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Serpent's Egg - Prologue
Soluble Words
A Ghost Between Us
Jane Meyers One
50 Things I've Done
The Real One (Part 5) The Real Story of Santa Clau...
The Real One (Part 4) The Real Story of Santa Clau...
The Real One (Part 3) The Real Story of Santa Clau...
The Real One (Part 2) The Real Story of Santa Clau...

Click to go to the most current Cliff Between the Lines
Life, viewed sideways. Emotions, amplified. Answers, questioned. Me, between the lines.




- A Wounded Heart, Who Can Bear?
- Drowning Under a Tidal Wave
- Clawing My Way to the Sunlight
- Yes, Santa Claus, There Is a Virginia
- Fugu
- Touching the Spirit
- A Hole in the Universe
- Riding on the Dreams of Others
- Turning Into a Shark
 - A Heart, Ripped Asunder
- Surrendering to the Roller Coaster
- Hunting in the Jade Forest
- Dodging the Shark
- Dancing With Invisible Partners
- The Captain and the Harliquin
- Courting the Devils
- The Captain Makes His Mark
- Mad Dog to the Rescue
- Innocent in the Big City
- Dropping the Ball Briefcase
- Scrambling Brains
- Cheating the Reaper, Again
- What If the Man Behind the Curtain Is No Wizard After All?
- All of Us Have a Soundtrack
- Working With Broken Machines
- Happy Anniversary, Baby
- Standing on Stars
- Running the Film Backwards
- Identity Crisis ("Who am I?")
- Can We Ever Really Admit the Desires of Our Heart?
- Forgiveness is a Rare Thing
- Having Your Heart Caressed By the Creator
- Working With Broken Machines
- A New Leg to Stand On
- The Real Spirit of Christmas
- Chatting With Infinity
- Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
- We All Have a Great Capacity for Loss
- Brushed Lightly By Might Have Beens
- We See the World Through Our Own Looking Glass
- Every Storm Passes Eventually
- Accidents Can Introduce Destiny Into Our Lives
- Freedom Depends on the Walls Around Us
- Pulling Aside the Velvet Curtain
- Riding the Razor's Edge
- Dying With Strangers
- In Your Face
- Between the Lines
- The Bobcat
- Angel With a Coffeecup
- Innocent in the Big City
- Chains of Gossamer
- Playing With Knives
- Stumbling Through Memories (Ooops)
- Picture This
- Running the Film Backwards
- Playing the Score, Tasting the Music
- Coins and Corals and Carved Coconuts
- My God, I Confess
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 1, Speechless)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 2, Taxi)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 3, The Pan American)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 4, Guano)
- Exotic in Thin Air (Part 5, The Andes Express)



 
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"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."

Walt Whitman (1819-92)




"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."

Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)











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Friday, March 26, 2004
 

Living in a Fun House Mirror

warp
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wearp; akin to Old High German warf warp, Old English weorpan to throw, Old Norse verpa
1 a : a series of yarns extended lengthwise in a loom and crossed by the weft b : FOUNDATION, BASE
2 : a rope for warping or mooring a ship or boat
3 a : a twist or curve that has developed in something orig. flat or straight b : a mental twist or aberration
4 : Life, here at work

Astonishing, really, that I got a clear view of the world yesterday at an attorney's office of all places. Right there where the bending of reality to fit is a daily occupation, real life stepped in and took a seat.

Sequestered in my closet of an office, working with the dysfunctional group that I work with, I forget that there is another world, a real world, out there.

And I need to be reminded of that.

I went by to drop off some information with our corporate counsel. Our office used to be in the same building, and I know most of the folks there quite well. When I walked in, I felt a respect that I have not felt in a long, long time.

And you know, it felt right. And not some sort of vainish "right," but a real, deserve it right.

I was comfortable.

I was among friends. People that honestly cared, people who were not afraid or unwilling to see me as I am, people who did not feel they had to somehow tear me apart to make themselves look good. People who were proficient at what they did, knew I held them in high regard for that, and returned the favor.

That's the way the world is supposed to work, isn't it? I never thought I would experience anything different, and I miss it like I would miss air if I stopped breathing.

I figure we have until next Wednesday or so here. It's that bleak. Its all fingernails and duct tape here. The stress level is wearing everyone thin.

Out there, somewhere, is the world I remember. I just have to make it that far.

It seems so far away.

Life has become warped, bent, like a reflection in a fun house mirror at the fairs I remember as a child. What's fat, isn't. What's skinny, isn't. What's tall is short and short is tall.

Everything is sideways and its hard for me to cope with it. I have to stay focused on the fact that this is not reality, this is only a situation. I cannot weigh myself by these scales.

My scales are better, and true.

Adulthood isn't an award they'll give you for being a good child. You can waste... years, trying to get someone to give that respect to you, as though it were a sort of promotion or raise in pay. If only you do enough, if only you are good enough. No. You have to just... take it. Give it to yourself, I suppose. Say, I'm sorry you feel like that and walk away. But that's hard.
Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campain, 1999

Permalink: 3/26/2004 12:22:00 PM |
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Thursday, March 25, 2004
 

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Stomp your bugs and stamp your mails, its time for this blog's...
Blogger Idol Week 10 Top Picks!

This week's topic was "Childhood Treasures" and the entries were all strong. Here are a few that spoke the most to me:

sílent tríbute - thanks, mom, for teaching me anatomy and other stuff Here I am, a forty something granddad, and a 17 year old girl teaches me something. How cool is that?

Lypton Village - my Photo essay Yet again, stunning. These aren't photos. These are art. The Chinese slipper picture alone is worth the price of admission, and it just gets better from there.

(No, this is NOT turning into the "Say nice things about Jess and Amanda" blog. I know they are in the top list most weeks. They are just that good most weeks.)


tim - Visitors for Sunday Lunch! My favorite part was when the Sunday roast was being prepared, and Tim mentions washing "spuds, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips and sometimes kumara..." I have no idea what a kamura is. When I saw it, it brought instant clarity to how people in distant cultures can have so much in common, and yet are unique in so many ways.

Ian's Messy Desk - Childhood Treasures Some things can only be said in a poem, and Ian does it well.

Rachel - Earrings... Childhood memories are worthless without tying them to our adult lives...

Now remember, the above are just my picks for best of the best. Visit the whole list of this week's entries by clicking the little icon above.

Bye for now...

Permalink: 3/25/2004 10:16:00 PM |
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Wednesday, March 24, 2004
 

Musings on a Roman emperor

ves-tige
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from Latin vestigium footstep, footprint, track, vestige
1 a (1) : a trace, mark, or visible sign left by something (as an ancient city or a condition or practice) vanished or lost (2) : the smallest quantity or trace b : FOOTPRINT
2 : an image on an ancient coin

I'm trying, God knows I'm trying, to keep a sense of perspective right now.

The company I work for is failing. There, I've said it. The wolves are not only at the door, they've already done some serious feeding.

As of yesterday, our company no longer had any discernible source of income. Without receiving some massive financial help, as in "purchase," we're goners.

Two years ago I ran all the numbers and showed everyone that we could not stay alive unless we hit a certain level of daily production. The plant manager never even attempted that level, and now here we are, just like I said we would be.

Sour grapes, yeah, but that's no good when you have to feed a family and pay bills and stuff.

I'm looking right now at a pile of coins from ancient Rome.

They are very corroded. Most of them now have irregular shapes. You can't really make out any of the inscriptions around the edges of them, but you can clearly see the faces of the emperors on most of them.

The emperors are all different, and all staring fixedly off to the right. Statistically, most of these men met with violent deaths. A lot of them were possibly fools and bad leaders, but a lot of them might have been good men.

All of them are now sitting here in a pile on my desk, vestiges of greatness. Each one, on the day these coins were minted, was at the center of glory and adoration.

Well, I'm not on any coins.

In the universal order of things, what does it matter if I lose my job? The only world that will upset is the one I am in the center of, and that is limited indeed.

It does pain me, though, that I feel so left out of the camaraderie at work, especially now. And I have done so much, tried so hard to make it not so.

I place the coins in my palm and feel their weight, their size. Not one is larger than a fingernail, and most are far smaller.

I pick one at random. The inscription is just close enough to readable to tease the eye, but try as I might the letters stay just beyond my comprehension. One side appears to have two figures, soldiers perhaps, carrying something between them. It might be bounty of some sort, spoils of war from some great battle fought two thousand years ago. The other side has a face...I can't make out the inscription, but I can see his facial features clearly.

He has sad eyes. After two thousand years, that's about all I can tell about him.

He has sad eyes.

Perspective.

Time is a rope that we ride down, not knowing when it will end and not able to stop.

I spoke to a friend of mine last night. He has just had heart surgery, his fourth or fifth, I believe. Every day for him is a struggle due to several illnesses he copes with. Once, long ago, he jumped from the Brooklyn bridge, and survived.

He does not talk much about that, but last night he mentioned having a conversation with God on his way down.

Perspective.

Why is it that the way others feel about me is so important to me? When I look at it here, all typed out in Times New Roman, it looks foolish, trite, shallow. There are so many things so much more important.

I can't mint a coin to tell everyone how great I am, or send armies to conquer lands in my name. I am what I am. My gauge for that is other people's reactions to me.

But.... [sigh]

I am so confused, and I feel so worthless.

I don't like my sense of perspective.

I have sad eyes.


When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued.
Julia Cameron, The Vein of Gold


Permalink: 3/24/2004 11:14:00 PM |
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Monday, March 22, 2004
 

Coins and Corals and Carved Coconuts

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The Blogger Idol topic this week is "Childhood Treasures." You may see a full list of this week's entries by clicking on the above icon.




trea-sure
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tresor, from Old French, from Latin thesaurus -- more at THESAURUS
1 a (1) : wealth (as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded (2) : wealth of any kind or in any form : RICHES b : a store of money in reserve
2 : something of great worth or value; also : a person esteemed as rare or precious
3 : a collection of precious things
4 : a small box of coins from foreign lands


There was just something sparkling about holding, in your hand, some item that came from far away.

I would close my hand, and for a moment I would have this connection with a place so distant I barely knew the name. Kenya, perhaps, as I held a carved coal baboon. Or India, as I carefully emptied a tiny cotton bag of its contents, 12 ivory elephants no bigger than a flake of oatmeal. Or maybe a silkworm cocoon from China, or a rondador flute from Ecuador, or shell windchimes from Bangkok.

Back then, we did not have a global economy yet. Even an export powerhouse like Taiwan held mystery and seemed like a land separated from me by vast distance. Which, of course, it was.


When I would visit my grandmother and grandfather's house, there were certain items I would always go visit, in their sunroom. To them, these things were just bric-a-brac, but to me, they were tickets to travel just as good as any in an airport.

I remember a piece or coral, spangled all over with little star pockmarks, that one uncle had brought back from some long ago beach trip. For me, that was the definitive coral, all other corals would only exist to be compared to that one.

I remember a butter mold. You could use it to make a nice looking square of butter with a flower on top after you had churned the milk. I imagined some frontier family using it.

And I remember a carved coconut head with seashell eyes and a wooden cigar. He had the letters "Trinidad" carved into his forehead. When grandmom and granddad passed away, he ended up with me and sits in a place of high honor in my home right now.


Then there were the stamps and coins. My father and my aunt kept me well supplied with them. My aunt would pick them up at garage and estate sales in Miami (another exotic place, at least to me) and bring them to me when she visited. They would be in a large sack, loose, waiting to be plundered.

And oh, so many hours I spent with them!

Holding coins that read "Norge" from Norway, Francs from France, or pennies from England so large you wondered how they put them all in their pockets. Wildly shaped coins from the Bahamas and the middle east. Coins with holes in them from China. Beautiful coins from Australia, Canada, and Italy. Coins made of everything from nickel and copper to silver and even aluminum.

The paper money was just as fascinating. Everything from an ancient Mexican 1,000 peso note to a one cent note from Hong Kong. I saw everything from kangaroos to pictures of people I did not know on these bills.

Even more beautiful than the coins were the stamps. Every color of the rainbow, every county on the globe. Central America, Africa, Asia, Greenland to Chad, Canada to China, and everywhere in between. Airplanes, ships, flowers, people, animals, all had their time in the sun on a stamp.

So there I would sit, mind entranced, thrilled by the treasure all around me.

And to me, that sense of wonder, that feeling of having "connected" with something greater than me, bigger than me, farther away than me, different from me...

...that is the greatest treasure childhood could have given me.


Children are all foreigners.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)

Permalink: 3/22/2004 04:43:00 PM |
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OK folks, grab your canes and whack your cats its time for this weeks...
Blogger Idol Week Nine Top Picks

(No, don't REALLY whack your cat with anything, the phrase just had the right cadence. And no, I haven't whacked MY cat either. Well, not today, anyway. He's been behaving. Uh, what was I saying? Oh yeah...)

Here are this week's picks in no particular order:


Seasons of Violet - To Biz Stone, my real life Blogger Idol. Marguerite has, I believe, the exclusive honor of having her Celebrity actually visit the blog and leave a comment!

Amanda - Dear Bono Wow, not only was this a really touching story, but Amanda writes so well that you find yourself right inside her heart. Way cool, girl.

si­lent tri­bute - I'm sorry, but I can't... Just TOO cute, Jess! I love her sense of humor!

timsamoff - I Wish I Cared A lot of thought and feeling went into this one. I think my favorite part is that it does not leave you feeling like a period was put on the sentence. That's class.

Deneice - My letter to Jessica Simpson Deneice shows that she "gets it" far more than I ever did. Thanks for the heads up.

The rest are good too, click on the icon above for the whole list!


Permalink: 3/22/2004 04:01:00 PM |
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