On the phone, at a gas station, in our dreams
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The out-of-body experience seems to be the closest thing that people report to death . . . In an out-of-body experience, people report that their consciousness can move to different physical locations, can roam about without the body, in some presumably immaterial form.
I’ve hardly looked at a newspaper since election day, and prefer to remain ignorant about the measure of your victory, your kind words about President Ford, your ruminations about a tax cut, and so on. A nation with the ability to deliver a pizza, or a guided missile, at 3 in the morning, also excels at serving up daily a leaden mix of uninformed gossip and conjecture called news. I’d sooner trust my dreams.
A very real problem for a writer can be finding oneself caught under a suffocating influence of colleagues, critics, tiresome attitudes, overused images. My recent experience as guest poet to two sixth-grade classes at the Frank Porter Graham School proved to be a successful and enjoyable learning experience for the students as well as a fresh poetic breath for me.
Old letters are like old photographs of yourself. I’m shocked; I can actually hear this child-me speaking through these letters to myself. “To me when I am 13.” “To me when I am 16.” “To me when I am grown and a married lady.”
Reading The Idiot again after five years I am struck by what does not fit into the usual critical categories, a certain kind of truth in the writing, the erratic unnameable of vision. I begin to see there is no proper category for the vivid, an impulse to reveal, an edging toward light.
South Africa first entered into the American national consciousness this past summer when the sprawling, million person ghetto of Soweto rose up in protests that the police and army quickly turned into bloody riot. As in any confrontation where rocks and bottles are met with automatic rifles, and shotguns, the casualties were one-sided and heavy. The initial deaths galvanized the emotions, and protests, counter-violence and killing spread until every major city was involved and the rest of the world at last was made aware of the horror of being black in a nation of slavers.
The days of my life are inscribed in autumn’s diary; the leaves are pages burnished by experiences: some fiery red, some golden yellow, some mellow green, some dull brown.
Speaking over a year ago at Duke University, Congressman Andrew Young of Georgia made the far fetched prediction that the next President of the United States would be a Southerner. All of us at Duke thought that he was speaking of Terry Sanford. Young was speaking of his friend from Georgia.
I make most of my money from advertising. I know, I know. A lower form of enterprise is hard for many to imagine. Especially for a writer. Well, I’ll tell you this: for a writer unencumbered by ideological purity, it can be a damn fine business.
To me the most natural form of exercise is running; to run you need no equipment but yourself, you need no shelter but the sky, you need no teacher but your instincts. Your energy goes directly into learning how to move with ease and grace.
Standing on the roof of a building high above Chapel Hill, I watch the sun passionately set. The sky is dazzling. The end of day heralded by pastels of tangerine, salmon, crimson, lavender, azure. Voluptuous swells of purple cumulus clouds glide across the lower sky while, high above, sleek streams of feathery cirrus race into the darkened east. I am awed.
Food coops became popular during the past decade as an alternative to supermarkets and retail natural food stores. What draws people to them are lower prices, democratic participation, friendly atmosphere, higher quality, and other factors. A number of books and articles have appeared extolling the virtues of coops, but very little of a critical nature has been written.
“My aunt passed away as a result of athlete’s foot,” I was telling the man in a dayglo toga at the urinal next to mine. The person they called The Wizard and I were standing in the grimy men’s room of the Greyhound Bus Station in Ishpeming, Michigan. This is where The Wizard met visitors.