Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Santa Rosa Song

Two weeks later, my last entry looks like the shell of a barn in the dusk in a rear-view mirror. The blue’s gone gray and I’m miles from there.

My father used to say that as a kid on the farm during the Depression, summer seemed an eternity to him. But nowadays, perhaps due to the absence of gravity and dust, two weeks in cyberspace seems longer. Or maybe it’s the abundance of manure — our need to say something, even and especially when nothing is sure.

If childhood frames us, the myth of mine is as ripe as a star. Never lonely, yet ever alone. Searching, yes, and finding, always, the sweet melancholy of more.

Our neighbor to the north had Santa Rosa plums. There, among trunks and limbs like gnarled old men and the ancient rasp of lizards’ breath, I learned the art of sparrowsong. I know, because the little birds answered me.

Thus was I formed.

And oh, how I loved my mother’s plum jelly.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Feeding the Machine

The worldwide web is a vast wasteland akin to television — a place rich with possibility, yet so consumed by a clever-trite collision of egos as to be almost unbearable. There are voices, of course, that stand out and rise above the clamor; and there are genuine friendships that have been and are being forged. By and large, though, we have a tragic case on our hands, a mind-numbing situation in which billions of people are feeding the machine, instead of being fed, and, more importantly, nourished by it. What passes as reasoned discourse is really just gossip and hyperbole, a glib trading of congratulations and puns meant to attract attention. Presented in type, emphasized in quotes out of context, illustrated by emoticons and recycled images, many of which are stolen, this discourse is ignorance made visible. The degree to which we are infected by this disease — for the habitual waste of precious time and energy is a disease — is revealed in mental and physical paralysis that leaves us capable of little more than liking and sharing things on Facebook without having to do any real thinking or real work ourselves. The idea of study — taking our time, digging deeper, analyzing our thoughts and opinions and those of others and recognizing the need to grow and change — is all but dead in the water. Instead, if someone says something that reinforces our childish, unexamined idea of ourselves, we are satisfied. This is fine for those whose goal in life is to pass time. But for those who understand that their presence here is a fleeting, fragile gift, it is dangerous and unacceptable.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Poems and Charades

Poems and Charades

by Mary C. Barrett Brown

With a Key and Answers in Verse

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1888
by E.P. Dutton & Co.,
in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

Press of J.J. Little & Co.
Astor Place, New York

“Mr. Howard P. Smith with regards of Addison Brown”

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Makepeace in the Morning

The Works of William Makepeace Thackeray

Illustrated, Edition De Luxe, Ten Volumes
The Nottingham Society

(c. 1900)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Research Copies

Available in the Armenian Research Center
at the Mardigian Library, University of Michigan, Dearborn

A Listening Thing (novel)

Another Song I Know (poetry)

Winter Poems (poetry)

Among the Living and Other Stories (fiction)

Keyword Search: “William Michaelian”

The library holds two copies of A Listening Thing: Copy #78 of the limited first printing of The Tenth Anniversary Authorized Print Edition (Cosmopsis Books, 2011); and a rare review copy (uncorrected galley proofs) of the earlier unauthorized version.