Shifting Landscapes

“Sometimes, when one is moving silently through such an utterly desolate landscape, an overwhelming hallucination can make one feel that oneself, as an individual human being, is slowly being unraveled. The surrounding space is so vast that it becomes increasingly difficult to keep a balanced grip on one’s own being. The mind swells out to fill the entire landscape, becoming so diffuse in the process that one loses the ability to keep it fastened to the physical self. The sun would rise from the eastern horizon, and cut it’s way across the empty sky, and sink below the western horizon. This was the only perceptible change in our surroundings. And in the movement of the sun, I felt something I hardly know how to name: some huge, cosmic love.”
Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Shifting Landscapes, Shawn Saumell

Shifting Landscapes, Shawn Saumell

In November, on a bike-ride version of the Cedars Open Studio tour we stopped at an exhibition called Hyperlocal, by The MAC. There was a lot of good stuff there – but one in particular stood out. It was by Shawn Saumell and was called Shifting Landscapes. A small diorama of dried moss and flowers sat on a pedestal. An IV bag hung from the ceiling – slowly and steadily pouring out, not liquid, but a stream of sand. This was building up on the tiny landscape until, eventually, it would drown it in dryness.

Pretty cool stuff.

Creepy Snowman

“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.”
Dylan Thomas, A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Grapevine, Texas

At the Grapevine Christmas Festival they had these crude animatronic snowmen – where a moving face was projected inside a frosted glass globe when the snowmen talked. They told some sort of winter/Christmas story. The kids were fascinated. I thought it was creepy and didn’t stick around long enough to figure out what they were talking about.

Short Story (flash fiction) of the Day – The Tired Day by Benjamin Woodward

And in an empty parking lot, Louis, a junkie, dropped his syringe before the heroin could enter his vein, saving his life, if only temporarily.

—-Benjamin Woodward, The Tired Day

Downtown Square, McKinney, Texas

 

Today we have very short piece of flash fiction –

The Tired Day by Benjamin Woodward

from Craft.

I enjoyed this simple little piece of unique fiction. Like all good flash fiction it asks many more questions than it answers. Maybe I liked it because I feel like that all the time.

The Author’s Note is interesting too – he talks of writer’s block and bringing abandoned work back to life.

Two Dreams About Him After He Died

“I had two dreams about him after he died. I don’t remember the first one all that well but it was about meetin’ him in town somewheres and he give me some money and I think I lost it. But the second one it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin’ through the mountains of a night. Goin’ through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin’. Never said nothin’. He just rode on past and he had this blanket wrapped around him and he had his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. About the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin’ on ahead and that he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.”
Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men

Nightwatchman, Grapevine City Hall, Grapevine, Texas

Nightwatchman, Grapevine City Hall, Grapevine, Texas

     As we walked down Main Street in Grapevine taking photographs for the Winter Dallas Photowalk I couldn’t keep from looking ahead at a giant statue, The Grapevine Nightwatchman, on top of the Grapevine City Hall. It was a giant bronze man in a cowboy hat holding a lantern in the night. By the time we arrived at that part of the street the sun had long set and I couldn’t get a good photo of it – couldn’t do justice anyway. Sometimes it’s like that… you know you have to see it live – but you snap that shutter anyway.
     For some reason I kept thinking of that quote at the end of No Country for Old Men (the book and the movie) about the sheriff’s dream of his father going ahead on horseback carrying fire in a horn. I know the statue had a lantern… not a horn of coals and wasn’t on horseback, but he had that same look of ancient burden and longing – of stoic hopeless responsibility – that I imagine  the sheriff’s father had  in the dream.

Water Off A Duck’s Back

“-Hey, listen,” I said. “You know those ducks in that lagoon right near Central Park South? That little lake? By any chance, do you happen to know where they go, the ducks, when it gets all frozen over? Do you happen to know, by any chance?” I realized it was only one chance in a million.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Bachman Lake, Dallas, Texas

I watched the ducks go about their start of the day routine from a bench along the water at dawn. One ritual was to repeatedly duck under the water and rise up – letting the water run off their feathers. Like taking a little duck shower.