more important than a “dumb tree”.
To the tree none of this really mattered. All that really mattered was the little boy who came almost every day to sit beneath its shade, to run his fingers across its bark, to fondle its leaves, to tell it all of his secrets, all of his dreams. The tree became part of the boy, and the boy part of the tree in a mystical bond more mysterious than even the philosopher was able to apprehend.
And they both live to this day, ages hence – tree and boy, boy and tree. Happy is the one who understands this parable of the tree, and saddest of all the one who can not see.
Saturday, July 14, 2007 (3:07 a.m.)
Some things just don’t feel comfortable anymore. Like my boyhood home. I have very fond memories, but I also remember how uncomfortable the place had become when we’d go up to visit Mama. The beds were uncomfortable, and the arrangement of the house just didn’t appeal to the gentler senses.
It was Mama, and it was me. That’s what made the place special. Those walls and floors and the space within was sacred. But it was the presence of certain people through the years that hallowed them, not any innate virtue.
The spaces have been taken from me – the sacred floors and walls desecrated by the business exchange of a sale. Yet the spaces within me – one might call them memories, but they are something more…much more – are still pure and true. There is something real and eternal that transpired in the mundane act of growing up and making a life my own way that inhabits the spaces that I have brought with me. They’re no longer “up the road a piece, in another county” – they are with me all the time.
I take great comfort in that, but it has taken lots of time for that comfort to settle in. It's still far from complete, but its real presence is clear – like the Spirit of Christ in the Eucharist.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
He goes on to explain he isn’t anti-human, he just wished there were places we could go where we could hear the sound of nature without the background hum of human activity. Most of the places that people went to in the 50s and 60s when he and Dennis (and I, for that matter) were growing up are now strip malls and industrial complexes. Weisman says as a journalist he has been fortunate enough to travel to places that are still pristine (my word, not his), but he had to travel a long way. He mentioned the Arctic and Antarctic, and Dennis, who has been to Antarctica interjected that while that may be so, he was amazed at how noisy penguins were. Weisman agreed, and he also commented that when you get close, they are also very smelly.
Most of us are relegated to experiencing our visits to pristine locations vicariously, through photographs and video images. Something we don’t always remember while we’re admiring the breathtaking majesty are the noises and smells associated with the location and its wildlife, geothermal extrusions, and what have you. Not to mention the dangers.
This makes me appreciate the Internet so much more. The past few days not only have I engaged in communication with people and places around the country and around the world, but I have visited spots throughout the solar system and traveled into deep space via images from the Hubble Space Telescope and various space probes. I've even been able to listen to Saturn and some of its moons! (I wrote about this before in a previous blog -- take a look Space Music. And for more about my fascination with space, take a look at Space...What a Wonder!)
About a world free of humans – I'm voting against that one. I'm rather partial to humans. But I am fascinated with those spots where our presence is missing – except by imagination.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
There are many avoidance behaviors that lead me down the “Wrong” path:
Problem – I surf obscure points on the Internet that, although sometimes seem interesting (but much of the time do not), do little to enrich my time. It furthermore occurs to me that I frequently use these diversions as an alternative to stimulation. I become passive letting the Internet do most of my thinking for me.
Solution – Actually, there are two. First of all, I could altogether avoid random surfing – which will be incredibly hard to do, since I have a terrible case of OCD. Second, and preferable, in my opinion, is to dialog with what I find, to use it to let my fingers return to the keyboard and chase down thoughts as I form words in my word processor. Much like stream of consciousness writing, this could be called “stream of consciousness surfing”.
Problem – Snood! For those who may not know, Snood is a computer game that you can download for free. If you want to play unlimited games (and I don’t exaggerate), you pay a one-time fee and have a lifetime access code. Snood begins with rows and columns of colorful Snoods in 4 shapes and varieties, and you have a Snood launcher with which you aim and launch a Snood toward the wall of Snoods. Three in a row, and they vanish, and when you remove a row of Snoods holding others, they drop, thus clearing the way deeper into the wall of Snoods. The more you drop off, rather than just make vanish, the more your launcher is re-charged. If your power goes dry, the wall descends toward you one level. The object is to clear out the entire wall of Snoods. There are several levels, Child, Easy, Medium, Difficult, and Evil being the basic (I always play the Evil level, because I want to battle against evil). This is really a game of strategy, and it is actually categorized as an educational game – but it is also addicting. Now to defend myself, I mostly play Snood while I’m listening to audio, because I can’t do one thing at a time. I was an obsessive multi-tasker before the term was coined.
Solution – Instead of dropping Snoods, drop letters. Approach a little playful writing like dropping Snoods. Get addicted! Loose all inhibitions and let the words pile up. Let audio stimulate thoughts and reactions. It actually does anyway, but I just need to respond. Active listening taken to a new level.
Problem – The myriad distractions: the kids who keep barging in to tell me about the latest micro-detail of a videogame I’ve never heard of, or who decide there’s a shirt I must wash “right now”, or who want to know why there are no clean glasses (I’m obviously the only one in the house who can wash a glass). The piles of clutter (because I’m obviously the only one in the house who can pick up anything weighing over 5 milligrams – especially if it’s lying in the middle of the walkway through the house), etc.
Solution – I could move and not leave a forwarding address, but I’m sort of very, very attached to this bunch of folks around here. I could pick up a baseball bat, slam it into my open hand while growling and letting foamy saliva drip from my face, but that one doesn’t scare them anymore. But the only thing that is going to work here is – focus. Pick up what I can. Listen for a reasonable amount of time, but then let it be known I’m a video game know-nothing and always will be (at least about any games beyond Snood) and I’m very comfortable in the skin of a video game know-nothing. But – stay at it and WRITE.
Follow the “Write Gyro”, and in the end everything should come out all write.
NaNoWriMo progress: Ha ha ha ha ha...! Seriously, just over 23,000 words behind at this point, which means I need to come up with just over 48,000 words before November 30th becomes history. 3000 words a day will do it!
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
I've come down with another respiratory illness of some sort, so I've been feeling rotten and didn't go to visit my brother this weekend. The last thing he needs is some cruddy bug to infect him while he's so weak and vulnerable.
I met with some friends of mine yesterday at the Blackbird Cafe in downtown Milledgeville to discuss books and NaNoWriMo. Don't know what that is? It's the official abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month. This is an annual event beginning November 1st and ending November 30th. The goal is to write at least 50,000 words toward a novel. There are no rules about how or what to write -- just write! I've decided to shoot for 10,000 words between now and then, so my goal will be to add at least 50,000 words and have a solid working first draft for a novel. The group of friends with whom I met yesterday plans to meet once a week to encourage each other, see what the others are doing, and to hold each other accountable. I'm excited about this.
If you're interested, check out the official NaNoWriMo website and sign up today. I'd love to hear from you if you decide to take the challenge.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
For those continuing to think about us and pray for us -- and for Brac in particular -- thanks!
Next week Cris is out of school and will have surgery on her knee, so it will be another busy week. She talked about putting it off, but I told her she needs to go ahead and have it done. We'll manage. Hopefully, in spite of everything, I will be able to get back into a regular routine with my blogging very soon.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Thanks for all the prayers and expressions of concern!
Sunday, September 16, 2007
My brother was taken to the Middle Georgia Regional Medical Center in Macon, Georgia, by ambulance from church on Wednesday night. He's had congestive heart failure episodes in the past, plus he has other medical issues, and he realized that something wasn't right. Someone called 911, and he was taken to the hospital.
Somewhere in the hospital while being moved from one location to another, he stopped breathing and his heart stopped. CPR was started in under a minute, and after 5 minutes they had a pulse. I didn't know this was going on. Thursday my niece called and told us he was in ICU and his kidneys were shutting down.
I was afraid of the worst as we drove over to Macon Thursday afternoon, but my brother has been making some slow progress. He is still in ICU, and he has a variety of problems. He is still sedated and on a respirator, but they hope to wean him off the respirator. So far medication has his kidneys working, but there is still a chance that they may have to start dialysis tomorrow. At any rate, he -- and we -- have a long road ahead. He is still a very sick man.
My bother, Brac, is 18 years older than I, and he's been like a second father to me. In the future I plan to blog about my brother so those of you who don't know him can meet a kind, talented, and funny man, a man that I'm proud to be related to. He means the world to me, and I'm not ready to give him up. I've been reliving so many memories, and I've shed gallons of tears. This and all the peripheral logistical issues are presenting the family with some tough challenges, so please keep us all in your prayers.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
She strolled down the green garden path among flowers blazing with color -- hollyhocks, zinnias, marigolds and petunias. It was deep summer, and the warm humid breeze carried the sound of screaming insects. Most of the garden spread underneath the full sun, but here and there around the edges the shadows of oak and pecan limbs danced a lazy gray rhythm.
She bent down and smelled a scarlet blossomed petunia. The smell of petunias carried her away to her childhood days at her grandmother’s. The fragrance of life was so thick she could taste it, feel it, embrace it. She had always loved flowers, trees and all growing things. She was sensitive and felt things very deeply, far more deeply than most folks, so she was thought of by some as odd.
She came around a bend in the path, and on the ground lay a dead kitten, a yellow tabby. Its fur was damp and there were clumps of froth on it. She bent down and almost touched the poor thing, but she leapt up with a start. "Mad dog!" she thought. The town crazy was ranting at the general store this morning about a mad dog, but everybody dismissed his testimony as another delusion.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mike was four years old, and he came strolling into the kitchen and climbed onto one of the tall chairs with the enthusiasm of a rock climber scaling a cliff. He stood on the chair so he could see over the counter to his mother, and so she could see him.
“Wallace is gone again.”
“Wallace will be back dear.”
Wallace was a battered old teddy bear that Mike had taken to when he was about two years old. It had belonged to an uncle when he was a boy, and the uncle had given it to Mike since he was childless himself. Soon afterwards the uncle drove over an embankment and was killed. He was drunk at the time, although nobody ever remembered him being much of a drinker.
Nelson sat on the patio in a battered blue bathrobe, smoking a cigar [specific] and reading the newspaper [specific]. He had on a pair of black socks and brown leather slippers. He had slept lousy. All night he thought about the double-cross. That troubled him. The murder did not.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Breathe, just breathe. Breath goes deep, it feels so cold it burns – my side hurts, the sharp stab of an oxygen deprived stitch – (come on, you can describe running better than this!) – step, step, tap, tap, one foot out, then the other, pace yourself, just be absorbed in the moment, don’t think about the distance, pay no attention to what’s far off, it only makes it worse – Zen it out, live in the moment, oh God, I’m going to puke – oh it hurts – my mouth is sticky, I can’t swallow my spit – ka whoo – I spit it out, end over end, a white bubbly sticky goo – water, I could drink a bucket, I could suck on a fire hydrant.
Running on the beach, the sand gives way, but it gives no traction, but I feel I could run for days running in the desert at night – in the smooth cool dry desert evening, I get my second wind and I could run all night. I don’t want to stop. I just want to run, to feel the breeze from my speed, to feel the air, its smooth, slow rhythm, in-and-out of my lungs – past my nose, into my windpipe, life-giving molecules crammed into my lungs so tightly I feel I may explode – to feel my heartbeat – I’m so alive; this is a moment of existential perfection (what do I know about existentialism? – learn!), a battle against nihilism, a defiant strutting sneer at existential angst – the extreme moment of knowing, the moment of extreme knowing – I run, I breathe, I hurt, I keep going, I breathe some more, I feel the universe sail past and I know that I am.
Sunday, September 9, 2007
[Pictures of the same corner – the first is from yesterday morning and the second from this evening. See... some progress is being made.]
Monday, September 3, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
1. Do you know anyone in prison?
One of my best friends from childhood is serving a 20 year sentence. Not to mention I teach inmates at a state prison -- so I personally know lots of people in prison.
2. Have you ever logged onto a boyfriend/girlfriend/crush's MySpace?
Yes..my wife's -- but only to help her set up her account, because she is essentially helpless when it comes to the computer. I know her password, but I'd never log on without her consent.
3. When is the last time you ate peanut butter and jelly?
A couple of days ago. I love 'em.
4. Do you have a desk in your room?
My bedroom? Nope -- but I plan to rearrange and put one in there.
5. Have you ever gotten naked at a party?
No...but the last time I was ever drunk (about 25 years ago) at a Halloween party for cast members of a play I was in, I went to sleep in the bathtub upstairs, woke up to the sound of tinkling, sat up, heard a girl scream, and lay back down and went back to sleep. I was wearing a tux.
6. What kind of car insurance do you have?
Nationwide -- been with them for twenty something years.
7. Are you named after one of your parents or grandparents?
Named "James" (Jim) after my Grandpa Jim Bohannon -- middle name is Oscar, after my daddy -- and Bohannon after thousands of Irish ancestors.
8. Does your first significant other still live in the same town as you?
No -- if you mean my first serious love, she lives in Monticello, Georgia (as far as I know). My first wife lives in California (as far as I know -- haven't heard from her in a couple of decades or so).
9. Do you throw up gang signs?
I wouldn't recognize a gang sign if somebody nailed it to a post and stuck it in front of my face, so I sure hope not.
10. Have you ever broken a rib?
One of mine? Nope.
11. Would you rather be a girl or a guy?
I've never been a girl, but I don't have any desire to be one. Not that I have anything against girls -- I like them a LOT!
12. Who is the most spoiled person you know?
The person is a minor, and I'm not going to say.
13. Would you rather have a million dollars or true love?
True love. Every time I have money, I end up giving a lot away and spending the rest catching up on necessities. It's just not a priority.
14. Have you ever had sex in church?
15. Is your boyfriend/girlfriend a marine?
No... but my wife's husband is a Marine! OOH RAH!!!
16. Do you watch the Grammy's?
I don't watch TV period. As far as the Grammy's, I'm not interested in the multi-billion dollar music industry -- I listen to a lot of indy stuff.
17. Would you ever work for the border patrol?
No quiero trabajar con el Border Patrol de los Estados Unidos!
18. Which one word would describe your last relationship.
Forever. (It's still going strong!)
19. Would you rather date someone 2 years older than you or 20 years?
Somebody 20 years older than me? Maybe 20 years younger. ;^) (If I wasn't currently attached.)
20. Have you ever had an eating disorder?
Yes... there have been times when I didn't know when to quit! But those that make you skinny -- nope.
21. Do you have a porn collection?
Hmmm... let's see -- I have Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter. Do those count? Oh... somewhere, I have a book on sensual massage for lovers (naughty, but nice).
22. How many proms have you been to in your life?
One -- and it wasn't mine. I don't think my school even had one.
23. Have you ever been in an inter-racial relationship?
Nope. I've just never been romantically attracted that way. Don't know why.
24. Is your birthday on a holiday?
No... but by golly, it should be!
25. Are you old enough to vote?
Unfortunately, yes -- and those idiots at the courthouse use the voter registration list to call me for jury duty about once a year. I believe in doing my fair share, but c'mon -- I have people tell me they haven't been called in years! (I know -- you just asked if I was old enough -- not about all the peripheral baggage attached... sorry.)
26. Do you have any friends or family in the War right now?
Yes, I do.
28. Do you worry about global warming?
Not at all. I think it's over-politicized and over-hyped, and I don't agree with the politically-correct, Al Gore version at all. I worry about real stuff -- like how to fill my gas tank to get to work and Islamic terrorism and what I'm going to write for my next blog entry.
29. Do you like polar bears?
I love Klondike Bars, and I just ate one, and there's a picture of a polar bear on the Klondike Bar wrapper, so I guess I'd have to say... yes, I like polar bears.
30. Do think it is worse to cheat or steal?
It's worse to steal, but I really deplore both -- strongly!
31. What kind of birth control do you use?
HA HA HA HA HA!!! Oh, were you serious?
32. What slang word(s) do you call marijuana?
Stupid -- idiotic -- foolish -- and other such words.
33. Are you an atheist?
Nope. And I don't believe in atheists.
34. Did you lose your virginity to your neighbor?
35. Did or do you think your childhood dreams will come true?
Well... I wanted to meet the Beatles (I'm listening to them right now) -- that one won't come true. I wanted to date Eve Plumb (Jan Brady) -- that one won't come true. I wanted to marry the most wonderful girl in all the world and have the most gorgeous children and grandchildren one day -- that one came true.
36. Do you wear your sweetie's clothes?
You've been peeking in the window, haven't you! How did you know? I sometimes wear a bra like an aviator's cap. I think it looks cool! I only wear dresses on special occasions, though. (I have a bizarre sense of humor -- and yes, I will slip something on to see how long it takes somebody around here to notice.)
37. What's your opinion on gold diggers?
Can't stand ulterior motives of any kind! Especially using people for selfish ends.
38. Are you a country or city girl/boy?
I'm a country boy with certain city sensibilities. I wouldn't want to live in the city, but I wouldn't like to know I couldn't ever visit there.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
[A sampling of my various doodles through the years -- Groo the Wanderer, Pebbles Flintstone with her teddy bear, Underdog, an unnamed alligator character of my own creation, and Snoops the cat .]
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I was taking a look though old journals again and came across an entry that made me feel good. It's about rain.
Thursday, August 12, 2004 (around 10:20 a.m.)
There is rain today, lots of rain. The sky is an absolutely whitish-gray, and the trees across the street are muffled by a watery gray veil. I am sitting at the bedroom window facing the front yard with an open window before me. The sounds are wonderful – the loud continuous splash of water running off the house to my left, the lighter whir of rain on leaves and yard, and a backdrop of occasional distant muted bass crashes of thunder.
I left the lights off – I’m writing by the soft gray light slipping in through the window. I didn’t want the sharp white-yellow artificial incandescence to intrude. I need a little time with the rain and my memories. There is something about a solid rainy day that nudges gentle memories – memories of rainy days in other times and places.
Elizabeth is like me, she loves the rain. She is not here – she is in Howard with the Garcias. I wonder if she is enjoying the rain today.
Suddenly, I’m a little boy, standing on my knees on the settee, looking out through the rain across our little front yard, across the road, out across Mrs. Mamie Wynens property to the trees beyond. I am snug in a little gray-green world, nestled in the shadows in a secure place.
I am at Parris Island – Marine Corps boot camp. We are at the rifle range waiting to see if the rain will let up. It never does. We have on our green plastic ponchos, but we’re all pretty much soaked through. I’m snug in the rain. It makes the world almost sane again.
I lift my head and look out the window at one of the nandinas. I used to deplore these tacky bushes standing like stubborn guards in front of our house. Today, though, I look at the rain dancing with the leaves, the silvery light reflecting off the wet greenness, and I love this plant. It is suddenly beautiful.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
There is something inherently and deeply fascinating to me about mathematics. This is amazing considering that in high school I barely squeaked by in my math courses. That, however, was more closely related to my attitude towards school in general, and math in particular, and my firm resistance to homework or studying. It was in college where my affinity for mathematics first shone like a light in the darkness of my math anxiety, and not only could I do math, but I could do it well; not only did I understand math, but I loved it.
With the bad taste of high school still fresh in my mouth, I dreaded the required college algebra course. When it became inevitable that I would have to take it, I called a buddy of mine who was a math major and got his assurance that he'd be standing by if I got into a jam. I never called him back. Over the course of the ensuing quarter, I consistently made A's on homework, quizzes, and exams; the lowest grade I earned was a 93.
Nobody could have been more stunned about this than I, but I listened in class, took notes, read and studied the textbook, and best of all -- I got it! I even liked it -- liked it so much, as a matter of fact, that I discussed with my professor the possibility of changing my major to math (which I never did). The final exam was an interdepartmental final, which meant the exam was created communally by the five professors teaching the course that quarter. Dr. Mayberry cautioned us that we might encounter unfamiliar material, but not to worry, since different professors had not covered all the same material, and that would be considered in assigning final grades.
Since I had, in my own reading and studying, actually covered more material than we'd covered in class, I hoped I would be prepared. The students from all five classes gathered in Russell Auditorium to take the exam. Two hours later I walked out drained but exuberant. I was confident I had done well, but I was still shocked when the exam grades were posted: I had scored a perfect 100!
In my current vocation, I teach inmates in a state prison. For most of my Adult Basic Education and GED prep students, math is the subject they most often dread -- even fear -- but we have a great record of success. It is a source of continuous reward when working with these men, many who've been failures all their lives, when that light goes on and they get it. From time to time a student will even light up my heart by saying, "This is fun!"
Mathematics has become transformed in my judgment from a once mysterious and frightening subject to an avenue of tremendous beauty and delight. There is much that I don't understand, and I still study new areas of math, but I'm grateful that I see even the mystery of that which I don't yet understand as something of wonder and beauty. I'm reminded of the verse in the Bible, "Perfect love casteth out all fear." No longer do I fear math; I love it.
Friday, August 10, 2007
Once I was a little boy playing barefoot on the clover beneath maple trees beside a sleepy small-town street, but that was so long ago and so far away. Sometimes, especially late at night, I try to reach out across the cosmos and grab that time again, to pull myself back toward it, but other times I just catch a glance back, like watching scenery sail away through a rear window.
The hog feeder lids tapped the night away in asymmetrical rhythms, and it made me regret living with a man [my father] who found joy in raising animals, and it made me feel sorry for the hogs, and I quit eating ham or bacon, because I never knew if this might be an animal I had known, or perhaps a distant offspring. So early on I decided the farm life was not for me, and I concluded Oliver Wendell Douglas was one deluded son-of-a-bitch wanting to leave a wealthy law firm for a dirt farm.
Monday, August 06, 2007
I should just pour my heart out while it is full – full of hurt and confusion, full of dismay – I am grieving, grieving because of those who withdraw their lives from me. They are not dead, but they have pulled out of my life, so I am heartbroken – I am grieving, I am in mourning, my heart hurts to badly it feels as if it might burst, it feels so heavy that it just might fall and never get up. That is how I feel. How do you describe a feeling of such utter pain in a way that someone else can feel it. That’s the gift I need as a writer, the gift to be able to take someone else by the hand and lead them into the place where I am. First of all, I suppose I need to explore the place myself, because exploration can perhaps lead to understanding and healing.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Well, the days grew into weeks, the weeks into months, and their love grew. One day he looked into her eyes and said, "I can't believe we have been together for all these months. It seems like we met just Yesterday!" He got on his knee and asked her to be his bride. The wedding day was wonderful. She had a gorgeous dress made by a talented seamstress named Eleanor Rigby who lived near the church. As she walked gracefully and elegantly down the aisle her heart was Free As a Bird.
The days afterward were very kind. He became a best-selling Paperback Writer and she had a very successful career in marine biology and explored the seas around the world in her Yellow Submarine. They made lots of money which they invested conservatively in CDs. Their accountant, Lew Beethoven suggested when the CDs matured next they might consider
investing in something that would have a better yield, but they felt things were just fine the way they were, so they said, "Money's fine, but Money Can't Buy Me Love. Just let the CDs Roll Over Beethoven."
One afternoon while sitting in a tiny bistro nestled snugly among the quaint shops along Penny Lane, they looked back over their lives together. Sally had never been one to show her emotions very openly, but it was clear she was touched by the romantic moment. He gazed into her eyes and said, "Sally...I Love You!" "Yeah, yeah, yeah!" she replied. In the passion of the moment he poured out his heart and shared the dream that had been sitting at the back of his mind for Eight Days a Week. "Darling, I know it'll be a Long and Winding Road, but I want to start a rock and roll band and move to America and make records and be on the Ed Sullivan Show. What do you think about that?!" Her face sunk, she shook her head and said, "No, Paul, just Let It Be."
There were stirrings of a Revolution in his heart. It must have been stirring in hers too, because the next morning he found a letter on the table saying she was leaving...she needed some space to think. He was confused and restless. He hardly slept that evening. It was a Hard Day's Night, and his mind was working like a dog. The next day he searched all over Kidneypool until he found her listening to Sergeant Pepper's band at the Lonely Heart's Club. He pushed his way to her side and shouted, "I found your Dear John letter. By George, I want my ring-o back!"
She said softly, “Did you read it all?” He stood there a moment before reaching into his pocket. He pulled out the tattered letter and read the last line: “P.S. I Love You!” He stood there and tears welled up in his eyes. He looked up and found tears in her eyes too. The place had grown completely silent until some bloke belted out, “Hey pal, can’t you see...She Loves You!” The chorus erupted, “Yeah, yeah, yeah!” He said, "Baby, without you my life would just be Helter Skelter. Can you take me back?" She grabbed him in a passionate embrace and said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeeeeeaaaaahhhhhh!"
© 2000 Jim Bohannon
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. (1 John 2:18, New Living Translation)
And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. (1 John 2:18, New Living Translation)
He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship. He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 (New Living Translation)
This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (New Living Translation)
Among historical and contemporary Bible scholars, theologians, and amateur eschatologians, there are various views about who, or what, the antichrist will be, whether antichrist is present, or whether the antichrist will come in the last days, before God's judgment and Christ's reign (if you're not familiar with these theological concepts, don't worry, they're not critical to an understanding of what I will talk about). Some believe antichrist referred to various Roman emperors. The number associated with the antichrist, 666, has been attributed to code meaning Nero, one of the most notorious persecutors of Christians. Nero allegedly blamed Christians for the burning of Rome, and as a result, Christians were burned alive on poles. Some reports claimed the road into rome was sometimes lighted by burning Christians. No doubt, this was an antichrist nature (which I will talk more about later) Others believed various Popes were the antichrist, and others believed antichrist to be certain governments (the Roman government being the first considered as a candidate for antichrist). Still others believe that antichrist is a general spirit that is present in every age. This is essentially my personal view.
Whether one is a Christian or not, Jesus Christ is still one of the amazing individuals of history, and his nature (the Christ nature, I will call it) was exemplified in the way he lived and the way he treated others. This Christ nature is still very present, but the antichrist nature is present as well.
Here are some distinctions that compare the Christ Nature and the Antichrist Nature, and I believe the application to some very contemporary events is clear:
Acceptance of all human beings and a desire to see them redeemed, reflected in his love and compassion for everyone.
Only select people – a certain group, clique, or tribe, are worthy of love or acceptance.
Sacrifices himself for others – even “sinners”, those who hate and abuse him.
Whatever the theological differences about who or what antichrist may be, and whether we are Christians or members of other faiths or members of no faith group at all, it is clear to me that we all have a human duty to exemplify the spirit of Christ, and to overcome the spirit of antichrist.
NOTE: If you're interested in a more detailed historical analysis of antichrist, the Wikipedia article is a pretty good place to start.
[Pictures: Final showdown of Christ and Antichrist by Albrecht Durer, and Jesus Blessing the Children by Benjamin Robert Haydon.]
I have been intending for the longest time to start at one end of the bookshelf and read all the way across to the last volume, but I haven’t mustered up that kind of discipline yet – or maybe I have. I’ve picked up various volumes and begun reading, relishing Dickens’ delightful mastery of character development and meticulous detail, but now I’ve picked up David Copperfield and started reading it again, and this time I’m determined to go through all 23 volumes. These books are a gold mine chocked full of ore for anybody interested in writing.
For anyone interested in literature and what it can contribute toward an inwardly better, richer, and wiser life, and especially for anyone interested in creating literature of one’s own, there are three writers worthy of regular re-readings, each reading revealing something fresh and wonderful – William Shakespeare, Marcel Proust, and Charles Dickens. Shakespeare is a master of pure story whose plots have influenced countless stories over the past few centuries, Proust is the quintessential guide into the magical wonder of ordinary life, and Dickens excels in capturing humanity and helping us to love it. The advantage of Dickens lies in his accessibility. Shakespeare and Proust take a bit more work than the average reader cares to invest (although the investment carries rich rewards). Dickens, on the other hand, will take you by the hand and lead you like a caring friend into his remarkable world. His loveable characters become intimate friends, and his villains leave you fuming at injustice and unkindness, but you will not walk away from Dickens without being deeply moved – perhaps even changed.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
My wife is one of the leaders of the youth group at our church, Hopewell United Methodist, in Milledgeville, and our junior high group has decided to start a Wednesday night Bible study. She came home last Wednesday and told me about it and asked, “Guess which book they want to start with?” Without giving me 66 guesses to run through the list of the canon, she answered her own question, “Revelation!” (Thank goodness she’s aware of one of my big pet peeves and did not call it “Revelations” – the title has no “s” at the end.) Not such a bad choice, in my opinion. After all, it is one of the most mysterious books in the Bible, and probably one of the most alluring, even for non-religious people.
We can all recognize some of the terms and images that find their genesis in Revelation – the Anti-Christ, the Mark of the Beast, the number 666, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, to name a few. Historical and contemporary interpretations are loaded with contradictions and extreme speculation, so what is the real message of Revelation? Even the name seems to be deceptive – in the Greek, the title is “apokalypsis”, which means literally “uncovering”, as to uncover something that has until now been covered so it is in plain sight. Many people would argue that nothing in this book is in plain sight.
I’ve been drafted to help my wife out, and while she'll do the presenting and leading of discussions, I'm planning to do my own updated study and put together some notes in as systematic a manner as I can. It has been several years since I led a Bible study on the book of Revelation at the last church I served as pastor, and one of the greatest compliments I received when it was over was by an elderly gentleman who came up to me, shook my hand, and said, “You know, Preacher, I’ve always been scared of the book of Revelation, but I’m not scared anymore.” I’m going to share this fresh journey I’ll be taking through Revelation here at the blog, and I invite you to come along. If you agree, disagree, or plain don’t understand what I’m talking about, feel free to comment or send me an e-mail. At any rate, I hope when it’s done, you won’t be scared anymore.