Monday, August 8, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
It wasn't so. When Soul's Road was ready to submit to Amazon, I hovered over that final button, sweat slicking my forehead, and I waited. Perhaps I was waiting for something divine, a light shining or a beautiful chorus or perhaps it was just fear that kept my finger from hitting that last key. My wife sat beside me and after a moment she turned, studying her husband. We waited.
When I finally hit the button, I remember feeling ill. What if I just let this magnificent collection of stories go out into the wild, disheveled, unprepared, punctuation wild with disregard? I immediately imagined myself pushing an orphan into the mouth of an alleyway, watching it stumble, fall.
The truth is a bit different. The old timers were right. There are flaws, always will be. I have already given myself a headache cataloging all the little things I wish I could change. But there is something more. Something I think the old timers saved out, wanted to let me find for myself. Sure there are things I would change but looking at Soul's Road in its final state, I see something other than the dirty orphan I imagined. I see a beautiful collection of stories that have taken me down one hell of a road. I am more than proud to be the editor for Soul's Road, more than proud to have watched this book grow from an idea into a brilliant demonstration of these writers' talents.
So I will hold my breath every time I see a foible but I know more now. I may not be an old timer, may not have edited enough to know better, but I do know that this collection of stories is something special, something profound. I am glad to have been a part of it.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
The Lamentable Kismet of D’arcy Montag
The Collins College of Advanced Physics and Quantum Mechanics (Redmond, Washington, not far from where Microsoft had erected their first campus during the personal computing boom of the early nineties, and only five kilometers north-northwest of where the Novell Robotics Corporation had begun construction of the Prometheus Orbital Elevator in the summer of 2016,) machine shop was "burning the midnight oils," as the phrase went, as a veritable parade of screaming echoes, warped colors and cacophonous voices as a string of maudlin cats, gilded dogs, unruly letters, punkish numbers, ersatz kanji (both Japanese and Chinese,) and three highly articulate pizzas all vied for viewing space in the eyes of one D'arcy Montag, student of the College of Advanced Physics and Quantum Mechanics (though due to a peculiar genetic condition, she was not so much a student as a teacher disguised as a student, and if one were to dig further, her knowledge of mathematics, science, quantum physics, mechanics, robotics, cybernetics, viral engineering and coffee brewing went far beyond what any ordinary professor might have to offer a class, even at the most prestigious of universities,) who was referred to by her classmates as "Skitz," as in "schizophrenic," (but misspelled due to the increase in usage of social networking tools which encouraged poor grammar as they connected people, and an increasingly wider gap between the grammatically correct haves and have-nots,) in order to gain the favor of her conscious mind, if only for a moment, so that they might take the opportunity to whisper sweet nothings in her ear, such as the answers to multiple-choice exams yet taken, the possible merits of immolating various political figures, offers of sexual coupling and endless quantum formulae which would make a mockery of the strongest intellects in the field, and had already, upon discussion with D'arcy, forced two such experts (a Mr. Richard Bloomquist of Collins College and a Miss Rachel Truberitz of nearby Bellevue University) to commit ritual suicide in a manner befitting disgraced theoretical physics professors (Bloomquist was reported by a local newspaper to have hung himself from an eye-washing station in a chemical laboratory, while Doctor Truberitz, for those in the know, was rumored to have hired a male prostitute and engaged in sexual intercourse, during which she began to cut herself with a shaving razor, and severed her femoral artery in a fit of bloody ecstasy, unfortunately bleeding out before she achieved climax,) tried her best, insomuch as was possible, considering the noise of it all, to busy herself with the tasks required to effect a repair of her particle accelerator, which had been damaged earlier in the week when D'arcy, in a self-described "blackout time" or indeterminate length and composition (as no one else was around to witness the episode in question,) caused her to initiate her experiment in particle acceleration, atomic recombination and molecular engineering without supervision, assistants or indeed any safety precautions of any kind, the result of which was both a) an experiment that, performed on a cubic centimeter of neodinium with a mass of approximately .72 kilograms, was successfully recombined, its component parts realigned and added to, creating a new element of approximately the same size (with roughly .018 cubic centimeters lost to impurities in the neodinium) which sported a new mass of nearly 720,000 kilograms, and upon attaining this fantastic new mass, promptly crashed through the holding apparatus, ten centimeters of cement flooring, two sub-basements, one boiler, one janitor's plastic mop bucket and the accompanying six cubic liters of dirty water, and eventually landed in the remains of a World War 2-era bunker that had remained hidden and secret under the college grounds ever since the Herakles Viral Research Program was cancelled by President Truman in late 1945, deemed unethical and unnecessary in light of the victory in Europe and the deployment of the atomic bomb in the Pacific theatre, (the facility was mothballed, ostensibly for a reopening of the Herakles Program at a later date, but lack of funding, increasing pressure from human rights elements in the government's black operations branch and an increasing body of research collected from British and French experiments during the war pointed to the cost-prohibitive nature of the program, and it was eventually terminated, the bunkers containing the research buried under a landfill and eventually under the machine shop of Collins College of Advanced Physics and Quantum Mechanics, leaving the research undisturbed for the better part of eighty years until it was damaged in D'arcy's unauthorized excursion into uncharted scientific waters, further results of which included roughly two hundred thousand dollars in damages, plus incidental losses of various tools, raw materials and one lab cat that was to be used for hearing loss experiments by the adjacent Collins College of Auditory Wellness, and had for many months been affectionately referred to as "Oscar the Audible Stimulus-Comprehending Cat," but would thereafter be referred to, with mixed feelings of anger, regret and unadulterated rage, as "Oscar the Unlucky," insomuch as the Auditory Wellness students cared to remember the untimely death of Oscar, rather than his life which, up until its end, had been rather fruitful, and had included: two kittens, seventeen couplings with other cats, one successful fight for a particularly vivacious house tabby and, most recently and finally, one near-death experience with a Firestone tire, size B-16, mounted on the front driver's side of a white Ford F-150, which happened to belong to the dean of the College of Auditory Wellness, hence Oscar's rescue from "stray" status to "Laboratory Subject" and "Mascot" status in the summer of 2012, where after Oscar took part in no less than sixty experiments involving hearing loss and possible genetic, cybernetic and intelli-viral methods of curing chronic auditory dysfunction (commonly referred to as "hearing loss") in adults of all ages, most of which had reached satisfactory conclusions, granting Oscar a decidedly austere reputation among Auditory Wellness students, who took his positive responses as a good omen, of course, until the day of the explosion, after which, the reputation of D'arcy Montag and indeed the entire College of Advanced Physics and Quantum Mechanics was lowered considerably, both by students of the Auditory Wellness program and by fellow students of the CAPQM, who had lost a small fortune's worth of investments in personal projects, including, but not limited to: one mechanical arm, slated to become a replacement for static prosthetics, one hydraulic-powered exoskeleton, ready to receive armor mountings, weapon hard points and perform a demonstration for a pre-greased panel of military officials and defense contractors, and one bag of Northern California Sensamea, with a street value of approximately two thousand dollars.
Over the years, I have learned to master that language. So when I was asked to help out with the Soul's Road blog, I felt I was up to the challenge.
Sprucing up this blog was like my final exam.
Why final exam? Well, I'm in the final semester of my Goddard experience, have a full time job, and on any given day I have little pieces of life-drama stacked up on my plate as high as Mount Rainier. That means this bad boy had to come together in the free minutes over a weekend. So quick execution was essential.
So here it is. The final exam. The quick weekend execution. I've tried to arrange our Internet home with some style, some grace, and some pretty pictures.
This isn't the complete end. I have some more thoughts I want to execute. But, this is it for now. Hope you enjoy it! And if there is anything we've missed, leave us a comment on this post and we will fix it.
Friday, July 29, 2011
As we inch closer to the release of Soul's Road, we'll be tweaking the site over the next couple of days. It may seem like a big mess for a bit but there is a method to the madness. (Isn't there always?)
All this to beg our faithful readers for their patience. We promise, it will be worth the wait.
Thanks in advance!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Ah Summer. Having declined to teach summer school, I looked forward to nothing but relaxation. Not! Do you recall Gatsby’s little diary that listed his “self-improvement” schedule? He probably had chin ups, and elocution on there. Well that’s the kind of the thing I do all the time. Old school with the pen and paper. The handwriting has to look decent too. There’s a certain feel I have to have in my hand and fingers as the ink marks the page. Otherwise I crumple it and start over making my calendars, my lists of long term and short term gotta do’s. I’m telling you, that’s what I do. It’s hard to admit. Released into the great open space of a teacher’s vacation and I start making up lists of what I have to accomplish. It’s a little strange, because I don’t remember where or when I picked up the habit. Looking for an answer, I glanced back over my shoulder, down the road my soul has travelled. I saw my 20 year old self. Nope, definitely wasn’t making those lists at age 20. Oh to be 20. So here’s the thing; as summer began I could hardly sleep with so many plans that needed to be written down in perfect form with a pen upon a piece of paper. One of the items on the list was to improve my cardiovascular condition, primarily by running. You know, establish a routine. Yes, yes, so many plans. Within days, my wife and I traveled to New York, my first visit ever to the Empire State. In New York, the running was hit or miss. But when we got out to the far shores of Long Island, the running part of the plan became more promising. It was our good fortune to stay near a seemingly endless stretch of sand between Montauk and South Hampton. While staying there I researched my family’s genealogical history. My father’s side traces back not to the Port of New York, where so many entered from Europe, but to the Plymouth settlement in the 1600’s. From there, many of them worked the sea along Cape Cod. On our final morning before flying home to California, my wife and I took a final walk along the shore. We talked and stooped down to examine mermaid’s purses, scallop shells and horseshoe crab casks. All of a sudden I noticed how much time had passed. If I didn’t take off running back to our rendezvous point, we’d cause our gracious hostess to wait for us and possibly complicate our journey home. So I took off and soon, propelled by a fear of missing the driver and the opportunity to accomplish my Gatsby task, I entered into a runner’s trance. I, renowned among my peers for an excellent sense of time and place, ran right past the intended beach access. And then some. Unknowingly a half mile past, I sought directions and received bad information that took me even farther East. Running on, I couldn’t believe that I should continue in that direction. I turned back, then doubted myself and reversed again. Sand and dunes and seemingly the same houses. What the hell. I’d been running for over an hour in soft sand. My hamstring had begun to cramp. The sun was high, hot and as relentless as the wristwatch on my arm that ticked away the minutes. On the verge of panic, I stopped to let something wash over me. Something of the Atlantic, something of my ancestral past conspiring to keep me there along the far Eastern shore on the very first time I’d stepped upon it, like an old fisherman’s net tangling my legs. Those old whaler souls sounding off in every shore break, laughing that they’d fixed me such a puzzle. I chuckled too as I took my last look over the sea, then turned and found someone with a cell phone to make a call. Holding it to my cheek, it was as though I no longer spoke the same language.