Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Law of Potential

If personality is an unbroken series of gestures, no amount of practice can ensure the success of either the performance or the reception. One finds success in degress, though, and always relative to the ambition; a certain amount of compromise is inherent.

I would like to claim pure composure, a polished style, charming and convincing in its presentation, but it is time now only to excercise patience and slow ripening. There is charm, after all, in the early murky stages of development, in that curious desire to become interesting.

My potential lies with my blurred sense of limitation. When I can finally see my own bounds, I can find intention, focus on the goal; I can stop trying to account for everything that I might become; I can start to deny influence, in all its various forms. Until then, possibility rules the day, full of hope and burden.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Alternative Methods to Pregnancy

by Tom Waits
(spoken between songs in concert)

Alright actually, I get asked -- I think the question that I get asked the most -- I mean it happens a lot, enough that I would remark on it. A lot of people come up to me and they say, "Tom, uh, is it possible for a woman to get pregnant without intercourse?"

I say, "Well listen, we're going to have to go all the way back to the Civil War for this one." Apparently a stray bullet actually pierced the testicle of a Union soldier and then lodged itself in the ovaries of an eighteen-year-old girl, who was 1oo feet away from him at the time.

Well, the baby was fine, and the girl was very happy -- guiltfree. Of course the soldier was a little pissed off. When you think about it, it's actually a form of intercourse -- though maybe not for everyone. Those who love action, maybe.

Monday, May 16, 2005

(inscription to "A Fan's Notes")

If his inmost heart could have been laid open, there would
have been discovered that dream of undying fame; which, dream
as it is, is more powerful than a thousand realities.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Fanshawe"

All Wales is like this. I have a friend who writes long
and entirely unprintable verses beginning, "What are you,
Wales, but a tired old bitch?" and, "Wales my country, Wales
my sow."

-Dylan Thomas to Pamela Hanstard Johnson

from "A Fan's Notes"

by Frederick Exley

On Sunday, the eleventh of November, 196-, while sitting
at the bar of the New Parrot Restaurant in my home town,
Watertown, awaiting the telecast of the New York Giants-
Dallas Cowboys football game, I had what, at the time, I took
to be a heart attack.

It wasn't. It - the "seizure" or whatever one chooses to
call it - was brought on by the high and delicious anxiety I
always experienced just prior to a Giants game, and by a
weekend of foodless, nearly heroic drinking. For me it was a
common enough drinking; but the amounts consumed had been
intensified by the news, received by mail from Scarsdale two
days before, that my wife intended to divorce me and to have
custody of my two-year-old twin sons. It gives me feeble
comfort to report it was not a heart attack. The pain was
excruciatingly vivid, and for many moments I was terrified by
the fear of death. Illogically, this was one terror I
believed I had long since cast off - having cast it off, I
thought, with the effortless lunacy of a man putting a shotgun
into his mouth and ridding himself of the back of his skull.
That the fear of death still owns me is, in its way, a