There are some dirty rotten scoundrels in this world. They get mixed in with all of us. Deep thinkers that I know propose that we are all potentially evil. They claim we have latent seeds of dirt and rot and scoundrel just waiting to break out
I suppose they are right. I lose my temper. I hate traffic. Things can get out of hand. I am prone to get upset and create my own personal hockey rink moment.
But this choice between the lesser of two evils where did this tradition come from?
I think a lot of the women I have dated were selected on just this basis. And to be honest I sometimes danced with my lesser angels when selecting between these two different candidates. To set the record straight, I was happy about it then and I am sorry for it now
Curiosity can be a doorway to a place we might not usually go. I had a lady friend explain how bored she was. She said she needed to find something that had been missing. She wanted it to be exciting again. She didn’t want any trouble just looking to make a little mischief. She wanted a man who looked like an outlaw on the outside but who had a good heart on his inside.
So, that made some kind of non-logical common sense to me. What it might mean is that one person finds another person that they think less of, while at that very same time that lesser person they found also thinks less of them too. It can happen, both persons thinking less of the other. Now, they both might be thought of as a couple, not so much hooking up with a person they call their better half, but instead their more rotten half, and so this is how it is possible that in this world we explain what it means when we say that they are involved with the evil of two ‘lessers.’
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Back in ’64 when cigarette smoking remained a virtuous activity for an aspiring up and coming young man San Jose was a place where one of the largest stone fruit crops in the world was still grown. Apricots, peaches, and nectarine orchards were still a defining feature. The Jesuits were still growing wine at the Novitiate up in Los Gatos. They didn’t just turn grapes into wine they were busy forming men into priests. Our current Governor Jerry Brown was making grapes into wine there back in the day. But as it turned out the Jesuits were unable to turn an unwilling Jerry Brown into a priest.
Albert Gonsalves, my grandfather was in the last years of owning his saloon. Sinatra in 1964 was recording Fly Me to the Moon, The Best is Yet to Come and My Kind of Town. It would be a few years before we all would come to understand the meaning of all of this.
In the end it all became crystal clear. My grandfather would end up buying up most of the Novitiates Vintage 1964 Ruby Port.He kept the cases at Tambo’s the saloon he owned down at the corner of East 14th Street and 98th Avenue right there in the heart of Elmhurst- a neighborhood on the south side of Oakland.
At home in his closet was stacked a good five cases of the deep red port wine. I’d come by now and again. My grandfather enjoyed a good one way conversation. This was one of those can’t get a word in edgewise type of conversations. In point of fact you couldn’t find a detectable gap in his speech where it seemed it might be alright to butt in and form a dialogue. No, this was impossible. Grandpa was a monologist, a man who pondered conundrums, scolded the morally weak, and waxed eloquently on the beauty of the steam engine and its close second cousin the whiskey still of which he had first hand experience and was something of an expert in how to use one of these devices.
What I came to understand about my grandfathers speechifying was that he had found in that Novitiate Vintage 1964 Ruby Port the perfect elixir to serve as a way of softening up any guest so that he might turn that visitor into his audience where he could demonstrate his most amazing oratorical talent of telling stories in such a manner that the only way to get out of such a fix was when my grandmother would come into the room and by way of mercy save grandpa’s now Port soaked victim from her husbands singular talent of holding a person speechless against their will.
My grandfather and I played a game of cat and mouse as those years rolled by. I’d show up for one thing or another and he’d walk out of the closet with a bottle of the vintage ruby port. All I had to do was agree to have a glass of wine and next thing you know there I’d be right back at the dining room table right back in the same fix all over again.
About all you need to know now is that I loved my grandfather, even though I can’t remember a thing he said I still seem to have a vivid memory of that wine, you could say it was almost a religious experience.
BANKRUPT HEART THE SECOND NOVEL
“Look at me, why, why do I always pick the biggest dreamer in the crowd.”
“I guess you like big dreams…”
“They’re always these tough guys, cooking up adventures to go on, nobodies making plans to stick around,”
“You wouldn’t be attracted to that guy…”
“Guys like that see me coming a million miles away…”
“Jackie, the dull guy who’s buying hooks at the Western Bait and Tackle knows better than to try and take a bite of your apple. Man who’s got the courage to feast in your garden, that’s a different beast, whole different critter, this a feral animal, mercurial, master marksman, he devours weaker creatures, those are one night stands, women like that don’t stand a chance, but when that man spars with the likes of you, look out, sparks fly, man like that goes to the edge of the known world, you take him, force him to walk up to the cliff, and its like you take his hand and say come on let’s jump, mister tough guy, lets fly, I’ll take you to places you’ve only heard of…”
“Bingo brother, and you just watch yourself ’cause you can turn one year into ten just like that.” Crow snapped his fingers. “I swallowed a decade in the blink of an eye.”
“That’s a long drift, man, a long time.”
Momentum comes in every size and every color. You get a job, it pays the bills. You get into a relationship maybe it works well enough to keep you hanging around. I call it digging in. You get a place and jump into the day to day. For the moment things work well enough. You have stability and that can count. Might be you are working on something, developing something, might be something that develops over a longer time horizon. There are many things accomplished over a longer time frame. Homebuilders know what I mean. I knew a sculpture who worked on large urban sited monumental pieces. Restoring wood boats, writing novels, getting married having a family. There are things we set out to do that take dedication and a commitment of time. There’s a difference between falling into a sweet thing and setting out to do something you’ve made up in your mind to do. The mind sees into a thing only so far, the balance point tips, we run the risk, take the chance, we don’t really know how anything is going to turn out.
At moments Noel didn’t know if what he was doing was actually something she wanted. He tried biting her gently, and she cried out for him to stop, and when he did she held him back and would not let him get away.
In my first novel Highway Home it was important to build into the story what Noel Sanderson’s sexual experiences looked like. So, that required writing down on paper in detail the whole deal. That meant first I’d have to describe the scene physically. That’s fun to do. Next I had to write down the internal experiences. This was fun too. And in the end the purpose of writing about these personal, private, intimate scenes was to give a reader the most naked view possible of the characters efforts to be fully alive. The young man in this novel wasn’t in a relationship and how and under what circumstances he was able to create sexual contact with a partner is essential in describing how he comes to find relationship. Sometimes we find sex, sometimes we find love, sometimes we find both, and we never really know what we are going to find until we go for it. People in public are different than people behind closed doors. We seldom get candid answers from people when discussing sex. Who wants to tell someone about their one night stands? Some might, but others might emphasis the best experiences, others the wildest, it seems rare that people will explain the most ordinary, simple acts of love. It is as if the sight of that love is so close even they cannot see it. Who wants to tell someone about having sex with someone who is married? Who wants to explain the unconventional behaviors that they’ve been introduced to by a new partner? The sexual experience is a change experience. Who we are before we surrender to someone and who we are after is a catalyst to self revelation, sexuality is one of the most vivid parts of a person’s life. It is one of the most revealing, volitional actions where a writer can illustrate the fundamental nature of change.
I am fascinated by the psychological structure of character. I am interested in a more robust approach, that doesn’t persist in identifying character problems. So, what this might look like is that by pulling the lens back and looking at the larger world we find in the wider more diverse set of psychological practices. Dan Seigel, Jon Kabit Zinn, Jack Kornfield, David Richo, and John Welwood among others have been expanding on this topic. I attended a David Richo workshop and he commented that in his decades of practice as a therapist most of his clients faced a crisis of personhood and few actually needed therapy. This bigger picture, this larger possible framework allows for new approaches to exploring change…in other words we can embark on a story in a novel and not force our characters into the straitjacket of western psychological frames… we have a much more diverse, much larger set of possibilities….so many more…it allows for the author to introduce readers to new pathways that might offer a more robust, more profound transformation…