Sunday, February 7, 2016

A happy ending .... maybe, a few

An enigmatic photograph on this occasion -- or, should that read a photograph of an enigmatic painting? Whichever .... the image represents the past and the future for me, and I will say no more other than it stirs my memories and causes me to smile and makes me wonder .... if I did say more, neither the photograph nor the painting could continue to be enigmatic.

Words spoken by the Earl of Salisbury
in Act 3, Scene 2, of the play "Richard II"
by William Shakespeare

"One day too late, I fear me, noble lord,
"Hath clouded all thy happy days on earth:
"O, call back yesterday, bid time return ...."

Abbreviated thoughts ....

So-called journalism: The most difficult aspect about having once been a practicing newspaper journalist is seeing how corrupted the system has become today, especially television news and, even more so, the publicists and propagandists on the internet who fraudulently call themselves journalists while they misrepresent their opinions as actual facts.

Alone still and again: When I began this blog, I had been divorced about a year and one-half. I thought there was a fair possibility of connecting with someone on the sea of blogs and, possibly, relocating to wherever she was or we to wherever we might decide to go. I frequently wrote that I would never spend another winter alone. There have been opportunities, one of which "felt right" and resulted in not spending the winter of 2010 alone. Well, things did not work out and every winter since then has been spent alone.

The result of this isolation of sorts is that I have grown accustomed to being alone, and think I will keep it that way. I do miss not going to films or museums or concerts or out for dinner with a special someone, but, conversely, life is simpler and, in ways, more pleasant without having to involve anyone else in decision-making matters. Now is a time for endings and beginnings .... perhaps, now is time also to put an end to following the searchers, Perceval and Galahad .... to stop "questing for" my own rendition of a Holy Grail.

A place in the sun: I am not referring to Theodore Dreiser's novel, "An American Tragedy," or the film version of it, "A Place in the Sun," but, rather, I am still dwelling on a place to slip away to for a while. I recently tried compiling a list of places I would like to visit and then narrow it down to the one I would choose above all other places. Ridiculous as it might appear, I can think of nowhere which seems special to me -- nowhere particularly intriguing or mysterious or even sufficiently interesting to draw me to it.

Anyway, I have not given up on this idea and expect there will be a few "voyages of exploration" in the weeks ahead:

"The good times are coming
"When they come I'll be there
"With my both feet firmly planted way up there
"In mid air ...."

Just to tease: Hominins living 300,000 years ago at the site of Schöningen in Germany were more like modern humans than had been previously thought, according to recent findings. Homo heidelbergensis lived in social groups, conducted coordinated hunting parties, and communicated about the past, present and future. Excavations at Schöningen have recovered well-preserved Paleolithic wooden, bone and stone tools, including a unique hammering tool made from the humerus of a saber-toothed cat. The site also has yielded evidence of the hunting and butchering of large animals.

This blog: As I mentioned a post or two ago, I think I will be shutting my blog down temporarily. It does not serve me any purpose at the moment. I probably will resume it from time to time. We shall see ....

The music: John Barry went from playing rock 'n' roll to creating many of the most beautiful film scores ever composed. How I envy his talent -- powerful and prolific music, for sure.

The first piece is from a motion picture Western classic, the original version of "Monte Walsh." It is sung by Mama Cass Elliot, whose voice is melodious and resonant in the same breath. The second piece is from one of my favorite films, "Somewhere in Time," which came from one of my favorite novels, "Bid Time Return," by Richard Matheson, a writer as prolific and versatile as Barry was a composer. Matheson also has a few motion pictures to his literary credit. And, yes, I have posted both of these songs in the past.

As a footnote to the video accompanying the "Somewhere in Time" piece, unfortunately, I do not see "she" in the paintings of the video. But, there always is the possibility of a next time. A clever individual might find a way to slip from the pathway to oblivion and turn back and discover an entry, a doorway, to return for another search .... search ?? Search for what, for whom? A search for the perfect kiss, I suppose.

Remember ?? This is a long post, but remember: I need the space because all my stories have happy endings and, just in case, I want this post to have one.

Accidents are not exactly rare on interstate highways, and I missed one by a matter of feet a few days ago. I was at the end of a line of proverbial bumper-to-bumper traffic in the outside "fast lane" where we all were going exactly at eighty miles-per-hour. In the lane next to us, the traffic was moving at about seventy-five. A car driven by a young man with another in the passenger seat came up behind me clearly travelling somewhere between eighty-five and ninety. He began weaving from lane-to-lane passing. Abruptly, he side-swiped the car just ahead of me in the opposite lane. Just like Talladega, baby !!

The driver of the offending car lost control and suddenly it was moving sideways down the road just ahead of me, its rear end whacking guardrails. The driver overcompensated his steering and the car shot across into the other lane, nearly hitting the side-swiped car again, rear end leading the way, and off the road it went, about thirty yards down a forty-five degree embankment. Had it been bare ground that vehicle hit as it went off the road instead of sliding and gouging a path through snow about two feet deep, it would have flipped and flipped and flipped and smack.

Snow saved the day and, very possibly, the lives of a couple of idiots. What was truly amazing was how ten or twelve other drivers all kept their cool and avoided a major, high-speed pile-up. (Obviously, none was a politician, or surely we would have crashed and burned.)

The driver of the car that was struck maintained control. As I "flew" past, I saw it in my rear-view mirror pulling off to the side of the road, along with a few other vehicles from the inside lane carrying people prepared to assist. People do stop to help in places like Minnesota and the Dakotas, you know. And, I guess, when you think about it, this is a story with a happy ending.


Kaya said...


What does it mean that you are going to shut down your blog temporarily? I hope you reconsider this drastic step. I know how it is difficult to persuade someone who made up already his mind. But I can tell you that I will miss your writing.

By the way, you are the one who taught me always to be myself. If I slip from this path I come to your blog and read what you wrote " Better to write for yourself and have no public than to write for the public and have no self."

Internet is a quiet lonely place, Fram for creative people. And you are CREATIVE. Internet brings more misery than satisfaction if you allow yourself to be a slave of EXTERNAL.

Well, it's not a happy ending, Fram. I wish that you would continue to write, that you would share your thoughts on this world, history, art and literature.

It would be SAD that you stop doing it. Take a break, Fram. And return back to WRITING! Just to write for yourself, to write simply for fun not expecting anything. You are very GIFTED, Fram! But the world sometimes very indifferent about it. And you know it!

Best wishes from me to you.

Fram Actual said...

I am increasingly indolent -- both mentally and physically -- and need to break the pattern I am in, Kaya. I am not planning on disappearing entirely, but simply ignoring my blog for the most part for a while. I do not wish to leave it open and unattended, so in a while (a few days, I expect) I will lock it up so it is open only to invited members. That way, no one will be able to tamper with it. I will not be writing / posting anything when it is locked. Periodically, I might post something on it and, if I do, I will open it up again for a few days.

I need to clear my head, to focus, to go into training -- again, both mentally and physically -- and move into another incarnation, as I sometimes describe it.

You wrote an eloquent comment, Kaya. You are becoming a true writer as well as a true photographer. You see what I mean? You are growing, while I have become stagnant. I need to find a new purpose, perhaps even a new identity. I thought I might do it through the blogs, to find a "fascinating someone" and move off to another country and another lifestyle, but I have had no lasting success by that means and I have no interest in simply finding a "local girlfriend" to pass the time with, so I must try other methods. And, an actual purpose now has priority over an actual companion.

There is a painting accompanying my December 31, 2011, post entitled, "A Knight at the Crossroads." I bought a print of that painting and framed it and hung in my "night room" where it is the last thing I see before the lights go out at the end of my day and which reminds me that sooner or later I need to make a few difficult, complicated decisions.

If you read the post from December 31, 2011, you will see that months have turned into years. There are legitimate reasons for that happening, but even legitimate reasons can be ignored at times.

Now is the time .... I think .... I hope .... to make some changes before I dilly-dally another year away.

Thank you, for your concern and your thoughtfulness, Kaya ....

ANITA said...

Hello Fram!I sit here with my dog and read what you write-
Life is not easy and you should stop chasing it..Just live it good or bad

Dont shut down blogging!As Kaya says you write very good!

Wehave been here for many years now..It is not strange people have brake from time to time!
I wanted to give you a good Hiaku from Snorre Sturlason..but I cant find anything..they was very bastards before !the Norwegians Swedish and Islandic people!(But I love to read it)

I dot have many words to say..Iam into a quiet period.but I can tell you something from our news..
Donald Trump is nominated to our Peace Award this year 2016!

Well you tell me the world is a strange place

ok Fram i go back to my old movies and knitting .Hope you do well and is safe where you are.Best wishes to your family and former wife.and kids.

You have many things to be grateful for

See you soon and take care.


Fram Actual said...

The Nobel Peace Prize selection committee must be composed either of drunkards or political charlatans. To have awarded it to Barack Obama in 2009 only a few months after he had taken office was absolute craziness. Now that Obama's policies and practices have led to the deaths of a few hundred thousand innocents in the Middle East and a few hundred thousand more have fled their homes to save their lives and are seeking sanctuary in Europe, I hope these Nobel committee individuals who approved the award for Obama each has a conscience which torments them every waking moment.

I can only assume Donald Trump nominated himself. It would not be a surprise if he did receive it.

To once again quote Scaramouche in Rafael Sabatini's novel of the same name to express my feelings about the matter: "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." Actually, I prefer the translation, "He was born with a smile on his lips ...." but, six of one, half a dozen of the other and, either way, there is no doubt in my mind that the world is falling into pieces.

I will be closing my blog only for a while, and thank you, Anita, for caring. It is not a big thing, and closing it for a while only means it is something I do not want to be thinking about for a while. There are other things I am doing, too, to clear my mind so it will be free to concentrate on other matters. I am changing several patterns and routines in my life for now simply to see where these changes might lead.

I rarely jump off cliffs into a void, and usually, as I am doing now, step into metaphorical unknown waters slowly and deliberately, to measure changes and their effects on me. I am only up to my knees at the moment, and have a distance to go yet.

So, you have Snorri Sturluson on your mind, Anita. His name matched the gray sky and the icy temperatures in my world, so I just picked up the "Heimskringla" and entered into Snorri's world for a while. I took the book and paged through it, reading here and there, and re-read my favorite story in it about the Battle of Horundarfjord. I think it was easier to understand what life was all about during those times.

Yes, I do have many things to be grateful for .... and I fully intend on collecting a few more things which fall into that category ....

I have been out of town for a couple of days again, and I am tired from the travel. I hope you are enjoying your films and your books and your knitting, and that work is going fine for you and school well for Alexander. Take care and stay safe.

Thank you, once more, Anita. As I keep saying, I am not going to disappear altogether, but, rather, simply step into the shadows for a while and look for a path out of the maze in which I seem to be aimlessly wandering ....

A Cuban In London said...

Whatever is going to happen will happen. If that lady is out there, you will meet her, if not, you will still not meet her. Or you might meet someone. Or...

Life is what we make of it, but occasionally it throws surprises at us, both of a pleasant and nasty nature. Enjoy the former and learn from the latter.

You're winding down your blog, I'm ramping up mine. I might start posting more often. My summer bike trips and subsequent ones have given me plenty of ideas and material to work on and write about. I continue to cycle around Londontown and continue to fall in love with this city more and more.

I hope to see you again soon.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I rarely have been without a woman in a permanent or semi-permanent (or, should that be pre-permanent ??) relationship during my life. Until the past few years, that is .... and now I gradually am becoming more and more used to being on my own. Having someone to watch my back is becoming less and less of a priority and finding a Holy Grail of sorts seems more and more to be a distant dream of yesterday. Cruel and insensitive as it might sound on the surface, a companion at this point might pose a problem and be a detriment if I continue along the path I seem to be drifting toward.

My interest in the sea of blogs rises and falls like the tide of more watery seas, and right now its ebb is at an all-time low. Actually, CiL, my blog has become a distraction in a way and I need to step even further back from it than merely staying away from it for two or three weeks. I will not end it; simply put it in a box, so to speak, for a while and still take it out from time to time. In a few more days, I will be lowering the curtain.

Your blog seems have become more England / London specific with many posts, for instance, centering on "local" politics / politicians and the sights and sounds you encounter on your jaunts. In that sense, many of them seem very "foreign" to me and less universal. Whatever, I will continue looking in on you and your blog, CiL, and, most probably, leaving comments.

It is fascinating to me that you say you are falling in love with London more and more. I do not understand that, unless it is in the context of things to do and places to see. Cities, while intellectually compelling, are basically repugnant to me, while everything which truly has meaning and purpose, I sense, is to be found in the midst of Nature.

Thank you, CiL, for dropping by and for writing a comment. I always appreciate your presence.

A Cuban In London said...

You are right. I made a decision some time ago to write more about what I see every day. There is no really much of a point in keeping a blog called "A Cuban In London" if the Cuban a)does not write about London and b)does not come clear on how he feels about many of the issues affecting us, London-dwellers.

At the end of my summer bike tour, I sat down and suddenly all these ideas came to my head. I wrote so much that I thought my head was going to explode. I was tired most of the time. It is not easy cycling in a 30+ temperature and London can get very warm in the summer. Luckily most of the time I was able to cycle in the shade.

Back to the approach. I did manage to weave a world outlook into my narrative. As I write now I have another window open with info on Monet's London stay. It happens that I cycled on the Embankment, the same spot Monet chose to paint Westminster and the pier. This is one of my favourite paintings and I have always wanted to know more about Monet's decision to relocate to England (I know it was because of the war, but I'm also afraid it was a commercial decision. Impressionism was not very "hot" at the time. in fact impressionist painters were often derided and finger-pointed in public). So, hopefully figures like Monet, the Tropicalia artists who escaped the Brazilian dictatorship, our very own Cuban author Guillermo Cabrera Infante, who ran away from Cuba after falling out with Fidel in the 60s, will bring more balance to my blog. I am worried about the future of my adopted land and that is reflected in my writing now. I am deeply concerned about this government we have and how they are handing everything to corporations and major transnationals without a single care for British and non-British citizens.

Loved the music, as usual.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

Our approaches on this point have been similar, but different, CiL. You look at a city, London, and see those who are there and those who have been there. I look at individuals, and see where they have been: Ernest Hemingway, for instance, whose footsteps I have followed in Michigan and in Paris; David Douglass, whose 1820 footsteps of exploration I have run atop in ankle-deep water, battling mosquitoes, for miles at a place named the Savannah Portage; Ole Rolvaag, whose footsteps I have traced through his descriptions along downtown Minneapolis streets and over the South Dakota prairies as a newly-arrived immigrant in 1896 before later writing a series of novels about the emigrant experience.

Sometimes I think I have become too addicted to history. I always have spent a significant amount of time "dwelling" in the past, but now the present has almost become an after-thought.

For certain, you have come upon a good idea or technique for moving strolls (in this case, bicycle excursions) in and around London to another level by adding individuals such as Claude Monet and your Latin writers to the recipe. Incidental to the point, while the breath of life to me is found in Nature, my own nature is more in tune with absolute wilderness than with gardens. Never-the-less, I really, really hope to return to Giverny at least one more time. I think it is a form of Neverland.

I think with your background you have an interesting insight to the directions life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (to steal a phrase) are moving these days. I have been expecting the lid to blow off the kettle for the past few decades, and I am not sure there is a formula to prevent it from happening sooner rather than later at this stage of the game. More power to you if you are able to meld the everyday sights of London with a perspective of what is happening on the world stage both from an artistic and a political / social viewpoint.

Take care, CiL, and thank you, for coming here and for writing here.

A Cuban In London said...

We certainly have a thirst for travelling. I could do with more, to be honest. I didn't know I had it in me until summer gone when I set off on my bike. What scared me was that I wanted to carry on. As I told my wife when she came back from holidays with our daughter I saw London in a whole different light. I have since been out on a couple of occasions. I will write about those. It was interesting to see the urban side vs the rural one in London. In the middle of the city, surrounded by the Westway (a three-lane A-road) you find a place like Little Venice, which could be anywhere else in the world, including... Venice. What I have learned is that this city is the combination of many little villages coming together. I saw that in southeast London when I got lost there a few weeks ago. For some reason I was going Peckham to Stratford in almost a straight line (hard to do in a city filled with one-way streets) when I found myself on the Isle of Dogs (look it up on Google). It is a gorgeous place. I really enjoyed riding on the Thames Path. But it had the character of a village, including picturesque houses and buildings and a local park. Same with Hampstead in the north, north-western part of the city, temporary home of one Karl Marx (in fact he is buried nearby, in Highgate). Take one of the roads I mentioned in my post, Holloway Road. Go up and you will find yourself amidst million-pound houses that belong mainly to the aristocracy, especially of a liberal leaning. The further down you go, towards Islington, the more alternative and middle-class, left-leaning folk you will find. It is fascinating. The area I have just written about tonight, west of the Embankment is all conservative (both small and capital "Cs") and new money, especially Russian money. Pimlico, Belgravia, Chelsea, Kensington. I cycled along these roads and the smell of money hits you the minute you start on the Chelsea Embankment.

Maybe there's a book there. I need to think about it. Not a guide, I am not a guide, more like a chronicler.

Greetings from London.

Fram Actual said...

I have been in an out of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / Saint Paul) a few times as a resident and as a working, newspaper journalist. It has been interesting (but, for me, not fascinating) to watch them evolve in two distinct ways: Each city had segments much as you describe in London, a Polish community, an Irish segment, a Scandinavian neighborhood, a German district, an African-American quarter .... and on and on ....

I think major cities are pretty much the same in those respects. And, actually, the scenario here was not unlike a rural county in mid-America, where there would be a series of small towns originally settled by a variety of ethnic groups only a few miles apart from each other.

Now, incidentally, the metropolitan settlements are more in the likeness of the Hmong, the Somalis, the Mexicans, the Ukrainians, the Russians, the Ethiopians ....

Back to the Twin Cities: Beyond the ethnic identities, each city had its own personalities, and, extending into the suburbs, an observer could not help but see that each was noted for its own unique characteristics: This one was blue collar; that one was where the affluent bought their homes; this one was where the "old money" reigned supreme; that one was the center of professional athletics .... and so forth ....

If you were going to write a book, CiL, I am not sure if it would be wise to broaden it because of the hundreds and hundreds of years London has been in existence, or to narrow it to three or four specific, compact arenas / topic. It might be wise to partition London and to write a series of books, each centering on a specific partition. Anyway ....

I never have been sure what to make of you as a writer: The fiction type or the serious, meticulously documented, non-fiction type. Whichever, thank you, for coming around again, CiL. You actually are teaching me a good deal about meandering in your city of choice .... makes me curious ....

Something special ....