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Pack Creek Ranch, San Juan County, Utah
The third week in September in 2017
This is the last journal posting before I set off to live in Prague for the fall.
New novel is being published there – The Mender of Destinies – and another road trip around Czechia to perform with an acting troupe in 40 towns.
I did this last year, too. A crazy endeavor, but worth the excitement and the engagement with thousands of Czechs.. As we say in Texas, “The devil made me do it the first time – after that, I done it on my own.”
It’s too much hassle to try and write for this journal while traveling.
So I’ll take notes and write about the adventure when I come home.
I’ll be back in Moab sometime in November.
Meanwhile, here’s a collection of thoughts from the week just passed:
TROLLING THROUGH MY JOURNAL NOTES AND MIND ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND I CAUGHT THESE THINGS IN MY MENTAL NET:
1. Bumper sticker: “Love Is In The Air. Wear A Gas Mask”
2. Observation on friendship:
“One is so apt to think of people’s affection as a fixed quantity, instead of a sort of moving sea with the tide always going out or coming in but still fundamentally there: and I believe this difficulty in making allowance for the tide is the reason for half the broken friendships.”
Freya Stark wrote that in a letter to Venetia Budicom on May 20, 1934.
3. Sign advertising, “WOMEN PAINTERS” had a note scrawled on it saying, “I like painted women. Will you paint mine?”
4. “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” Erica Jong.
5. “I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” Diane Ackerman
6. “Sure I’m crazy, but don’t think it’s easy.” Overheard.
7. “I wish doing it the hard way didn’t come so easy to me.” Overheard.
8. If you realize that what you once feared in the future is already part of your past, the present looks pretty good.
9. The question is not, “Is what you have sufficient?” but “Are you sufficient for what you have?”
10. There are many ways to lose your life. Death is only one of them.
Though I may live a long, long time I will never ever understand the importance to the media of daily dead body counts everywhere in the world.
Lots of people die every day – in every way you can think of and in ways you never even imagined.
That’s not news.
It will always be that way.
How much better I would feel if I knew exactly how many escaped death and injury by an inch or a second and then got up and pressed on.
Give me a count of those who walked through the fires of hell or missed the bullet and lived to tell the tale.
I celebrate that near-miss.
In a day or too I’ll be back in Prague, the Czech Republic.
I always look carefully at all the older people there – the ones over 70. The survivors. And I think about what they’ve been through since they were young. Repression, and occupation, starvation, brutality, bombs, disease, the death and dismemberment of friends and family, lost love, and the loss of everything but life itself.
And they got up and got on with it.
What difference did counting the dead make to them?
Count the living, I say.
The unbowed, the unbroken, the determined, the courageous.
Give me a life count.
And count me among the living and ongoing, as long as possible.