Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions, Revelations. Rallies

      Been hearing all manner of change - that will debut tomorrow.  Hardly a joiner, I most definitely am a mull er.  My musings took me from "Remembering" yesterday to 'and now?' today.  We have scanned, eye to mind, mind touching mind, with all the reverent anticipation of "Looking for Mr. Goodbar", through the frenzied yet purposeful jungle that we call mankind.  If one subscribes to the concept - and I daresay I do - of the 'Whole' of Mankind, then one accepts the thesis (count me in) that mankind is indivisible and the 'mysteries' not yet solved speak not to Nature's disorder but to man's intellectual immaturity.
      Please forgive me the bromides indispensable to pragmatically applying this thesis to my advocacy of the rights to which, I believe, mankind is entitled.  First, you gotta believe that injury to any part of mankind, injures - in part - all of mankind.
      (John Donne drove this home with: "No man is an island.  Each man's death diminishes me for I am involved in mankind.  So, ask not for whom the bell tolls.  It tolls for thee." The boy indeed had a knack.)
      Next, survival in today's world is made tolerable by the enjoyment of living.  This enjoyment is markedly decreased by emotional and psychic disabilities.  Dear Dorothy Parker had a bead on this one in "Coda".
      (There's little in taking or giving,
There's little in water or wine;
This living, this living, this living
Was never a project of mine.
Oh hard is the struggle, and sparse is
The gain of the one at the top.
For art is a form of catharsis,
And love is a permanent flop.
And work is the province of cattle,
And rest's for a clam in a shell,
So I'm thinking of throwing the battle-
Would you kindly direct me to hell?")
      Now these imbalances - and their Siamese twin, physical limitation - rob mankind's life of its pleasures.  The Bard provides but one example.
("Ah, sleep, that knits up the raveled sleeve of care.")
      And at the very heart of mankind's dilemma, bypassing the pulmonary artery - and, therefore, lungs - and hopping right over to the left ventricle (you don't tug on left ventricle's cape, if you get my drift) which launches gallons of weakness through mankind's system per diem, is the loss of what I call the 'sharing experience'.  This because the ability to create and SHARE the creation in communal productivity is a source of great pride.  Losing it leaves a large blank page in our book, "The Pleasure of Living".  You're on your own.  Living isn't pleasing.  It's a crap shoot. 
      (As Groucho Marx opined when his "You Bet Your Life" TV program was challenged on a different network with the very engaging/amusing Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, "Well folks, I guess now you can bet your life or better your life." Re:Marx, nobody could top him when it came to speedy, snappy repartee.)
      It is therefore up to us, dear readers, to ensure mankind's entitlements, overcome this inchoate mentality, facilitate and preserve mankind's pleasure in living.  I know you've all been a-tasking to the nth 'multi' of late, so I have set about fixing the problem.  Mankind's life, I am resolved, shall NOT be robbed of its pleasure!  Debuting on the morrow, I will do the man proud.
      (I refer, of course, to Clint Eastwood/Ronald Reagan's "Go ahead. Make my day.")
      Tutorially speaking, I refer you first to the parentheticals above.  Cherished pearls of wisdom - cast NOT before swine but enshrined, etched, inscribed (any guesses where I'm going with this?) ON PAPYRUS, PARCHMENT, PAPER, then having been marked with 'P', tossed in the oven for you and me.  Obviously, in this scenario, 'oven' is used metaphorically for book/library/collections and the like.  Yes, I READ them.  They were gifts from my friends.  Gifts I could take to bed, a grassy knoll, a sofa by the window, watching the snow fall -quietly, so as not to disturb my READING.
      I'd seen them neatly arranged in book cases with doors made of crafted leaded glass; on shelves over mantels, Moroccan-leather-bound, gilded-edged pages announcing "The Royals are 'IN'"; on the desks of my children in their rooms; the bedside tables of octogenarian nuns; in stores, on subways at launches, the proud author beaming as the lines formed, waiting a turn to have the newly-purchased treasure touched by, actually written in, by its creator.  That, dear reader is the penultimate 'sharing experience', the ultimate delayed so as to be a very private affair to remember - perhaps a soupcon of crackling wood in the fireplace, a fragrant magnolia floating in a Waterford bowl on a nearby Deco ottoman, hints of Beethoven surround-sounding softly, almost a whisper of puppy's breathing, curling up from your feet. 
      And, like the cradle, the curtain will fall.  Bidden or not bidden, the parting will be sweet sorrow.  Sweet because 1) you now become tachycardic, perhaps do some anticipatory panting even, at the very thought of   a brand new 'sharing experience', IE, telling all comers about 'this book I just read," and 2) you know that I'll be sooo happy for you and the chosen-to-be-sharees, that I'll not use ONE MORE HACKNEYED cliche in this post!
      (To be sure, I really did see/admire one such book case when I first visited my husband's home.  Their living room was forty feet long (the baby grand looked like a preemie) and at one end the wall WAS the book case.  He morphed it into an apprentice-piece by lounging over the top shelf - home to every sports trophy he'd ever earned - until the hapless visitor HAD to say, "Gee, Phil, what're all those shiny statues in the book case?"
      And around our home, each dedicated community of books had different bookends.  some were bona fide antiquities; some were from my family or bought by me.  But they have SUCH personality.  Huge solid brass elephants (trunks UP, good luck, you know) support my cookbook collection (remember cooking, Lorane?); carved wood Civil War cannons embrace Phil's sister's collection.  Her ashes were scattered and you'll be as well if you mess with her books; bulbous, contradictory, IRON wing-back chairs support the law books in my study (Contradictory in that you will never find a comfortable chair in a courtroom - save the 'bench' on which his honor perches); Stone, squares, sporting embedded brass ducks support my husband's medical tomes; our son's desk sported leather, 3-D slices of the globe (which always said 'basketballs' to me); one of our daughters used flat, brass squares imprinted with Rodin's "The Thinker" (I suspect, is was the male anatomical precision, not the artistic value that attracted her) and our other little lady had clowns - silent commentary on how she viewed the entire educational 'drill'.
      Whatever shall I do with them?  What will they embrace, adorn?  Whence functionality when 'The Trend' finally becomes 'The Only' means of accruing knowledge, favorite quotes, maps, recipes, fables, bed-time stories? When dawns the day during which what was once known as 'reading material' is generated by robotic, computerized chips or multi-channel analytic towers, information to be characterized, disseminated and osmotically absorbed by the 'end user', AKA humans. 
      The very embodiment (rather, mechanization) of efficiency, its applications have no limits; its productivity matchless as well as eviscerated.  As will be the humans forced to rely upon them.  Is THAT the world we want?  You-show-me-your-new-template-I'll-show-you-mine relationships?  Nay, say I.  Fie on curling up with metallic, meditationally-transmitted data. Dam Data. Any day.  I love dairy products but never wished my parents had been Guernseys.  I thrive on the written word, thought, emotion but would not have traded my folks for a pair of matching, fluorescent transducers.)
      Soooo.  Here's the plan.  Remember those queues, populated with humans, happily, willingly awaiting their turn for hours JUST to 'meet the press', as it were.  Touch the hem.  Perfume the washed feet of the creator.  No holds barred when it comes to that 'shared experience'.  That fulcrum upon which mankind balances its pleasure of living with its wholeness
      Well, we're going to bring those lines back.  Introduce the reader to his writer.  Save the jobs of ALL of the workers who perform ALL of the tasks involved in producing ALL of the books produced by ALL of those publishers.  Once again, the writer will stop by, say "Hi" and leave a smidgen of who-what-where-when-why, then SIGN the book, using the same nimble fingers that caressed the keyboard whilst forming the words that, when strung together, formed sentences that built paragraphs which marched step-lock-style across the paper pages, telling a story, drawing a picture, birthing another "shared experience'. 
      I've 'named the baby'.  Stop by the nursery.  The nurse will wheel it over.  Just ask for "Calling Card".  Cute as it can be. And starting tomorrow, I shall embark on a journey of "Deliverance".  I'll still be based on this page, of course.  But here's hopin' NEXT year, if you buy a book for you or as a gift (same thing, really), when you open the cover you'll see an affixed note to you, from the writer.  And if you do, tell your friends about it.  And please tell me.  Like I said, I'll be here; and like Mae West said,
      ("Come up and see me sometime.")
                                   Later, Lorane. . . .
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