Thursday, April 18, 2013


In the normal course of events, many elements, stand by themselves, refusing to combine until a greater force oversees the connecting process.  When such connections are made, the elements may lose their individual traits and become something else or something other.  Sodium plus chloride, in proper proportions becomes neither sodium nor chloride by instead salt.  Salt plus water, which is a connection between hydrogen and oxygen atoms, becomes water.  Salt plus water becomes...

The picture emerges.

Many abstractions stand by themselves until they are joined, at which point they may become ideas, even concepts, perhaps hypotheses, possibly even a syllogism.

You reached this point by thinking how enormous a part the human presence becomes relative to things, both in the abstract and in the specific, reaching a stage of connectedness.

Disparate, seemingly independent things such as rum and Coca-Cola. might never have come together had it not been for human inventiveness or human need.  Then again, look how similar rum plus Coca-Cola is to the sodium plus chloride plus hydrogen atoms plus oxygen atoms in proper proportion yielding salt water.  The ingredients list of rum and of Coca-Cola are not as basic, nor are they off by much.

As someone engaged in living what has been called the life of literature or writing, you spend a considerable part of the waking and dozing day playing with various cosmic recipes, sometimes starting with abstractions such as character types or human goals, other times wondering what the downstream consequences would be if a specific character type were brought into a landscape with specific other character types.  Thus stories about such hot topics as race or gender.  Some persons also trying to live the writing life have brought disparate traditions,say Jane Austen and vampires, or Abraham Lincoln and zombies, into a useful connection.  You don't have to like either; this takes on greater relevance in light of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who do like either meme to the point of plunking down serious cash for each.

You are fond of making connections in the abstract because, when the time comes for these connections to be particularized, the result more often than not is a story or a nonfiction narrative such as an essay.  You also cherish making connections with people, some of whom become clients or students or friends.

Through these connections, you often discover connections with voices both contemporary and from the distant past, written visions provided by men and women who had some similar desire to live in the turn of literature and writing, extending your sense of connectedness to other times and places, with some hope of understanding the dynamics of other times and cultures.

You have formed innumerable connections with musicians of all eras and genera, and because your late great pal, Barnaby Conrad was correct in his assessment that you have a quirky and unsettling memory, you have formed connections with a number of facts that float about in an almost effortless orbit.  This last ability on occasion passes for intelligence, but you are not fooled enough by that to assume it is so.

As you've mentioned during the past few days and, you are pleased to note, on frequent occasion within this growing list of random exercises and thoughts you consider a blog source, you have been connected to a number of animals, some of whom drew your attention as role models because they seemed to you to be quirkier than you.

For all the evidentiary materials put forth to suggest that some animals, say arguably the most domesticated of all, the dog, is a source of pure, unconditional love, you enjoy making the connection that a dog can and does lie in that you've seen dogs pretend to be sniffing something or hearing something or in some way being interested in something other than an immediate position they wish to ignore or avoid.

You admire this, and not because you think it makes the dog seem more human, rather because it demonstrates that, like humans, dogs have a sense of themselves they wish to maintain.  A dog who gives up dignity or who gives up the chance to lie in order to protect dignity is a troubled dog just as a person who gives away dignity as though it were a bribe from the NRA is a person who needs some quality time with a competent professional.

There is more than a little admiration for the ability to make connections you've long attributed to dogs.  Your experiences with them has given you anecdotal and more objective data, certainly enough to break your heart when you think about it.  Dogs sense when you like them,  Dogs sense when they are in the presence of those who do not like them.  Unlike cats, who love to flaunt that awareness by rubbing up against their complaining humans, dogs make the connection and take the high ground away from those they sense have little regard from them.

Dogs are more likely to enjoy hanging out with humans, even to the point of appreciating conversation directed at them.  They do not have to understand the entire thrust of the conversation although you do think they are able to "read" the intent.  If they think you mean "bad dog," they may even find ways to lie in their body language, causing you to think they are sorry.  Not so much that they are actually sorry as that they recognize you are not as comfortable with the situation as you might be.

The dogs of your knowledge are, however laid-back they seem, dogs of purpose.  They want to get on with things, on with the conversation, on with the potential to connect the disparate with the enjoyable.  Small wonder your own sense of connection building is so open to their presence.

You've been having conversations with a particular dog for some time now.  Although she was not present to hear your conversations today, and in spite of some potential for recognizing the implications of a middle-aged man apparently talking to himself, you were connecting with the affirming powers of conversing and formulating your plans.

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