A Month of Short Stories 2017, Day 12 – The Balloon, by Donald Barthelme

Over several years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month…. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year – In September this time… because it is September.

Today’s story, for day 12 – The Balloon, by Donald Barthelme

Read it online here:
The Balloon, by Donald Barthelme

Another man, on the other hand, might view the balloon as if it were part of a system of unanticipated rewards, as when one’s employer walks in and says, “Here, Henry, take this package of money I have wrapped for you, because we have been doing so well in the business here, and I admire the way you bruise the tulips, without which bruising your department would not be a success, or at least not the success that it is.” For this man the balloon might be a brilliantly heroic “muscle and pluck” experience, even if an experience poorly understood.

—-Donald Barthelme, The Balloon

When reading The Balloon I first thought of the artist Christo – though I have never seen one of their works, I did watch a fascinating and provocative documentary of their environmental installation in Central Park, The Gates. It made me wish I had been able to visit while the gates were up.

The Gates and The Balloon share the location of New York City and they share the confusion, adulation, and consternation of the crowds that interact with them.

The genius of Barthelme is that even in the brief work linked to here, he gives us an explanation in the end. The Balloon has a purpose, a very concrete one, even if it is only understood by two people. And it’s in a warehouse, waiting to be used again.

Donald Barthelme:

Art is not difficult because it wishes to be difficult, but because it wishes to be art. However much the writer might long to be, in his work, simple, honest, and straightforward, these virtues are no longer available to him. He discovers that in being simple, honest, and straightforward, nothing much happens: he speaks the speakable, whereas what we are looking for is the as-yet unspeakable, the as-yet unspoken.
from Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews of Donald Barthelme

Buckingham Road, Richardson, Texas

What I learned this week, April 27, 2012

A few weeks back, I wrote a couple of  blog entries about the new Museum Tower killing the Nasher Sculpture Center.

The news is spreading. Also, as the city prepares to open their much-ballyhooed park that has been built over the Woodall Rogers freeway – it has been “discovered” that the glare from the tower raises the temperature in the park significantly. Now, everyone is getting pissed off – though not as much as me.

There are some updates:

– D Magazine has done an extensive and interesting article about the tower and the politics behind it. Read this… it is fascinating stuff – even if you don’t give a damn about Dallas:
D MagazineThe Towering Inferno
How Museum Tower threatens the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Woodall Rodgers roofdeck park, two of the most prized assets of the city’s vaunted Arts District.

In the newest news, Dallas Lawyer Tom Luce has been appointed to mediate the dispute.
Dallas Lawyer Will Mediate Nasher vrs. Museum Tower  Dispute

Finally, the chairman of the Dallas Police and Fire Pension Trustees has a video saying that they have everything under control. He says they have been unfairly blamed for the problem. – He makes a good speech, but the building is still there – cooking everything within reach of its reflected laser beams. He says he’ll fix it – I’ll believe it when I see it.

It bugs me that he talks about all these architects, consultants, and experts they have hired. How about Renzo Piano, the architect of the Nasher. He has made his opinion very clear and he isn’t happy. It sounds to me like the Dallas Police and Fire Pension fund has hired a bunch of hacks and are trying to convince us they know more that the Pritzker Prize winner.

Nowhere in all of this do I hear anything about the fact the tower ruined James Turrell‘s Tending (Blue).

This whole thing makes me so angry… I better stop and move on now.


H.P. Lovecraft Answers Your Relationship Questions


During the week I sometimes see something cool surfing around and make a note to put a link to it up on my friday blog entry. But a day later the thing has gone viral, everybody knows about it, and I have to take it off.

Here’s one of those – you’ve probably seen it, but if you haven’t, you should.

Never Seen Before Photos of New York City

Grand Central Station

You can see the online gallery here: NYC Department of Records
( the link if flooded right now… hope it comes back soon, these photos are stunning).



Ten Steps To Coffee

ALL ABOUT COFFEE:
What is Coffee?
The History of Coffee
Ten Steps to Coffee
How to Store Coffee
How to Brew Coffee
The Value of Coffee
Coffee Recipes
Roasting Types
Coffee From the World
From the Seed to the Cup



Jackie Collins – on my decision to self-publish