shiny things in messy little piles

Category: miscellany (Page 1 of 15)

The Thing about Hallmark

Why is every­body so down on Hall­mark? Aren’t we inar­tic­u­late enough with­out deny­ing us the chance to have some­one help us to speak? Haven’t we all had that moment when we don’t have any words of our own. When the words have been blast­ed right out of us? When all we are left with is a heav­ing heav­i­ness in our guts? No more than an emp­ty space — black, boil­ing in on itself — that can­not sig­ni­fy some accept­able mean­ing?  When there is an absolute require­ment — the need to speak, but no words.

That time when all you have to say is: This thing that has hap­pened — it has torn a hole in my heart and tak­en the words right out of me. I want to show you the blood rush­ing out to pool at my feet. To speak in the red sticky cop­pery taste of sor­row, to give you the torn out piece of my heart and say “eat this — it is my heart’s ache for you.” But no one wants to see the gun-shot hole in your chest. You can­not point to a pool of blood and say “this is for you.” But, you can always send a Hall­mark with its care­ful­ly deco­rous words that say “I have a hole in my heart for you.” with­out mak­ing an unseem­ly dis­play of arte­r­i­al blood.

The thing about Hall­mark is that the reply, the acknowl­edg­ment of the oth­er’s sym­pa­thy, of the wound that they have tak­en in response to your own heart-ache, can be as care­ful­ly rit­u­al­ized as the expres­sion. With Hall­mark you do not have to say “I see the hole in your heart but I can not answer it — the hole in my heart is too big and bleed­ing to quick­ly and it threat­ens to over­come me. And I can­not be held account­able for your sym­pa­thy.” You can sim­ply let Hall­mark say “Thank you for think­ing of me.”

Hall­mark. Because some­times the best you can do is to let some­one else help you say “I have some feel­ings about this. I thought you should know.”


It’s always night when I arrive.
The lit­tle Embraer 145 lands and shud­ders to a heav­i­ly braked stop at the end of the run­way. Then turns and taxis back toward the ter­mi­nal. Where an air-stair is wheeled up to the side of the plane and we, the pas­sen­gers, descend.
The air is warm and damp, and smells of wood smoke, jet fuel, silt, and drains.
At the bot­tom of the stairs I pick up the car­ry on lug­gage that nev­er fits in the over­head bins. Then pull my click­ing, wheeled bags across the tar­mac and onto the con­crete side­walk under a canopy beside a patch of coarse, unnat­u­ral­ly green grass.
The Arrival Hall is a flu­o­res­cent lit, eight-foot wide cor­ri­dor full of grin­gos attempt­ing to puz­zle out the immi­gra­tion form with its dense, cryp­tic, oh so for­eign instructions.
I am anoint­ed as “one who knows” not for my awful Span­ish, but because of my abil­i­ty to prop­er­ly fill out this form — infor­ma­tion repeat­ed twice. Once in ample spaces at the top of the form. And then again at the bot­tom in tiny spaces bare­ly big enough for your ini­tials let alone your Appeli­dos and Nom­bres. Con­tin­ue reading

Unintentional Poetry

Every now and again I redis­cov­er some long for­got­ten cor­ner of my vasty web empire and have to clean out an over­grown com­ments mod­er­a­tion queue. For a while there was a rash of spam com­ments made up of seem­ing­ly ran­dom bits of strung togeth­er prose. They stopped appear­ing a cou­ple years ago. But I recent­ly found a trove of them on a pho­to­blog I’d moth­balled. Here­with I present. 


man­i­fes­ta­tion unsung natur­ism funer­ary unknown rum gore infield vizier supernatural …

Jack­ets with still exter­nals can be jad­ed for all sea­sons, on angry days and on chill­ing days with lay­ers under­neath to require…

knowl­edge of is among the more attrac­tive heat­ing ele­ments anger class­es in illi­nois as well as know about for­get about in…

All roads lead to Rome.

Every Jack will find his Jill.

Why Morning Linkage Died and What’s Next for ShinyMagpie

Short ver­sion.  A switch from cura­tion to creation.

Slight­ly longer ver­sion. Morn­ing Link­age was  path to find­ing my way back into think­ing about sto­ry telling. It is now time to start telling sto­ries of my own again.

There’s an even longer ver­sion but that should prob­a­bly stay between me, my ther­a­pist, and the hap­py band of weirdlings on the WW list.

What will you see here next? I’m still work­ing on that. I hope it’s about sto­ries and how they get built. Words, pic­tures, sounds, places, dirt, and stars.



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