George Carlin’s Spirit [Repost]

Prompt: Do you have a favourite quote that you return to again and again?

trap-and-rabbit1

Yes, I do have a favourite quote, Daily Prompts, thank you for asking. There are actually a number of quotes that I refer to, in my little computer notebook, that inspire and challenge me.

Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.
—Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal was a 17th century scientist and philosopher, but his words strike me as hugely relevant now. Maybe they will always be relevant, as people continue to twist the truth to suit their own personal, political, or religious agenda— and the rest of us value truth so little that we give such people power.


When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you, but because in that brief moment when the coin is in the air, you suddenly know what you are hoping for.

I keep forgetting about this one, when I have an interesting or difficult choice to make. I think it illustrates very well that harrowing decisions are not so harrowing after all, if we are honest with ourselves. Since we find honesty so elusive, this is a nice little hack.


To be natural is such a very difficult pose to keep up.
—Oscar Wilde

…Speaking of honesty. Oscar Wilde’s wit is so beloved because there is such truth in it.


Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communication.
—Charlie Kaufman

To the people in the world who overshare: This one’s for you!


Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.
—Albert Einstein

There’s nothing wrong with getting from A to B. It’s a valuable, efficient, and often necessary path, and I speak as someone whose view of the path is sometimes obscured. Imagination will take you everywhere, and I know that because I’ve been there. It’s really nice.


“Why is it the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it?”
—Jesse Custer, addressing the KKK, in Preacher, by Garth Ennis

Perfection. But why is that true?


The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you’ve gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you’ve gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you’ve gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him?
—Chuang Tzu

I like to ponder this one while standing in line at the supermarket.


Life’s a bitch, then you die.
—Unknown

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that life is difficult and painful. Yet think about us, you and me— I’m in a warm house with plenty of water. I have frozen lasagna defrosting in the fridge. My doctor’s office is five minutes away, and always available to me. No one will come and chop me up in the middle of the night. Children in my neighbourhood do not carry arms. Your situation is probably much the same as mine. So we are the 1% of the global population, while for the majority the above statement is often absolute truth.

There should be no 1%, not locally, nationally, or globally. There should be no 99% who live and die in suffering, while I complain about Netflix.


May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.
—George Carlin

I feel George Carlin’s spirit is protecting me from evil when I sleep.


Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
—Ashleigh Brilliant

Don’t you hate when that happens?


  • Original post: January 27, 2016.
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Puffy enough

Prompt: Strange


Hello Wednesday,

Lately, despite my increased obsession with my iPhone 8s, I find I am placing notebooks and pencils everywhere: beside my chair, on my bedside table, by my desktop, and in my purse. Maybe this is my last-gasp effort to climb out of the mire of digital (digital was supposed to be clean and crisp and efficient) and into the fresh air of analog (old, slow, tedious analog?).

Last thing at night, first thing in the morning, I stare at the screen. What if something happened while I was away from staring at the screen? What if there was a political event, a meme, an emoticon message that I missed for a few hours later or even until tomorrow?

Irrational digital.

A paper novel, a fresh notebook and a pencil. The six o’clock news on television? Maybe. Read a little, look at the horizon; write down a thought or a note, think, put the pencil down. Comprehensible analog.

Ok, just try and pry my laptop or my iPhone from my hands— I don’t want to give them up. But I am making room, lots of room, for my lined notebooks and sharpened pencils, too.

Apropos of nothing particularly strange, though strange they may be, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon valentines day

cartoon horizon

cartoon not puffy enough


Love and peace,

~~FP

Surnames Through the Ages [Repost]

Prompt: Telephone

hotel maid

The first Thursday of every month they meet at a hotel, a different hotel every time, according to the order they appear in the old 2014 telephone directory. They alternate procuring reservations and paying in cash for one night’s accommodation and register under names selected in alphabetical order from the book Surnames Through the Ages, in the chapter, ”Most Common”.

They don’t speak to one another, except in private sign language. When they arrive, they turn on the television, fairly loud, and then play a recording on a device that she brings in her bag. The recording is mostly silent, with the occasional cough, or snore, or flush of a toilet.

They make love soundlessly.

Until one Thursday when they check in under the name “Sullivan” at the Post and Pigeon Boutique Hotel near the farmers’ market.

So intense is their passion that they both cry out at once. In horror they dress quickly, and leave separately, never to meet again.


Autobiography

Prompt: Autobiography

clown-on-fence

Ups and downs
Cheese and clowns
A moustache here
An Afro there
Homemade wine
A Bartlett pear
An orange van
A string of lights
Tea-stained days
Neglected nights
The Marseillaise
A drop of sweat
A barren page
A private jet
A vacant stage
A patron saint
To paraphrase:
Fingerpaint.

Corn for Tallness

Prompt: Express yourself


My dear Wednesday,

I (and you, and anyone) have the opportunity to express myself (yourselves) for thirty days this November, which is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, or Nano. The idea is to sit down with a fresh sheet of real or virtual blank paper and start writing— about 1600 words per day for a total of 50,000 words (about the length of Catcher in the Rye) by the end of the month. A first draft of a book. A novel. Written by me/ you.

I’ve met the challenge every five or six times I’ve “competed”— it is an honour system tally. You post your word count to the NaNoWriMo website and your finished manuscript, which they mechanically verify and then declare you a Winner. You get to print out a full colour certificate, frame it, and hang it on the wall of your office or dining room or nail it to the fence.

I am generally a “pantser” which means I start writing without the benefit of detailed outline, as opposed to a “plotter” who organizes most the structure, theme, plot, and characters ahead of time.

This year I am trying the Save the Cat formula, which divides the story into three acts with specific pivotal plot points (called Beats) in each. So I actually have a story outline, but as yet no defined hero character at all.

I realize plot and character are interactive; each forms part of the other. As the plot affects the character, so does the character affect the plot.

…So what makes a compelling character?

I await your answer.

Seriously.

Meanwhile, may I present a few of my favourite cartoons, only the first of which is even tangentially related to today’s casual prompt, “express yourself”?

cartoon decorator-farming-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9180543-8419447

cartoon freshly-ground-pepper-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9476900-8419449

cartoon man-on-deserted-island-writes-tuesday-nov-27-dear-diary-still-no-si-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9168868-8419449


Peace, love, and lots of writing,

~~FP

Tiny Umbrella

Prompt: None

freddie

Hello Wednesday!

In a departure from tradition, this post is not related to a prompt, nor is the post meaningfully related to the images that accompany it. (Just call me crazy and wild!) It’s just that the following has rattled around in my head for over a day now, so it’s time to let it loose:

Your family’s home
They wanna be fed
But you are confused and tired and stressed 
And would rather be dead!

We are the caterers, my friends
And we’ll keep on cooking ’til the end
We are the caterers
We are the caterers
No time for stress dreams
‘Cause we are the caterers of the world!

Who knows what it means
It’s only a dream
But when it’s night after night after night
You just wanna scream!

We are the caterers, my friends
And we’ll keep on cooking ’til the end
We are the caterers
We are the caterers
No time for stress dreams
‘Cause we are the caterers of the world!

Do you have recurring, repetitive anxiety dreams? I do, and they get so frustrating— and so boring— that I am trying new strategies to keep them at bay.

The kitchen/ cooking dream had almost faded away, once I conjured up detailed images of a singing catering crew who would pop into the middle of the stress dream as soon as I saw the dreaded big kitchen. Now my dreams are getting sneaky. The big cookpots are only slowly revealed. The ingredients and guest list keep changing…

I suppose if I dealt with the cause of this particular recurring dream it would go away for good. But for the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

Apropos of nothing, may I present, since it’s Wednesday, a few of my favourite cartoons?

cartoon nice wave

cartoon leo-cullum-may-i-have-a-tiny-umbrella-in-this-ernie-i-m-on-vacation-new-yorker-cartoon_a-G-9184361-8419447

cartoon bliss-are-you-as-excited-as-i-am-new-yorker-cartoon_a-l-9269896-8419449


Wishing you an excitement-filled week—

~~FP