March 30th, 2003

abstract butterfly

Elaborate Fictions

I've written before about what I call the "Missing Fact", which is the way I describe the process of recognizing untold backstory, and some cases supplying that backstory material by inference, as part of the listening process. When I read a LiveJournal, I'm always intrigued not only by what the journal tells me, but by the scads of questions I have, some of which I ask, but many of which I cannot in good courtesy burden the journalist with answering.

One thing I like about LiveJournals is their novel-like quality--that sense that the writer is mining his or her life's experiences to create a loose, informal elaborate set of fictions. I like reading an extremely diverse set of journals, which range from very day to day to very literary (and in one or two cases, almost frighteningly literary, in both senses of the word).

For me, the writing process involves a great deal of focus on both absolute truth and yet upon the literary fictions that can arise from truth. I am also intrigued, though, by what fictions and thoughts give rise to which comments from the kind people who weigh in on this modest journal.

I like the way that different posts give rise to different comments. If I write a post about a nature hike, then one set of my friends' list is much more apt to comment than another. If I write about my personal life, and teen and young adult romance (not that there was any great abundance of that in my little life), then I am apt to get a different set of commenters. My essays, which tend to be peoples' favorites and least favorites among my posts, draw the most comments. My slice of life posts, in which I describe what I actually do each day, are topped only by my poetry for the least comments. This rather confirms my notion that the world of ideas in which I play with purpose are far more interesting than the actual life in which I wander aimlessly. Among my poems, the ones that I like best often draw no comments, while the ones I find workmanlike sometimes draw the most. Of course, topical posts draw more comments, and esoteric, prolix "inner reflection" posts do not draw many at all. But now that I'm some 13 months into my journal, I must admit that I like the way that a journal, instead of a novel, allows one to literally keep a scrapbook of notions, bio, hopes and agonies. It's fun to jump from idea to idea, and it's fun to write a serious attempt at personal exploration in one post, and something airy light in the very next post. In my case, I even have the side journal, gurdondark, for posts which I consider too self-abnegating to bother with in the lighter main journal.

This LiveJournal habit is a curious drug to ingest, and a strange psychedelic to experience. But I like to be able to play with the colors in the kaleidoscope as I experience them, and the journal is wonderful for that.
dark flower

Mexican buckeye

Today I went to the Trinity Trail(pictured, sans buckeye), which is the lakeside horse and hiker trail through scraggle woods by Lake Lavon, about twenty minutes drive from our home. I walked a bit over an hour, on trails in which Spring greens and Winter browns were admixed liberally. I had in one hand my Mohrson French well-used bought-on-ebay-for-seven-dollars binoculars (which I decline to call my "Cheap Freedom Binoculars") and in the other hand, a cheap throwaway camera. I like to watch for butterflies the most on hikes like this, and I saw cabbages, sulphurs and lots of little species whose names escape my memory, but I did not see any of the giant swallowtails that are the Summer highlight of this trail. I did see the first scissortail flycatcher bird of the season, which made me very happy. I also saw yellow meadow-flowers, a giant crow atop a tree, and numerous hovering dragonflies. The grasshoppers are colored brown now, like the dead weeds, but their great-great-great-great grandchildren will be pea green like the Spring weeds in just a few weeks.

The weather was simply wonderful, and horse riders passed me a number of times, including one horse galloping so quickly I decided he must have been late for a very important date. I stopped by Hastings Books, which is one of many businesses here going out of business, but I miscalculated the percentage discounts and found myself in shock when what I thought would be 30 dollars turned into 60. I had planned to ebay the chess books portion of the purchase off, though, so maybe the pain will not be that bad.

I was not tired of walking, so I stopped by the Heard Natural Science Center, which has properly wooded trails. The white pear trees have given way here to reds and pinks--the wild plum, the redbud, and incredibly beautiful Mexican buckeye trees. I tried to use my binoculars as a telephoto lens for my cheap throwaway camera, but here necessity was merely the mother of tunnel images. Still, I saw many butterflies, including a gargantuan monarch and a number of hackberries, some brightly colored cardinals, and one swiftly hopping adult bunny rabbit. I saw lots of Spring flowers, but there will be more soon. Weekend after next is the Native Plant Sale, and I hope my wife and I can snare a lacy oak tree or something similarly cool. I also hope we can get things for our front little garden patch as workable as what I bought last year. The sages and other herbs I got then still thrive today, which is a big advantage of planting native plants.

I like the colors of those Mexican buckeyes:

On my way home, I noticed that Allen has a store called "Texas Game Company", which has rental rooms for 3 hours for 5 dollars. This may be the answer to my prayers, as to a place to hold blitz chess tournaments. I am getting very energized by this chess club idea, even though I must admit that founding social groups is far from my forte. I must meet the owner another time, who apparently is a chess player.

I bought 300 feet of kite string for 75 cents at the game store, so I am tempted to put that one dollar "ninja boy" delta wing kite I got at the dollar store firmly in mid-air. This was a good day, and the evening is still ahead.
  • Current Music
    Sunday, by the Cranberries