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A Thought for Today
Impulse and passion may be powerful, but
thought rules the world.
In 1974 when I was working on
my book ďAloneĒ I decided to begin each chapter with a meditation of
sorts; something that would set out in advance what the poems to follow
would be about. Here are five of those chapter headings or, if you will,
The stone cries out. A whisper first, a moan and then a muffled shout.
Nobody listens. Why bother with the stone, the single singing rock, the
lone man dealing out the cards upon the table in the game of solitaire?
The soloist, whether up above the orchestra, on the outside of the woods,
beyond the meatrack or in the farthest elbow of a crowded room, is asking
to be left alone or crying out for company. No matter. Very rarely does
the solo player engage in double solitaire. The reason is a simple one -
always thereís a chance of winning.
By Their Numbers You Will Know Them
Encounters are the footsteps up and down the ladder or through the
littered alleyways of time. As such, not to be taken lightly, or cherished
beyond the reality as food for the imaginationís future. A friend once
told me that to every new encounter he gave only what he himself needed in
Fifteen years later I still see him backed up against the jukebox in the
same bar where we met before. He looks unchanged, still wearing the old
school tie (though the school itself has been razed), still posturing as
though a sculptor chiseled him into that single pose and welded him
forever there. He even says the same things to me as I pause, nod hello,
and then pass over to the next bar continuing in the hunt.
What he says mostly is, ĎDonít let anyone come too close to youí. I smile
and nod, because I know that he expects me to smile and nod in silent
My friend looks the same as fifteen years ago, except when you get close.
Go easy. No one will believe you if you come in fast. Take no one unaware.
Give each new friend, potential enemy, or love time to do their own
mind-making and deciding. And for as long as possible, be open with your
own decisions. Never consciously run back home with more than you receive.
Be gentle. God, how all of us want and need that now. Donít cry out. I was
only testing you, trying to be sure. Not of you, of me.
To Begin With...
To begin with, every page is blank, until a word, a smudge, a paragraph is
set down upon it. Some pages still stay blank after the most intricate,
indelible story has been started.
The starting of a new story is always easy; itís the ending that comes
hard. Knowing when to draw conclusions, the point to let your characters
stop leading you so that you can take command. When is the sum enough to
provide the summing up?
I do not know how death will come to me, though once I thought I did. How
I will greet it will depend on how hard or easy it comes in. I am very
sure that any pain that might accompany my going could not be as bad or
worse than some Iíve known within my life. I am resolved that, if I can, I
will view the end as the writer does the blank page just in front of him,
Afterwards & Afterthoughts
When itís over, love, someoneís birthday, the big game or the funeral,
words not only come to mind that would have been said earlier if the brain
was always working, but recriminations and prayers for replay fill the
mind and work it overtime. A conversation in the head long after every
chance has passed is not unusual, more the rule.
After every loss, or what we term to be our losses, a hundred master plans
are planned, a dozen avenues we might have taken, had not a certain road
been blocked, stretched out before us like a city map.
Finally the afterthoughts afterward are lost like all the melodies that
had no meaning and the memories that did.
-from ďAlone,Ē 1975
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman