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Monday, December 23, 2013

Sorrowful day, Advent--

Laura Frankstones, study of Velazquez,
"The Immaculate Conception"
We human beings, given the lovely, strange gift of consciousness, can attempt to understand one another, can rejoice in the great variety and various hopes in the world. We can attempt to understand another's point of view, and the reasons why his or her opinions and feelings are not ours and make a kind of sense--and then we can choose to have not scorn but respect. We can choose to be more noticing, more helpful, less judging. Mostly, it often seems, we don't choose these ways.

I've given my life away to making stories and poems that often try to "enter in" to another's world. In a worldly sense, such a path is often considered a useless calling, but I feel strongly that it is useful in the realms of imagination and spirit that undergird our actions. So it's not surprising that I believe that the imaginative work of understanding others is essential and could help to transform our world--the fallen world--for the better. Perhaps my choices say that I am not, in the end, a particularly worldly person.

Down the street, a shooter is holed up in the old Smalley's Theatre, and the state police have encamped around him . . . The village of Cooperstown is on lockdown. Lots of tiny details about the tall man and two possible accomplices are filtering out to us, hunkered close by. Here and there, like pinpricks of light, people are praying that all concerned survive the darkness of the day.

Love one another. Peace on earth, good will to men.


  1. Gosh, that's terrible. Stay inside, stay safe.

  2. Very sad and scary, dear Marly. Please do stay safe.

  3. Scott,

    Several reports of safe capture... One is bombarded with information and rumors in these days of over-connectedness, but I hope it's true.

    The lockdown is still in place, but I expect we may be out and about soon if it is true, although there is talk of two accomplices.

    * * *

    Thanks to all for comments / information / rumors via facebook and email and so on...

  4. Laura, thank you--and for letting me pilfer your lovely sketch...

    It seems the man with the gun may have only threatened the owner with his gun, and that the shop owner then fired the shots... Not sure, of course!

    And according to current news, he was not captured, though I heard repeatedly that he was via other media.

  5. Sadness and danger now surround us too often. I do not understand why the times have changed into something so often so terrifyingly different. Perhaps I am just being a melancholy curmudgeon who believes communities in the past were safer and happier. That is probably a false memory and belief In any event, be well and safe.

  6. Many things seem different to me, starting with the lack of respect and love for other people. I think there were things we didn't know in the past, but we certainly didn't feel the same sort of dangers--nor the hatred that others express so freely on the internet. A lack of courtesy rules the day. Words are powerful and lead to more words, more actions.

  7. How awful for you and your neighbours. Certainly in this age of the internet, news and rumours fly around fast and often inaccurate. Somehow I don't think anything has changed in the history of man which always makes me feel very sad. There is often anger between men. There has always been inequality between the rich and the poor which is the source of much anger and violence for those poor, and the rich who fear them. And the gun culture... sigh.

  8. The fallen world! Yes, it is very sad. The whole past century is disheartening, even though it's said that we are more peaceful in statistical terms than earlier times. It's hard to believe.

    A lot of people in the U.S. are government-shy, and don't like the idea of an unarmed citizenry because it means a citizenry that can't fight back against tyranny. Other Americans loathe guns of all kinds and want to dump them all in the sea. Hunters have guns that they use on a regular basis and don't want to give up any of them. Right there are three big groups who have different motivations and concerns.

    The hunters get mad because they think legislators pass laws without knowing anything about guns or how to craft a good law on the subject. The ones who fear tyranny don't want registration reform because it's a government list that could be used for wrong purposes, as happened in Germany under Hitler, for example. The ones who loathe guns don't like hunters and aren't worried about tyranny...


  9. Perhaps Yeats had it right:

    In any case, to return to something better for the season, have a blessed Christmas.

  10. Oh, lines from "The Second Coming" often run through my head, especially on a day when my facebook acquaintances and friends come to loggerheads in their opinions--the riot of varying opinions coming together on one page feels overwhelming sometimes. Lately I've thought about quitting facebook, though I'm fond of many there, and of course I'm supposed to have "social media presence" as a writer.

  11. Ah, Facebook. It has become a paradoxical place: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Perhaps the lack of face-to-face conversation (in the forms of Facebook, Twitter, et al), will be our cultural undoing. As for Facebook and similar venues, Yeats would have been both amused and horrified. So am I. So, because I can, I avoid it. I think I do not miss anything by doing so. However, I understand your dilemma. Facebook becomes marketing, doesn't it?

  12. Yes, and good things have come out of being on facebook and twitter...

    And yet...

    Perhaps I will just pull back a bit.

    I do find it horrifying that people feel they can say anything on the internet--and that they do. Comment boxes under articles can be especially fierce and unloving. The semi-anonymous or anonymous comments are often scalding.

    And I fear that once people let loose in such ways, it becomes easier and easier to do so. And that such an ill freedom and continuous discourtesy can even lead to bad actions as well.

  13. The problem of unrestrained, inappropriate candor also finds its way into Blogger. My limited experience with Blogger has already made me wary.

    The comments sections of news network websites are particularly rabid and dangerous.

    Twitter is also a questionable venue. I followed some folks for a while on Twitter. Then I began to suspect that too many people were not taking appropriate medications. I know that sounds flippant. But I think there is truth in that observation. In any case, I have abandoned Twitter. It is too weird for me.

  14. Hah! Hope I haven't been one with too much candor!

    Yes, agree about the news sites. Horrid!

    With twitter, I am willing to return a follow for most people but use the List function to create a sub-list. That's very protective. Twitter has been good to me. Certain reviews and writing commissions started with Twitter, and I have met some wonderful people there. At the same time, I'd probably want to drop out if I simply read the feed. I find the rabid, over-the-top self-promotion annoying.

  15. You? Too much candor? Not at all. You've been a delightful, helpful Blogger acquaintance. I have very much appreciated your comments and support.

    And shall I assume today's terrors in your community were resolved without harm to anyone?

  16. Unfortunately we don't have any resolution--so there's quite a bit of lockdown remaining. My youngest son's sports practices were cancelled till Friday, and last I heard the school and banks were locked down still, though shops were opening up again.

    We had a small army of police cars and fire trucks, all to no avail somehow... All the rumors of a safe capture turned out to be false, and we are hoping that he's not in the village and will be pulled over safely while returning to Florida.

  17. I am sorry to hear about such disturbing goings on, and hope they are now resolved with as little harmful fall out as possible under the circumstances.

    I don't do fb but find even drifting into the comments sections of apparently innocuous videos on youtube or, as someone said, comments on quite run-of-the-mill articles in on-line mainstream newspapers can leave me feeling boggled and queasy at the levels of bile and general toxicity.

    Sorry I didn't comment on this more recent post yesterday, I rather ran out of steam then the internet went down ad has only just returned. Yes, there's a dachsund in On Beauty called Murdoch!

  18. Hi Lucy--

    He was caught in Richmond at a bus station... And it turned out to be a rather personal matter. He had stolen money from the shopkeeper, who filed a report. So naturally he drove

    Oh, Murdoch! Love that--look forward to the dachsund.

    Yes, I definitely need to avoid reading comments on newspapers. It's painful, the level of hate streaming around the world. "Love one another" seems a failed call, then. But still a grand challenge.

  19. Oops--part missing:

    "naturally he drove up with a gun to have a discussion!"


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.