Friday, November 16, 2018

A Prayer of Gratitude

A couple years ago, while walking to a bridge a few miles from our home--

--the first few lines of the poem below came to me. I spent the next six months or so finishing it. I don't claim to have awesome poetic shakes; never did. Still, I think this effort captures nicely the sense of transcendent praise that, more and more, fills, lifts, and transports me into the light.

This is a very dark time, make no mistake about it. The shadow of moronic, blind, absurd fascism rises once more over the world, here in America particularly. Ignorance and anti-intellectualism rage. Propaganda and fake news rule social media and, indeed, even mainstream sources. Science and reason are under attack--from both the left and the right. The world sags and withers against the weight of our greed and indifference.

I've maintained for many years now that the only way the human species will make it to the twenty-second century is through a genuine spiritual revolution. It is very tempting to believe, given the constant crap tsunami of awful news that confronts us each and every day, that we are further from that revolution than ever. But it is true, so true: it is always darkest just before dawn.

And so I offer praise and thanks. I get up each morning and I do the work I was put on Earth to do by the Creator that gave me this life. I sit at this computer and thrust both middle fingers into the air in defiance every morning, and I soldier on. It doesn't matter if I remain forever obscure and unknown. What matters is that I love that creative spark in me with everything I have, for it is a direct connection to the holy and numinous.


Dear Lord,

Thank you for the tremble and weave,
For osprey tracing high the pine-scented air,
For silver sheets of rainfall fair;
Where orange rays of draining daylight conceive

These verdant hills and tumbling creeks which sound
As through fluffs of cotton,
Through which this lonesome road winds forgotten;
Quiet walks remembered, and remembered I was found.

Thank you for this morning scene,
And fingers of fog lacing between,
For sudden bursts of golden finches, here now and then unseen;
For the life of my spirit which refutes the mean.

I want to thank you for my pounding heart
And the urge to strengthen it,
For the courage to fight my sloth and recommit
To living this life not apart

From the grace of your love,
The warmth of which
These seconds enrich
And rain down from above.

Thank you, dear Lord,

For these sterling moments of peace
Amidst the cackle of the insane,
Their corrupting, deafening grain;
These pauses that cease

The unremitting insults of the day
Carried beyond the pale,
Varied but dull, and brittle like shale;
Each step as it may

A cry, a supplication all its own,
Offered with and over the swirl and roar so pure;
The susurration, the crossroad, the cure
Here at last! At last be shown

The glory be, unsayable!
Touching! Lifting!
Gleaming! Sifting
These certain steps between uncertain novations prayable!

Thank you for the courage of my convictions
In this deluded and dangerous age;
For the friendship of the insistent Sage
And her reassuring valediction:

It isn't so bad, she says—
This time, this space,
This darkness so many embrace.
They live in pieces,

But the glory of God is one.
Truth cannot forever be denied,
And those who lied
The commonwealth will someday shun.

Thank you, Lord,
For the constant urge to create,
For the insatiable desire to mate
The contradictions. Lo the sword

Proclaims its own art,
Deeper than desire, more intense than pain,
The numbness against which I refrain
Any measure of victory; in this I impart

The whole of my soul.
Never to death or dust
Shall it give; nor to rust
And the unworthy jewels it stole.

So to you, dear Lord, I offer this,
What meager and gritty quarry
Is mine to give; the words in the story
So imperfect, so imprecise, but sure as a kiss.

They're mine but also not:
They're yours, truly, like this day, this moment, only mine by gift.
Thus is my wish to uplift,
But back to you, in the end, goes the entire lot.

In them and by them I have soared,
Through them and with them my heart has at last come alive.
So long afraid, so long merely to survive ...
Alive again, and so it sings: Thank you, dear Lord.



One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbour 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss.
~Robin Wall Kimmerer

Northern California

Dream of Home

Dream of Home


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pierwalker Log: November 15, 2018

Writing start: 10:20 A.M.
Finish: 2:42 P.M.
Total new words (est.): 500
Edited (est.): 14900


1. Failure: Off

2. Book Three Melody: Primary edit number one of chapter twelve
As an "info dump" chapter, it's pretty damn good.

3. Ant Story: Read-through

4. Fractalverse: Off

5. The Cheapery St. Heroes: Book Two: Off

6. Dread Pirate Roberts: Off

7. Firefly: 500 new words
Notes: Finished! I'll start the primaries Saturday!

8. Rapscallion: Read-through
Notes: I think I'll be reading through the first two chapters here (the only ones written so far) until I have a solid feel for where the story wants to go next. It may take a few cycles before I get there.

Special: None today

Extra notes: I watched a great interview of Seth Godin on Chase Jarvis yesterday. If you're a creator of any kind, I highly recommend it.

I've read Godin's blog for many years now. It's the only blog I've ever kept up with. His ideas, his wisdom, his advice ... all of it resonates with me. He just released a new book; I'm hoping Kye buys it for me for Christmas.

Being an artist is tougher than ever in this blockbuster culture. The Internet was supposed to make it much easier to be one; instead it has made it damn near impossible. It wiped out the "middle class" of many artistic pursuits, be it music or writing or photography. Godin doesn't go into that reality here; what he does is encourage artists to go for the "SVP"--the Smallest Viable Population. Instead of laboring to create art for a mass audience, go for the small, he advises. Try to delight just a few. If you can manage that, over time your audience will grow, because delighted folks tend to share with their friends and families that which delighted them. That's true.

Facebook and Twitter and the rest of the Social Media Disease has made visibility and connection and the ability to make a living off your art much, much more difficult. Their algorithms are specifically designed to shut out the small and enrich a tiny elite. That's the wisdom from one of the Internet's founders, Jaron Lanier. So my task last night was taking what Godin was saying in his interview and reconciling it with Lanier's proclamations. It turned out to be a much bigger task than one night could handle, so I'm going to give myself many days and nights to think about it.

I'm extraordinarily fortunate: Kye supports me and my efforts. We live very simply and frugally, and that helps too. Our life would probably bore the vast majority of you to tears. We like saving money and living creatively, as opposed to consumptively and compulsively. The Newest Big Thing rarely appeals to us.

(That said, we will be seeing Fantastic Beasts tomorrow. As I said--rarely. Not never. Rarely.)

I put every ounce of love and attention I can into my work each and every day. I have faith that that will pay off someday--both for my art, and for the simple life Kye and I share.