Writing

Soliloquies Never Die

The Timelessness of Classic Characters

There are some literary characters who never seem to grow old. Oedipus continues to remind us that unbending pride—what the ancient Greeks called hubris—is still with us. Othello will not let us forget that jealousy, the “green-eyed monster,” can still take us down. Ibsen’s Nora Helmer from A Doll’s House is still a beacon of feminine independence.

And Hamlet can still send shivers up our spines in his relentless pursuit of revenge, clearly telling us that there are tragic consequences to such an obsessive pursuit.

The timelessness of these characters is not just because they continue to be mirrors of humanity’s universal flaws and aspirations. Often, they leap out on the page or the stage to reveal some nuanced shift away from the predictable psychological traits that many of us could easily identify on a literature multiple-choice exam. Continue reading

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Been There, Done That

“Love and do what you will,” says St Augustine. We are told in the New Testament to “Love thy neighbor as thou would love thyself.” And then the kicker: “Love thine enemy.”

Shakespeare tells us that love is the “ever fixéd mark,” the stable grounding to all our emotional vagaries. And what fool in his right mind came up with the notion of “two in one flesh” to describe the close bonding we’re supposed to experience in a committed physical and emotional relationship? (the two-in-one-flesh metaphor, by the way, is seen by many as a convenient mandate to suppress individuality. I’m just sayin’). Continue reading

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Poem, “Play it again, Sam”

So, if I get it right
The first time,
I’m not required
By any dusty law
To do it again.

Repetition doesn’t always
Work like fearless
Branches stuttering
In chatty unison
From an aging trunk,

Some curling
Towards the sun,
Others, insecure
In their laziness,
Weighted with memory
Of last April’s
Freezing rain.

They’ve all been
Somewhere before,
Some yearn for the sky,
Others for the
Grumbling earth,
As they did
Last year.

If I repeat the right thing,
I become the surly branch
Scanning the wrinkled trunk,
Defeated by the
Crusty chance of
Being too common
In my frantic mimes,
Just another water-logged
Dog paddling its way
Back with the same
Haggard stick in his mouth
He had twenty minutes ago

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Poem, “Change”

You will, of course, change.
We all know it.

From ragged-edged coat,
Smelling of beer and car oil,
Tested every day
In the blustery wind, near
Old, dank harbors,

To rose-odored concert-goer,
Your main of hair
Waving with each breath
Of lush spring air,
Not wild as the wolf,
But tender, as the pliant,
Nipple-sated child.

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Poem, “Morning Chatter”

Some marching-band cadence
In your voice this morning,
Candied, like
A fresh apple,

Jaunting talk, really,
Of tasks to be done
From scraps of
Stainless papers
On a refrigerator door,

Or jobs completed,
Not curfewed, but
Cashiered, coffined,
Into the glazed silence
Of a dead grandfather's
Gray eyes

 

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A Writer’s Blues

Some of you know that I am a freelance writer. Some of you also know that I have been struggling for months to decide what would be the appropriate way of supporting my career on the Internet.

The choices have not been easy.

Google ads was my first attempt at trying to be gainfully employed as a writer in cyberspace. It turned out to be a total blowout. Continue reading

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