I saw a pick-up truck today with tropical plants in the bed traveling at 50 mph along the bracing coast. I thought of reporting it to the SPCP, “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants.” Then I realized there was no such organization and that it was up to me to found it. Ah, one more small responsibility for Dr. Yours Truly. (You’d think people would have wised up by now and simply elected me supreme potentate, since I know what’s best for everyone. Who else worries about the damn plants, hmm?)
Did you know that plants grow better to Mozart and that carrots, according to electric sensors, emit the equivalent of a scream when uprooted? Just because we believe plants don’t have sentience doesn’t mean they can’t experience pain just as animals do. Yes, Cain’s vegetable offering was rejected and Abel’s received, and we grieve about the fratricide, but what about the poor vegetables and the emotional wound of their rejection by the very God who created them? We’re talking years of therapy with manure and fish emulsion.
Today we picked out our new pet, a cat almost one-year-old. Her name is Jo Jo, but we haven’t decided to keep the name yet. She is gray with white paws and all kinds of crazy stripes, her eyes yellow. Right now she’s hiding in the open coat closet behind the vacuum cleaner, from where she makes sorties up and down the stairs, but never too far—she’s brave but still cautious. The cubicle at the pound was big but not so overwhelming as our rental to her. I’ve seen cats go through this adjustment period before and am confident that she will soon rule the roost. LKD knows that already.
It may take a while for me to provide a picture since Kathleen lost the digital camera (that we couldn’t afford) I bought her for Christmas. If she reads this it is only to make her feel guilty. I’m so mean! Then why should Kathleen read my blog? She lives it with me. It should bore her to hell, one of the lesser known means of entrance to that region.
Besides the four new publications announced in my last blog, I just got news that Oysters and Chocolate, an online magazine of erotica, will pay me for a poem entitled “Her Steaming Love Tunnel.” I’ll give you the link when it appears, but I don’t feel comfortable posting the poem--my Junior Craig Club members’ parents might sue me and then who would pay my freight? Ever since I exposed Big Bird as the extraterrestrial queer that he is, many parents have directed their children here. Why did I write this sexy piece (though long ago, before my break from writing poetry)? Because to write for money means experimenting with every paying genre. If porno poems sell better than love poems I’ll just go there. Wait—not porno--The poem has socially redeeming value, if only to affirm the joy of intromission, ejaculation and afterglow in pursuit of the “golden fleece” of the simultaneous orgasm. Near the end the narrator yells, “I’m a horse not a man!” I like that and so would Catherine the Great.
Kathleen is reading my novel’s second draft and finds it more absorbing than the Dick Francis novel she’s trying to read, which is good news for me, as she is certainly my harshest critic. If I can hold her attention, there is hope for a third draft.
BTW, if anyone would like an e-mail attachment of any of the works below, simply mail me and ask. You’ll have to bear the costs of printing.
The Eric Chronicles
Five Stories and a Play
T. S. Eliot: The Major Poems (an undergraduate primer)
Max asked me to detail how I got booted from a creative writing class. First, I joined it during my depression as a discipline for continuing social involvement that I demand of myself when depressed. I also hoped to meet a circle of writers in my new stomping grounds. And the teacher came highly recommended from my neighbor who claims to be a writer but will always lack the chops.
At the last class I attended a woman read a treacly, maudlin poem that made my hair stand on end. Since everyone else chimed in, I added my two cents that it sounded like “A Blue Mountain Arts” card. The teacher interrupted me to say “that’s over the line, let’s stop there.” I assure you there was no malice in my comment and that the “poem” was abominable.
After class the teacher asked to speak with me. She told me she tried to provide a nurturing environment for writers, and that this class had been together a long time. I asked her if feeling good was more important than writing well, and she dodged the question, indicating both were important, but one shouldn’t call another’s work “Hallmark,” to which I vociferously objected:
“I didn’t call it ‘Hallmark,’ I called it ‘Blue Mountain Arts,’ and there’s a world of difference in that distinction. I choose my comments carefully, unlike what you think.” That was over her head. I then asked her, “How many people have complained about me?”
She said, “four.” That amazed me. “And they don’t have the balls to speak to me but have to hide under the teacher’s skirt?” She didn’t like that one at all.
“So, do you really want me to come back?” I said.
“Oh yes,” she said, “You’re a very good writer.” (How would she know if she’s more concerned with feelings?)
I asked her again if she really wanted me to return. “By all means,” she said, “just try to be more nurturing and less critical.”
I said, “If four people complained about you in a writing class, would you feel like coming back?”
“I can’t say,” she said, “and it’s not like that.”
“Like what?” I said.
She demurred. Depressed or not I wasn’t going to return to a class of wannabes who couldn’t stand constructive, yes, constructive criticism. The story of my life: unable to judge the social acceptability of my utterance of the truth as I perceive it. My tongue believes in “Leap before thou lookest.”
I cried yesterday morning when Kathleen mentioned that she had been grieving for Kenyon and Rachel. While weeping separately together, I said, “Good morning to you, too!” Later I graciously thanked her for ruining my day. But Jo Jo the wonder cat made me happy again. Soon she will be purring in my lap beside my laptop. I love a purring cat!
All for today.