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Showing posts from 2010

Wearing an XL Calla Lily and Orchid Posy & My Life as a Freelance Futurologist

I used to detest parties, now I find them unbearable. When forced to attend one I usually wear an XL Calla Lily and a Orchid Posy on my lapel to hide my face. Then I compel myself to forget where I am. If someone starts to chatter to me I pretend to be Bavarian, adopt a husky voice, and whisper, 'Do I look like someone who has killed anyone?'

Certain words and phrases make me cringe, for example: 'What a strange planet we inhabit.' 'I wish I was twenty, again.' 'There is only one thing that makes life worth living ...' 'What did I tell you?!' 'Habit kills desire.' 'Tell me, "You love me", even if it's not true.' 'I shouldn't be telling you this, but ...' 'In banking terms, what are "derivatives"?' 'As a boss, do you manage by "output", or "input"?' 'What is your profession?'
Ah, yes, profession. I prefer, how do you spend your time? but when asked, …

A Temporary Inconvenience

My wife is gazing into the distance. 'You can see our house from here!' I stop reading. 'Oh, really?' As we are sitting in the living room of our home I'm not surprised. I pretend to admire the view. At such moments - when my energy is weak - I believe people and things I love are out of reach, untouchable. To travel towards them, to reach them, seems impossible. A black hole of doubt opens up and I fall in. It is a temporary inconvenience. Sometimes, it lasts for weeks. I soon escape, retake my place in the queue, careful to stand close to the 'Anxiety' end of the line, as far from the 'Confidence' sign, as possible.
In winter I miss warm summer nights. I can't stand the cold wind; I sense the feeling is mutual. Outside it's five below zero. Today my wife is wearing a heavily armoured terracotta tank top. I believe the gun turret is directed at me. I can only say, that more often than not, I'm thankful when it's time for bed. I&#…

Black Matter & Living in the Present

Last evening, in bed, while abseiling down my wife's back, I was suddenly struck by a childhood memory. I remember my family had cocktails before dinner. The table would be set, the lights dimmed. We would wait an eternity for dinner to be served. However, we never had a bite to eat. Sitting at the table was a charade. Subsequently, my father and mother would feign tiredness, yawn, and say, 'Time for bed.'

Back then, I was afraid of everything: barnacles, ear wax, rumbling stomachs, parking places, fluttering butterfly wings, and that the universe was comprised of 80% black matter. At nightfall, all animals on earth descended on our home. And it wasn't for food. My innocent body trembled. I endured sleepless nights. The slightest cough could elicit strange odours. Alas, it is history, now.

*     A writer, with a new book to promote, is talking on the radio. I listen with a serious face; my ears are outside playing on the garden swing. My first reaction is confusion. …

Solitude and The Metaphysical Nose

Today I feel like a bare bulb on a ceiling. My wife (her name escapes me, and runs downstairs) gives me a hate-filled stare, and throws the cat's crutches at me. I speak without saying a word. Her old fire is not there. Though I must say the reduction on heating costs are gratifying. Our relationship is at its most precarious. Who will suffocate whom first? Our bedroom has the icy coldness of an Alpine peak. And one does tire of skiing aficionados who use our sleeping habitat as a favorite ski spot. We attract the odd jet skier and the noise is horrendous.

I rarely talk or write about my personal life because none of it is true. Lately I've been getting up at 8 o'clock each morning. After I bath, shave, and have breakfast, I'm usually back in bed ten minutes later. Before lunch I take a long walk around my bed with the dog. Then we both start drinking heavily. I believe this is why I think and write at a quarter of the speed I used to which was close to half speed. Fo…

The Consquences of Living Life the Wrong Way

On my way home this morning I feel enriched by the beautiful colours and sounds. The dancing chilly breeze, chirping birds, and rustling leaves join me on my dawn stroll. Shades and tones which reflect autumn cast their spell. The exhilarating experience invites me to slow down, relax, and reflect on the light and shade of nature.

I encounter people walking briskly with grim faces, obviously in disharmony with the natural environment, reality and reason. No time to breathe due to their rigorous lifestyle. While they may work extremely hard, have they forgotten how to live their own life? Their eyes are dulled by habit, and as a consequence everything looks bland. The essence of their lives is dictated by uniforms, words, gestures, orders, verbosity, vague promises and rewards, and rituals, which only serve to fill their minds with confusion, compliance, manipulation, stress and despair.

* A friend of mine, Quentin Bogdanovich - who has just returned from searching for wood in a fore…

I Prefer the Sound of Laughter to Tears

I've just returned from a hot, humid and crowded Paris. After breakfast each morning Cecilia and I walked the beautiful streets and squares - some loud, some flowing with serenity - and we sat down when our bodies told us it was time. Usually it was in one of the wondrous gardens: Luxembourg or the Place des Vosges.

When we were hungry we stood on the sidewalk and looked at the tables where people were eating to see if the food suited our taste and pocket. We mainly drank white wine with our meals to match our light-heartiness. This usually enriched our conversations with residents or visitors who sat near our table. The girls were young, pretty and stylish and the women were attractive, tanned and walked in a relaxed, unworried manner to parade their pretty legs. Pleasure shone on their faces as if they alone had a secret they would not share with anyone. Paris filled my heart and mind with magic. A magic only Paris can summon while you reside in its bosom.

* Two days ago I fini…

A Bikini Wax & Upstaging the Bride

This morning a neighbour, Randy Camelus, was killed while out galloping with some companions over nearby hills. As Randy was on foot police are treating his death as suspicious. Poor devil. He had a weakness for bobbing canoes, earthenware products and impersonating a tram at rush-hour. In fact, he was arrested twice for carrying too many passengers. Randy always preferred the countryside to his home; less mud, manure, cows, nettles and flies. To be honest he got on my nerves. He felt the need to upstage people wherever and whenever possible. Once he pretended to be a hard boiled egg and turned up in my lunchbox. At his niece's wedding - held in the middle of a desert - he arrived as a camel wearing a straw hat. Most guests agreed he outshone the bride.

I remember Randy had trouble with his wisdom teeth. He had seven: three on top, two on the bottom, and one that worked and lived in Germany and never sent money home. However, it was as a salesperson that Randy excelled. Besides s…

Me, Me, Me, You and Me & No One Can Stop Time

My wife is a mistress of her career and radiates confidence, intelligence, energy, optimism, strength, tenderness, responsibility, and an uncanny ability to hold a 'high C' while eating Beef Wellington in her bare feet. Sometimes she makes me feel I peaked too early in life, that I should eat my dinner in silence and go to my room. I'm still waiting for the heavy mist obscuring my vision to head west. I have major eye floaters in both eyes which makes it difficult to drive on unfamiliar roads at night. Of course, it may be due to the fact I don't own a a motor vehicle.

I tend not to last long in traditional jobs. For a while I was employed as the dull silhouette of a banker. The worthless scoundrel took pleasure in making me stand outside on cold flooded pavements while he wined and dined for hours - at public expense - with fellow dead heads. It's a shame he's no longer with us; if only to witness the court proceedings. His funeral service was painful for al…

The Origin of My First Name & Ronald Coleman

I'm sitting in a chair thinking of my name, how it came about, and why well-manicured fingertips usually belong to people who wear velvet knee breeches while taking a bath. I'm studying a photograph of my mother laughing. She is sitting in an armchair in the back garden; I am resting on her lap. She is shading her eyes from the sun with her right hand, and looking straight into the camera.

My mother is cheerful and so am I. The armchair? Impossible to tell. I remember asking my mother the origin of my first name. She told me I was named after the English actor,Ronald Coleman. Naturally, he was indecently handsome (my mother preferred him with a mustache), well-mannered, impeccably groomed and statuesque. He took care to preserve his looks, of course, and it worked its charm on my mother. He often played an autumnal, amused romantic.

My distress was compounded by my mother's insistence that he possessed a beautiful speaking voice. By contrast, my own voice had yet to take…

'The Godfather - The Musical' & Polpette Alla Casalinga

The sound of rain beating down on my car roof used to drive me nuts. In a moment of frenzy I removed the roof with a metal cutter and replaced it with thatch. On the upside it makes the car interior cool, rainproof, and muffles the sound of rain. On the downside when the thatch is dry, it is flammable. On a few occasions I've driven to work with the car roof on fire. Once, on arrival at the office, I went straight to a meeting with my hat on fire. In a moment of panic I threw the burning hat at a colleague and his nose hair caught fire.

The episode wouldn't have been so catastrophic if the fire hadn't spread quickly to his beard and virgin wool underwear (Who knows what people wear to work underneath their clothes? For a while I wore a black PVC gothic corset with black satin trimming, purely for medical reasons, of course - an out-growing toenail.) My colleague worked part-time as a Forest Fire Lookout at the local national park. It didn't help matters that he ran s…

The Beginning of Survival

Last night, while driving home from work, I spoke on the phone to my girlfriend. 'Tell J.M. and Eavan we can make it over to their house on Friday night. It will be good to see them again. I should be home in about half an hour.' Following the short call I signaled before changing lanes then turned off the signal.

A green station wagon had been tailgating me for the last few minutes. I yielded to the right to let the vehicle past. The driver continued to tailgate and started to honk their horn. The antagonistic behaviour began to irritate. I was conscious how straightforward confrontations can lead to violent behaviour. I stayed calm and rational. I didn't want hassle.

A violent and loud thud suddenly projected my existence into illusory slow motion. For a split second I stared into the enraged gaze of my aggressor who pulled level with my car.  Haunting… crazed… the hothead tryed to force me off the road. Both vehicles became intertwined in a power struggle.

I began sc…

A Thousand Pitfalls a Day

Today I received an 'old-fashioned' letter which I read several times at the Café Rousseau. The village is immaterial: the letter isn't. The message is beautiful and haunting. A letter accords a sense of the individual which an email, a text, a phone call, or a face to face meeting can ever hope to express. Tonight I shall sleep with the letter beneath my pillow as the moon lights up the rooftops in the village, and lazily watch my chest gently rise and fall as tranquility fills the room. 

I feel stronger than I did yesterday, and, indeed, the day before. Sometimes, thinking is worst than physical pain. I'm thankful, however, that bleak thoughts can be sweetened by satin words from a fresh-faced, beautiful - not necessarily, attractive - young woman. What do I fear? Perhaps drowning in my own thoughts, when frightening memories wash back and forth, and overwhelm my strength and spirit.

I recall watching a cow giving birth. And how the mother tenderly licked her calf.…

Everything's Coming Up Roses

Today my wife is infused with imagination, inspiration and a deep commitment to uncover why we've drifted apart. She gazes at me like a large-eyed, watchful donkey. After spiting on our wedding picture album she points a thick streaky sausage at me. Aided by her toothless mouth and undersized black patent pro-wrestling boots, she groans, 'You once seemed young. Now you're a bloody withered tree. You no longer live in or by time … Just books, and more bloody books!'

Differences divide her reality from mine. What's my wife looking at? The ghost of a man once celebrated for searching for "one great love" - the ideal woman? Maybe she observes an old beggar-man; half-crazed with a maze of half-healed scars on his swollen nose. Why do I bother staring back, it only makes a fuss?

Words only invoke memories of jealousy, hurt, a wrong turn in the road taken, innumerable ghosts. What she likes I detest, and vice-versa. Silly little things that grow into stupid b…

What did Vincent van Gogh eat for Breakfast?

The image one acquires of a genius is dependent on the selection. Whether the individual is a gifted painter, poet, philosopher, musician, inventor, or scientist, is, in fact, immaterial. Genius remains a matter of opinion and can't be measured. The genius, by accident of birth, possesses the special gift of originality, heightened perception and intuition, and embraces individualism in spite of (or because of) ridicule from contemporaries, in pursuit of their own vision and goal.

There remains a potent romantic image of the genius – probably, from Victorian times – as someone disturbed, on the verge of mental collapse, unable to keep their body and soul together. This is not the case with most geniuses. Jonathan Swift, David Hume, and Galileo Galilei, come to mind. There are others, of course.

The image of the artist Vincent van Gogh is a case in point. We know Van Gogh was a great artist: his works exist to to prove it. However, what is authentically known of Van Gogh's th…

Rebekah Kerrigan interviewed in the Neonatal Unit, Ulster Hospital on 13 June 2010 - 'First Hours on Mother Earth'

I'm using Ronnie's blog to explain some things before people start talking about me and I won't be able to get a word in edgewise.

My name isRebekah. I was born by caesarian today, 13 June 2010. I'm only five hours old. I hope you like the photograph. It's not my best side and the nappy nearly touches my nose. Smaller sizes, please! My first 'tantrum' and it feels good.

Anyhow, my dad, Ricky, is talking to a young nurse dressed in water blue scrubs. Not my dad, the nurse, silly! Such a beautiful colour. I shall always remember it. In fact, it may become my favourite colour. Ricky looks pale, tired and anxious. I can tell he is kind and clever. Believe me, I can see him. He smiles and waves at me. I'm snug in my little incubator in the neonatal unit.

There's another baby in the unit, too. I'm quite small: four pounds, four ounces. I'm surrounded by monitors and a tube carries milk to my stomach. My mum, Lindsay, is in a side ward recoverin…

Extraordinary Scenes in the Attic

This afternoon, on the stroke of two, I heard something resembling a Pistol Shrimp firing a Schwerer Gustav gun. I slowly climbed the stairs towards the source of the sound and opened the small, dusty trapdoor of the attic. An icy chill immediately infected my body. I'd tell you about my state of mind, but you might laugh, choke on a watermelon sorbet, hit me with a hefty lawsuit, or - heaven forbid - a pair of brown, thin Wale Cord trousers.

My breath began steaming in front of me then moved to the rear. I pushed my glasses back on my nose. My body parts and accessories were deserting me. I called out through the semi-darkness. No one replied. The smell of damp reignited an instinctive fear I'd almost forgotten.

Aided by the flickering, faint light from a bulb hanging from a long wire I glanced around the attic like an intruder. It was full of trunks, clothes, faded paintings, a three-poster bed, Howard Hughes, a collection of jungle clearings, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress W…

I Love the Smell of Manure in the Morning

My new short story runs the gamut from light comedy to stark tragedy. It's about a lady's eyebrows who 'fall in love' with a gentleman's mustache. Then tragedy strikes. The eyebrows announce their engagement to a nose hair. This drives the mustache 'nuts' and starts drinking heavily. In a drunken stupor the mustache sends an ambulance, a fire engine, a police car, an electric chair, a hearse, a rickshaw, a refrigerator on stilts and a dancing hedgehog to the home of the eyebrows. 

The plot acknowledges that the lady's eyebrows have a need for excitement, hence the sirens, emergency vehicles, dancing animals and men in uniform running in all directions, including sideways. The mustache then kidnaps the eyebrows. They drive off into the sunset in a car blazoned with the sign, 'Hair Today, Hair Tomorrow, and for the Foreseeable Future.'

In their haste to get away the car narrowly misses an elderly lady performing handstands on the sidewalk. The …

A Life in the Day of a Private Investigator

The home of Esther Christian. Enter George Fox dressed as GrouchoMarx.
Christian: Thank you for coming at short notice.

(Fox circles the room examining the furniture and ornamintations.)

Christian: (gesturing) Please take a seat.

Fox: I knew something was up the moment my phone rang.

Christian: Why?

Fox:  I haven't got one.

(Fox sits down.)

Christian: You had no trouble finding my home?

Fox: I live right next door. (Rolls his eyes.)

Christian: But I've never seen you before.

Fox: I wear a different disguise each day. My wife and children have never seen my real face. Which is a blessing in disguise. I have a passing resemblance to Tolstoy on a good day.

Christian: What's that mark on your hand?

Fox: A black eye. I found it in your driveway. I nearly tripped over it. (Pause) It may be valuable evidence, just evidence, or unjust evidence. In my line of work things are not always cut and dried. Sometimes they are dried then cut. Why only yesterday ...

Christian: (sobbing) ..…

Dionysus and the Virtual World

Today I called on my friend, Dionysus Polygamsus. He greeted me wearing discoloured, stain-ridden pajamas, and an Emily Dickinson hairstyle. It was late afternoon. The poor man was on his knees. He reeked of self-destructiveness. His shabby appearance numbed my senses.
'I hope you've brought water with you,' he gasped.

As I entered the house I found it hard to adjust to the darkness. His five wives, and twenty-six children, each kissed me on the cheek. I grieved for each one of them. I walked to the centre of the living room which was empty of furniture. Its strange vacancy matched the lifeless faces gazing at me. The house and inhabitants had lost shape. The walls trembled, and the air was numb with fear. What was Dionysus doing with his life? Each wife and child looked at me with suspicion through a veiled light. 

Suddenly, Dionysus jumped up, and clutched at me with clammy hands. 'Hold me,' he cried. 'I haven't slept for weeks! Please, hold me!'…

A Beautiful Metamorphosis

Today I started a new job as a hare at the local greyhound racing track. The funny thing is the dogs think I'm a fake. I always yearned for a low-status job; an inverted form of snobbery, I guess. My father worked for a short while as a bureau drawer - the constant opening and closing give him severe dizzy spells. Even now he faints at the sight of a silk dress.

I recall that my grandfather once worked as a snowstorm in Colorado but couldn't stand wearing icicles on his chin. One cold, windy day - without warning - he was hit by a snowplough, and ended up with his hair parted in the middle. After that he became a widow, and never ventured further than the local grocery store without a loaded rifle.
My present wife, Mona, passed away two days – no, two hours – ago. Doesn't time sometimes pass slow? Perhaps, it's just my state of mind. Our relationship had become tiresome and dull. At breakfast she complained of a high temperature and that her shoes had left for wor…

The Deceit of Labelling: Bigotry and Prejudice

It is a sad fact that bigotry and prejudice appears to be the norm, rather than the exception, in an increasingly complex world. Most people seem satisfied to offer, or seek, simple-minded explanations to complicated matters affecting different peoples around the world who have their own grievances, views and aspirations. There will always be extremists and radicals who seek to subvert peace efforts and continue to perpetuate hatred and distrust. It is part of the nature of humankind. 

Many Christians, Muslims, Jews, and other believers in the supernatural, may know what they believe, but not why. Some accept creed without scrutiny which may have been inherited, rather than arrived at, and consequently are unable to articulate the foundation of their faith in the face of open minded discussion and critique.

Agreement on the meaning of the term religion is a Herculean task: the answer dependent on who one asks. The theologian, secularist, sociologist, psychologist, cosmologis…

Attention Seekers & The Struggle for Silence

My next door neighbour, J.D. Cornfield, works as a shoulder blade sharpener. I can't remember when he painted his Garapa garden decking green and blue to mirror the sea. I know it made me nervous, tense, and drink sour milk. The man is a blatant attention seeker. Each morning, at sun rise, he can be found sitting in a lifeboat in his garden, its bow directed towards my kitchen. He wears an orange life jacket, and vigorously rows while shouting or blowing a whistle.

His facial expression is usually one of fatigue and anguish. Sometimes he sees me and throws fish into my garden. Then wails in a voice, stern and provocative: 'This sea is poisoning my life!' 'You think you're a big-shot!' 'Hey, you in the big house! Big-shot! Watch out for sharks, and women who smile and take you for a sucker!'

I watch this little man navigate imaginary waves and seas, and think I'm experiencing a film in slow motion. Sometimes it is hard to tell whether someone is la…