“And to these beautiful two children And to my sweet and tender wife I will love you three forever Through I fly beyond this life” ― Lyle Lovett, The Twelfth of June
Tonight we spent ten dollars and bought an online concert with Lyle Lovett and Chris Isaak – each singing alone and separate. The sang with acoustic guitars unaccompanied. It was genius – the best ten bucks we ever spent.
Chris Isaak singing Wicked Games solo was amazing – a wildly different take on a very familiar song. So was Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing.
Lyle Lovett, of course, was incredible. On My Boat is one of my favorites of all time. He sang a beautiful, sad, new song called Twelfth of June that was absolutely gorgeous, breathtaking, and heartbreaking. I hope he records it soon.
The pandemic forced these two great musicians into this weird pay-per-view format, but it was stunning and so much fun.
“After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again
I worked at work and then worked at home and didn’t finish until eleven o’clock. Only time for a quick read of classic flash fiction. Luckily it, although well over a hundred years old, is a good one.
“I only achieve simplicity with enormous effort” ― Clarice Lispector, A Hora Da Estrela
I rode my bike to the grocery store today – we only needed a couple things: a dozen eggs and one jalapeño pepper. It was raining and surprisingly cold, but I rode my bike anyway. While I was locking up, next to me a woman was in her car, her head covered in plastic, carefully reaching out and grabbing stuff from her cart. Even though it was only a sprinkle and felt good after a hot Texas summer, she was being very careful not to let any of the rain touch her. She looked at me as water dripped off my foam helmet like I had lost my mind.
Unfortunately, when I was about to enter the store the strap on my mask broke and I didn’t have a spare so I rode back home empty-panniered. Then I found a jalapeño in the crisper and nobody really needed eggs so I stayed home and read my weekly allowance of The Brothers Karamazov.
Today’s flash fiction is an odd little bird from an author I have been reading pretty regularly.
“But man is a fickle and disreputable creature and perhaps, like a chess-player, is interested in the process of attaining his goal rather than the goal itself.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground, White Nights, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man, and Selections from The House of the Dead
I was up way too late last night reading. I’m deep into my reading group’s peregrination through The Brothers Karamazov. So here’s a Russian story:
“That room made no sense as a storm refuge, numberless rogue objects lying around and not enough duct tape on the windows. Her housemates panicked up and down the stairs, thumping on the walls, for dawn had turned to day and still the storm roared..” ― Alex Sheal, before the storm
It stormed last night, although it didn’t rain until after I got out of bed. The power went off and I didn’t know it. The alarm went off on my phone and when I silenced it my clock said three AM. I glanced at the window and it was dark (this time of year my alarm goes off in twilight) – so I thought my clock was right and my phone had the wrong time. The thought of my phone being in error filled me with terror – the world has truly gone mad.
But at that moment a terrific bolt of lightning struck right outside my window and I realized it was the thick thunderclouds that made it so dark – hiding the day from my bedroom window.
I decided to take my COVID-19 prerogative and work from home for the day.
“You people who have survived childhood don’t remember any longer what it was like. You think children are whole, uncomplicated creatures, and if you split them in two with a handy axe there would be all one substance inside, hard candy. But it isn’t hard candy so much as a hopeless seething lava of all kinds of things, a turmoil, a mess. And once the child starts thinking about this mess he begins to disintegrate as a child and turns into something else–an adult, an animal.” ― Joyce Carol Oates
What I like the best about her is that she is not afraid to go for the jugular. I have a need to explore the thin membrane – the border – between what we all consider our day-to-day lives and the world of evil chaos that is right there on the other side. She understands that and will cross that membrane and will bring you along with her.
In today’s bit if flash fiction she does that, in only 500 words.
“The world says: “You have needs — satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don’t hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more.” This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Tonight, I had a Zoom meeting from home. I used to go to these reading group meetings at the Wild Detectives Book Store in Bishop Arts. My favorite was when I’d take the train and trolley from work every Wednesday after work for that week’s meeting on reading Gravity’s Rainbow.
It was fun.
It feels like a thousand years ago.
So now the same group is going to do another “Difficult Book.” We are reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov over the next few months – about a hundred pages a week. We will meet on Zoom every week to discuss what we’ve read.
Tonight was the kickoff meeting – no reading yet… only introductions and strategies. It was a little awkward – everyone seems so lonely. Hopefully, we will all get along. It should be fun.
Ok, here’s the opposite of a Russian novel – some flash fiction from The New Yorker.