Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can't tell fast enough, the ears that aren't big enough, the eyes that can't take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.
-- Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close --

Have a great Tuesday!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free, and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don't want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don't want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.
-- Jeanette Winterson --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

Sometimes you just like a certain picture.
I really like this one.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Power of Place

I have always had some sort of innate feeling that I needed to be geographically connected to the place in which I reside.
But what does the word "connected" mean, as used in that sentence? That is something I would like to talk about tonight.
If you were sitting here having a beverage with me, I would ask, "Do you feel a connection with the place wherein you currently live?"
If you answered with a "No" I might go on to ask if you had previously experienced it, and are now an alien in search of home.
"Home" -- that is also a word filled with connotations. Inferences. Meanings.
But for now let's focus on this word connection.
What is it? What does it mean? How do we find it, if we don't have it?
Some people like to move around -- they may even anticipate relocation. As though they are adding tick-marks on a wall -- the way our parents measured our height when we were kids. In the past ten years I have lived here and here and here --- sticking pins onto a map of the world.
This may appeal to some people, well and good.
It does not appeal to me.
I want, and have always had a sense of wanting, to belong somewhere in a geographical sense. And belonging seems to include [for me] remaining….. putting down roots… setting up permanence.
Other people have never agonized over such a thing, choosing to remain in the very place in which they were raised as children. Hometown folks. They will be buried not too far from where they were born.
Again, this has not worked for me.
I have moved…. I have lived many places. I was born and raised on the prairies of Canada… a place so flat and straight that highway designers create deliberate curves so drivers do not fall asleep on their way to Winnipeg. When flying over the Canadian prairies, I imagine it as God's pool table…. flat, symmetrically perfect, possible corner and side pockets in the distance, but so far off that you have to be God to actually make the shot! As they say, you can watch your dog run away from home…… for three days! Near unobscured horizon.
Then I have lived in the very mountains of British Columbia. Remote. Bears may eat your garbage at night -- and raccoons definitely will. Did I feel connected there? For a while, yes, then it wore off.
Then I have lived at the ocean's edge, on an island, and nothing could be more interesting and beautiful and pure. For whatever reason, again -- I felt unconnected to the deeper parts of myself. Had to move.
I ended up here in Ottawa, Ontario…. Canada's 4th largest city at last count -- an urban setting. Not quite Montreal, and definitely not Toronto.
And from that time in the winter of 1994, I have felt a steady, and ever-increasing geographical connection. This, despite the fact that when I graduated from college in 1991, I vowed that the one place I would never live is Ontario.
Anywhere in Ontario, the idea was revolting to me.
I came here reluctantly, on a visit to a friend, and stayed!
It's been nearly 17 years, and the sense of connection has only increased.
Living in its very heart, I can walk the streets of this city, no mountains or ocean in sight, no celestial pool-table to be played -- and have a sense that every sidewalk, every city-sucking tree, is mine -- in some weird way.
Or, conversely, that I was meant to belong to them.
No explanation for it. I have waited for one to come. But no explanation arrives, only the feeling itself lingers and grows.
Just wondering if you can attest to anything similar in your journey.
We live in a global village. There is no reason that people cannot end up living in ten different countries in one lifetime, much less ten different cities within one country.
Have you experienced the power of place?
Do you feel powerfully connected to where you have ended up?


Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Every sentence has a truth waiting at the end of it and the writer learns how to know it when he finally gets there. On one level this truth is the swing of the sentence, the beat and poise, but down deeper it's the integrity of the writer as he matches with the language. I've always seen myself in sentences. I begin to recognize myself, word by word, as I work through a sentence. The language of my books has shaped me as a man. There's a moral force in a sentence when it comes out right. It speaks the writer's will to live.
-- Don DeLillo, Mao II --

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bloggage of the Arteries

Just as a side-note to my former blog -- [two in one night Cipriano? That's downright promiscuous!] -- that last one was #2,600 in the Bookpuddle© pantheon of [non] award-winning bloggage.
So that makes this one #2,601.
Wow. If I just keep gratuitously blogging about nothing, I can break 3,000 postings by August! It's all about number of episodes! Know what I mean? Like... Seinfeld!
So, this current blog is about what I am going to do tomorrow morning.
I'm going to get up early, make myself an artery-clogging breakfast -- and take the back roads out out to Kingston, Ontario [home of The Tragically Hip] and meet my best friend there and pick up a new TV that is even now sitting all quiet and turned off in a COSTCO store.
It will have the honor of being the first TV I have ever actually bought from an actual store in my actual [earthly] life. All others have been given to me, one way or the other!
I know only one thing about this new piece of furniture --> compared to all the others, it's going to be Texas-size!


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Apocalypse [Not] Now!

Well, what better day than today to write of apocalyptic literature?
<-- I mean seriously, wasn't The Rapture© supposed to happen?
I must admit, at a certain point today I did feel a certain tug upwards, but then realized it was just flatulence.
Of all the doctrines that religious fanatics come up with, these End-of-the-World schemes seem to me to be the most doomed to fail -- you would think that they'd give up -- but no.
Mark my words, even this recent tardiness of Jesus will be again explained away, and summarily re-scheduled!
By coincidence [or prophetic predetermination, I am not sure] I'm in the midst of a sort of dystopian tome -- Don DeLillo's 1985 novel, White Noise.
In this book it's not the entire world that is threatened with extinction, but rather a localized catastrophe that affects a midwestern American academic town. A chemical spill forces the evacuation of residents as the noxious toxic cloud chases everyone from their homes. The first-person narrative focuses on Jack Gladney [a Hitler professor at the town's university] and his blended family.
I'm only halfway through the book [have not been reading much lately] but I already conclude that it is a wonderful story. In fact, I can't wait to quit typing this so I can get back to the adventures of the Gladneys.
I have always enjoyed these sort of books --> [CLICK / CLICK / CLICK] that deal with catastrophe or end-of-the-world scenarios. And reading this one already reminds me of why I consider Don DeLillo to be one of the best authors living and writing today!

As for the real life events [not] unfolding today?
Well, to give oneself over to such fancy is to truly involve yourself with something stranger than any fiction. It's hard to feel sorry for those disillusioned believers left behind today. Which, at last count includes……….. ALL OF THEM!


Friday, May 20, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

Before I knowed it, I was sayin' out loud, "The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. Some things folks do is nice, and some ain't so nice. And that's all any man's got a right to say."
-- John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

In the world I notice persons are nearly always stressed and have no time...I don't know how persons with jobs do the jobs and all the living as well...I guess the time gets spread very thin like butter all over the world, the roads and houses and playgrounds and stores, so there's only a little smear of time on each place, then everyone has to hurry on to the next bit.
-- Emma Donoghue, Room --

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

The thought arrested her and she pulled away from him just to stand there a moment and take in the strangeness of it all. Music drifted down to her then, an odd tinkling sort of music with a rippling rhythmic undercurrent that seemed to tug the melody in another direction altogether, into the depths of a deep churning sea, but beautiful for all that, and so perfect and unexpected. She felt languid and free--all eyes were on her, every man turning to stare--and it came to her that she loved this place, this moment, these people. She could stay here forever, right here, in the gentle sway of the Japanese night.
-- T.C. Boyle, The Women --

Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Half a Haircut

I don't know what is wrong with me lately. The only thing I haven't been "putting off" is procrastination itself!
Case in point, I've known for a while that I desperately need a haircut, and just yesterday I drove directly past my usual hair place. Brigitte has been cutting my hair for years, I don't even need to say anything to her, I just sit down and she starts snipping away.
But today I was walking past a barber shop and [inexplicably] I went in there. The girl told me that haircuts are $25, which is way more than Brigitte charges.
Yet, into the chair I went. The random hairstylist could not have been over the age of 20. I informed her that I did not want a really drastic haircut, and no sooner had I said this than she hacked off quite a substantial slab of my rug.
"Whoa, whoa, WHOA!" I ejaculated. [<-- I've been reading some Jane Austen lately.]
So, after some further instruction, she proceeded to err in the opposite extreme of things. Clearly, this was not a match made in heaven.
Where's Brigitte when I need her?
[Probably at the place where she works?]
The girl was all "Is this good enough?" but she was hardly cutting anything at all now. I was totally calm and everything but at a certain point [she had really only just begun] I said to her, "Umm, I know this is weird, but can we just stop? Seriously, I will pay you if you just stop right now and let me go."
She, a little less calmly said "Sure, no problem" as she whipped the tarp off of me.
She only charged $15 for my half a haircut, which is about what Brigitte charges for going all the way with me.
Oh well. Lesson learned. In the meantime, I look like a semi-plucked chicken.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set. If a thing happens on television, we have every right to find it fascinating, whatever it is.
-- Don DeLillo, White Noise --

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

If you can approach the world's complexities, both its glories and its horrors, with an attitude of humble curiosity, acknowledging that however deeply you have seen, you have only scratched the surface, you will find worlds within worlds, beauties you could not heretofore imagine, and your own mundane preoccupations will shrink to proper size, not all that important in the greater scheme of things.
-- Daniel Dennett, Breaking The Spell --

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not 'true' because we're hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story.
Fiction, because it is not about someone who lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.

-- Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game / Ender's Saga #1 --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Splash du Jour: Monday

Welcome To Her World

Every astronaut should quiver.
Entering a spaceship, you have every right to ask:

- Will I need an alternate oxygen source?
- When will I be back?
- Are the locals reasonable?
- Have others made this voyage and lived?
-………how many?

- The raised eyebrow. What does it mean?

Every astronaut should quiver.
Entering a spaceship, you have every right to ask.

-- © Ciprianowords, Inc. 2011 --

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Engagement

I spent part of yesterday and today with a novel.
The Engagement by Georges Simenon.
It was rather a different sort of read, for me. I guess the genre could be a sort of detective thriller… toned down on the "thriller" part.
Heavy on the detecting.
While reading it I kept reminding myself that it was first published in 1933. As John Gray says in the Afterword, it's "one of Simenon's most compelling psychological novels, and like others he wrote in this genre it contains very little psychology." I think that what he [partially] means is that characters are brought into action before we know anything about them -- before we have any anticipations as to how they should or should not act.
The story sweeps along fine, but I prefer knowing more about the inner workings and motivations of characters than I was allowed here.
The Engagement is about a reclusive nobody-type guy that just happens to live too close to a crime scene. A prostitute is found murdered nearby, and Mr. Hire seems the perfect suspect. His entire apartment building is 100% convinced of his guilt, and detectives are trailing his every movement. Not the most admirable of characters, by day Hire operates a mail-order scam, and by night he spies on his voluptuous neighbour as the window where she nightly undresses fortuitously faces his own.
Here's the kicker --> she likes it! She not only encourages his voyeurism, but befriends him to the point of revealing to him the identity of the prostitute's murderer.
Hire devises a scheme to run off with the girl. Afterward they'll reveal what they know, and live out their exiled life in love and innocence.
His plan, doomed to fail, miserably does.
I found the ending of the story to be quite crushingly poignant, and well worth the reading of a somewhat lackluster beginning.
The strength of The Engagement is in its portrayal of mob mentality. That is a bit too all-encompassing of a statement perhaps, but many times I thought of what I learned in Eric Hoffer's classic work The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.
The Engagement is a great fictional representation of the idea that a man may be entirely blameless, and yet pay the ultimate price for the assumption of guilt that is forced upon him by others.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Splash du Jour: Friday

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
— Steve Jobs --

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Splash du Jour: Thursday

The only obsession everyone wants: 'love.' People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you're whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You're whole, and then you're cracked open.

-- Philip Roth, The Dying Animal --

Have a great Thursday!


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Splash du Jour: Wednesday

Story has a mind of its own and tells things sometimes it might have preferred us not to know. Stories operate like dreams; both veil what is to be uncovered, neither is capable of the coverup.
— Lore Segal, Our Dream of the Good God --

Have a great Wednesday!


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.
-- John Steinbeck, East of Eden --

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Collecting My Soul

The past few weeks of my life have been tumultuous in many ways -- ways that I can't really go into here, on my blog. And a lot of times I feel down -- real down.
But recently I made one of the best purchases I have made in a long while -- I got a new iPod Touch. The thing is dynamite.
Welcome to the 21st Century Cipriano!
And my current work environment allows me to listen to as much music as humanly possible in the 8 or 9 hours day that I am there.
The only downside is that I think I am going deaf.
But I must say one thing about a band that has especially been lifting me out of the doldrums on a daily basis. I cannot get enough of them.
Collective Soul.
I have all of their albums on my iPod and I just keep listening to them exclusively -- they are for sure my favourite music right now. Listen to them and then just try and be depressed. It's almost impossible.

Collective Soul "Welcome All Again" from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

Splash du Jour: Monday

The Shape I Gave You

Water looks like what it’s in.
Else it’s flat, and spread too thin.
The shape of you is much the same.
It needs a cup, a house, a frame.

It wasn’t long before I knew
The very curve and slope of you
Belonged in me, to never part
My ever loving, beating heart.

© Ciprianowords, Inc. 2008

Have a great Monday!

Today's the day! Do the right thing!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Beard Update

Today I was walking around downtown and passed by a barber pole.
Those all-American red, white and blue revolving deals.
I didn't even know they still had those things anywhere.
I badly needed a haircut, but an even more pressing issue was my facial foliage.
It's been about three weeks or so of untended [and unintended] growth, and, in all seriousness, it was getting a bit unruly.
When I sent a photo to my best friend, he replied "You look like a homeless person."
I've heard similar comments from others -- one co-worker said I looked like a grizzly bear. Admittedly, other people have had more favorable things to say about this experiment. And as for my own opinion of the matter, I was sort of liking this new habit of petting my own face. It was like having a constant puppy around.
But there I was today, walking past this barber pole.
I stopped and went inside.
A young girl approached the counter. I pointed to the Neanderthal situation on my face and asked, "Can you do something with this?"
Soon I was immobilized in a chair and she was fixing me up. She knew what to do, which is a good thing, because I didn't. [Ahhh…. sweet memories of losing my virginity just a few months ago!]
I was amazed at the amount of actual hair that was all over the place when she was done. [Again... memories, memories!] It looked like the mess after an actual haircut!
And as I walked down the street afterward listening to Collective Soul, I took the picture above. Click on it for others.
I regret that I did not take a BEFORE shot! It was grizzly indeed!