Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Today, for no particular reason, I was remembering how, over the years, usually when traveling, I’ve come across little country churches that were built years and years ago. Some as far back as the seventeen hundreds. And what you find is that it was common for a graveyard to be attached to the church, or very close by, especially in smaller rural communities, with ancient looking headstones lined up in rows.

Some people hate seeing these headstones. I’ve talked to people who get creeped out by them. But I enjoy reading them and imagining the lives of the people whose bodies were put into the ground in that spot at some time in the long past. With the oldest graves, the people who lived those lives did it without television or even radio. Most lived without phones or electricity or plumbing. It was a very different world, and most of them died pretty young. In fact, it is a bit troubling sometimes to read how many of those tombstones were carved out for babies who didn’t last even one year. It was a hard world to live in, especially before antibiotics became readily available, which was less than 100 years ago. Prior to that, a small cut could take your life if it became infected..

But the grave stones that impact me the most on an emotional level are the ones where the writing on them has been washed away by erosion. You might see part of a date, a few letters of the name, but not much more than that. And some of them have literally crumbled into pebbles and dust.

There was this one time when I was in Tennessee, I was walking through a woodsy area and I came across some headstones that you could barely see. They were covered in ivy and weeds and grass and there were trees grown up all around them, some of them had actually been broken up by the roots of trees. It took me a moment to realize that it was a forgotten cemetery. So much time had passed that there was no one left to care for it.

Give it enough time and we all become relics. At least our physical bodies do. Stuff for future generations to dig up and display in museums. And this can be kind of depressing, I suppose. But it doesn’t depress me. It just makes me think.

It makes me consider how little time we really have here on this planet. And it makes me want to spend the time I have wisely. Not in fear, but with purpose. I have confidence that there’s more to this life than . . . this life. So, for me, my life and the lives of everyone else on this planet, they’re all part of a big picture, like patterns on a quilt being made in the hand of God. It's a part of what keeps me warm when the world goes cold.

Psalm 90:12
Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Anti-ist Art

 I have, for many years now, enjoyed the writing of author Toni Morrison. Her work, in general, is powerful stuff. It’s not for wimps. It is visceral and visual and challenging. It provokes the reader in complex ways. I could read her novel Beloved over and over. Reading this book is like watching a great dancer, at the top of their craft, or like listening to a great musician who plays effortlessly, demonstrating years of care and dedication.

The only book of hers I haven’t read yet is a book called “Paradise.” I was looking to find out a little about it online and came across an interview at Salon. The interviewer says: "Paradise" has been called a "feminist" novel. Would you agree with that?

Her response was this: Not at all. I would never write any "ist." I don't write "ist" novels.

I’m sure she would add -ism, -ian, and a few other suffixes to the list as well.

For me, that is one of the best responses she could have possibly given. And it’s true. While others have continuously tried to categorize and package her writing, to claim it for some cause, she forges ahead, past preconceptions, to speak with a totally original voice in a way that begs questions and makes the reader think. That is, if they are willing to think.

If only more artists would try to do the same.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm Baaaaaaack

Yes, I know. It’s been a while. I’ve been busy getting sliced and diced again. Went through the surgery for my other hand, my right hand, and it’s been a lot more difficult. I’m right-handed, which has complicated everything. It really is true that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. But the cast comes off a week from Monday, so I’m getting there.

I’m actually writing this post with some voice software. Dragon Naturally Speaking. It was a gift to me, and I like it, but it takes getting used to. You have to think very differently than when you’re writing by hand. That is, typing by hand. With the voice recognition stuff, you have to think in chunks, rather than as you type. But, in the long run, it could be a lot faster way of working.

But I’m doing okay. I’ve gotten to do a few things that needed to be done like straightening out some of my books and a lot of the files on my computer. I’ve been catching up on some reading that I needed to get done. But trying to type or get any of this type of thing accomplished has been a bit overwhelming. I’m trying to get back at it.

Tuesday night I had the honor of being a roadie for my buddy’s band. I have some knowledge of drums and guitar, so I can actually be some real help, and I wanted to do it. The band is called Strawberry Alternative. They’re very good. The only problem was, I can only do most things with my left hand, which made for an interesting evening, but it was fun. They played at the historic Gem Theater in downtown Detroit. So I was able to be backstage, to see what’s back there. I got to check out the dressing rooms and such. It was like a small version of the Fox Theater in Detroit. My brother in law gave me a tour of the Fox a few years ago, and I always find that kind of thing interesting. It’s kind of cool to get to go where people don’t normally get to go.

Anyhow. That’s all for now. It’s hard to write this way. I’ll start things back up probably within about a week on a more regular basis. Thanks for your prayers faithful readers.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sliced Again

I’m going in next week to be sliced again. This time it will be my right hand. Less of a big deal for playing the guitar, but a bigger deal for everything else because I’m right handed. So I’ve been practicing doing things with my left hand that I normally do with my right.

It’s not fun.

But I’m actually looking forward to getting this done and over with. The carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand has made my hand stronger and more sensitive. With some more time I’ll be playing better than ever, and I’m hoping to get back on the drums sometime in December or January after my right hand is fully healed. It takes a long time.

I’ve found this whole experience kind of challenging because there are things I simply can’t do while I’m healing from the surgery. I have to rely on others to do things, which I’m mostly okay with, but I feel a certain guilt about it all. Like I’m not pulling my weight. To my way of thinking, there’s a very fine line between taking care of yourself and being lazy and selfish. Taking care of yourself is healthy and important to do, but I think it can easily become an excuse to be self centered. I guess I’m not sure about where those lines are. I am often accused of not taking care of myself. I’m probably guilty of that too. And I have no response to the accusation. I’m not sure what to think.

Anyway. If you pray, pray that all goes well. It’s pretty minor surgery, comparatively speaking, but sliced is sliced. They knock you out. They do secret things to you while you’re in La La Land. It’s all rather discombobulating.

Sorry. I just wanted to write down the word discombobulating. I’m not even exactly sure what it means. But it feels right.

Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


 Do you ever get so emotionally worn out that you start shutting down? My wife told me I looked tired last night.

Sometimes I get very tired. Both physically and emotionally. I reach a point where I don’t have anything left to feel. I need to feel sorrow and empathy for those who are hurting. I need to feel angry about injustice. I need to feel hopeful about the future.

But I’m tired and I don’t feel.

It’s like I run out of feeling. I get overwhelmed with all the demands and expectations and go numb. I wish I had a greater capacity for emotion, a deeper well, but I don’t. And, when I get to that point of emptiness, I’m like dried up leaves rolling down the street in the wind. I want to connect, I want to empathize, but when I’m burned out of feelings, nothing rises to the surface. It’s like this bit from a Jackson Browne song:

It’s like a song I can hear
Playing right in my ear
That I can’t sing
I can’t help listening

And then I feel guilty. People get mad at me sometimes because I’m not always “there” for them like they want me to be. Some have gotten very, very mad. They had no idea what I was going through, and some of them wouldn’t have cared if they did know. They certainly never asked. They were going through their own pain, or loss, and I didn’t respond like they wanted me to, so they condemned me and strapped me to the whipping post. But I don’t hold it against them. I understand.

Sometimes I wish life was a little more like a TV show. A situation comedy. You know, where everything that happens is happening because of all the half heard conversations and assumptions everyone is making about everyone else. Joanie overhears the last sentence of something Chachi is saying to the Fonz and assumes he’s breaking up with her, so she talks to Ritchie, who then goes to the Fonz and yells at him for interfering, which is what Ritchie is doing, not the Fonz. Three’s Company did this for every show they did. Blah blah blah.

In the sitcoms, they always realize in the end how they have gotten it wrong, and they smile and laugh and the camera freeze frames on the big laugh. Credits role.

Life is so NOT a sitcom.

 Peace to you.

© LW Publishing 2011