Archive for 2000

Painting The Last Days Of A Merger That Failed In Capitulation Envy


03 Mar

envy

Capitulation Envy

samplex

Date: At 10:08 AM -0500 3/3/00
From: Timothy S. Shipman

My birthday went as I had planned, fairly anonymously! I had the folks take me to the DC Chop House on 7th St NW near the MCI arena, and that was about that. My father, as is his way, made a spectacle of himself by complaining about the prices, both of food and drink.

Being deaf he has a bad tendency to over compensate when others don't hear what he says, so there was a good amount of yelling outbursts. I think that is the last time I'm ever going to go out to a restaurant with him. "Can't take him anywhere!"

Before I all but quit going out into the city farce, I'd gotten that same way at bars and clubs and with myself in general. Life has a tendancy to become too busy and stall out completely, but nevertheless, I sweat beads of kinetic energy in my own special task to become more focussed on the project and determined to stay focussed on the project just so I can face myself with quiet intelligence despite what the world has to say about me, and in keeping to that intelligence, it feels a lot better now that I've identified how I want to live and where I want to live it, have taken a solid gaze at the old trusty game plan I developed as a child, and after having throttled myself with detection bits across a thousand shortcuts and hand-polished voices I like to think I find in books written just for me, music, fleshpots, sweatshops, moving violations, kindly nods to city fathers to endorse, system bugs, and bugged rugs created just for me, and other photosynthetic blankets of doom, parting gloom, private room closed eye well-hung mushroom clouds a=made for me, all fitting for my time, our tenor, these tribulations flitting back and forth like a ceiling cluttered with Blum's chintzy wire mobiles pointing nowhere in particular and everywhere at once, so much so that sometimes life in this old neighborhood just feels in a word, obsolete.

That this has anything to do with Richard Shipman—he would most certainly plead confusion, that would make him correct once again. Everything is too expensive, and he is confused, and no doubt very proud of it. Sometimes, I chagrin to see myself in him. In others, I thank God every day is Judgement Day and that we, he and I, boast not a few spectacular differences that I shouldn't worry about Richard's particular hill of beans, but have enough bean hills of my own to keep me busy sorting out this from that, thank you very much...

I’d have the room that I need to live another ten years without clutter or squalor except that of the street itself, or should we really begin to cash in on ourselves, we could sell out and get into that promised mansion in the sky, mountain or seashore, urban or primal, heaven or hell, wherever the American pursuit leads.
But I see how it is. Take away man's dignity in work, his manhood, his relevance, and he soon becomes unnaturally obsessed about the smallest speck of dust in the universe when it is very obvious that this particular speck of dust is somebody else's job.

It still may be tougher getting from here to North Arlington than I want it to be, and so the quest to annex the property next door continues its haunt and eats up a lot of brainpower better spent elsewhere I suppose, but the whole affair remains a valuable alternative mythology and day to day memory builder for me, such as it is. Greg II and I haven't spoken since just before the holidays. But one thing is for sure, running this small house formerly known as the Dollhouse rather anonymously ain't the end of the line for me, or if it is, it is expressly against my will, especially if it is alongside these new neighbors who simply ain't a part of the GT plan, but you know me, I usually defer to the host of natural configurations to do most of the work, until that driven part of me steps in to straighten out the kinks and assume in kind what's been given to or is in the process of being taken away from me, whatever the spark is called.

The same's been said about this house on many an occasion, but there's noise and clutter, chaos and anger next door. We've also got rain drainage and perhaps a rodent problem in common. I'd like to solve both problems in one swoop. To get serious about rebuilding this neighborhood so that it can be ready to inherit its present beckoning. The Gabriel and Sue merger of 109 and 111 Eighteenth St. is magical in concept and practicality. I'd have the room that I need to live another ten years without clutter or squalor except that of the street itself, or should we really begin to cash in on ourselves, we could sell out and get into that promised mansion in the sky, mountain or seashore, urban or primal, heaven or hell, wherever the American pursuit leads.

GT

Server Refund


29 Feb

Boxed In Boxed Out

Boxed In Boxed Out

samplex

Date: Tue Feb 29, 2000 10:36:53 AM

Len—two tries on my online credit card terminal netted me the same result in trying to process your server refund. Somehow, even though I carefully plug the numbers into the right cell, an error message stating "credit card number missing" stops me in my tracks as soon as I try to execute the form. That means one of two things. Either your credit card number has been invalidated, which is unlikely, or my Terminal form is not functioning properly, allowing me to refund $220 for server fees, much more likely. I just phoned you at home, but you were out in the Volvo.

Despite this being the first time I have even tried this "return" function, it's a straight up process, and why it's not passing your credit card number along with all the other data, is a mystery, a thorn in my acorn. Right now, to save myself aggravation, I'm sending you a check payable for that amount instead, and will deal with this freak the next time I need to get it to work, or when some random afternoon the urge to write this notoriously sorry support staff to facilitate a fix indulges me fancy.

You should be receiving it no later than the weekend.

Sorry for the inconvenience,

GT

Flowers For Baby A Cantonese Roar


26 Feb

creed-urbanites

Creed Urbanites

samplex

Date: Tue Feb 29, 2000 10:24:30 AM

Hope Baby is feeling better. It's Leap Day, Sweetie, not the last day of winter. That threw you off the saddle, didn't it, and you stumbled out the door as a consequence. Well, here's a bunch of bodacious flowers, just to brighten your day. I'm excited about putting these next few web sites together. And there's a little something in it for everybody. I like it, yes, I like it when that happens. Hear my smile. A Cantonese roar.

I'm beginning to feel like the train engine's pulling all the wheels again in my mind. That's a great feeling. And in some small satisfying way I'm grateful that you are still agitating over the state of our lives, as you said last night to me when I asked you why couldn't you sleep, that you've agreed that now is now the time to say it, and do it.

No Len Bracken link, or anything, just a default Amazon homepage link (forcing the potential customer to hunt his book down rather than deliver straight to customer for click into cart). What a silly boy, vindictive without irony, a testament to his own swirling conscience. The best example yet of his own "morality of friendship" in action.
But the troubling thoughts are there to help toughen you up since apparently you are not already baptized in the spirit as much as you've read all the arguments, and are steady in pleading your case as it really stands, with vigor, and with grace. You'll need both if and when the barrage of leftover guilt starts hitting the fan like sloppy syrup from a horse's mouth on the one angle or the polite but still just as snarky ice blue lies marched in with their own tombstones from another angle. But it's time to justify time.

Chin up, sweet cheese. I am willing to imagine Ashantilly Maudie and Once Upon a Gilbert will thrill us with its creative spirits, and the rest of this tumbleweed racket ain't nothing but a bookkeeping phase that will take care of itself. Every chess piece in this game where one may aspire to sport a remarkably different outlook in the end, as ancient voices rollover to a halt and men in gloves strain in driving glasses to drink salt, we have no choice but to voice our goals and intuit the initiatives with splendid execution.

Yesterday I took the Bracken site down from 'XusNET. Today, his new site is working properly, and with changes. For instance, all mention of my own sites are gone. Now his books to buy link goes straight to Amazon. No Len Bracken link, or anything, just a default Amazon homepage link (forcing the potential customer to hunt his book down rather than deliver straight to customer for click into cart). What a silly boy, vindictive without irony, a testament to his own swirling conscience. The best example yet of his own "morality of friendship" in action.

Sometimes I wonder if he is even capable of understanding himself. It continues to feel good to have him out of my life.

Chicago Bound, Theories of Personality, Nearby Motels Etc.


15 Feb

personality-modification

Personality Modification

samplex

Date: Tue Feb 15, 2000 2:18:57 PM America/New_York
From: Margaret Nix

Dear Ricky and Sue—my last class will be on 3/12, although I will be continuing to work on my project for that class and the take home final until April 3rd. I think the best weekend for me would be 3/17-3/19. How do you all feel about those dates? Gosh, I am really looking forward to having you come! Hopefully, by then, the weather will not be so terrible. Once, I hear from you that those dates are okay, I'll look around for a motel close to where I live. Sally also is looking forward to your coming, and we will have to at least have lunch together or something.

I am in the middle of trying to find data for a paper for theories of personality—a broad topic, if I ever saw one, but I am hoping to narrow it down to the influence of the unconscious on personality, according to the different theorists. Such a dull sort of thing. I really believe that Jung and Adler really added a lot to Freud's theory—so taking the three of them together makes sense, but then I have to cover at least three others. A pain in the bottom.

Talk to you later.

Love, M

If Poetry Broke Mirrors


09 Feb

mirrors

If Poetry Broke Mirrors

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Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 12:29:13

Dear Gabriel, I am pleased to announce that the semi-finalist winners have now been selected in Poetry.com's International Open Poetry Competition. These winners will be notified by U.S. mail within the next few days. Sincerely—Howard Ely

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 13:04:50 -0500

Dear Gabriel, we are pleased to announce that the deluxe hardbound anthology AWAKING TO SUNSHINE is now scheduled to go to press on May 1, 2000. As a contributing artist to this edition, you have been mailed a copy of your poem and an Artist's Release. If you already returned your proof, thank you. If not, please proofread your poem and return your release as soon as possible so that we can maintain our publishing schedule. Sincerely,

Howard Ely
The International Library of Poetry Judges Committee
http://www.poetry.com

Sometimes I think I've bit off a little more than I can chew, but I is having such fun. Writing, publishing, entertaining fans and customers alike is quite a rush, and keeps me bouncy in the morning. I used to think all my dead friends didn't miss out on much. Now, I think I was wrong. Thanks. Winning second prize, and fifty bucks for writing a poem was indeed a spirit lifter.

Evermore,

GT

For The Love Of Secret Decoder Rings


02 Feb

spamsamplex

Fishy scenario. And don't you love it when these folks reword and thus reward your own complaint by tossing it back atcha in a ridiculous restating of the obvious! Sue has a certain genius for this sort of troubleshooting herself, but I have no urgency to rag on her this early in the morning, so off we go to your problem. I certainly don't have a clue what's besludging the Fastmail system short of that pesky Y2K bug, speaking of which I can relate a recent problem of my own. My web log stats program which fraternizes with WebStar and which I provide free of charge via a web interface with user ID and password to 'XusNet clients caught that blasted bug. A fix was issued after my sister (a client) discovered a problem. The beta upgrade fix was acknowledged front and center on the vendor's website sometime in the middle of January, a quick download and installation, and the problem was solved. What dismayed me was that I didn't get an email from them alerting me to the bug, or its fix.

Secondly, and closer to your own email problems is that sometime last month my own 'XusNET mail server fell victim to a mail attack where some unscrupulous cell phone mass marketer was hitting me with thousands of mail relays every minute of the day. Of course I caught it when my daily logs piled in exponentially against the normal rate of one per 24 hour shift. As I was frantically hurrying about trying to solve the problem, soaking up the manual wisdom, toggling and what have you, I also got a mail warning from a website dedicated to such SPAMMING PRACTICES telling me I had been placed on a blacklist which identified sites which allowed such despicable email relay practices, and could result in other sites refusing to handle ANY mail requests from 'XusNET servers. Where's my secret decoder ring?

Fortunately I had read about this very site a couple of months ago, and with that heads up in mind, wasn't totally panicked by the news, but grateful to be part of a great checks and balances loop. I solved the problem partially, but then in a mail relay to a client (again, my sister) another problem in my config showed itself. She was being allowed to relay mail. I think I have fixed it, but she has been slow in responding to me after I suggested a particular test at her end of things.

Oh well. . .

Oooh la la! One might be forgiven, Steve, in thinking Fast.NET would be ahead of the curve on this one.

GT

Richard Waller Interview With Big Atlanta Newspaper


21 Jan

atlanta

Big Atlanta Paper

samplex

Date: Fri Jan 21, 2000 11:06:25 AM

Perhaps your web visits and book sales will increase as well. Did you mention your website? You seem to know where all the hitchin' posts are hidden, so as they used to say Richard, "Get on and stay on that pony, cowboy!" "Oh yes, I mentioned the website. Rheta Grimsley Johnson looked at it and was impressed. She said that your review was particularly well-written. She said it will be mentioned in the article. Hope so..." replied Richard over the phone, and so it was. Below is the article. I never saw the newspaper clipping. Knowing Richard was spotting his own faith and own wit in the mythical "New South" sun was enough for me. King James has nearly nothing to do with what the Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek scriptures say. Waller and I didn't even sit on the same ecclesiastical bench.

The fact was Richard Waller from Society Avenue was prolific enough to be considered nearly a regular contributor to the Albany Herald and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution papers, always diligent enough to earn a smart quip in the op-ed pages, writing sweet little rebellions that tickled the fancy of a certain type of editor for whom Waller appeared as a reasonable liberal intelligence. He saw his battlefield, and he took it. But for me, I still wanted to carve my mark on the still exploding world wide web since after all, as one of the earliest creative pioneers I still maintained one of its oldest brands among the outliers, and this was where I would live and battle.

READING BOOK OF WALLER CAN MAKE A BRAIN TWITCH
by Rheta Grimsley Johnson, Albany regional columnist

Imagine, if you will, poet and painter Richard Waller in the book-strewn office of his two-story, century-old town house. Out his office window you see the parking lot of a Baptist school. On the wall in the hallway is a brass marker: ON THIS SITE IN 1897 NOTHING HAPPENED.

In this cluttered room, using his King James and New Revised Standard Version Bibles, Waller, 72, worked doggedly for three years on 64 poems, The Famous God Said Sonnets.”And while the slim self-published poetry volume, his second, hasn’t gotten the kind of attention Reynolds Price’s biblical examination recently inspired, Waller’s work has provoked strong response. Family members have thrown it in the trash. A Baptist college president praised it. A few friends pointedly ignored it. You can find it at his website.

“The stuff you wrote, which I have read carefully, makes no sense to anyone who is not an infidel,” a retired Baptist minister and former high school classmate of Waller’s wrote in response to a gift copy. (Waller, by the way, is an Alabama native who grew up Baptist in Newnan.)

“You will be glad to know that one of your sonnets was read at a Unitarian Easter service in Maine, wrote a fan.

“Whether one considers his accomplishment within the realm of Bible poetry, Bible criticism, or simply a fine jest of Bible humor missing since the days of Moliére and Voltaire, one is sure to walk away from the text with a profound twitch in the brain…” raved a Washington DC reviewer, Gabriel Thy, who also happens to be Waller’s nephew.

In the sonnets, God reacts book by book to the Old Testament, which, Waller believes, is filled with both “cruelties and absurdities.” (Waller gives entertainer Steve Allen credit for the original idea. Allen has written a couple of prose books on religion.) Waller’s God denies having written certain passages of the Old Testament, and sometimes entire books. God does, however, proudly claim Ecclesiastes. Here’s an example from Numbers:


Of all the things they say I said, God said, the dumbest
is my alleged command to stone a man outside the gates
for gathering sticks on a quiet country Sabbath day.
It’s libel and I categorically deny ever saying a man should die
for sticks picked up. Whatever do you take me for?
It’s unbelievable even as metaphor.

I, who lit the fuse for the Bang
that you call Big, have better things to do
in other galaxies than anything
as cruel, savage, and arbitrary as that.
It’s a wonder the Bible’s read at all.
Next Sunday afternoon, go shop the Mall.

“The local newspaper runs a daily Bible verse, and they have to be very selective so readers don’t get shocked,” Waller muses. He refers to the rampant sex, violence, and gore sometimes ignored by casual theologians. Waller has a degree in Italian from Columbia University and is retired from the land title insurance business. He started writing in 1990, including a poem inspired by a Haydn concert at the Roman Forum. The head of the Newport Music Festival at the time was so taken with that poem that he ordered 300 copies of Waller’s first book, Beethoven’s Brain and Other Poems.

“I might have treated MY poetry privately, except for that incredible encouragement,” Waller says. Waller is now Unitarian — “which means driving to Tallahassee” to the nearest church—and chief caretaker for his elderly mother. People either love or hate his book, he says, which satisfies him. Sonnet 59 seems to encapsulate his main thesis:

Thank goodness for the age of science and reason
Religious superstition has had its season.

  

General Messaging Unit (Mother To Son)


20 Jan

greenheart-son

Greenheart Son

samplex

From: Margaret Nix
Date: Thu Jan 20, 2000 3:24:07 PM America/New_York

Hi, Son! Haven't heard from you in a long time, it seems. I hope you all did get the letter I wrote thanking you for the check for Christmas. I worry about mail because they say Chicago has the worst system in the country. They talk about it on the TV news sometimes. School is getting into full swing now. I go to two more classes this week than I have been doing. (That makes 3.) Will pick up two more in February. I saw the headline on the Yahoo page that DC has had a big snow storm. Hope you all are warm and able to travel. Here there is ice and snow and pretty terrible cold, but the secret to survival here is truly dressing in layers. Today I put on five layers to come to school (no coat) and have taken off a couple of layers since I've been here. You wrap up your head and neck and face, and hands and wear warm socks and boots. This morning I bought one of those luggage carriers with wheels for my bag and, boy, I should have done that before now. It makes so much difference not to have a heavy bag strapped across your back. Even getting on and off the bus is easier. There is an art to living in Chicago.

There is a psychiatrist who lives at Arlington House (he is a cancer patient, taking Chemo, not practicing medicine)and at meal times, he and I have good conversations sometimes. He really infuriated me one day, however, because he said that psychiatrists were "managers" and psychologists were "clerks".
It gets pretty lonely here at times, but I try to keep busy with studying, and that makes the time go by. I have been out hiking around my neighborhood and even a little around the loop downtown. When I have plenty of clothes on, I love walking in the cold. I have only missed one day since I have been here, going out and about. The trick is not to slip on the ice, but they are pretty good about scraping the sidewalks and streets here. Last night around midnight, I thought the world was ending, there was so much noise outside my window.I got up and looked out, only to see the streetscrapper pushing snow down the alley.

I got some help from a couple of men who live where I do, and got my bookcase and books and computer out of storage, so my little tiny room is full up. Besides my bookcase and the bed (narrow single bed), I have a student desk and a beauro (with no mirror), so what space is left is about a foot wide path down the middle of the room. Mighty tight! Sometimes I get a little stir crazy and I go down to the coffee shop across the street from DePaul University campus and sit for hours along with other grad students (from DePaul) who are studying and drinking coffee. Study, study, study—that's the name of the game.

There is a psychiatrist who lives at Arlington House (he is a cancer patient, taking Chemo, not practicing medicine)and at meal times, he and I have good conversations sometimes. He really infuriated me one day, however, because he said that psychiatrists were "managers" and psychologists were "clerks".

I got a flu shot—first time ever, but I am good and healthy, even tho' everybody around me is coughing etc. So, it was a good thing, taking the shot. Well, I need to take a look at tonight's class assignment, so will close. Just writing boring stuff anyhow.
Damn, man, I wanted to say—all you know how to do is prescribe pills, but I didn't say anything. I was pleased to hear at orientation when they were telling us about our practicums (interships) that they wanted us to have one that had a licensed psychologist as our supervisor, not a psychicatrist—because, they said, psychologists have a different viewpoint that psychiatrists. I'll say they do! I really already love my school, and I know I picked the right one for me.

Please let me hear from you. I look forward to getting email—nobody sends letters thru the postal service.

Oh, I got a little cell phone. The number is 773-450-xxxx. It has voice mail even when the phone is not on, which is nice. I get 200 minutes of air time a month for $39.00, and long distance is free, except on weekends. Presently, however, because the wind and snow are pretty bad, the radio wave has too much statis for long distance. I like it because I have been able to conduct local business, with bank etc. from my room. The stormy weather doesn't seem to interfere with local calls. Sally is long distance, so we haven't talked in about a week—since the bad weather. She and Lester both have been sick with flu. I got a flu shot—first time ever, but I am good and healthy, even tho' everybody around me is coughing etc. So, it was a good thing, taking the shot.

Well, I need to take a look at tonight's class assignment, so will close. Just writing boring stuff anyhow.

Love, M

No Mail For Three Weeks


15 Jan

joy-world

Joy To The World

samplex

Date: Saturday, January 15, 2000 7:13 PM

Dear Gabe, just back from 2 days in Atlanta where I saw the Rockwell exhibit this morning, and no mail from you in three weeks. As with Andrew Wyeth, and Robert Frost, the establishment critics are wrong again. In color, composition, lighting, and the human experience, the man was a genius. What Mozart is to music, Rockwell is to art. Regarding your reply above, frankly, I am surpised at your hostility. It's well-known that overexposure to the Internet causes mental fatigue, burn-out, and even divorce. CNN had a segment this week about some young people who were forced to seek psychiatric counseling because of it.

With as much time as you spend on the 'Net, and with your reluctance to get away for a some R&R, you should talk to a specialist about it fast. —Richard

It's all perspective Richard. Your characterization of my dismay with a long string of disappointing collaborative efforts—the swill being a primary failure after a year's run, has all but now been disbanded, thank God and you Richard Waller, the kindly gent who helped me finish it off as a waste of time—as hostile, is in itself nothing less than hostile to my own prerogatives of trying to get at the core of things rather than basking in an aura of self-satisfaction amidst the safety nets of cultural iconography, but then you will probably never see it that way, good intentions and all. By the way, contrary to your conclusions, I don't spend a lot of time ON the Internet, and although I admit I DO spend too much time in front of my computer screen and less time in the lively company of the world of crucial matter, I spend most of my time writing and composing pages, taking snapshots, and imagining myself as someone who really cares about people despite my impotency to impact a world too busy garnishing ego to stop this wholesale assault on itself and as a fellow writer and someone whom one might think would sympathize with the plight of a lonely unrecognized writer, your advice to me is nothing less than mocking, although who would believe it to be intentional since you are indeed such a delightful fellow, and incapable of peering down one's nose.

My attempt at a universalism has failed, even though I never dared relinquish my own staunch individualism so as some might observe to include the fatal flaw inside the experiment itself, but now to score a language which reflects that long haunting failure will be the task of my next one thousand pages.
Yet, I am just a bit astonished that you would have me censor my most intimate thoughts about the world as I see it, since you have no such compulsion to flack on matters which wreck your own sensibilities, such as christian fundamentalism, and let me repeat myself since my own poor taste is no longer a secret, in saying that I agree with you in rejecting as sheer folly the antics of most of those Word of God folks, although I certainly do not share your total disdain of the works of an ancient people that affect so many lives today, and are interesting to me on many levels, not the least being how ridiculous the populations of "true believers" and "disdainers" alike have cannibalized and misjudged them for millennia resulting in atrocities of every sordid kind. The modern Three R's are the very blood offering of controversy and cannot be escaped no matter how finely we slice and dice them or cooly attempt to avoid or abolish them: Race, Religion, and Riches.

Rockwell has always been a favorite of mine, and I am guilty of no small pinch of envy that you can find your happiness among these "friendly" pleasures, but why do you persist in criticizing my own stab at happiness which is generally derived in seeking out and trying to map the motivations of minds great and small in a lifelong attempt to bring order to the chaos of my own mind which has been taught riot by the cacophony of competing shards of literature, art, politics, religion, myth, and mirth for so long that it hurts to feel anything anymore because the voice of opposition is always just around the corner? My attempt at a universalism has failed, even though I never dared relinquish my own staunch individualism so as some might observe to include the fatal flaw inside the experiment itself, but now to score a language which reflects that long haunting failure will be the task of my next one thousand pages.

Most people just turn the noise off, shutting down a part of themselves that threatens to overwhelm them with truth or nonsense however empirically secured...

I can't, but talking to a specialist is no answer. I thought I was talking to one with you. Still I consider you my friend, so I raise my cup to thee, despite your ode to sobriety!

How's that health you recently spoke of?

Gabriel

Gabe, I am misunderstood! I was not trying to mock you, only trying to help. I know how I feel after an hour and a half on the 'net. I can't imagine working on it all day. I'd be as mixed up as if I had been listening to 10 hours of rap. I think your well-written reply above is worth reading again and again. I have not meant to criticise your "stab at happiness" philosophy. I have already said that YOU inspired me to read the history of philosophy as opposed to studying the works of each individual philospher. I can't do that. I'd be reeling from the abstruseness, but if you can do it, more power!

And I do not TOTALLY disdain the works of ancient peoples. Who doesn't like Epictetus and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius? I also assume you mean the Bible. Ecclesiastes is beautiful, but Thomas Jefferson, God, and I disapprove of the Revelation as coded nonsense. That sentence is a joke. We should lighten up. Great letter you wrote. Regards to Sue. I must stop now and coax sweet sounds from my violin. It has a mellow tone. Did I tell you it was made century before last? It was, by August Gemunder & Sons, New York, 1899. —Richard

The Subject Is Enormous And Deep


11 Jan

lionsden

Enormous And Deep

samplex

Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 08:16:54

Gabriel, gee, you must be really mad at me! I did NOT reject YOU, I am simply not up to commenting on those long philosophical swill letters. I don't know enough to do that, but you have inspired me to read about philosophy. I've bought several important books on the subject such as The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnas, and The Examined Life by Robert Nozick. The subject is enormous and deep. I remember at Columbia University, I had to drop philosophy because I didn't know what they were talking about. The fault is mine.

It is pure torture and God said, "You will just have to go to that little Unitarian church in Tallahassee if you don't want to be paralized from boredom." Honestly, that's what he said. He also dictated my book to me, but nobody believes it!
I don't know if I told you & Sue or not, but I received a letter dated Dec. 12 from the President of Mercer University, Dr. Kirby Godsey, praising the FGSS. He didn't have to. He doesn't know me. I never met the man, but to get such a letter from a progressive Baptist means a lot. I don't expect acceptance from fundamentalists. Anyway, it doesn't matter anymore. There's a great new collection of essays by Poet Randall Jarrell who said, "Poetry disappeared long ago, even for most intellectuals."

The public doesn't read it. Literary review poetry is written by poets for other poets. You can't exceed the beauty of Hardy, Frost, Stevens, and Yeats, and you can't outdo Alan Ginsberg for obscenity. So what's left? Only the FGSS.

I hope you and Sue are well. Jan 13 will be one month since my surgery but I still feel like a stab-wound victim. Tell Sue Mother is doing well but it's hell on earth with her only if I refused to take her to Episcopal services EVERY Sunday. I refuse to do it. Then she pouts for three days although she can take no part in those rote responsive readings, long weekly communion lines, and every last verse of hymns sung over an hour and 13 minutes. We just sit there like outsiders. It is pure torture and God said, "You will just have to go to that little Unitarian church in Tallahassee if you don't want to be paralized from boredom." Honestly, that's what he said. He also dictated my book to me, but nobody believes it!

Richard

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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