I find it hard to believe that, down that long road, *nobody* said it would be easy. I think someone’s given me a hard wrong on that account. I was gonna say bum steer, but despite the fun of saying bum, and thinking steer: I don’t know what a bum steer is. Wait, I’ll google. Back. It’s about steering a boat backwards requiring a lookout at one end shouting info to the guy on the other end (who does the actual steering) via a bucket train of informing shouters. It went wrong badly often, because: telephone game.
Anyway, easy’s been a bit of a hard wrong because the heat's been out for days – we’re not part of the national freeze-off, our furnace just said “yo Ima die” on the day before Christmas when people who fix things for a living are off somewhere living.
So we got to light a fire in the fireplace, which beguilingly calms both my son and I. Daughter and husband enjoy it, but me and the lad have a couple of tight spots in our ghost machines and need a little maintenance. Like the fire. Tinker tinker.
Turns out that having a lovely fire for the sake of a cozy evening is totally different from maintaining one so your children don’t become CuteCicles. BrooklynIce. FrozeAfriend. A LOT of work. Wood is maddeningly short lived, you’re not burning some logs, you’re feeding a maw, who has to be tempted to stay gorging because we need the heat of the beast.
Guess what? Tomorrow, (Fri 27, 7pm) I’m going to be on Hardball with Chris Matthews, (guest host Michael Smerconish, who I really like - can be tough, but contemplative).
I was supposed to be on on Thurs but they told me if I could do it Friday we could have Ron Reagan with us. I had to reschedule a phone interview to do it but I was like, yes please – I’ve spoken at the same event with him (the Freedom From Religion Foundation awarded me "Freethinker of the Year" in 2009, and they gave an award to Reagan and one to Ursula Leguin, her award was called “The Emperor has no clothes". (TEHNC). Reagan was charming and dishy and great. Leguin silenced the house with a story about how she had always thought the boy who said TEHNC! was a rude, ill-raised child. You’re supposed to go along with the cultures traditions and manners. There were good lies, like royal nudity and the NSA, and that little boy was supposed to lie them along with his betters. Fun way to look at the story but not in this crowd in that moment.
We looked at each other in wonder and went on with things as if she’d given us the opposite speech. Apparently it really is hard to the point of near impossibility to say “Thenk” which is how I am pronouncing TEHNC, the acronym of “The emperor has no clothes.”
So yeah, Hardball on tv. To talk about this Politico article I wrote because Politico emailed me and said, wanna write something for us about atheism and Barney Frank coming out as atheist only after leaving office (though he’d bravely came out as gay in 1987), Politico asked me to talk to him and told his people that it would be nice if he’d call me so we could chat about it, which he did. It was highly wily to have that voice on my phone fighting back at my gentle but persistent questions.
Anyway, I just now (Nov '13) have two books out, a poetry book that took 7 years to write, and a prose book that took 4 years to write, but I’m getting to be on television because of this article I was assigned to and wrote in 5 days. It's got 2028 comments, which is at least a grand an a half more than I've ever gotten before.
This is a classic tale in the writer’s life, and kind of charming though it feels a little ankles over neck nape.
Stay, my prose book (Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It) is definitely getting some attention too. Like this great brainpickings take on it.
But it’s been a hush on the poetry book, Who Said, (Copper Canyon Nov ’13). I’m a poet before anything and I always have been, so it it’s hard, like having a friend away and in danger, you figure all will be well but there’re some minor cords in the swish of your hair. Here’s what I came up with to tempt you to the book: poetry. (Frost's poem follows this one)
Not Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening
“Promises to keep,” was a lie, he had nothing. Through
the woods. Over the river and into the pain. It is an addict’s
talk of quitting as she’s smacking at a vein. He was always
going into the woods. It was he who wrote, “The only way
around is through.” You’d think a shrink, but no, a poet.
He saw the woods and knew. The forest is the one that holds
promises. The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, they fill
with a quiet snow. Miles are traveled as we sleep. He steers
his horse off the road. Among the trees now, the blizzard
is a dusting. Holes in the canopy make columns of snowstorm,
lit from above. His little horse thinks it is queer. They go
deeper, sky gets darker. It’s the darkest night of the year.
He had no promises to keep, nothing pending. Had no bed
to head to, measurably away in miles. He was a freak like me,
monster of the dawn. Whose woods these are I think I know,
his house is in the village though. In the middle of life
he found himself lost in a dark woods. I discovered myself
in a somber forest. In between my breasts and breaths I got
lost. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I’ve got promises
to keep, smiles to go before I leap. I’m going into the woods.
They’re lovely dark, and deep, which is what I want, deep lovely
darkness. No one has asked, let alone taken, a promise of me,
no one will notice if I choose bed or rug, couch or forest deep.
It doesn’t matter where I sleep. It doesn’t matter where I sleep.
(for reference see below:) (Oh and I couldnt fix the formating in the above last stanza, should look like the others.)
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
BY ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
This sort of thing goes on in a lot of the book’s poems. The book opens thusly:
Some half the poems in this book
from an iconic work a way was took
and as when obeying the rules of the dead,
you’re right to ask yourself, “Who said?”
To know which strangers are old friends
There’s a clutch of classics at the end.
Most of you will hardly need them
still our life of nights rereads them.
For those of you at the brick road’s start:
echo’s stolen golden tongue (my heart).
For those who’ve been around before
I’m offering, humbly, a little bit more.
Hey, the heat’s fixed! Now we’re on easy street. Oh so that’s who said It would be easy. From now on, “Most people never said it would be easy!” Change approved. Psyched to go on Hardball, it’s not exactly scary but it do focus the mind.
Okay. Here comes the new year. Even February. Even July. Much of it will be horrible, as usual, but there will be some very good days and a few surprises.
Don’t kill yourself and I shall return to encourage you again.