We Can Only Scratch Away

“The worse the country, the more tortured it is by water and wind, the more broken and carved, the more it attracts fossil hunters, who depend on the planet to open itself to us. We can only scratch away at what natural forces have brought to the surface.”
Jack Horner, How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

Spring Creek, Garland, Texas

The bicycle bones are exposed yet slowly sinking into the muck along the flowing creek. Like a fossil from the recent explosion of eighteen thousand dockless shared rentals the bright yellow steel attests to the (possibly) well-intentioned  insanity that swept suddenly then faded even faster. No mastodon skeleton could be a better representative of the once-swarming extinct than this pile of tattered metal.

Reborn

“We die a little every day and by degrees we’re reborn into different men, older men in the same clothes, with the same scars.”
Mark Lawrence, King of Thorns

Birth II, by Arthur Williams, Dallas, Texas

Over the years, I’ve written about the sculpture that used to sit near the Lover’s Lane DART station – 2013, Egg – then 2019, A First Crack Reaching , and finally 2019, Birth II,

I found the sculpture referenced in a book I have on Texas sculpture and discovered it was called Birth II and was by a man named Arthur Williams.

The area is being extensively redone, and the sculpture disappeared – I wrote about that too Earthly and Mechanical Paraphernalia

I figured that was it – all she wrote.

But in the last few days I have been getting comments on my Birth II blog post. The sculptor’s son messaged me to say his father was retired from sculpting and teaching after losing his studio and work in hurricane Katrina, but was still alive and doing well. That was cool

And then I received a message from a representative from the University Crossing Public Improvement District. The sculpture had been donated to the district, and is being restored. “It’s planned to be placed behind The Highland Hotel at the base of the Mockingbird bridge here in Dallas.”

There is a little piece of green space along the bike trail – I hope that is where it is placed.

That is so cool. I hope to be able to go down the the ribbon cutting.

Mockingbird Pedestrian Bridge

Blue Angels

You must drink. I’m not paying for your art.

—-Kiepert, The Blue Angel

The Blue Angels flew over Dallas in honor of the COVID-19 first responders.

I was at work and pretty much everyone filed out into the parking lot to watch them fly over – wearing our surgical masks and staying six feet apart from each other.

They were over in a few seconds. I had brought my camera and snapped a few photos – though I have friends that were, say, downtown, and took much better pictures of the jets against the towering crystal skyscrapers. Still, I raised my camera and shot – something doesn’t really happen unless you have a photo of it.

 

The Blue Angels over my work parking lot.

The Blue Angels over my work parking lot turning with smoke.

The Blue Angels turning toward downtown Dallas.

Just To Nourish Human Loneliness

“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Footprints and Bike Tracks in thin mud on concrete path, Trinity River Bottoms, Dallas, Texas

There were people here once.

Short Story Of the Day, The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

There is nothing more irritable than departments, regiments, courts of justice, and, in a word, every branch of public service.

—-Nikolai Gogol, The Overcoat

Poppies, by W. Stanley Proctor
Liberty Plaza
Farmer’s Branch, Texas
(click to enlarge)

Yesterday, I wrote about George Saunders and his story – The Red Bow

I included this Youtube video of George Saunders and some writing tips.

The first question is “What is your favorite short story?” and he answered “The Overcoat” by Nikolai Gogol. He said, “It’s funny and sad and I think it’s the way that God actually thinks of us if he in fact does.”

I have had the story “The Nose” by Gogol as one of my short stories before.

Like “The Nose” – “The Overcoat” is written in an older style – more telling than showing – but it is as genius, funny, and shattering as Saunders says it is. I had read “The Overcoat” before – long ago – but didn’t remember all the details… only the sadness and feeling of helplessness. Reading it again it was even more heartbreaking, knowing what was going to happen to the hopeless protagonist.

Read it here:

The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

from East Of the Web

The next question on the interview is “Best piece of writing advice?”.

He replies that a mentor Tobias Wolff told him, “Don’t lose the magic.” Great advice.

I am a huge fan of Tobias Wolff – if you ask me Wolff’s story “In The Garden Of The North American Martyrs”  is my favorite short story (or at least one of them) and one of the best ever written.

I’ve used a couple of online Tobias Wolff stories for my stories of the day before:

Bullet in the Brain

Hunters in the Snow

On both of those entries I wrote about my favorite Tobias Wolff story:

I remember one time, years ago, he was giving a talk at the Dallas Museum of Art as part of the Arts & Letters Live series. Well, I’m poor and can’t afford the full price ticket to these lectures, but, for a lower price, you can attend and sit in an auditorium off to the side where the lecture is beamed in on a screen. I was sitting there, waiting with a few other people (the main room was packed) when I looked up and there was Tobias Wolff, walking between the rows talking to us. He said he didn’t think it was fair that we had to sit in the other room and had arranged for an extra row of seats to be installed down across the front. We all marched into the big room and saw the live lecture, right up on the first row, thanks to the author.

It was really cool and thoughtful of him – and I’ll never forget it.

The Swirling

“My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Old photo of the Trinity River in flood stage, Dallas, Texas

The Small Things You, Yourself Have

“What’s really important here,” I whispered loudly to myself,”is not the big things other people have thought up, but the small things you, yourself have”
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Mural, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

 

The Girl With Many Eyes

The Girl With Many Eyes
One day in the park
I had quite a surprise.
I met a girl
who had many eyes.

She was really quite pretty
(and also quite shocking!)
and I noticed she had a mouth,
so we ended up talking.

We talked about flowers,
and her poetry classes,
and the problems she’d have
if she ever wore glasses.

It’s great to know a girl
who has so many eyes,
but you really get wet
when she breaks down and cries.”
Tim Burton

Tattoo Parlor Window, Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

 

Laissez les bons temps rouler – from Bishop Arts Mardi Gras Parade – 2013

Nor Does Lightning Travel In A Straight Line

“Why is geometry often described as “”cold” and “”dry?” One reason lies in its inability to describe the shape of a cloud, a mountain, a coastline, or a tree. Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”

― Benoît B. Mandelbrot, The Fractal Geometry of Nature

Union Station, Dallas, Texas