Tag Archives: Winter

McGraw & Mathewson.

The On Deck Circle

What does reason know?  Reason only knows what it has succeeded in learning. -Dostoevsky

If you could build your own Baseball Hall of Fame, what kind of place would it be?

It’s likely that the actual Hall of Fame includes several  players you admired while growing up.  It’s also likely that some of the players you admired the most then, and still do today, were never deemed Hall worthy.

You may not even have any real problem with that.  Intellectually, you probably understand the statistical reasoning that has served to exclude some of your favorite players.

But suppose we were to construct a Hall of the Heart, that is, a place (or, more accurately, an idea), where those players who captured our imagination all those years ago would be enshrined?  In fact, when we use the term “Hall of Fame,” it begs the question, famous to whom?

If fame…

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The Scream / Edvard Munch’s Oslo

Pedersen's Last Dream

Agony & Ecstasy

NO PAINTING SUMS UP the alienation and isolation of 21st century existence as does The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. After Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, it is the second most recognised painting in the world.

The idea came to Munch while walking in the wooded hills above old Oslo more than a century ago, following a bout of heavy drinking the previous evening.

“I was walking along the road with two friends. The sun set. I felt a great sadness. Suddenly the sky became blood red. I stopped, leaned against the railings, dead tired. And saw the flaming clouds as blood over the blue-black fjord and city. My friends walked on. I stood there trembling with angst. And I sensed a loud, unending scream pierce nature.”

Written shortly after his walk, the words that would eventually lead to the series of paintings and lithographs entitled Skrik (The Scream), contain…

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“Mrs. Robinson” (The Lemonheads)

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files
We’d like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes
It’s a little secret just the Robinsons affair
Most of all, you’ve got to hide it from the kids

Coo coo ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know wo wo wo
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates’ debate
Laugh about it, shout about it when you’ve got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose

Where have you gone, Joe Di Maggio?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you woo woo woo
What’s that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
“Joltin Joe has left and gone away”
Hey hey hey, hey hey hey

J.W.

interlude (meditations): window at night

playing with the moon by laurent laveder (6)As my depression grows and dips and sways and blossoms until it reaches its truest, angriest form — a black hole — I find myself with my head through the first-floor window of my bedroom, breathing in the night air, trying to stop myself from spinning and spiraling into the angry black hole, as if the night air is the only thing stopping me from falling into the molecule-blasting black vortex. (It’s darker in there than it is outside my window, the night more inviting than anything; out there is my beautiful Oregon green and big and charmingly sleepy, the air tinged with the smell of wet Earth and the rain that is always five minutes away — or five minutes past, whichever way you wish to look at it.) I admit it wholeheartedly, mostly if you didn’t know it before by reading this simple blog: I have clinical depression. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. And tonight I’m dealing with it in the simplest way possible: two joints, a notebook, and an open bedroom window. I can breathe by this window. I often feel like I can’t breathe anywhere else. Outside the little first-floor bedroom window of my apartment is a small pine tree, discarded packs of cigarettes surrounding the trunk like the remnants of a religious ceremony put on by some lonely band of roaming heathens; when the weather is nice during the spring and summer I get to sit beneath its branches and read in the morning and early afternoon. I live for those happier times. The angry, sad, paralyzing kind; the kind that appears from nothing and will only go back after pulling me into nothing. That kind that strikes a relative of yours, but never you. The kind you fear. The kind I fear. That kind. Tonight my beautiful little tree has a strange blue glow about it, an ornament two weeks past Christmas. It glows as if inviting me to come outside and join the rest of the big, dumb world. (But I can’t: my ego is still too large, my depression too unique and special for anyone else to truly understand. I can’t, I can’t, I will tell myself in the wee small hours of the morning, the prospect of a new day ahead, the air chilled before the rising of a new (and still same old) Sun. But the evening is still young and I am just one more writer cast in a shadow, trying to escape the misery of “what’s next? What is next, what is next, what is NEXT?”

Jackson Williams.

There Are No “Real Men” – The Search For A Role Model / How I Learned to Live Without One

Trial of the Century

Pride Weekend

I’m going to tell you a secret.

Since I was young, maybe 8 or 10 years old, I’ve never had a male role model.

To be clear, I did grow up with a father. My parents never split, and while they had their issues – I wondered at times if they should have divorced – for the most part I grew up in a stable environment. I disagreed with my dad (and still do) on plenty of things, but generally we get along and have made our peace on most of the details. Of course, I would do it differently if I had children…perhaps that’s a fairly standard response considering the generational gap (I’m 29, my dad is 72).

But, when I think about men I admired growing up there is an empty space.

Searching for role models

My dad taught me some important things, like the value of hard…

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“When the Levee Breaks” (Led Zeppelin)

If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
If it keeps on rainin’, levee’s goin’ to break
When The Levee Breaks I’ll have no place to stay. 

Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Mean old levee taught me to weep and moan
Got what it takes to make a mountain man leave his home, 
Oh, well, oh, well, oh, well.

J.W.

The 10 Most Anticipated Novels of 2015

Toni Morrison

Flavorwire

If 2014 was a year of solid works by major writers, like Marilynn Robinson’s Lila, and groundbreaking debuts, like Nell Zink’s The Wallcreeper, 2015 looks to be, well, the same. Although it’s difficult to know what great novels may come out of independent presses, we already have a strong slate of promising works by relative unknowns, like Mary Costello, and relative well-knowns, like Toni Morrison and Jonathan Franzen, from the bigger houses. There are so many potentially noteworthy books that I was forced to excise Nobel winner Patrick Modiano’s collection of novellas and Milan Kundera’s new short novel, The Festival of Insignificance, due in June. In any case, here are the novels sure to drive the literary conversation in 2015.

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