Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

My kite is drawn irrevocably to a cottonwood tree

"[H]owever hard our lot may seem, we certainly cannot improve it by whining, nor get more out of life by permitting ourselves the embittered spirit.That is final defeat.It is no denial of the facts that is asked for;it is no childish pretending that bitter things are sweet;it is no assertion that all lives are equal in hardship, though the differences are probably less than, judging from the surface of things, we are likely to think.It is even true that there may come to one, what he naturally regards as a succession of peculiarly bitter and unjust experiences. Nevertheless, it is out of circumstances like these that some of the choicest spirits and some of the world's best work have come"--Henry Churchill King



Today I arose fairly early and sent off a poetry submission by e mail. I find myself drawn to submitting works for potential publication lately. I can readily make one or two submissions a week. Perhaps I'll return to the days just after college, when I had one of the best stacks of form rejections, hand-written "try agains" and the very rare "We are pleased to inform you that your work [insert bungled title here] has been accepted....". I counted today the number of times that I have been published, and realized the figure is not staggering.

I think lately that I want to write something and self-publish again. This time I want an ISBN number and a listing on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's a peculiar sort of vanity, I suppose, which inspires this desire to vanity press something, but it is my own vanity, and I will own up to it. I always thought a good name for a publishing company would be "Pig Vanity Press", as it has a mild ring of my alma mater, the redoubtable University of Arkansas. I feel that kind of ferment and focus that usually means that a new path will burst from me, and I like that feeling very much.

Today I got work done, and flew a kite, and walked around a pond filled with Spring algae and mosquito fish. I love mosquito fish--"gambusia". They are livebearers who hide in the shallows, little civilizations of thousands of fish.

I figured out that I had left my Federal Express unsent, so I had to drive all the way back to work, fetch it, and get it to the Fed Ex office, arriving four minutes before it closed.

I've been down all day today, weary and feeling a bit out of sorts. It's been one of those curious days. I went to the used book stall at Vikon Village, our local Garland "indoors flea market" dealie. The nice man behind the counter told me that the book I was buying was his very first sale of the day. This week the papers covered the closure of Dallas' main Afro-American-owned bookstore, and it's not that long ago that I went to paularubia's bookstore's closing sale.

I love little indie bookstores, although I suspect that the 'net will open up as many possibilities as it shuts down possibilities. I just wonder if we are in a post-literate time sometimes. I am not going to do the traditional rant against large retailers and all that, as I don't think that criticizing competition makes much sense. Little neighborhood bookstores met a need, and that need was not about "can I get it cheaper?", but about a sense of community. I dislike the feeling I sometimes get that community fades.

The man at the bookstore was nice, but he proceeded to tell me a long, complex story of a real estate spat he had. I had not told him anything about me, and I was there in my baseball cap, pullover shirt, and walking shoes. I didn't look like a lawyer or a priest. But people always want to tell me their life stories. I bought a 1934 book on "Bookbinding", because its price was low enough I thought if I found it too hard to use, I could eBay it or find it a home with a friend. I love that it is x-library from an Army Air Force library in the 1940s in Tennessee.

We ate Japanese food tonight, and my bento box was entirely good. I mistook a salmon sushi slice for a vegetable I did not want, prompting my waiter to ask "don't you like raw fish?" when he took my box away. Then I felt irritated by being accosted about my food choices, as I dislike being cross examined by anyone not my grandmother on such things.

I dearly loved my grandmother, who would say "but I thought you were the boy who LIKED sausage". She's been gone for years now. I still smell the scent of her perfume, overpowering as a hydrogen bomb, on hot Summer 1960s days, sitting in the back seat of her Cadillac. Was it Shalimar or White Shoulders or My Sin? I can't remember. But I remember the smell like today. I must admit I have a weakness for perfume, which makes it a bit of a shame it is not worn by more women nowadays--at least not by most women I know.

I dislike being irritated over nothing, although I took special care to tell nobody but my wife of my irritation, and then I wished I had not told her, either. It's the weariness talking, after all. She suggested we adjourn to Half-Priced Books in nearby Frisco. I found so many books there! Everything from a treatise on the King's Indian Defense in chess to a weighty tome called "The Lives of the Poets".

I barely resisted the mid 20th C. era book by an SMU professor called "Moscow over Methodism", a cheaply self-published tome which warned of a minority faction of card carrying Communists taking over the Methodist church. I can imagine his concerns--give those theologian enough rope, and next thing you know they'll want to give tithes to feed the poor. I cannot imagine any of the Methodist ministers of my youth as closet Soviet spies,
taking shorthand notes as they pass out the communion wafers and Welch's.

I saw a pet age calculator in a LiveJournal today, and figured out my dogs are, in people's years, 52 and 68. In law school, I tended to befriend and date women rather older than myself, so that the woman I was last seeing during law school must be 56 or so by now. But I will resist the allusion to her being, by now, older than my dog if my dog were human. The thought makes me feel a bit old. I wonder how she is doing, and whether her daughters have children now. My goodness--her daughters would be older now than many LJ friends I think of as not really any younger than myself. This age thing is a funny business--perhaps a business best ignored. I don't mind aging, actually, but I do mind wasting my days. But it's defining "utilizing" and distinguishing "wasting"--that's the challenge.

The whole thing, it seems to me, is to set goals and work to achieve them. Not goals like "get rich" or "be famous", but concrete things about living life with a sense of values. The reality is that some days are going to be sad days, and some days are going to be happy days. I want to have productive days in either event.

I like the way I've made positive steps these last four years. I've done many things I always dreamed of doing. But I can do so much more. I can be so much more. But I have to do it. Not fret, not dream, not agonize--do.
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