Fragments Again

Something is on my mind, something solemn, dreary, and depressing. But I do not know just what it is. I know only that there’s something buried within my brain and behind my heart—a dark and upsetting event or idea or possibility. I can only imagine what magma might feel like, cooling and solidifying around my internal organs; this is that terrifying sensation. Unless I break free from it quickly and completely, there’s no return to normalcy. What should I feel? Panic? Relief? Fear? Curiosity? Elation? I might be able to develop a character around these sensations and these emotions, but only if I can escape interment in hard, black, glass-like post-magma material.  That’s only modestly odd.

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Science fiction is easy to write, I think, but hard to encapsulate in character development studies. A merger between “pure” science fiction and “pure” character-based fiction is harder, still. But I may give it a shot. Unlike so many science fiction scenarios, though, in which Earth is under some form of attack or alien danger that is fought with high-tech weaponry, I have in mind a resurrectional sci-fi piece that paints a picture of rebirth after massive destruction, without the aid of imaginary tools. In my mind, the rebirth would involve relearning old technologies on a foundation of human decency. More oddities.

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Last night, I watched My Octopus Teacher. I enjoyed the film, though it was not as moving as I expected, based on the chatter about it. Don’t get me wrong, it was moving. But it was not an hour and a half tear-jerker. It was exceptionally informative and interesting; I learned quite a lot about octopuses/octopi and about various other sea creatures. I may already have known that octopuses die shortly after mating, but if so I did not recall it. That fact made me consider the apparent “meaning” or “purpose” of the life of an octopus—procreation. The point stressed several times during the film—that the creatures are extremely intelligent—made me wonder whether the octopus’s genetic drive to procreate can be short-circuited by the creature’s “choice.” For example, can an octopus choose to abstain from sex and, if so, how long would a celibate octopus live?

I suppose the most poignant message delivered by the film reflects the seventh principal of Unitarian Universalism: respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. I do not, of course, believe there is any direct link between the film and UU principles; only that the intellectual linkage is apparent to my little brain.

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My short time fostering an older but energetic dog has taught me something about myself. It’s a revealing and embarrassing lesson: my “routine” and my personal freedoms apparently are more important to me than having a “buddy.” I have no objections to taking Bob for multiple walks, nor do I find feeding him or petting him or letting him snuggle on the couch next to me anything but endearing. More than anything, it’s the fact that he has his own schedule and it does not mesh with mine. It doesn’t help, of course, that walking Bob is a more like being dragged…by an angry sheriff’s deputy in a hurry to throw me into the back of the squad car. I’m sure Bob’s walking behavior can be addressed with proper training. But his need “to go” conflicts with my need “to stay.” And I enjoy my early morning routine; easing into the day with a cup of coffee while sitting at the keyboard, exercising my fingers.  Bob deserves better than he has with me. And I’m confident he’ll get it in Connecticut, which is his destination when he leaves Hot Springs Village on Thursday morning.

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My keyboard time was just interrupted by a hungry dog. For a short while, Bob will be enjoying a meal of dry dog food, crumbled Milk-Bone treats, and tiny pieces of pulled chicken breast, doused with a little chicken broth. It’s the only way I can be sure he finishes his meal; a hand-finished breakfast with multiple ingredients. While this process took place, my near-full cup of coffee cooled to inadequate warmth. Dammit.

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Soon, my friends from Fort Smith will drive down for a little visit. We haven’t nailed down the dates, but it will be soon. They will stay overnight for an evening or two. While they are here, we will have lunch at the Kream Kastle Drive Inn in Benton, said to have one of the best greasy burgers in the entire State of Arkansas. It’s an old place that seems to be approximately in the middle of nowhere, but is not far from Benton, nor from where I live. More important than the burger, though, will be the opportunity to sit and visit, face-to-face, with these folks who have been friends for more than forty years.

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There will be another time, soon, when I will write something other than this fragmented swill. It may be cohesive swill, but it will by god not be fragmented.

 

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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Please talk to me about what I've written. I get lonely when I'm the only one saying anything.

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