Monday, May 30, 2011

Escapism in a book. It is only Time-Delayed. Still Stuck in Comfortable Corners Offstage.

Yes, bertiebass, many readers look for pure escapism in reading a book. And yes, 'lowlife' in a book can be too real and uncomfortable as you say.

Yet, in Bukowski's first novel, Post Office, the main character, Harry Chinaski, offers me a different form of  'escape'... escape from the comfortable corners.  I, too, like Chinaski was stuck ten years in a grunt job. As I read his novel, Post Office, about how he began his escape from the Post Office I become uncomfortable. I realize that I may be still stuck in the comfortable corners and not really living life on the center stage.

Thanks for your comments, bertiebass, you turned on the stage lights. I need to be uncomfortable. Can I open the curtains and step onto the Center Stage?

Stage on Stage. Taken by User:Lekogm November 27th, 2004 from wikimedia commons)

Or maybe I am stuck in the books? Do I choose to live in books and avoid the center stage where I am vulnerable?

Modern Book Printing Sculpture from the Berliner Walk of Ideas from wikimedia commons 
Perhaps it is time for me to reread an earlier post:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Want to Write? Try a Frame, a Pet, a Gravestone or a Fly-Swatter. Advice from Charles Bukowski.

How do you write, create? Bukowski's answer was "You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it."

 Hey. I put my fly-swatter away. Seriously, if you think of your writing as a pet, it opens writing in a totally new frame.. frame of mind... framework...

Here's a relaxing frame of mind from the ruins at Blawearie
An example of a Writer's Gravestone
Note: Charles Bukowski had "Don't Try" on his gravestone.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Choosing a Book for Book Club? Try Post Office? Grunt and Too Real.

Charles Bukowski - Post OfficeImage by lungstruck via Flickr
Book clubs thrive and age. So how to chose a book when it is your turn? Perhaps, a novel by a poet? When the poet, Charles Bukowski, wrote his first novel, Post Office, he was writing of Henry Chinaski, as drunk, throwing up, having sex, manually sorting mail at the Post Office... Hmm. Too real?

A struggling young university student told me Bukowski was among the great 'real life' poets. This student with his love of music, writes songs and posts them on facebook, has a life that at times, was and is 'too real'. His family had a life similar to Bukowski's character, Henry Chinaski. The student had his received Christmas presents and then the presents were gone--pawned or stolen the next day. Is Post Office a book for a book club of older women?

Is this a book for even a Post Office employee? I gave a copy of Post Office as a parting gift to my mailman. His route was being redrawn and he was re-assigned. I didn't receive a thank you note. Perhaps, the novel was too real for him. Yes, maybe, one doesn't want to be reminded of the years at the Post Office when all mail was manually sorted as Henry Chinaski did for over 10 years.

The Post Office is moving the opposite way -- eventually all mail will arrive at local post offices mechanically presorted. Not even a morning sit-down time to sort mail for the mailman's individual route. Mailmen will be walking all day. Hmm. Still manual work.

My nephew might call this type of work, grunt work. He said he was a grunt when he was in basic training running for hours for days with full combat gear with hair-line cracks in his ankles.

Is the novel, Post Office, of interest to a book club? Time magazine called Bukowski, the "laureate of American lowlife." We are all grunts in some way. We often run with full combat gear and consider ourselves still in basic training. Now I am wondering about my hair-line cracks--did they ever heal?

Help me decide my book club selection by selecting Agree or Disagree if I should select the novel, Post Office, in the area below these links. 

Link to the NY Library Friends Bookshelf to see comments about Post Office and other books that influenced people the most and where you can donate and add your book choice and how it influenced you

Link to wikipedia on Charles Bukowski.

Link to a little race track poetry by Charles Bukowski.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Buried in Negativity. Refocus on Bright Spots with Solutions. Try Positive Deviance.

62 percent of our thoughts are negative. Stuck in the muck? Negativity is a stimulating distraction. What can we do? We can find happiness in everything. The dragonfly is a model. It hovers and holds its position like as if time was stopped. Yes, we can stop reacting negatively and focus on the bright spots where communities have found solutions. Change occurs locally. Be a dragonfly with a stopwatch.

Examples of local solutions: 
  • We can give to the Post Office's canned food drive to stamp out hunger. 
  • We can sign a petition to reopen the Peace Road to the kindergarten in the village of Al Aqaba in Gaza.   Link to petition.   Link to Al Aqaba
  • We can write our pension fund holder, TIAA-CREF to divest from Israel occupation products to encourage focus on the bright spots in the Middle East. Link  
  • We can make a mock wall at our university to raise awareness about the walls in Palestine and on the U.S. border. Link
  • We can learn what Nakba Day means to Palestinians and Israelis. Link
Solutions exist in the bright spots. We can see them if we are not buried in negativity. Try Positive Deviance. Link to Positive Deviance  The 62 percent negative focus needs a dragonfly stopwatch.
Edouard Manet sketch 1873

Thursday, May 5, 2011

End Israeli Apartheid. Who to Boycott. Divestment Worked in S. Africa.

Campus BDS Heating Up This Spring!
April 26th, 2011 *copied from

Palestinian flag illustration by Carlos LatuffThis spring, the weather is not all that's heating up! April has brought a burst of U.S. campus boycott and divestment(BDS) initiatives following inspiring actions around the country on the BDS Day of Action, held on the annual Palestinian Land Day. Active campaigns in California, Arizona, Indiana and beyond are becoming a force to be reckoned with.

We are thrilled to welcome and support many of these campus groups as new members of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation!

Here are some of the exciting ongoing initiatives:
 At the University of California at San Diego, the UCSD Associated Students are voting tomorrow night on a resolution to divest fromNorthrop-Grumman and General Electric because they profit from violent conflict, including in Israel/Palestine. Click here to read the resolution and send endorsements to

UA campus demonstrationAbove: Students' wall on the UA campus. Click to enlarge.

 No Mas Muertes at theUniversity of Arizona (UA) recently issued this call for campus boycott and divestment from national targets Caterpillar andMotorola, due to their involvement in racist policies against Latina/o migrant communities and indigenous peoples in Arizona, Palestine and around the world.
 The statement coincided with the launch of a national "Mock Wall" Movement protesting U.S. support for Israeli occupation and discriminatory U.S. immigration policies, with students at six universitiesaround the country constructing walls on their campuses to raise awareness about the destruction wrought by the walls in Palestine and on the U.S. border.
 At Earlham College in Indiana, students launched this BDS resolution to divest their campus from CaterpillarMotorola and Hewlett-Packard, which profit from Israeli occupation and violations of Palestinian rights. The students put together this terrific video
Northrop-Grumman, Caterpillar and Motorola are also three of the five companies targeted in a national campaign initiated by Jewish Voice for Peace (a member of the US Campaign) to compel financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from Israeli occupation.

Campuses are fertile ground for this growing campaign. Check out the comprehensive new campaign web site and resources here!

Don’t forget to check our "BDS on Campus" resources here, including ahandbook by veteran activists to guide students through campus divestment campaigns.

Whether your group is on a campus or not, we invite you to join our coalition too, by clicking here. We are more excited than ever to support diverse groups working around the country for corporate accountability and an end to U.S. supportfor Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What does the death of Osama Bin Laden mean? Osama was not born a terrorist.

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Sadness and death. Hatred lives. Our everyday choices contribute. Will hatred ever end? President Obama announces his death. Death is not the end. People who cling to extremes exist. What can an average person do to stop hatred? We can make new choices.

If a person's death is announced, what message is given? It is the end of one person's life. But a wish for peace throughout the world is sad at any one person's death. Quakers believe in the value of life. When life is shortened be it by a terrorist's attack or old age, life has meaning. Let us consider the value of each person's life. We choose.

Be it a diamond for a wedding ring, a coffee ground fresh, or a piece of perfect fruit that must be without blemish, we do contribute to the world's serious deadly economic, political and social issues. Let us be sad in the death of each person's dreams.

The child in the desert of Kenya or the laid-off worker in Detroit who has no money to pay for the house payment or especially for the Somali fisherman who no longer have fish to catch due to non-Somali overfishing in their waters and resorts to kidnapping, we should be sad.

We do contribute to hatred in our purchases. Economy driven without values sways the world toward hatred and death. We do contribute. Look inward toward how your everyday choices influences the lives around the world. Osama bin Laden was not born a terrorist. No baby is.