JULY 21, 2009 1:23AM

The Boogeyman Is Keepin’ a Diary

Rate: 19 Flag
Sunshine and Presents


Michael Bw(A) I’ve just decided I’m gonna be in a perpetual state of quitting OS.

Melissa Bw(A) Haha.

Michael Bw(A) Every morning I wake up, and I read the front page and I see what people are commenting on and reading and spending their time on, and I get so depressed. I just really wonder if I wanna help contribute to this or not. I mean I’m not gonna change if I stop posting here. I’m just gonna be exactly who I am. But maybe a little happier. Then another part of me says, “But what about all those great friends you’ve made? I can’t let them down.” And the pull of that brings you back. So rather than be surprised every morning, “I’m quitting today!” I’m just gonna be in a perpetual state of quitting.

Melissa Bw(A) But in a way, I think that gets at something more profound about how artists do actually have to sacrifice a little bit of themselves to share their light with the world. It’s no longer just about the artist. It’s about the people who are being affected by that art. You suffer a little bit for their sake. But you also gain something meaningful in return.

Michael Bw(A) Yes, but sometimes it’s those same people who cause you to despair. Like that line in the Creedence song, “Lodi”: “Every time, I had to play / while people sat there drunk.” This idea that you are giving as an artist but at the same time, for the people experiencing it, it’s like a given, it’s just something they accept, not anything they actually have to show appreciation for. And for the artists who aren’t doing it for money, it’s even more important that there be some kind of reward.

Melissa Bw(C) Yes, and I think that’s why we’ve been particularly blessed to find the sensitive group of readers we have at OS.

Michael Bw(C) Definitely. All of the people we’ve met through here are wonderful. They’re gifted, funny, and real.

Melissa Bw(C) Yes, I feel like, by sharing our work with this community of fellow creatives, we’re avoiding the toxic suffocation of writing in a vacuum. It makes me think of that quote by May Sarton: “The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up.”

Michael Bw(C) This is interesting. Because while I see this as true in my own art, especially music, I see that it’s true also for how I feel about people. The love and kindness I’m prevented from showing others because I don’t look like a loving and kind person does feel like a heavy burden, and it is becoming a poison.

Melissa Bw(C) Right. That quote actually led me to another quote I had forgotten by Marcel Duchamp: “All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world.”

Michael Bw(A) Sometimes, I’ll go through the listing of all the posts, and I’ll see so many people who have only a few views, no ratings, no comments, so many of them. It’s just . . . I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can’t help always noticing the sadnesses in life. It’s not that I don’t see the happinesses. And you and I are very happy together. It’s just I can’t be completely happy when I know that other people are suffering. And if I think about my brothers and sisters in Iraq and Afghanistan—both the military and the civilians who live there—I can’t be happy. And when I think of women who are being treated like a resource, a commodity, like Rolling is describing, I can’t be happy. And when I think of people who because of the way they look or the way they sound or the way they act, they’re despised, ignored, reviled. How can I be happy?

     (A) They’re the least. And I can’t be happy because they’re not allowed to be.

     (A) It must be Sunday. I’m preaching.

Melissa Bw(A) On Friday, you were ranting, and on Sunday, you preach.

Michael Bw(A) Well, is there really much difference between ranting and preaching?

Melissa Bw(A) Hahaha.

Michael Bw(A) I’m not talking about the great preachers of history, but still, I’m really not in favor of selling God. Let people find God as God wants them to. I don’t think people need the prodding and bashing over the head that some people think they need. Mind your own business. Lead a quiet life. Answer love for love. And love for hate. You win.

Melissa Bw(A) Amen.

Michael Bw (sings)

     The boogeyman is keepin’ a diary

     This was his entry for yesterday

     “I bought two ears of corn

     And two bottles of that grape juice I like so much

     Because it was on sale”

     

     The boogeyman is just like you and me

     The boogeyman has aspirations

     The boogeyman wants to write a great novel

     But he’s been turned down before

     Yes, he’s been turned down before

     

     The boogeyman’s book’s on grilling

     His favorite are the fish

     But tonight he’s gonna grill some ears of corn

     And visit a girl named Trish

     

     Trish is only five years old

     And she’s scared of only one thing

     You’re right. It’s him. The old boogeyman.

     But only because he’s vain.

     He’ll talk and talk about his book

     An hour, even two.

     And Trish must wake at strike of eight

     Oh, what is she to do?

     

     The boogeyman is keepin’ a diary

     This was his entry for today

     “Visited Trish. Happy to see me.

     We talked about the book

     And though she begged

     I had to go

     But not before I killed her.”

     

     The boogeyman is just like you and me

     The boogeyman has aspirations

     The boogeyman is writing a great novel

     And he just got accepted by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

     Yes, he just got accepted by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Melissa Bw (laughing)

(next day)

Michael Bw That term is so creepy. “The Family.” Who else used that term? Jim Jones and Charlie Manson. What did they have in common? Lots of dead people around them.

     (performing)

     “Hey! You’ll love them, World. You cess-pool swilling agents of sin.”

     “Let’s follow them out into the desert! Let’s cut off all ties with our loved ones. Let’s give him all our money and possessions! Let’s completely subvert our own will to follow a madman. What could go wrong?!”

Melissa Bw Hahaha.

Michael Bw This reminds me of Safe. That enigmatic movie.

Melissa Bw That’s a good word for it. That’s one of the few films I think we had to watch multiple times before really getting a sense of the director’s feelings toward the characters.

Michael Bw Yes. It’s very sophisticated.

Melissa Bw Exactly. It’s one of the most subtle and understated films, and yet, when we went back and watched it a second time, I realized how overpoweringly sinister the whole cult experience was. The Leader—

Michael Bw Ah, but see, that’s the thing. Never so sinister that you even wonder sometimes if the director is somewhat sympathetic. That’s what so interesting. It was that brief shot up at the Leader’s mansion, that sinister shot of that mansion on the hill. The director isn’t a part of this—he is just quietly filming it all. Letting the story itself just tell the story, without trying to be so manipulative and giving the audience enough credit to make up our own minds. Very few films let you do that. Movie-making is so manipulative.

Melissa Bw Right. That’s why it really needs to be treated by the director with that degree of respect for the audience and sensitivity to the affect of their films on the viewer. Which is why it feels like rape when the director violates that sacred trust.

Michael Bw Yes, don’t even get me started with that “human paraquat” Lars von whatshisfuck. He is a cinematic rapist. (performs) “If I get ever get my hands on him, I’m gonna make him perform sexual acts on strangers for my gratification. But that’s okay, I’m gonna play bells out at sea for him when he dies.”

Melissa Bw Haha. Yes, that was brutal. I don’t even want to link to that film because it makes me feel dirty inside.

Michael Bw No fecking way.

(later)

Michael Bw One summer afternoon, when eternity was real to you, and everything was right with the world, and you were probably about eight . . .

Melissa Bw(B) Do you remember what you were saying here? I only got that fragment, but it sounded interesting.

Michael Bw(B) Not at all.

Melissa Bw(B) Haha.

Michael Bw(B) But it did have to do with something we all experience, usually when we’re young, when we intrinsically understood eternity. Time did not exist for you.

(later)

Michael Bw Getting pissed on. It makes your light go out.

(later)

Michael Bw Those who know the language master the words. Those who know storytelling master the minds.

(later)

Michael Bw Oh! Oh! Can you ask Meryl what her favorite kind of cookie is? I just really need to know.

Melissa Bw I bet it’s oatmeal raisin. Or snickerdoodle. Maybe peanut butter chocolate chip.

Jeeves Bw Melissa, as she would fail to learn, was wrong. Meryl’s favorite cookie, although she is reluctant to admit it—even to herself—is the humble Oreo. With a nice tall glass of milk, of course.

Michael Bw Mmmm.

     I do not talk to well-known people. That is against my religion.

Melissa Bw What happens if someone we know becomes well-known?

Michael Bw Who could that happen to?

Melissa Bw I don’t know. Us? It could happen. Then we couldn’t talk to ourselves.

Michael Bw I never wanna be famous because that requires you to have to spend too much time appearing a certain way to people. It’s like, once you become larger than life, you need to become that, and the truth is no one is larger than life, and it usually ends up destroying everyone who tries. That’s why you get those depressing “rockumentaries” with the mind-numbing predictability of the rise and fall and rise from the ashes of these biographies. But at heart, you started with someone who had some kernel of something that made them special. And then, the whole thing blows up for them, so they enter this freak world. Where people are treated like no one else in the world. You’re a superstar. But the thing is, you’re that person. You’re that person who had a little spark of something. The same thing everyone has. But now you can’t handle the disappointment of people when you see that “Oh, you’re just a person” look. So you start wearing those platforms, and you start making your hair as tall as it can be, and you glitter as much as you can, and you just try to exude total confidence. But the thing is, you can only fly that close to the sun for so long. Your wings melt. Because it’s all fake. The lifts, the hair, the glitter, the confidence. And so you come sailing back to earth in the form of heavy drug addiction, heavy sex addiction, addiction of some kind. But you come crashing down nevertheless. And then of course, you’ve got your ten years later, your comeback, the happy ending to these things. I remember just finishing watching one of these “rockumentaries” once. I think it was on the lead singer for Motley Crue.

Melissa Bw Euuh, that must’ve been pathetic.

Michael Bw Well, what’s more pathetic? I think I’m more pathetic for sitting there and watching the thing.

Melissa Bw Hahaha.

Michael Bw And I just remember feeling so thoroughly depressed because the truth of the matter was there was no light in that story. No people’s lives were enriched in any meaningful way. No children were rescued from an orphanage, no mountain lions were saved from extinction. It’s just one sad tragicomedy after another. And it’s like we’re all living inside a machine, and we are the fuel.

     I’m done.

Melissa Bw Haha.

Michael Bw I’m surprised I didn’t sing something.

     I guess I’m in rant mode. Because of that fecking Lars!

     I hope someday he’s filming, and the camera tips over and the lens goes in his anus, and he has a really hard time getting it out, and it’s painful. Because that’s how I feel. I feel raped by him, and it would be nice if the same medium he used to rape us would rape him, too! If you’ve ever seen that guy who gets a microphone jammed down his throat at some wedding reception, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. I think the reason people would have trouble getting it unstuck is they would be laughing so hard. (performing) “Hey, Lars has a camera stuck in his ass. Come help get it out!”

Melissa Bw Hahaha. Help.

Michael Bw It’s just fair. It’s just life. It makes a perfect kind of black-and-white sense. And there’s a purity of it that’s undeniable. But it’s an insane purity. Like the insanity of wanting a pure master race. Or a pure ideological system.

Melissa Bw Yes, I think that’s precisely the danger of fundamentalism. That fascistic obsession over purity, completely at the expense of humanity.

(later)

Michael Bw This guy likes trucks. (performs) “I like trucks!”

Melissa Bw Does he just have a bunch of pictures of trucks?

Michael Bw Yes, old ones, new ones. . . . Wow, I never thought of this before. That there could be famous truckers. A former country western star is now a truck driver. That’s very apropros. That’s very believable. I wonder if he ever sang about being a truck driver. I wonder if he likes being one as much as he liked singing about it.

Melissa Bw“He does trucker poems.”

Michael Bw That’s right. Today, I am the serpent, and all I have is poison.

     (performing) “That’s a sweet right rig there, man. Got the extra breathing unit.” . . . I definitely do not make fun of people like this, though. They give me faith in humanity.

Melissa Bw Yes. Once again, the least.

Michael Bw I find self-indulgently happy people really annoying. I’m not talking about people who are happy because their life is turned around. I mean people who are happy because they don’t think about the bad things that are happening to other people. For them, life is swell. (performs) “I don’t know why anyone doesn’t embrace life!” I don’t know, maybe because some people find life is like embracing a rosebush. Painful. You suffer from it.

Melissa Bw It’s like the obliviously happy people are going around and picking all the roses. And they don’t understand why some other person is hurt because all they ended up with was a bunch of thorny stems.

Michael Bw Right. What most people seem to admire so much in other people, I can’t even relate to. I don’t even have the capacity to relate to it. And this isn’t just some later manifestation in my older age. This is something I remember thinking even as a child. That the things that people invest so much psychic energy in just don’t fecking matter. And I could never understand why a person who loved someone couldn’t tell that other someone that they love them. It would be “awkward.” I don’t know, I think it’s more awkward that we can’t show each other our humanity. I think that’s awkward. I am definitely with Robert Frost. That I am going to my grave having lost a lover’s quarrel with the world. I have had nothing but love for people, but because of how most people respond to that, very negatively, that love turns to something else.

Melissa Bw“It turns to steaming piss.”

Michael Bw Yep. My extreme hypersensitivity prevents me from getting too close to people. You know, it’s like inviting people to a dart game when you are a hemophiliac.

Melissa Bw Getting too close to anyone you think would respond negatively, right? Not everyone in general.

Michael Bw I mean displaying affection toward people who seem lonely or hurt or desperate or scared. They rightly mistrust you. But because of that, I would be hurt. So I can’t do it. I can’t help people the way I would like. I wish I could go to retirement homes and visit with them. I know they’re lonely. I wish I could visit with special children and play games with them and make sure they know how important they are. I wish I could visit prisons and hospitals, but I can’t. My AS is an emotional prison, but it protects me, too. Like a fortress.

Melissa Bw That fortress keeps you from being able to experience love, just as much as it protects you from potential harm. I know you have to be extra-careful because of your AS, but I think you would be surprised at how overwhelmingly positive the responses would be if you were to go into any one of those communities you described and offer to share something of yourself.

Michael Bw I have no doubt how overwhelmingly positive it would be. It’s that overwhelming part that’s the problem. The tiniest little thing will break my heart. I would do no good to anyone sitting there balling like a little child. I am too emotional. I am too sensitive to do any of those things.

Melissa Bw Ah, but I think if you practiced it more often, you would become more acclimated, and therefore it wouldn’t be quite so painful.

Michael Bw You must think you’re talking to one of the able-minded people here at OS. You certainly aren’t talking to me.

Melissa Bw I am, while knowing it sounds unrealistic to you now. But—

Michael Bw No, it sounds impossible. I know how I am. Think of Erin, how she cares for those birds. I could never do that because it requires her to handle them in ways I would find harsh. It’s like a doctor. A doctor is willing to do things that normal people are not. Cut you open, for instance. But without them, a lot of them would die needlessly.

Melissa Bw But think about Alex. We spent time with him, and that didn’t bother you. It uplifted your spirit.

Michael Bw Alex is special! Of course, I was completely fine with him. I’m talking about regular people who judge you and make fun of you and mock you and dismiss you. Special people don’t do that.

Melissa Bw But of course, you’re focusing on all the negative things that people can do.

Michael Bw Look, I don’t blame you for being an optimist. Don’t blame me for being a pessimist.

Melissa Bw Haha! But the thing is, the risk you take in caring for someone is the very definition of love. Making yourself vulnerable to hurt also means making yourself open to love. It’s the closed fist versus the open palm. I choose the open palm. And I think that’s ultimately what you’re doing every day when you wake up, decide you’re quitting, and then get to work on our latest post. You’re opening yourself up to devastating heartbreak, as well as surprisingly joyful friendships. But that risk you ultimately take is done out of love.



L  E  G  E  N  D
letters = sequential meta conversations
                   (C occurred after B, B after A, etc.)
numbers = mini-meta tangents within meta conversations
quoted letters = prior meta conversations





















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You message well within the meta. Art for art's sake? My middle name is Arthur. When I preface faith with faith does not one have it; you know, a negative cancels out a positive: neutrality abounds but Oh Lord I'm stuck in Lodi again because the bus has been waylayed by an accident. I read those who lack comment; I rate effort and esprit de corps. I ponder loneliness and hope that again I can hold little Leah and admire her newness. rAted!
I loved this entire conversation, but my favorite bit had to have been:

"My extreme hypersensitivity prevents me from getting too close to people. You know, it’s like inviting people to a dart game when you are a hemophiliac."

Which is of course answered beautifully with:

"But the thing is, the risk you take in caring for someone is the very definition of love. Making yourself vulnerable to hurt also means making yourself open to love. It’s the closed fist versus the open palm. I choose the open palm."

How do you get inside my head like that? :)
I liked the pic at the beginning. :)

So I rated it for that!!!
I loved the fact that Nana read this and loved the prat he chose to share as being the one that affected him the most. I also loved to know what Mr M revealed about himself when he said, he rted effort, "esprit de corps. I ponder loneliness and hope"
I love the fact that you fearlessly delve deep to bring out the core of your beings to light and care enough about the mass of humanity to come back and type it out and share, this respect for your readers is what endears you to me

a lot of people write, but you share your lives - through your writing, hence I cherish your writings as I do James's or Newton's or Delia's, when you give of yourself to the world unbeckoned is when you give the best gift unto life I guess. I don't know. just fee that in my heart, I could be wrong
two strands of thought here: is this one person talking or two? m confused abt how to read it. wht does the Trish poem mean?
Illuminating as always. Thank you.
@Mr. Mustard:

It’s always fun to read the Mustard’s Metaness Digest. We’re continually impressed by not only how much you pick up, but how skillfully you translate your understanding into these poetic riddles.

Here’s to the lonely and the new,

( m&m )


@nanatehay:

“I loved this entire conversation”

We’re delighted to hear you liked it, nanatehay, and thank you for letting us know. The length got a bit out of hand on this one, despite our half-assed efforts to keep it short.

“but my favorite bit had to have been . . . Which is of course answered beautifully with:”

Maybe this is why we get along so well—we answer each other beautifully :-)

“How do you get inside my head like that? :)”

It’s a complicated process using models and equations, which at this moment is still classified due to issues of national security. But it mostly uses popsicle sticks, white glue, and pieces of colored felt.

( m&m )


@Tinkerertink:

“I liked the pic at the beginning. :)”

Thank you, Tink, and welcome to metaness.

( m&m )


@AnnMarie:

“Illuminating as always. Thank you.”

Hi, AnnMarie! Thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s good to know you were here.

( m&m )
@Rolling:

“I loved the fact that Nana read this and loved the prat he chose to share as being the one that affected him the most. I also loved to know what Mr M revealed about himself”

Yes, this is one of our favorite aspects of metaness: the readers become part of the extended conversation, triggering yet further discussion as we learn more about each of you and your lives.

“I love the fact that you fearlessly delve deep to bring out the core of your beings to light and care enough about the mass of humanity to come back and type it out and share, this respect for your readers is what endears you to me”

Look who’s talking about fearless, Nabina! We’re just grateful and humbled you took time to come over and not only read this, but leave such a thoughtful comment in reply.

“a lot of people write, but you share your lives - through your writing”

This is one of the things we appreciate most about your work, as well, especially when it teaches so much about universal issues of social justice, gender equity, and the human condition.

“when you give of yourself to the world unbeckoned is when you give the best gift unto life I guess. I don't know. just fee that in my heart, I could be wrong”

You have a wise heart, Nabina.

“two strands of thought here: is this one person talking or two? m confused abt how to read it.”

Sorry for any confusion. metaness is always the two of us talking to each other (with an occasional visit from the Narrator). Are you seeing the little floating heads on your screen? That should make it clear which one of us is talking. Perhaps you missed their introduction in the last post.

“wht does the Trish poem mean?”

Michael: Meaning in art is something I prefer to leave up to the audience, but I understand how frustrating art can be when its meaning seems opaque.

Melissa: If it’s any help, Nabina, this is something Michael just sang spontaneously, so there was no premeditation of the lyrics.

Michael: I try to eradicate all premeditation from my art. That’s what Cy Twombly learned to do by drawing in the dark. Unless the work surprises me, I would quickly become bored of it. I want to make something bigger than myself.

Melissa: Now the critic in me wants to pipe up with my particular interpretation of this song.

Michael: That’s fine! Everyone has their interpretation, including me. Mine is usually the first interpretation, is all.

Melissa: Right. So I would say the boogeyman is like our cultural demons. He’s the one we’re made to be afraid of. But if you look at the boogeyman’s plain, everyday life, it begins to seem quite mundane. Or so you think. Until toward the end of the song, when you see the boogeyman is actually not so innocuous, after all. His violent act is followed immediately by the line, “The boogeyman is just like you and me”—the juxtaposition of which causes both laughter, as well as perhaps at a deeper level, self-recognition, as the audience comes to terms with the potential boogeyman within each of us.

Michael: Don’t forget, he only achieves success after the violent act.

Melissa: Yes! I did notice that, too. It exposes society’s bloodlust and shows how the System tends to reward evil.

Michael: Hope that helps some, Nabina.

( m&m )
The "perpetual state of quitting" reminds me of this quote from the move "Waking Life:"

"The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. It saves on introductions and goodbyes."

And I love this: "You’re opening yourself up to devastating heartbreak, as well as surprisingly joyful friendships. But that risk you ultimately take is done out of love." So true - although I do not have AS, I can relate very well to the way you describe your experience, Michael - it is so universal, even though you experience life in the extreme.

You folks are just brilliant - I love what you're doing with the place!
shit, i didn't comment, did i? i made it through about half and will read the second half soon. you know i'm in an envy funk. god, your posts are so dense with wonderful material. is there a meta-density at all? and i LOVE the comments that you elicit from others whom i love. so glad that mr. m and nana and tink are here!!! such fabulous people. i too love the drawings and keep forgetting to say so. okay, i'm too overwhelmed to comment on any specifics plus i got a preview of this, for which i am blessed!!! please PM me for movie ideas. i have so many treasured films i'd love to share with you. and stay away from that fucking rapist Lars von Trier. that's just getting brutalized. i'm thinking The Station Agent and The Visitor and Ulee's Gold and, god, so many more. okay, i'll be back later. oh, and that fucking Bogeyman. i knew him much too well. he's all too real sometimes. mine never wrote a book though. :)
@Owl_Says_Who:

“The ‘perpetual state of quitting’ reminds me of this quote from the move ‘Waking Life:’” ‘The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. It saves on introductions and goodbyes.’”

What a great line! We bumped it up in our Netflix queue. Now, if we can ever find time to watch a movie again (thanks a lot, OS), we’ll actually manage to watch it!

“So true - although I do not have AS, I can relate very well to the way you describe your experience, Michael - it is so universal, even though you experience life in the extreme.”

Even though you may not have AS, you do have a better sense than most about what it feels like to be uncomfortable in a society where you don’t quite seem to belong. Nice to know we can empathize with one another, and hopefully lighten each other’s burdens.

“You folks are just brilliant”

Thanks, Owl, you’re pretty brilliant yourself ;-)

“I love what you're doing with the place!”

Glad you like the new décor. We’re passing on the “Boogie Bootie” disco lights and the inflatable bouncy castle for now.

( m&m )
@Theodora:

“shit, i didn't comment, did i?”

No worries, Theodora! You have the distinct honor of being the first one to rate it :-)

“i made it through about half and will read the second half soon.”

We warned you this was a long one!

“you know i'm in an envy funk.”

Yes, and we’re so proud you can turn even the worst of circumstances into comedic brilliance. How generous of you to make us all laugh in the midst of your suffering.

“god, your posts are so dense with wonderful material. is there a meta-density at all?”

Ooh, that’s a great idea! Maybe we should add a meta-density meter to the top of each post. That way people will know in advance how much brain gas will be required to complete the trip.

“and i LOVE the comments that you elicit from others whom i love.”

And we love love love everyone who is inspired to comment, contribute a verse or two, and become a part of the metaness.

“i too love the drawings and keep forgetting to say so.”

Thank you, Theodora.

“okay, i'm too overwhelmed to comment on any specifics”

It doesn’t have to be about commenting on specifics—it can be about sharing whatever this discussion happens to spark in you, and you’ve done that beautifully.

“please PM me for movie ideas. i have so many treasured films i'd love to share with you.”

Okie-doke. Someday, we’ll have to post our scale of movie recommendations once it’s tweaked to perfection.

“and stay away from that fucking rapist Lars von Trier. that's just getting brutalized.”

I (Michael) hope you know, Theodora, this puts you on my Best People in the World List. And like your suggestion to stop reading the cover (bless you), I promise to never ever watch a movie by him again.

“i'm thinking The Station Agent”

How did you know this is one of our absolutely favorite movies?! Not only because of Peter Dinklage, whom we have a great deal of respect for, but because it is such a wonderfully told, quiet story.

We actually became vegetarians after reading this quote by Peter: “I like animals, all animals. I wouldn’t hurt a cat or a dog—or a chicken or a cow. And I wouldn’t ask someone else to hurt them for me. That’s why I’m a vegetarian.” It was that second part—about not asking someone else to hurt them—that really hit home for us.

“okay, i'll be back later. oh, and that fucking Bogeyman. i knew him much too well. he's all too real sometimes. mine never wrote a book though. :)”

Haha. Well, we cannot wait to read YOUR book, and we’ll look forward to the chapter on the boogeyman :-)

( m&m )
@mary gravitt:

“Come join us in Iowa City. UNESCO has declared us a Literature City to rival Berlin and all spots Europe. Come and let your literary soul soar. Be sure to get a good map to find out where we are. Most people don't even admit the place exists.”

Why, thank you for the cordial invitation, Mary! If we do indeed ever travel (which hasn’t happened for, oh, about seventeen years), we will certainly keep your kind words in mind. It sounds like Iowa City is a kindred of our little town in Oregon. It is wonderful to find a community of fellow creatives and progressives in real life, as well as on OS :-)

“You will love it here. Feel safe. Nobody will bother you. It's just like being dead.”

(both laughing)

( m&m )
pessimism seems a lot like fear to me. but then again I think almost all of our emotions fit under one of two headings fear and love. and i disagree that you wouldn't do anyone any good sitting there crying like a baby. think of what good you might do with all that energy you are using to protect yourself. fear or love?
hey what ever you decide is fine with me i'm just saying maybe you could think about it.
@Tijo:

“pessimism seems a lot like fear to me.”

Melissa: Perhaps “realism” would be a more appropriate term than “pessimism,” since there is certainly a mixture of hope in there, as well.

“but then again I think almost all of our emotions fit under one of two headings fear and love.”

Melissa: This is a subject we’ve written about in other contexts, specifically in the application of George Lakoff’s Strict Father (fear) and Nurturant Parent (love) paradigms to various topics like programming and workplace dynamics.

“and i disagree that you wouldn't do anyone any good sitting there crying like a baby. think of what good you might do with all that energy you are using to protect yourself. fear or love?”

Michael: The protection is necessitated by my AS. I’m just too sensitive for normal sensations, whether physical or psychological. As to the fear, I was born paranoid. One of my earliest memories was thinking my grandma had pooped in my Cream of Wheat. Saying to a person with paranoia that they have a choice between fear and love is like saying to a person in a wheelchair that they have a choice between riding and walking.

Melissa: But I do think it’s much more complex than an either/or choice between fear and love. It’s possible for someone to be plagued by fear while also experiencing profound love for others, like Michael does. It’s hard for people without autistic spectrum disorders to comprehend the degree of pain that comes from the slightest cruelty, whether intentional or not. And because people “out there” don’t go around with a particular awareness that their remarks could send someone into a suicidal depression, Michael has to take precautions against exposing himself to such insensitivities.

Michael: Even though I know you didn’t mean this to be hurtful, it was. I’m not actually asking for anyone to fix me. Everything I am, I’ll be. I’m completely comfortable with that. Everybody has their own hardships in their own way. Mine are just easier to dismiss because they’re seen as childish or not very serious. But I can tell you for a fact that when that child is balling their eyes out, their whole fucking world has fallen out from under them, and I have just as much compassion for them as I do some adult with truly terrible problems. Their problems are equally serious to them at that moment. Unfortunately, we tend to judge others by own experiences, which doesn’t even start to cover it.
You cover a lot of territory with insight. The earlier section about OS sounded as if you'd been recording my thoughts as well as your own. Then I had to stop reading and go to Netflix to see if I could rent Safe (they have it on the list but don't have a DVD - frustrating). Back to your posting. I'm imagining the AS experience and my autistic, loving, and imaginative grandson (age six), who is visiting, begins morphing from a blue ghost (blue throw over him) to himself (comes out from under throw) to ghost again, with me reacting each time... I dive into your world again. And then... Well, you get the idea. Layered life of one of your admiring readers sharing your world.
@Hawley:

“You cover a lot of territory with insight.”

Thank you, Hawley. It’s always such a delight to see you in the metahood. (We actually referenced you in a comment on our last post if you’re curious—thought you might be able to ID someone, but consonantsandvowels beat you to it :-)

“The earlier section about OS sounded as if you'd been recording my thoughts as well as your own.”

We did mention our mind-reading machine in one of the comments above (look for popsicle sticks and colored felt :-)

On a more serious note, it’s encouraging to know we’re on the same wavelength. We would miss you dearly if you ever really did quit OS, but we certainly sympathize with the need to escape for respite—both restorative and creative. You seem to be better at maintaining that balance than we have been lately.

“Then I had to stop reading and go to Netflix to see if I could rent Safe (they have it on the list but don't have a DVD - frustrating).”

Oh no! We have this on VHS (which we can’t even watch, since our player has been broken for years), but it never even occurred to us that we couldn’t watch it if we really wanted to, or even more importantly, that others like you couldn’t watch it for the first time. It seems those subtle, quietly disturbing films tend to have the smallest audiences. Another film we were profoundly affected by is Reflecting Skin, which we have little hope of ever becoming available on DVD. And yet, cinematically, it is one of the most gorgeous films we’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, while also being one of the most deeply disturbing and again, quietly terrifying.

“Back to your posting. I'm imagining the AS experience and my autistic, loving, and imaginative grandson (age six), who is visiting, begins morphing from a blue ghost (blue throw over him) to himself (comes out from under throw) to ghost again, with me reacting each time...”

What a wonderful image! And what a blessed grandson (although we still can’t really believe you’re old enough to be a grandmother!).

“I dive into your world again. And then... Well, you get the idea. Layered life of one of your admiring readers sharing your world.”

We’re always grateful for your dives—and for sharing our world.

( m&m )
@Mary: “You will love it here. Feel safe. Nobody will bother you. It's just like being dead.”

Haha! A perfect description of good old Iowa City, our mutual hometown. That's exactly why I left it (but love to visit!).
I didn't know I had this much time on my hands...but I found this very intriguing and quite illuminating.

Of course my favorite line is, "Look, I don’t blame you for being an optimist. Don’t blame me for being a pessimist." You two sound like me and my husband.
Again, so many "threads" to follow - At one point I was reminded of a line from one of my poems (D.D.), "the knife turned inward"...

Then, later, I gleefully read your comments about "Safe" - you are only the 3rd person(s) I know who has heard of this fine and yes, most subtle film, much less seen it. Years later, I continue to "return" to this film within my mind...Later, while continuing to read your post, I connected some underlying impetus in the story-line of "Safe" with this comment of Michael's: "Yep. My extreme hypersensitivity prevents me from getting too close to people. You know, it’s like inviting people to a dart game when you are a hemophiliac." One could say that Moore's character was also suffering from (a mysterious, evolving) "extreme hypersensitivity" - in this case, manifesting physically and supposedly, environmentally induced (and by the way, at times I confuse her brilliant breakdown-in-the-drugstore scene in "Magnolia" with her role in "Safe" - it all blends into my mind somehow), and yet, one wonders what is truly inducing the escalating physiological "reactions"...; then I thought of several friends of mine (and also myself), who, as we age, seem to be developing our own mysterious and various "hypersensitivities" to various chemicals, products, and foods - which of course always brings me back to the film "Safe." This, then, brought to mine the story of the woman who let her child ride the subway alone in New York City (at his request), and her vilification by the press (projections and insinuations of the "boogeyman" again, which, of course, brought to mind "To Kill A Mockingbird, for what I believe will be obvious reasons, a story which also ties in once again with Michael's sensitivity to "differentness" and human suffering / pain), resulting in her writing a book regarding our current national obsession with "Safety" (refer to article - She was labelled "America's Worst Mom" - http://www.theweek.com/article/index/96342/The_last_word_Advice_from_Americas_worst_mom), which then brought to mind my glee-filled discovery that occurred while I was in Paris when I noticed that there were no constant warnings booming over the loud-speaker for patrons to stay away from the edge of the platform - and no warning signs, either - This thrilled me no end as I realized that in Paris one was expected and assumed that one would not behave in an intentionally (or even accidentally) idiotic or impulsive fashion via crossing "the edge" of the platform; and, if one happened to do so, one would not be supported by the legal system in regard to "suing" for falling off the edge of the platform (if they happened to live after doing so, that is) because in France it is inferred and reinforced, including via their own legal system, that you are expected to behave like an intelligent adult and not skip and bound over edges of platforms onto subway tracks where fast trains run, AND, it is understood that the government does not believe it is their job to ensure perfect "SAFE"ty for its citizens at all times, against any odds (including sheer stupidity), which then led me back to my own D.D. poem (words as train tracks) as well as the film "Safe" - and I could go on and on from there, but clients beckon...Oh, except that I, too, wonder often if O.S. is serving me (and others) at the highest level and I question the time and energy spent here, but, I guess, I am willing to accept that it is serving me (and perhaps others) in SOME fashion and, over time, I will be able to gauge more astutely how much energy and time to devote to creating and communing within this particular virtual "container."
Now I feel like I don't think enough! um...I'll have to think more about this and come back....xox
Michael - a break is ok, even for a week or so, but please don't go away. I am attached to you guys, especially now that those heads are talking to me. And I would really miss your artwork.

I loved how this post evolved and where it ended.

This sounds like parts of me....
"I have no doubt how overwhelmingly positive it would be. It’s that overwhelming part that’s the problem. The tiniest little thing will break my heart. I would do no good to anyone sitting there balling like a little child. I am too emotional. I am too sensitive to do any of those things."

And so does this....
"Making yourself vulnerable to hurt also means making yourself open to love. It’s the closed fist versus the open palm. I choose the open palm. And I think that’s ultimately what you’re doing every day when you wake up, decide you’re quitting, and then get to work on our latest post. You’re opening yourself up to devastating heartbreak, as well as surprisingly joyful friendships. But that risk you ultimately take is done out of love."

Maybe that's why I love you guys - together you speak for both sides of me!
First off: Patent that popsicle stick gizmo, but use it at your peril.

I love how prosaic your boogeyman is. Creepy, creepy, creepy. Did you ever see Poltergeist? What I loved about that movie is the way ordinary objects were all potentially malevolent and horrifying: nothing new, I know, but it was all so suburban. One scene in particular struck me: the mother was in the bathtub and the camera panned the shampoo bottles, etc., on the edge of the tub and suddenly they were terrifying and latently deadly. (Hawthorne, Poe, Hitchcock, etc. - pick your reference.) That sort of horror/terror always seems to me to be the most terrible. One expects Godzilla to be scary. (Elliptically, read hypersensitivity to every day materials/situations.) Oh, Lord, this reminds me of a New Yorker (I think) cartoon, where two businessmen are visiting Tokyo and they're standing on the sidewalk and next to them in the street, at only curb height, is a tiny Godzilla figure and one businessman says to the other "I thought he'd be bigger.")

My father used to say that truckers are the cowboys of our time.

Someone once did a study on perceived outcomes and the results were that the pessimistic views turned out to be realistic when compared with the optimistic extrapolations.

Because you mentioned tragicomedy and because I still have Klee on my mind from the last post, here's Final scene of a tragicomedy.

And also this: There's a Jewish story, an ordinary joke, a father was teaching his little son to be less afraid, to have more courage, "Jump," he said, "and I'll catch you." And the little boy trusted him and the little boy jumped, and when his father caught him he felt filled with love, and when he didn't he was filled with something else, something more - Life.

For some reason all this made me think of Rilke, particularly this:

"For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror we can just barely endure, and we admire it so because it calmly disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible." - First Elegy
Final scene of a tragicomedy. Frickin' code, forget one little space and you're hosed.
Love the dialogue, thanks for letting me be the fly on the wall while you two chat. I loved the Boogeyman song up until he killed poor Trish, that is. Wouldn't you know. Your empathy is refreshing and your insights are right on, and conveyed beautifully. So it was surprising at the end to read about the pessimism. All in all it was definitely an Oregonian conversation, which is what I love. And I do believe love is all about being able to talk and reason.

My own opinion on fame is reflected by something Katharine Hepburn once said about herself. She said there was The Katharine Hepburn, and then there was her, Kate, who shoveled the coal into the engine to keep Katharine going--or something like that. Anyway, you would have to be two people.

On Oreos, Trader Joe's makes their own kind of Oreo that is superior to any kind of cookie except for the old hippie cookies Coffee People used to make. Hey--you're not them are you?
BTW, don't leave. Neglect some if you must (me included), but stick around. Try not to be an all-or-nothing kind of couple.
" I’ve just decided I’m gonna be in a perpetual state of quitting OS."

OK, lol, that's where I feel at the moment :)

"It’s no longer just about the artist. It’s about the people who are being affected by that art. You suffer a little bit for their sake. But you also gain something meaningful in return."

So true - I've always been a supporter of the OS as a collaborative creative windmill. One to which we are ALL Don Quixotes and charge at relentlessly with little or no chance at redemption.

Regardless, we each leave a mark and our "Sancho Panzas" diligently keep note for those that come after.

"Yes, I feel like, by sharing our work with this community of fellow creatives, we’re avoiding the toxic suffocation of writing in a vacuum. "

That has been the carrot on my 'stick' for now. Where else can we find this return on creative investment so quickly? This place is somewhat unique in the fact that i is free (except for the adds now).

Oh, by the way, the return on our 'creative investment' revs the creative engine up enormously :) At least it does me - poems and words that would otherwise languish in a drawer or in my mind are now 'out there' getting some kind of reaction - quickly.

*hugz* michael - I too feel less of 'me' the more people there are around me. Like a self destructing algorithm that keeps me in the basement... lol The only time I felt resaonably normal was by my 'other' - you are lucky :)

peece, love, and light!
dj
"The boogeyman has aspirations"
ok, now that phrase is making me sing/yell *la la la la la* to myself as a screw my eyes closed and put my hands over my ears
@Buffy:

“I didn't know I had this much time on my hands...but I found this very intriguing and quite illuminating.”

Thanks, Buffy! We’re so glad you enjoyed this foray into metaland.

“Of course my favorite line is, "Look, I don’t blame you for being an optimist. Don’t blame me for being a pessimist." You two sound like me and my husband.”

Ah, another complementary relationship of the polar opposite persuasion!

( m&m )
@Angelique:

“At one point I was reminded of a line from one of my poems (D.D.), ‘the knife turned inward’”

Intriguing! We’ve just marked “Dostoyevski’s Daughter” and look forward to savoring it later (as we gradually wend our way through your past posts, which will probably take a few months at our current pace).

“Then, later, I gleefully read your comments about "Safe" - you are only the 3rd person(s) I know who has heard of this fine and yes, most subtle film, much less seen it.”

What a fascinating analysis, Angie—and all the more exciting to see you weaving connections between these disparate strands, making a mental tapestry of all those threads you mentioned at the beginning! We have two close friends who suffer from environmental illness, as well (I remember when one of them, a former nurse named Nancy, had a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to ironically, the perfume “Poison”). We tried to encourage the first, our friend Linda from UC Berkeley, to see the film, but she was too close to the subject and was afraid the film would be too disturbing (it probably would’ve been). It would be very interesting to hear their take on it, though. And yes, there is some tenuous relationship between Magnolia and Safe. There definitely is an underlying intensity to those films. They are both dark, but unflinchingly honest.

“This, then, brought to mine the story of the woman who let her child ride the subway alone in New York City (at his request), and her vilification by the press (projections and insinuations of the "boogeyman" again, which, of course, brought to mind "To Kill A Mockingbird, for what I believe will be obvious reasons, a story which also ties in once again with Michael's sensitivity to "differentness" and human suffering / pain), resulting in her writing a book regarding our current national obsession with "Safety" (refer to article - She was labelled ‘America's Worst Mom’”

We just finished reading this article, which reminded us of a phrase our friend Marilyn likes to use: “over-the-shoulder-parenting.” It basically gets at that same idea of encouraging independence in your children, rather than coddling and handholding. The family doesn’t start to revolve around the children just because a new child has come into the picture; instead, the children can be inspired by their parents continuing on with their own lives and looking behind to make sure the kids are still in tow. It seems to make for a much healthier balance, and the children tend to grow up more confident and self-reliant. And that’s an interesting connection you made to TKAM—Boo is the anti-boogeyman who is mistaken for the boogeyman until his true identity is revealed at the end of the film. Perhaps that’s not unlike the experience of social misfits—society treats loners like boogeymen, when most really turn out to be quite innocuous.

“because in France it is inferred and reinforced, including via their own legal system, that you are expected to behave like an intelligent adult and not skip and bound over edges of platforms onto subway tracks where fast trains run”

Hahaha!

“Oh, except that I, too, wonder often if O.S. is serving me (and others) at the highest level and I question the time and energy spent here, but, I guess, I am willing to accept that it is serving me (and perhaps others) in SOME fashion and, over time, I will be able to gauge more astutely how much energy and time to devote to creating and communing within this particular virtual ‘container.’”

We’re just grateful we have managed to find each other in this communal petri dish. The friendships we’ve made with people like you make it worth all the time, energy, and spiritual angst.

( m&m )
@Robin:

Happy to welcome you here, Robin!

“Now I feel like I don't think enough! um...I'll have to think more about this and come back....xox”

We’d be delighted if you do but also understand if you don’t. We don’t want metaness to start feeling like homework :-)

( m&m )
@mamoore:

mamoore: Michael - a break is ok, even for a week or so, but please don't go away. I am attached to you guys, especially now that those heads are talking to me. And I would really miss your artwork.

Michael: Sorry, mamoore, I didn’t mean to imply that I was quitting quitting. Just that I had discovered a mental deception to keep myself from actually quitting. It’s amazing how effective it’s been, really. I love being in a constant state of quitting OS!

mamoore: I loved how this post evolved and where it ended.

Melissa: Yes, that’s always the exciting part about having these conversations (and the subsequent meta-conversations). We never quite know where they’re going to end up.

mamoore: This sounds like parts of me....
“I have no doubt how overwhelmingly positive it would be. It’s that overwhelming part that’s the problem. The tiniest little thing will break my heart. I would do no good to anyone sitting there balling like a little child. I am too emotional. I am too sensitive to do any of those things.”

Michael: This surprises me because I thought that raising children—and in your case, shepherding large numbers of kids—would have inoculated you from that somewhat. That means there is absolutely no hope for me!

Melissa: Hahaha.

mamoore: And so does this....
“Making yourself vulnerable to hurt also means making yourself open to love. It’s the closed fist versus the open palm. I choose the open palm. And I think that’s ultimately what you’re doing every day when you wake up, decide you’re quitting, and then get to work on our latest post. You’re opening yourself up to devastating heartbreak, as well as surprisingly joyful friendships. But that risk you ultimately take is done out of love.”

Melissa: You know all about this, mamoore, and it makes me think of that beautiful piece you wrote about the painful, profoundly loving lesson of unparenting your daughter as she grows up.

mamoore: Maybe that's why I love you guys - together you speak for both sides of me!

Melissa: Aww. We love you, too.

Michael: I just realized something. If we need to be two of us to be what we are, then mamoore must be a superperson!

Melissa: Yes, you are a super person, Melissa!
@consonantsandvowels:

consonantsandvowels: First off: Patent that popsicle stick gizmo, but use it at your peril.

Michael: I’ve already made the mistake of doing a random read, and for some unsettling reason, it locked onto Dick Cheney. That level of horror and sadism NO person of conscience should ever have to witness.

Melissa: Eeeek!

consonantsandvowels: I love how prosaic your boogeyman is. Creepy, creepy, creepy.

Melissa: Thanks for reminding me of the word “prosaic”. I use “ordinary” so much, it’s nice to have an unprosaic alternative ;-)

consonantsandvowels: Did you ever see Poltergeist?

Michael: Yes, it was one of my favorite scary movies for a while. I loved that the parents were so hip.

consonantsandvowels: What I loved about that movie is the way ordinary objects were all potentially malevolent and horrifying:

Michael: Like that piece of meat that begins crawling along the counter and then bursts open with maggots.

Melissa: Eeeuuh! I’d forgotten about that scene, but now I realize it was one of the most terrifying because I used to have a maggot phobia.

consonantsandvowels: nothing new, I know, but it was all so suburban.

Michael: Yes! It took the horror out of the castle and put it right into our own homes. Another movie that had this effect on me was The Entity. I believe Barbara Hershey is the protagonist. I remember being really frightened by that movie. I guess I actually believed it could happen.

consonantsandvowels: One scene in particular struck me: the mother was in the bathtub and the camera panned the shampoo bottles, etc., on the edge of the tub and suddenly they were terrifying and latently deadly.

Melissa: Ooh! You’re right. You just pinpointed exactly why I found that movie scary. Since I was quite young when I saw it, I remember beginning to look with suspicion on the objects in my own home, wondering if it were possible for them to be possessed by a poltergeist. Scary.

Michael: It’s like Poltergeist did for ordinary objects what Psycho did for showers.

Melissa: Speaking of Hitchcock . . .

consonantsandvowels: (Hawthorne, Poe, Hitchcock, etc. - pick your reference.) That sort of horror/terror always seems to me to be the most terrible. One expects Godzilla to be scary. (Elliptically, read hypersensitivity to every day materials/situations.)

Melissa: Right! It’s the expectation that makes the difference. It’s creepier when you don’t expect it. I wonder if that’s why Rosemary’s Baby is so successful, too.

Michael: That’s interesting ’cuz I was thinking that it’s also because the evil is coming from someone or something we trust, or thought we could—especially in the case of Rosemary’s Baby.

Melissa: Yes! Her neighbors, her doctors, her husband, even her baby! The only person she can trust is murdered.

consonantsandvowels: Oh, Lord, this reminds me of a New Yorker (I think) cartoon, where two businessmen are visiting Tokyo and they're standing on the sidewalk and next to them in the street, at only curb height, is a tiny Godzilla figure and one businessman says to the other "I thought he'd be bigger.")

(both laughing)

consonantsandvowels: My father used to say that truckers are the cowboys of our time.

Michael: My grandfather, Fred, became a trucker after World War II and stayed with it until he retired thirty-five years later. I never saw him wear a cowboy hat, or cowboy boots for that matter. But I sure did! I had an awesome matching Billy the Kid outfit that would’ve knocked your socks off! But that’s another story.

Melissa: Hahaha.

consonantsandvowels: Someone once did a study on perceived outcomes and the results were that the pessimistic views turned out to be realistic when compared with the optimistic extrapolations.

Melissa: This is fascinating! Please send us a link if you happen to come across it.

Michael: And you know what’s really fascinating, love? You said it was more like realism in your response to Tijo. Very good!

consonantsandvowels: Because you mentioned tragicomedy and because I still have Klee on my mind from the last post, here's Final scene of a tragicomedy.

Melissa: Wow! Another new Klee we hadn’t seen before. How delightful!

Michael: Is that water damage on the top, do you think? Or was that intentional?

consonantsandvowels: And also this: There's a Jewish story, an ordinary joke, a father was teaching his little son to be less afraid, to have more courage, "Jump," he said, "and I'll catch you." And the little boy trusted him and the little boy jumped, and when his father caught him he felt filled with love, and when he didn't he was filled with something else, something more - Life.

Michael: Have you seen or read The Chosen? The Hasidic father is teaching his arrogant eldest son through the not-catching-at-all technique. Through the pain of silence.

Melissa: Yes, but it is painful, and clearly too harsh. But you do come to an understanding of the rationale behind it, ultimately.

Michael: It’s interesting you say that it’s clearly too harsh, because I believe the movie does not.

Melissa: I don’t know. I think the protagonist’s father models a more nurturant alternative.

Michael: He does! He’s a classic Nurturant Parent. And the other father is clearly a Strict Father. But what the son becomes, as opposed to what he could have become, justifies it to the father.

Melissa: Ah, but does it to the son?

Michael: He went from being cruel to compassionate. You tell me.

Melissa: I wonder if that would happen in real life, though. It’s often the deprivation of warmth and—

Michael: Ah, but don’t forget the culture we’re talking about here—the Hasids have very structured lives. Maybe we should stop talking about this in case consonantsandvowels hasn’t seen it yet.

consonantsandvowels: For some reason all this made me think of Rilke, particularly this: "For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror we can just barely endure, and we admire it so because it calmly disdains to destroy us. Every angel is terrible." - First Elegy

Michael: This made me think of Munch’s The Scream. That was his response to the overwhelming beauty of that sunset.

Melissa: Chilling. I always thought of natural beauty as an inlet into God’s love, like Hopkins’s bluebells. I hadn’t seen it from the opposite perspective, which can actually be quite terrifying to consider.

Michael: Maybe this is an insight into hypersensitivity, where things that are normally pleasurable for people can actually become painful for hypersensitives.

consonantsandvowels: Final scene of a tragicomedy. Frickin' code, forget one little space and you're hosed.

Michael: I definitely sympathize. I’ve been working with programming languages for twenty-five years!

Melissa: Haha.
@latethink:

latethink: Love the dialogue, thanks for letting me be the fly on the wall while you two chat.

Melissa: Thank you for being a fly on the wall, latethink!

latethink: I loved the Boogeyman song up until he killed poor Trish, that is. Wouldn't you know.

Michael: To be honest, I was a little disappointed and surprised, too.

Melissa: Yeah, poor Trish. Such are the hazards of hanging out with boogeymen.

latethink: Your empathy is refreshing and your insights are right on, and conveyed beautifully.

Melissa: This means a lot coming from the mother of an autistic son. We know you have a deeper understanding of empathy than most.

latethink: So it was surprising at the end to read about the pessimism.

Michael: Perhaps it’s just that I’m pessimistic about humanity in general, but optimistic about individual human beings.

latethink: All in all it was definitely an Oregonian conversation, which is what I love.

Melissa: This is such an intriguing qualifier! I never thought of conversations as being regional in nature. But I think you’re right—one of the reasons we feel so much more at home in Oregon (as opposed to California, where both of us grew up) is the conversations here are so much more intellectually rigorous. People tend to be more authentic in general, so you end up talking about more meaningful topics. But maybe my perspective is skewed because I work at a university.

Michael: Yeah! My perspective is that everybody just says, “Can I help you?”, “Paper or Plastic?”, or “Will that be all for you today?”

Melissa: Hahaha.

latethink: And I do believe love is all about being able to talk and reason.

Melissa: Yes, heart without mind can produce some pretty horrific results. Look at the Bush administration.

Michael: But mind without heart is just as terrifying. Look at the Third Reich.

latethink: My own opinion on fame is reflected by something Katharine Hepburn once said about herself. She said there was The Katharine Hepburn, and then there was her, Kate, who shoveled the coal into the engine to keep Katharine going--or something like that. Anyway, you would have to be two people.

Melissa: A wise and interesting quote.

latethink: On Oreos, Trader Joe's makes their own kind of Oreo that is superior to any kind of cookie except for the old hippie cookies Coffee People used to make. Hey--you're not them are you?

Melissa: Ooh, I wish we were because that sounds fabulous! Cookies made by Coffee People. What could be yummier?

latethink: BTW, don't leave. Neglect some if you must (me included), but stick around. Try not to be an all-or-nothing kind of couple.

Melissa: You’re very gracious, latethink. What touching advice. Although you know we’ll have a hard time following it.
@David:

David: OK, lol, that's where I feel at the moment :)

Melissa: As long as it remains in the theoretical stage!

David: "It’s no longer just about the artist. It’s about the people who are being affected by that art. You suffer a little bit for their sake. But you also gain something meaningful in return." So true - I've always been a supporter of the OS as a collaborative creative windmill. One to which we are ALL Don Quixotes and charge at relentlessly with little or no chance at redemption.

Melissa: Haha! I love that term: “collaborative creative windmill”.

David: Regardless, we each leave a mark and our "Sancho Panzas" diligently keep note for those that come after.

Melissa: This reminds us of the U.A. Fanthorpe poem, “Getting It Across” that we recently posted over in Mr. Mustard’s neighborhood.

David: "Yes, I feel like, by sharing our work with this community of fellow creatives, we’re avoiding the toxic suffocation of writing in a vacuum." That has been the carrot on my 'stick' for now. Where else can we find this return on creative investment so quickly? This place is somewhat unique in the fact that i is free (except for the adds now).

Melissa: Yes on all counts.

David: Oh, by the way, the return on our 'creative investment' revs the creative engine up enormously :) At least it does me - poems and words that would otherwise languish in a drawer or in my mind are now 'out there' getting some kind of reaction - quickly.

Melissa: Indeed! We’d much rather our work be appreciated than hording it for some ephemeral material gain in the future.

David: *hugz* michael - I too feel less of 'me' the more people there are around me. Like a self destructing algorithm that keeps me in the basement... lol The only time I felt resaonably normal was by my 'other' - you are lucky :)

Michael: Lucky, yes, and blessed! I grieve for you, my friend.

Melissa: Yes, David.

*hugz*
@Julie:

Melissa: Julie!!!!! We’ve missed you :-)

Michael: How are your studies going?

Julie: “The boogeyman has aspirations” ok, now that phrase is making me sing/yell *la la la la la* to myself as a screw my eyes closed and put my hands over my ears

Melissa: Hahaha!

Michael: Now I have images of myself at ten years old after my grandfather has left for work, at about 1:30 in the morning, and I’m there alone, slowly scaring myself silly. Sorry about that, Julie!
@Eric:

Eric: I too am in a constant state of quitting ... but I'm quitting writing not OS.

Melissa: I hope that means that like us, you are really going to continue writing, after all. I hate to hear about people giving up on their gifts.

Eric: And I don't usually advertise the whole thing which is truly a act of attention grabbing. It just might happen and all the pleadings or urgings to quit sooner will change nothing in the end.

Michael: I’m dense sometimes and easily misinterpret what people are saying. Are you saying that you think we’re flouncing? I don’t think you are, but neither of us are actually sure.

Eric: "avoiding the toxic suffocation of writing in a vacuum" To me this statement almost doesn't make sense. All I crave is solitude so i can write, like a million volumes are crowded into my head and they will destroy me if I do not create them. let them find my manuscripts when they haul my stinking corpse from the house...

Melissa: I’m really glad you said this, because it gives me a chance to clarify something that bothered me about that statement, as well. Truth is, we feel the same way about solitude. We begin to die a little inside if we go too long without finding those pockets of creative solitude. What I was referring to in that statement, however, was the suffocating weight of past, unpublished work that has become so heavy it’s starting to crush us. We have about a fifteen-year backlog of creative works of all sorts, all of which are just missing some small but crucial element prior to completion (usually some software or tool currently beyond our means, so our music languishes without proper mixing and mastering, our documentaries wait sadly for the last touches of post-production). Which is one reason we’ve found posting at OS so satisfying—we get the delight of that creative solitude, while then going on to share our work immediately with appreciative friends. The best thing is these posts don’t become yet more creative projects sitting around contributing to our procrastinatory perfectionist guilt.
Melissa: Julie!!!!! We’ve missed you :-)
I've missed you guys too!
Michael: How are your studies going?
I will get a B in this class, unless I make 100 on the final or less than a 74 (which is a failing grade anyway- A's= 93+ B's= 85+ C's =75+) so, B it is :p I hate Bs but they seem to be the best I can achieve anymore
Julie: “The boogeyman has aspirations” ok, now that phrase is making me sing/yell *la la la la la* to myself as a screw my eyes closed and put my hands over my ears

Melissa: Hahaha!
:) I was only half joking
Michael: Now I have images of myself at ten years old after my grandfather has left for work, at about 1:30 in the morning, and I’m there alone, slowly scaring myself silly. Sorry about that, Julie!
Jacob's Ladder and Event Horizon were movies that made me see things in the dark- this was more of shock and horror because you nailed boogeymen for me. They usually come up to me, introduce themselves, we have a wonderful time chatting and so forth until they decide that it's time to move along and then they eat me. Many try to remain friends after this and I have to admit that it's a confusing situation for me sitting there in their stomach.
well crap- it didn't keep my indents -good luck trying to figure that mess out :)
@Julie:

Julie: I will get a B in this class, unless I make 100 on the final or less than a 74 (which is a failing grade anyway- A's= 93+ B's= 85+ C's =75+) so, B it is :p I hate Bs but they seem to be the best I can achieve anymore

Melissa: We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a 100!

Julie: Jacob's Ladder and Event Horizon were movies that made me see things in the dark-

Michael: We actually own Jacob’s Ladder but haven’t yet seen Event Horizon. Jacob’s Ladder is definitely the kind of movie that gets under your skin. You think about it, and you dwell on it. Also, an actor we admire from the movie Heavy, Pruitt Taylor Vince, has a decent part in there. And of course, Tim Robbins is excellent.

Julie: this was more of shock and horror because you nailed boogeymen for me. They usually come up to me, introduce themselves, we have a wonderful time chatting and so forth until they decide that it's time to move along and then they eat me. Many try to remain friends after this and I have to admit that it's a confusing situation for me sitting there in their stomach.

Michael: I love how you were able to use the boogeyman to perfectly describe these awful relationships. And the image of you in their stomach: priceless.

Melissa: Yes! As if part of your psyche has been consumed by these seemingly innocuous but ultimately predatory individuals.

Julie: well crap- it didn't keep my indents -good luck trying to figure that mess out :)

Michael: No worries!

Melissa: We figured it out :-)
Wow. You are so complex but so unpretentious. (Though that word I just used seems pretentious, but whatever.) There was so much in there. One of the earlier things I liked:

May Sarton: “The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up.”

I first had a funny thought--artistic constipation turns to angst. Then I thought more.
A lot stood out, but I have to go soon, but the roses thing--that some people have taken all the roses and wonder why the rest are angry to be left with thorns--that was great. Also, I do think Michael (hope i am remembering the right names...terrible with names) would be enriched by helping people. He could start small by visiting one or two people....
@DeliaBlack:

“Wow. You are so complex but so unpretentious.”

Aww, shucks, Delia.

“(Though that word I just used seems pretentious, but whatever.)”

:-)

“There was so much in there. One of the earlier things I liked: May Sarton: “The gift turned inward, unable to be given, becomes a heavy burden, even sometimes a kind of poison. It is as though the flow of life were backed up.” I first had a funny thought--artistic constipation turns to angst.”

(both laughing)

“Then I thought more.”

Huzzah for thinking!

“A lot stood out, but I have to go soon, but the roses thing--that some people have taken all the roses and wonder why the rest are angry to be left with thorns--that was great.”

Wow, we’d forgotten about that line. Seems somehow prophetic now, sadly.

“Also, I do think Michael (hope i am remembering the right names...terrible with names)”

Yes, you’re right, Delia. We hadn’t even realized people can’t see our names now that the floating heads are there! We just go along assuming everybody knows our names as well as we do. Rather presumptuous of us (although not pretentious, at least ;-)

“would be enriched by helping people. He could start small by visiting one or two people....”

Yes, Alex is one person we’ve visited with (mentioned briefly in this post). He’s a friend of ours who’s a wonderfully talented artist and musician. He plays the piano, the accordion, the ukulele, the steel guitar . . . every time we hear about him, he’s learning a new instrument. So anyway, we did spend some time with Alex when he was between life coaches, and that was quite delightful.

Wonderful to see you, Delia. Thanks again for stopping by and bringing a lovely bouquet of Summer Sunshine roses!

( m&m )