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Shoals, Smoke & Spirits
Early Thursday, May 30. Robert Clark and I strike out on day two of our western South Carolina explorations. As I drive into Carolina we’re both quiet, thinking.
“Her sun went down while it was yet day,” Jeremiah 15:9. I couldn’t get that epitaph out of my mind. Nor could I forget the photos a woman showed me on a bluff overlooking the Calhoun Mill damn the evening before. Wearing a two-piece yellow swimsuit laying bare the requisite tattoos she walked over, more than a trace of beer on her breath.
“Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy.” So goes a sentence from The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges, one of South America’s most influentials writers of the twentieth-century.
I was reading this short story this morning when Robert, a fellow who lives nearby and operates heavy machinery and drives a large dump truck, arrived with four cubic yards of mulch I had ordered earlier in the week. I met Robert and his brother David nearly twenty years ago…
Rendezvous with History
With a few holes to fill in our new book Robert Clark and I headed to western South Carolina Wednesday, May 29. We went directly to Lincolnton where we used sister Brenda’s home as a base camp. After a visit with my mom we set out for McCormick. As soon as we turned off Highway 220 onto 378 the sky turned a menacing yellow. Soon the smell of burning woods filled the car and Robert spotted a cloud a bit different from the rest.
“No More Stories Are Told Today, I’m Sorry They Washed Away // No More Stories, The World Is Grey, I’m Tired, Let’s Wash Away.” (the complete title of an album by the Danish band “Mew“)
God knows I love stories. I love stories spoken in song, in film in writing… doesn’t matter. But I worry a lot about whether it’s a dearth of creativity or an abundance of laziness and greed that’s causing the re-re-re-retelling of a lot of familiar stories.
Apartheid over Peace
When I drove a taxi part-time while an art student in Milwaukee I learned that a prestigious club barred people of color and Jews. Women were also excluded except in the company of members.That was kind of shocking to a naïve kid from Michigan’s rural upper peninsula, especially since many of my pickups at that club were judges, lawyers, CEOs etc. – the naïve kid expecting people of that status to be enlightened.
When the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed on May 23, the media immediately seized upon a familiar message: “Our infrastructure is crumbling!” Headlines echoed the outrage Americans feel about the condition of the nation’s roads and bridges. “INFRASTRUCTURE HELL — EVEN BROOKLYN BRIDGE DEFICIENT!” roared a Huffington Post headline, as if a flaw in a beloved American landmark were definitive proof of an impending infrastructure apocalypse.
One of the reasons Georgians fear when the Legislature meets may best be seen in the changes made in the way you now must pay taxes on your automobiles.
Becoming effective March 1, 2013 was the Title Ad Valorem Tax legislation. Its prime purpose, enacted in state after state by hard-core conservatives, was to eliminate the so-called “birthday tax” of paying ad valorem taxes to counties each year.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
Author's Note: Not to be read while you’re eating. This time “What’s on your mind?” is not a fatuous question on Facebook, it’s a medical matter It started bugging me in April last year, and 14 months later it’s getting on my nerves. I need that like a hole in the head. A gentle tickle in the face, not bad at all, escalated as the weeks went by. Why was I getting a sore sensation from the upper lip to the right temple? It’s like the pain you feel when a bad throat infection makes it painful to swallow, except it’s in the face. I con Read on →
Could there be a more appropriate monument to the War in Terror than the wasteful and counterproductive prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base? At a cost of $4,360.00 a day per prisoner, it is among the most expensive lock-ups on the planet and surely the most expensive for inmates who are neither deposed heads of state nor leaders of defeated rebellions. (For that amount you could book a Premier Suite at the Ritz Carleton Central Park and still have a thousand dollars left over to pay for dinner!) The cost in international reputation cannot be calculated in dollars but there Read on →
There’s something about being a writer that leads people to confide in me. Think about that. Why tell a writer, a person who uses life itself as raw material, your deepest secrets. But tell me they do, and sometimes their secrets break my heart. Through my writing and books, I meet a lot of people. Some become friends. I’ve come to know women who confided in me just how much they hated their father. They had reason. So they say. Several told me how hard life was with an alcoholic father. Others talked about how abusive their dads were, and some fel Read on →
Let's think about PRISM. The problem isn’t that someone is going to be listening to your telephone conversations or looking at your telephone records. They may well do so, no matter what the President says. Indeed, they will be because that is the nature of human curiosity. However, that is not the problem. The problem is the machine that is PRISM will be looking at every telephone call you make and every email address you send something to or receive something from. Likewise, the machine will take note of every web site you visit, and, if you have a blog or we Read on →