Who Is Lucy?

Lucy is one of today’s mysteries.

 

First there was the question of Sunday. I’d not noticed it was Sunday until I picked up the newspaper from the driveway’s edge. What a big newspaper today, I thought. Why, it’s the Medford Mail Trib. We get the Ashland Daily Tidings, except for Sunday, when the Tidings isn't published, which is when the Medford Mail Trib is instead delivered. But why were we getting it today, I wondered, hypothesizing about what had happened in the Saturday morning newspaper delivery business that may have wrought this baffling change. I could have looked at the newspaper for clues, perhaps finding something in the masthead, like the date, explaining this change, but I instead noodled around it until I slowly warmed to the understanding that this was not Saturday, but Sunday.

That mystery resolved, I left for the coffee shop and on to other mysteries. The first were the jays. What was going on with them? Hustling into flight from tree to tree, their noisy progress eviscerated the morning’s quiet. Flying across the street and down from several directions at once, all followed a route. Must be a predator they’re chasing away, I guessed, looking for them. Quickly as they began, the birds found trees and quieted.

Then a puke beige Toyota from the late 1990s raced past, empty except for the female driver eating something in her hand, going 50 to 60 to my eyes, in a 35 MPH zone, worrying me on behalf of the cyclists, elderly drivers, small animals, walkers and runners who use the road. But while cursing her for her speed and wondering what drove her to drive fast here, a man came by on a bicycle. Carrying a long handle ax, he nodded at me and said, “Good morning,” as he pedaled past.

Say, buddy, I was inclined to ask, where you biking with that ax? But he was past and gone. Besides, it’s a beautiful morning, two parts early spring, one part late fall, totally unseasonable, part of an unseasonable winter. Today’s high will be 67 F. Lack of snow has closed the ski resort again this year. They’ve laid off everyone save five, over one hundred people. I feel for them but had always had doubts about the ski resort’s planned expansion, pushing back against it because I was more worried about the water supply than employment.

Brian is today’s barista at the coffee shop. It’s his birthday. We chatted and laughed about that and the less than significant impact a birthday has on us. Neither of us are big about ages or birthdays. He’d splurged on himself, bought a new iPhone, two weeks ago, after saving for it for months. Two days later, his car stopped running correctly and made death noises. He took it to a mechanic. Major work needed, emptying his cash. He was living day to day. Today is pay day but since it’s Sunday, he doesn’t get paid until tomorrow. Can I loan or give him something? No, but thanks.

Then – I heard about Lucy. I’d been writing like crazy. Dressed in casual hiking gear, of the sort favored for a few miles with friends, nothing strenuous, the five women spoke with lively volume at the next table. I heard references to east coast rowing, crime rates, and new stores. They reminded me of my wife and her friends, discussing well known subjects that needed little explanation, building on things said in past meetings.

“I have to go,” one said. They rose, talking louder, and one said, “I have to check on Lucy and see if she’s still alive.”

Lucy had gone into the garage and eaten four bars of rat poison yesterday. “Oh, no,” everyone said with shocked gasps. “Fortunately Ron went into the garage, saw some rat poison was missing, figured it was Lucy, so we rushed her to the hospital out by the airport. We couldn’t take the chance.”  As all agreed, “No,” she said, “They pumped her stomach and sure enough, she’d eaten all four bars.”

“No,” they said, “is she all right?”

“It takes two days to affect her so fortunately we found her and had her stomach pumped, otherwise it would have been Monday and she would have been in the air, which would have been terrible.”

Yes. I figured Lucy for an animal, a dog, perhaps. They left. Decibels in the coffee shop fell by half. I took a little writing break to write this note, amusing myself as I paused to consider the novel, the progress, my day, and my life, and sent Lucy a little positive energy.

 

Time to return to writing like crazy, where things are climaxing.

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Rosy Cole
This 'writing like crazy' stuff is configuring whole new (entertaining for your readers) perspectives in time and space ... Read More
Monday, 26 January 2015 11:08
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My best friend.

I know Pat Montandon, a celebrated bestselling author of California and USA,a social worker, 'The Peace Messenger Award' winner and a very famous high society persona of her time, since 2008 via Red Room, a former writers' website. In these six years she has changed my life. She encouraged me to become a writer. She honed my skill by spending her valuable time online whenever I needed help. I found in her an expert teacher, magnificent mentor, adorable elder, loving friend and a perfect soul-mate. Today many writers, book loving persons and noble veterans of other fields know me only because Pat Montandon knows me. I traveled from India to California with my wife Dr.Usha in September 2014 just to meet this legendary lady and to participate in her fifth book launch at Book Passage, San Rafael-SF. She welcomed us heartily to her home and introduced us to her friends. Meeting her was an overwhelming experience for us. We were simply mesmerized by her personality and her down to earth attitude. I want to thank Patsy for being such a wonderful and valued friend to me. With my love and gratitude to her 'Pat Montandon Women's Health Care' was started on 1st January 2015. We will continue offering help to needy women till our strength lasts. I also celebrated her birthday by offering food to poor children.   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pat-Montandon-Womens-Health-Care/1621438708079032?ref=bookmarks                                                                 b2ap3_thumbnail_100_9684-3.JPG         b2ap3_thumbnail_DSC01378.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_10576896_1622391467983756_4311943474715711236_n.jpg

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Wonderful tribute, Dr Jitu. Patsy's presence was a bright light of the Red Room, her gifts and demonstrable humanity truly inspiri... Read More
Sunday, 25 January 2015 11:39
Jitu C Rajgor
You are right Rosy, she indeed is.
Sunday, 25 January 2015 20:21
Rosy Cole
Perhaps it's worth adding that Patsy was kind enough to encourage me, too, in the early days of our former venue. She is one of th... Read More
Monday, 26 January 2015 11:00
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3 Comments

I Keep Reminding Myself

"Write as it is given you, and not till it be given you, and never mind a whit.”

 Thomas Carlyle, in a letter to Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Recent Comments
Rosy Cole
Got a problem. They don't do a hashtag on Twitter #amnotwriting. Perhaps I should start one just for you and Thomas Carlyle (wh... Read More
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 18:06
Stephen Evans
If that's what is given you, why not?
Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:00
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2 Comments

The Absence

A chilly wind blows, something from the north imbued with an Arctic edge, refreshing today, complementing my mood and the shifting, uncertain white and gray sky. My mood is swelling to happy heights, despite Tucker peeing on the sofa this morning.

 

Oh, that Tucker. We found that our black and white enigma stray adoptee is not neutered, which fills in some background about his behavior. Yes, that’s on the list, take him in and get him done, part of the ritual of assimilating him, along with shots. He’s much healthier now. That was our first concern. Second was finding his people. Failing that, he and we belong to one another now.

My high spirits today owe to others’ misfortunates, in an indirect manner. I read of others’ difficulties and that provided the perspective to draw back and see my mountains as ant hills. I thought as I walked and wrote in my head, absences are very important.

I often write in my head about things besides my fiction as I walk. I usually then transcribe them later in the day. Sometimes I post them on the Net. Looking at all that I write versus what I post, I post about forty percent of what I write. Writing is a continuous exploration. It never ends. It’s an extension of my thinking, a tool to help clarify my thinking. The territories explored include everything. Everything needs explored. Think of your neighborhood and how well you know it. But do you know its full history? Probably not. You’re probably familiar with a slice, maybe a big slice, but still a slice. There’s exploring to be done.

I explored absences today. Absences cause magnification. In the absence of true adversity and loss, small losses are magnified to be larger. Lacking large achievements, small achievements, like a new high score on a computer game, becomes magnified to be more magnificent and worthwhile, even as we remind ourselves that it’s just a damn computer game. Part of my exploration goes back to an Atlantic article about robotization (which probably isn’t a word, but I’m using it) and artificial intelligence, and the influences on human society if or when they come. As the average work week shrinks from 70 hours to 37 hours, people have more time to do other things. Mostly what they do, according to studies, is binge on Netflix, and play games. We’re not sitting around, reading the classics and discussing Plato, as some futurists had once envisioned.

That’s how absences work. The article, and the PEW study that prompted it, both noted that we, as a society – I’m talking America here, to be clear – aren’t prepared for an automated society. A coherent plan is absent, since most of our planning is actually reactive, to solve past problems, rather than looking forward, to take advantage of all the possibilities and solve problems and create a better future. Education, economics, and politics are all behind the curve here. Not surprising; American’s political elite seem to be lethargic about addressing the will of the people and looking forward for solutions – see this week’s Congress and its actions, against what polls show Americans want – and more about changing back to what once worked, or making it more profitable to be a corporation or the rich one percent. Those are the safe paths. Most people prefer following the safe paths. Politicians are not different, they’re just more egotistical sociopaths. Like CEOs.

Do you know that one Republican recently declared that corporations are the true populists?

What will we do, Mark Andreeson asked via Tweets, if everything is provided to us, that automation and robots do everything for us, freeing us to do…nothing and anything? Well, most of us have unfortunately hitched our sense of self-worth and actualization to our accomplishments. Our society encourages it in America: “What will you be, when you grow up, Suzy?” “How will you make your living, Bobby?” Our accomplishments are mostly linked to employment, popularity, wealth, and other status symbols that we take to mean success – titles, trophies, cars, clothing, houses, Likes, Friends, Shares.

I’ve been asking myself that, as I face retirement this year at age 59, what will I do in the absence of work? Financially, I pretty prepared. Emotionally, I have some grasp but my wife and I are differing about what ‘we’ should do after ‘my’ retirement. I wrote about that in ‘When I Grow Up.’ I don’t know if I posted it. I don’t think I did.

As I read the original study behind AI and automation, I thought, this sounds like the Star Trek franchise and its society. Others agreed down in the comments. It’s the transition from the current society to that Star Trek vision that many addressed. Nuclear war and widespread suffering took place before someone said, “Enough. We got to get off this planet. Living here is killing us.” Is that what it will take to force change upon us?

I once read that Cormac McCarthy believes the only thing worth writing about is death. I enjoy his writing, dark as it is. He’s masterful about pondering death and the way it’s delivered and endured, and the changes brought on at a personal level when death is experienced.

Without consciously thinking about it, all my fiction writing is about the nature of reality, perceptions of what is going on, and how we act as though we understand everything. I like playing mind games by hypothesizing what’s really going on, and I like using multiple POVs to magnify the absence of understanding. The novel I’m now finishing is about how the family members made assumptions and acted upon them, how their parents’ secrets affected their plans and attitudes, and their efforts to change. There’s a lot of lying involved, to themselves and one another, to protect themselves, ideals, and others. “Fix Everything” is the working title but I’ve been thinking about re-titling it as “All At Once”, in honor of the quantum physics and cosmological theories that are the novel’s foundations. Meanwhile, I’ve begun writing another novel, in which Mother Nature uses movies to expand reality. Something has gone wrong in both novels, of course; something always goes wrong. That’s the fascinating aspect to explore for me, how things go wrong, the impact, and how people adjust. In the first novel, Hywell and his brothers and sisters wrestle with disappointment and isolation despite their wealth; in the second novel, Cassidy, Myrtle and Chronos the Third are working on the problem, and starting that good old race against time before reality ends for humanity – and Mother Nature.

It’s a bizarre world, a bizarre existence that I contemplate. I wonder what the truth is. In the absence of certainty, I create fiction.

 

Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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