Friday, September 16, 2011

Sunday, May 15, 2011

basho

ah spring spring
how great is spring!
and so on

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bisco Run '06


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

faith and relationships

Whoever reaches into a rosebush may seize a handful of flowers; but no matter how many one holds, it's only a small portion of the whole. Nevertheless, a handful is enough to experience the nature of the flowers. Only if we refuse to reach into the bush, because we can't possibly seize all the flowers at once, or if we spread out our handful of roses as if it were the whole of the bush itself -- only then does it bloom apart from us, unknown to us, and we are left alone.

-Lou Andreas-Salomé

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

progress

"We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up," the company explained.
-google representative, 2010.12.07

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

manjarin

En mi jardín hay una flor
la más bonita no tiene olor
y si lo tiene yo no lo sé
vente conmigo te lo diré.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

summer reading

After a few friendly words of greeting, Marie-Claude lifted the ceramic pendant from Sabina's neck and said in a very loud voice, "What is that? How ugly!"

Those words made a deep impression on Franz. They were not meant to be combative; the raucous laughter immediately following them made it clear that by rejecting the pendant Marie-Claude did not wish to jeopardize her friendship with Sabina. But it was not the kind of thing she usually said.

"I made it myself", said Sabina.

"That pendant is ugly, really!" Marie-Claude repeated very loudly. "You shouldn't wear it."

Franz knew his wife didn't care whether the pendant was ugly or not. An object was ugly if she willed it ugly, beautiful if she will it beautiful. Pendants worn by her friends were a priori beautiful. And even if she did not find them ugly, she would never say so, because flattery had long since become second nature to her.

Why, then, did she decide that the pendant Sabina made herself was ugly?

Franz suddenly saw the answer plainly: Marie-Claude proclaimed Sabina's pendant ugly because she could afford to do so.

Or to be more precise: Marie-Claude proclaimed Sabina's pendant ugly to make it clear that she could afford to tell Sabina her pendant was ugly.

-P.108-109, The Unbearable Lightness of Being


Monday, April 26, 2010

Duck Story, by my good man David Preddy

Gone

The pond drained down under the highway. The water rushed into the darkness as cars did overhead. I saw a mother duck and her six ducklings feeding in the current. One duckling was further downstream then the rest, closer to the dark.

The rubble crushed beneath my feet, the disregarded furniture entangled with debris and mud. A shiny black pickup truck pulls up next to the pile, and from the tiny window a man in a jean jacket pokes his head out.

Man: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Walking”

My reply felt silly. ‘Walking’ felt silly, old, even stupid. He stared at me for what felt like hours, my glasses started to mist. Cars whizzed by us on the nearby highway. He shook his head and started to retreat into his cave.

Me: “You ever notice that there’s no sidewalks around here?”

Man: “What?”

He put the car into gear and drove off. It was a stupid question.

I returned to the pond. I counted five ducklings.

Joobly Jools, by Ofer Levy

Joobly Jools

Yesterday in George, we read an author named Ofra Williams. I did not know who Ofra Williams was before entering class yesterday. I didn't even know her stories. I did not read her stories before coming to class. I was supposed to read the stories, but I had not read her stories.

Not a problem though. Ofra Williams writes very short stories. The stories are so short that some people might even dare to say they are not stories at all. I read the stories during the beginning of class while, as per usual, George spent a good five minutes erasing a blank blackboard in slow concentric circles.

The collection of stories was called "5 stories by Ofra Williams', by Ofra Williams. Out of all the stories .the story that caught my attention at the time was 'Joobly Jools', partly because of the title and partly because of its particularly notable brevity and partly because after reading the story I had developed some strong feelings about it. I will reproduce the story below so you can read it as well and think about it before I share with you what I thought about it.

The purple lady receives a lobster and if she eats a lobster, she will get a bib, and if she eats the bib she will get a golden bib. In this culture, they do not bestow bibs. I think they are all much too shapely for that.

In my own bungalow, I sit beside my own banana tree and you’d think I’d be too shapely for that.

The bungalow is bowing to a huge banana. This frugivorous sight and the notable Huberta in the distance—the orchards on the southwest coordinate triangle—eventually contract in scope and serve silver bibs and oyster for the rest of our lives.

That was the story. I had many thoughts about the story but one of my first thoughts was What kind of person writes things like this?, So I raised my hand and George said Yes David and I looked him in the eyes and say Who is Ofra Williams? in a voice that must have been amusing because some people in the class laughed. George laughed too but then he changed expressions and put on his serious face and said No no, it is really a good question, and then he explained who Ofra Williams is to the class. George explained who Ofra was by listing her publicly-available biographical facts. After he finished doing that, George turned his attention and addressed only me again and said You know that she's going to be here today? Today? I said No, I did not know, because I really didn't. Ofra Williams coming here today and she was going to be at Rowney House at 4:15 and I debated as to whether or not I would go.

After the debate, I decided I would go, but not before doing a line of bunger. So I do one line of bunger and I am incredibly Bunger and I bumble over to Rowney House and in front of Rowney House is my good friend Aaron Khandros. Aaron Khandros is a good man, and thorough. Aaron also happens to be in my George class. I ask him if he's going in and he says yes and so we both go in together. We take a seat. About thirty students are sitting in chairs arranged in a circle. George is there. He's sitting in a regular chair. Everyone is sitting in a regular chair except for Ofra Williams. Ofra Williams is sitting in a chair too big and too leathery and too plush for her diminutive frame. My mind's Bunger and it almost looks to me like the chair is eating Ofra Williams. I sit in my regular chair and listen.

Ofra Williams is a small lady. She was wearing a long black dress. She had the shape of a baked potato and the demeanor of a mouse. She spoke softly.

I listened. Ofra Williams is an important person and so people asked very respectful questions and Ofra Williams responded with completely irrelevant and nonsensical comments and it was amazing.

Ofra Williams was funny but I was too Bunger for the slow meandering discussion and I told Aaron I'd give him $20 if he asked Ofra Williams Why Do Anything? and he looked at me like he was truly considering it but then his expression changed and I knew he had decided the price was not right.

So I decided to ask a question. Normally when I am Bunger I am reluctant to share my thoughts in a public forum because I feel I don't have as much control over the sentence structures and thought progression in my speech, but today I was feeling particularly good and I thought I could handle it and thought that I could spice up the conversation and so I raised my hand and Ofra Williams looked at me and gave me the unspoken signal which signals that I have been passed the invisible conversational baton.

I thought,

Jooby Jool is a hilarious ridiculous and nonsensical title to a story that is equally ridiculous and nonsensical. The whole piece has pseudo-profound vibrations reverberating all around it and I couldn't help but feel that each of the short paragraphs have nothing to do with each other at all, that that overall the story is not much a story at all but rather nothing more than amusing jumble of meaningless sentences.

I said,

I read your work last night for the first time, and a few things particularly struck me, especially in your story Joobly Jool. When I read Joobly Jool, I remember feeling like every paragraph in the three paragraph story was its own self-contained poem. Every word seemed to be so carefully chosen and so precisely placed. I pause. I also noticed that, oh, for the life of me, no matter what I did I could not figure out what each of the three short paragraphs had to do with each other, so I guess my question to you is this: In a story that has no particular narrator, no particular protagonist, and no particular setting, how does a story develop?

Ofra Williams looked at me and I looked at her and I noticed once again her witch attire and her round bifocals and her small head and her squinty eyes. I was Bunger all right. I looked at her looking at me and I noticed that I felt like everyone in the room was looking at me and finally Ofra Williams said,

-What story was that?,

and I said,

-The story is called Joobly Jools.

and Ofra Williams said,

-Can I see it?

and I said,

-Sure.

Perhaps it was because I was slow to react, or perhaps it was because he is a good and thorough man, but in any case Aaron took the printed out story from my hand and walked over to Ofra Williams and gave her the Joobly Jool. Ofra Williams looked at the crumpled up story and started to read it out loud.

Ofra Williams read,

The purple lady receives a lobster and if she eats a lobster, she will get a bib, and if she eats the bib she will get a golden bib. In this culture, they do not bestow bibs. I think they are all much too shapely for that.

In my own bungalow, I sit beside my own banana tree and you’d think I’d be too shapely for that.

The bungalow is bowing to a huge banana. This frugivorous sight and the notable Huberta in the distance—the orchards on the southwest coordinate triangle—eventually contract in scope and serve silver bibs and oyster for the rest of our lives.

Ofra Williams paused and looked at me and everyone looked at her and me and I was Bunger and then Oftra Williams paused some time longer. The room was silent. Finally, Ofra Williams said,

-Terrible, really terrible. Where did you find this story?

and I said,

-My wonderful professor next to you printed it out for my class.

I looked at George who was sitting next to Ofra Williams. George looked at me and raised his eyebrows high and bared his teeth.

and Ofra Williams said,

-This is really a terrible.

and I said,

-Why do you think it's terrible?

and Ofra Williams said,

-Oh no, it doesn't make any sense at all. Oh, you should come hear the stories I'm reading tonight at eight. They are also terrible.

'It doesn't make any sense at all'. That was Ofra William's explanation of why the story was terrible. At this point I was not sure whether Ofra Williams was truly so mad that she did not realize none of her stories make sense or whether Ofra Williams is truly comedic genius. I was not sure but I was so caught off guard by her response that I could do nothing but laugh. Aaron laughed too.

Ofra Williams smiled at us with a look that said Ofra Williams felt both somewhat affronted and somewhat relieved. I thought Ofra Williams was affronted because she really was serious about it all; I thought Ofra Williams was relieved because she didn’t have to explain herself any further.

After the talk was over Ofra Williams walked towards me and to introduce myself.

Hello. My name is David.

Ofra Williams if we could go on a walk. I thought how unlikely! so I asked, really, and Ofra Williams said really so I said where do you want to go and Ofra Williams said to the graveyard. I said ok.

We walked in silence for ten minutes and when we finally get to the graveyard Ofra Williams stops and turns to face me. She said,

-You know, most people who read my stories just assume there’s some sort of deeper meaning behind them.

-Yes

-You think that those stories are meaningless, don’t you?

I didn’t say anything.

-Would you like to know why I write my stories, my “meaningless” stories, the way I do?

I wanted to know.

-Yes.

-Well then, do care to hear my quick, meaningful life synopsis. Did you know I am fifty years old?

-No.

-I do. There’s a lot more you don’t know, boy, but I’ll fill you in. You probably don’t know what it’s like to be twenty-eight and confused and lonely finding yourself marrying out of fear of being alone forever, but you probably know what’s it’s like to have hopes and dreams for happiness and fulfillment, don’t you?

I wanted to say that I did but Ofra Williams paused not to hear me respond but only because she was out of breath.

-Do you know what’s it like to spend your whole life, looking and waiting for that feeling of Ful-Fill-Ment? No, of course not, how could you? You’re just another college boy living out the dream. Oh the dream! You’re going to find magical fulfilling job and that magical fulfilling relationship and live that magical fulfilling life, aren’t you?

- Actually -

-Yes! Well you just wait. After a certain point you can’t lie to yourself anymore. You can’t fool yourself. Wait till you give birth to a beautiful little girl only to have her die five years later because of some lung defect. Show me in the meaning, boy, show me the meaning.

Suddenly the real Ofra Williams was quite upset and the idea of Ofra Williams wasn’t so funny anymore.

-And while you’re at it, show me the meaning of living with a man you couldn’t care less about and pursuing a career you couldn’t care any less about. You see, your blessing and your curse is that you still expect you find your meaning someday. You think you’ll find it when you get older, don’t you? Well wait till you find out you’re chasing a nonexistent rabbit down a nonexistent rabbit hole. Go for it! Pursue money! or relationships! or art or whatever but, but it doesn’t matter. You’ll get older and you’ll realize that there are only two possibilities for you. You either spend your life chasing a dream and fail, and as you lie on your sick and sorry deathbed you’ll think to yourself If only, if only. Or perhaps you’ll be like me., oh, far more tragic. You’ll chase your rabbit down the rabbit hole and you’ll catch him by the throat and there you’ll suddenly be, your dreams realized and success at your feet and the world will applaud you and you’ll feel all the worse for it, because you’ll no longer have an excuse for feeling as empty as you do.

I couldn’t look Ofra Williams in the eyes anymore and I kept my on the wet grass under my feet.

-Look at me. Look at me! I have books published I have a husband I have children! People pay to hear me talk People praise my stories! I thought I wanted all these things and I pursued them and now I have them all and I feel just as cheated as anybody after even after the most incredible of orgasms. It doesn’t matter what you do because after you’ve done it there’s no haven of purpose to fall back to once you can no longer distract yourself with the goals and tasks and the rabbit hole. Do you see why I write about purple ladies and lobsters and golden bibs? Writing is supposed to reflect the experience of life, isn’t it? Do you see what I’m getting at? My life is just as meaningless as any story I’ve ever written. Most readers assume there’s some meaning behind the stories that they just can’t understand, but a few don’t, apparently. You suspected that there’s nothing behind the stories and now I’m assuring you that that most certainly isn’t. My life is meaningless like my stories are meaningless like your life and all life is meaningless and all of it is truly, truly terrible, isn’t it?

Ofra Williams squinted her eyes and stared at me for a few moments looking like she was expecting me to say something but I said nothing, and after a minute of silence she turned her back to me and walked back towards campus.

When I got back home I went to sleep and when I woke up I took the crumpled Joobly Jools out my pocket and read it closely, again and again. In my own bungalow, I sit beside my own banana tree and you’d think I’d be too shapely for that. Really, it wasn’t funny at all anymore. I did a line of Bunger and went to sleep again.

Saturday, April 24, 2010