Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Fragmentation: In Search of Cohesion ... What's going on now?

 Greetings all and sundry! 

Sundry? No, you're all important, whoever you are, though your purpose be a mystery to me. I sit down to write this post without much plan as to what exactly to put down, except for two articles of note. To wit...

    "Nothing availed the poet, he could right no wrongs; he is heeded only if he extols the world, never if he portrays it as it is." (p. 15)

That is the first quote I marked in a book I've recently begun reading called 'The Death of Virgil', written by one Hermann Broch, who began writing it while in a German concentration camp. It's a quote that I would think would appeal to one such as Joni Mitchell, who is fond of quoting a passage from Nietzsche's 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra' on the superficiality of poets and poetry--"They did not think sufficiently to the depths, therefore their feeling did not get to the bottom." The Virgil in Broch's book is distraught and near death, and Broch strings out Virgil's inner contemplations much as Proust strung out the scent of a madeleine; his writing is florid, poetic and deep. Having been close to death as he was when he began the book--Broch died in 1951--Broch writes as one very close to the essential subject matter, which goes beyond Virgil and his time as a celebrated Roman poet. Here's the second passage I marked:

    "Greater than the earth is light, greater than man is the earth, and man's existence avails him nothing until he breathes his native air, returning to the earth, through earth returning to the light, an earthly being receiving the light on earth, received in turn by the light only through earth, earth changing to light." (p. 17)

Or this, the third:

    "Oh grass, oh leaf, bark-smoothness, bark-roughness, vitality of the burgeoning, in this branching out and embodiment ye are earth's darkness made manifest!"  (p. 18)

There is much that has spoken to me already in 'The Death of Virgil'--and I'm only 28 pages in!--that speaks to things transcendent, to aspects of life (and death) that are more subtle than we rarely give more than a passing thought to, and rarely do most of us take the time to actually turn off our rational, thinking minds long off to simply be in the presence of these things, which are inherent in all things at all times.

Here is the fourth passage I marked, and in my mind, it speaks to a fundamental spiritual concept that as human beings, the world we are born into is ultimately unsatisfactory, that we are missing something, that we experience ourselves as separate and apart from each other (and even ourselves at times) while we are yet part of this great infinite whole:

    "[For] insufficient was the desire of hands, insufficient the desire of eyes, insufficient the desire of hearing, sufficient alone was the desire of heart and mind communing together, the yearning contemplation of the infinity within and without, beholding, hearkening, comprehending, breathing in the unity of the doubled breath, the unity of the universe, for by unity alone one might overcome the lowering hopeless blindness of fearful isolation ..." (p. 19, emphasis mine)

In short, I'm thus far fascinated but it's a hefty tome and some sentences flow on for quite some time, so it's also a rather dense--but beautifully dense--read.

My second topic shares a point of relation that I will not reveal, suffice to say that I've nearly finished the rough draft of a new, previously-mentioned short story, now titled 'The Old Hermit of Silesia'. I've but to write the ending passage, which as of now is still stewing in my head but ready to begin putting to page. It is a story that I have to confess to being somewhat fearful of sharing; it's a story that challenges certain commonly-held notions and also gets into some very unpleasant things that may be difficult for some people to read. There is violence, and fear, and a reckoning with the dead that I hope, however, ultimately speaks to the possibility--nay, the certainty--that all things, for better and for worse, will pass in time, and that all that we see and experience as evil will have its place alongside all that is good. I'm hoping to have it done in time for Christmas! 

Here you see a sketch that I did a couple of days ago, a sort of mock-up for what would be the cover. Perhaps I could get someone with professional skill to turn it into the appropriately dark, fire-lit scene that it is meant to be? In any case, it gets the idea across and will hopefully spark some curiosity amongst you, whoever you may be reading these words. (Don't be shy if your own thoughts are sparked by anything I share on this humble blog and wish to return the favor!) 

I will likely publish the story in two or three parts with my cover sketch, perhaps modified or hopefully enhanced, and will share the first part in the next week or two.

So! That's what's going on now.

May you all be well,

- DH

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Fragment: The Ruin

     It's been but a year since my last Fragment, but as mentioned in previous posts, there was actually a fair amount of work done in the intervening period. And since I've gotten this particular, elucidatory engine running again, a variety of verbal onslaughts await to be launched upon the unsuspecting masses (such as they are, the few who may read these ramblings of mine). At the very least, you can rest assured no innocent people will be harmed by anything I have to say. 

    Chapter 2 of Even the Gods Must Die is nearly ready to publish; it's written and revised, so I have only the layout to prepare. I'm still preparing the layout for my article on 'Cleanliness is next to Godliness'; it's been slow going on that one as I've jumped around on these different projects.

    I've recently been listening to a podcast called 'I Can't Believe It's Not Buddha' by Neil Webster and Lee Mack (whom I primarily know from the comedy panel show Would I Lie to You?). I recently discovered that Lee Mack has been practicing meditation for some years now and, perhaps if you're familiar with his work as I am, he doesn't strike me as the type. ;^) Anyway, this is all in light of my previously published piece 'About Dreams, Dreaming and Connection' for which I heard a quote in the podcast that struck me as directly relating to that article's theme. So, give the quote a read and re-read the article if you're so inclined. 

    "Awareness is all their is to experience. All their is to thought is thinking and all their is to thinking is awareness. All their is to emotion is feeling and all their is to feeling is awareness. All their is to sensation is sensing and all their is to sensing is awareness. All their is to perception is perceiving and all their is to perceiving is awareness. Thus, all their is to experience is knowing. It is knowing that knows this knowing." -- 'Being Aware of Being Aware', Rupert Spira

    It speaks somewhat to the difference between the dreaming mind and the waking one, the diffuseness of what is experienced in the dream state, how the egoic mind is present but incoherent, unable to coalesce in relation to what is being experienced, because what is being experienced is itself a creation of mind, pulled together from the flotsam and jetsam of undigested memory and association. And yet, perhaps that fundamental basis of human experience that is awareness is felt all the more keenly for the ego's lack of cohesion, and that this awareness is not only inherent in all human beings, but is the same awareness. And so this awareness continues to exist ... even after the death of egoic mind of the individual human being.

    Also, in light of recent tragic and ongoing human stupidity, this particular fragment should speak to the undigested memories and associations, as well as the unresolved traumas that continue to play out in realtime, festering, spreading, and consuming. What we do unto the least of our brothers and sisters, so we do unto ourselves.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

About Dreams, Dreaming and Connection - a photo essay

Greetings, all, from the inner realms!
Once again, a different project than any previously mentioned grabbed hold of my inspiration engine and drove itself here to the precipice of public presentation. Well, it's a simple thing--I've already mentioned my Jungian preoccupation with dreams and the un- or subconscious mind. Some people in the world are very dismissive of dreams, seeing them as just the bubbling up and disgorging of mental effluvium, of no more consequence than a bowel movement. Maybe ... at times ... but surely dreams are much more interesting and meaningful than that. After all, just for one example, the melody to the song 'Yesterday' came to Paul McCartney in a dream and has since been the most covered song in ... human history, if I'm not mistaken. No such claim could be made for any bowel movements that I'm aware of!

Anyhoo, before this gets much sillier, let's go ahead and make that final push and see what's left at the bottom of this particular Cliff of Insanity...

- DH

Friday, September 1, 2023

Even the Gods Must Die - an excerpt

 Greetings once again!

As mentioned in my last missive, I have had quite a few irons in the fire. I've yet to bring any of those particular projects to completion; however, another project--at least in its partial form--has been cooling for some time now. Even the Gods Must Die is another project that I've done a fair amount of work on over the last year or so. Presented here are the prologue, first chapter, and opening section of the second chapter, which should provide a fair sense of the story's trajectory, so to speak.

The fundamental premise is this: Be careful what you wish for. The idea that science and technology could provide ways for us to live forever has been bandied about for decades; this story presents an argument for why living forever could be a very bad idea. However, there is another theme that is essential to the story, that of redemption. I've long held the belief that even the worst among us are capable of redemption, but I've been equally fascinated in pondering what it would take to redeem a truly terrible person. The story may be well served by a quote from Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamozov: "Even if only one good memory remains with us in our hearts, that alone may serve some day for salvation." 

- DH

Monday, July 31, 2023

The Road No Longer Taken: A Photo Essay

 Greetings and well met, fine friends one and all!

It has been many months since my last publication, though it's not been for want of a lack of material or motivation. So, first, a bit of news ...

From late November of last year through March of this, I took part in a video project that led to my writing 16 short stories; the stories were all based on myths, folktales and legends from around the world  --some well-known, some not. In some cases, I constructed stories that were largely original, built around parables that were often brief and without much context. In any case, I hope to share more about this particular project at some point.

Apart from that, I've continued with a number of works in the hopes of submitting one thing or a dozen to the various online magazines, publications and anthologies that can be found around the world. One is a post-apocalyptic, survival story based in Taiwan that, at its heart, is about the need for connection even when communication is difficult. Another is a philosophical dilemma revolving around the concepts of neurology, execution and redemption. (I've really come a long way on this one!). Finally, I've recently finished the first of a series that I'm calling 'Stupidioms' about obnoxious phrases that society takes for granted as wise aphorisms but may in fact be at the very least problematic if not plainly ridiculous.

For now however, I've put together a brief photo essay of one of my regular jaunts in the country I've come to call home. Robert Frost may have taken the road less traveled by, but some roads are simply forgotten to time ... 

- DH