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Diamonds 40


This shot is called "Mock Mediterranean" for a convoluted reason much too long to explain here. Ask if curious. (Oct 2001)

This page is "Free Association at its finest"

Don't miss items 1-7 after "Literary Lesson of the Week"

Literary Lesson of the Week: (there will be a test...)

The Road
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on back to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.




Motivation is merely a mental state
Cognitive dissonance cannot be taught
Initiative is something we must create

We have not learned unless we learn to innovate
But innovative thinking is a lost art
Motivation is merely a mental state

The truth cannot excuse our tendancy to hesitate
Maslow gave a title to the state we sought:
Initiative is something we must create "

We think that we can manage if we delegate
And so, rationalize our failure to fufill the part
Motivation is merely a mental state

Failure is easier when it's not our fault
But accountability creates a burden from the start
Initiative is something we must create

We make progress only when we integrate
The mind's a lonely creature till it teams up with the heart
Motivation is merely a mental state
Initiative is something we must create




3. LAURA ON RELIGION:  On a personal daily basis, I read, appreciate, try to understand and embody the insights and teachings of the 14th Dali Lama of Tibet. And, am a White Tantra longing for Red. I do not suffer the moral struggle, apparently, of compromise that many do. I am mainstream in most regards. Yet, I am Episcopal out of habit and comfort-I do not fit neatly in that mold anymore either. I have been fundamentalist evangelical and sometimes lean towards pluralism while retaining Episcopal roots bolstered by an imperfect Buddhist regard for life forms and peace of mind. Of course the Lent thing is peculiarly Catholic, buttressed by my personal aversion to eating sentient beings, an aversion I usually manage to successfully sublimate the other 325 days a year -a complex belief structure and yet I surmise that that most everybody holds equally dear a different and complex belief structure. So, whatever your views, as long as we agree, then, that God is real and right, even as a biological facet of us. I derive great comfort from his existence. And the details can be left to future finer debate. I do consider myself mainstream Christian protestant in faith and practice. Merely a developing consciousness of the permutations. I could nit pick LDS and Jehovah's Witness on a few points I am privy to. And I do have my forbidden areas-Ouija boards, triple sixes, etc. But faith is a developing attitude all through life-we are always learning, always refining, and always seeking. As my fundamentalist friends would say, all things are permissible but not all things are expedient. And I fight very hard to keep superstition from polluting faith.

Ive had four long term relationships in my life. Still on speaking terms with all four of them, so no real baggage. Why not with any of them? Bad timing, mainly, but they were all pretty good guys & times and I dated three of them for quite a long time -30 months to 5-6 years. Engaged to two of them but never married because in both cases the short engagement was for the wrong reason(s) and I didn't want to dilute my concept of marriage that way. I will cheerfully admit that these men all lent something positive to my life. No regrets on any of them, no longing for any of them. Clean slate.


...I'm inclined to see the material backdrop of my life as mostly immaterial, compared with what moves inside of me. I hold on to my adopted shore, chanting private vows: wherever I am, let me never forget to distinguish want from need. Let me be a good animal today. Let me dance in the waves of my private tide, the habits of survival and love.

Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job or a limb or a loved one, a graduation, bringing a new baby home: it's impossible to think at first how this all will be possible. Eventually, what moves it all forward is the subterranean ebb and flow of being alive among the living.

In my own worst seasons I've come back from the colorless world of despair by forcing myself to look hard, for a long time, at a single glorious thing: a flame of red geranium outside my bedroom window. And then another: my daughter in a yellow dress. And another: the perfect outline of a full, dark sphere behind the crescent moon. Until I learned to be in love with my life again. Like a stroke victim retraining new parts of the brain to grasp lost skills, I have taught myself joy, over and over again.

It's not such a wide gulf to cross, then, from survival to poetry. We hold fast to the old passions of endurance that buckle and creak beneath us, dovetailed, tight as a good wooden boat to carry us onward. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another-that is surely the basic instinct. Baser even than hate, the thing with teeth, which can be stilled with a tone of voice or stunned by beauty. If the whole world of the living has to turn on the single point of remaining alive, that pointed endurance is the poetry of hope. The thing with feathers.

What a stroke of luck. What a singular brute feat of outrageous fortune: to be born to citizenship in the Animal Kingdom. We love and we lose, go back to the start and do it right over again. For every heavy forebrain solemnly cataloging the facts of a harsh landscape, there's a rush of intuition behind it crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is.

6. Laura on Superfic-ical-ity:

But it just goes to show you, we can all be, on a puny scale, like Madonna and Marilyn Manson-chameleons, creatures of change; remake ourselves. You know, beauty can be and is a commodity these days-Liposuction, collagen, and implants can make a baywatch babe out of any of us. Given that commonality, why aren't the non-implantable traits such as intelligence, kindness, common sense, critical thinking skills and honesty more valued? Why do we pursue and value the mallable and transient external beauty and discount the immutable and permanent beauty within that we are all also capable of developing? and And no, this is not just sour grapes-because, sans surgery, with makeup, diet, curling irons, exercise, structual underthings, we can all clean up pretty good...to fit societial conventions. This ability to alter ourselves serves as a reminder that we all have choices and means-current, future, permanent, and temporary, shallow but profound to change the course of our lives.

7. Laura's Alter Ego:

Hell-o, my name is Arual... I am a poetry writing goat farmer wanna-be with a bit of a wild streak I keep carefully hidden beneath black leather. When the moon is full, I'm never dull. I used to hang at Club Dada when Ellum was cool. Have had an asymmetrical haircut or two. Serve organic hummus at parties. Play the radio really loud sometimes. Have done naughty things in a car on the way to Houston. Did fireworks within the city limits but only little small quiet ones. Think Feng Shui is a crock. Went braless from 1962-1975. Once owned a convertible. Have been known to shop at Fredericks of Hollywood. Can't pass a wishing well without making a wish. Drove the wrong way down a one-way street. Have para-sailed in Acapulco. Quit a job without notice in 1977. Have skinny dipped in the presence of others. Like dressing up for Halloween. Drive over the speed limit at times. Spit off a bridge in Alaska once, but my brother egged me on. Walk in the rain without an umbrella. Hi! Wassup? TTYL? Howzatbout them blue eyes, huh? Better? Are you having fun yet? What's your alter ego??

Literary Lesson for last week:

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
by ts eliot (abridged)

...There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate,
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

..And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
..Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all--
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

.. Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald)brought
in upon a platter,
I am no prophet-and here's no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: "I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all"--
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous--
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old . . . I grow old . . .
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.

We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

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