Robert Fulghum, author Robert Fulghum's official web site
Journal Mender of Destinies Books Artshow Plays About the Author
JOURNAL

Vintage Brew

Talking Turkey

Storytime

Playing With Fire

Dropping. . .And. . .Letting Go. . .

FRAGMENTS…KINDLING…PIECES…

Moooving On. . .

Sunday On Random

MYSTERY at 107 degrees 57 minutes 30 seconds MERIDIAN

Yard Man



Finally, the English Edition!
Third Wish
A NOVEL IN FIVE PARTS

Order from Amazon

click here for the details
Robert Fulghum Speaking Engagements: Contact http://BrightSightGroup.com
Please Note: This journal contains a wide variety of stuff -- complete stories, bits and pieces, commentary, and who-knows-what else. As is always the case these days, the material is protected by copyright. On the other hand, I publish it here to be shared. Feel free to pass it on. Just give me credit. Fair enough?
December 14, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The middle of December, 2014

VINTAGE BREW

Finally snow!
It’s not the usual dry and fluffy kind.
This batch was the heavy, thick, stuff that sticks on trees and bushes
and people standing outside in their bathrobes.
It started falling just at dawn.
Gently laying a blanket of white on all the world outside.
Promising a white Christmas, after all.
Yes!

This snow is not a local product – it’s imported - made of molecules of water lifted up and delivered by an atmospheric super cell from out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – blown thousands of miles to fall here.

A storm like this is called a Pineapple Express Special.
I won’t need to go to Hawaii for Christmas.
Hawaii has come to me.

And I will put a little of it to good use – to renew a Christmas gift.
To explain:
A couple of years ago I gave my wife a small bottle.
A small, deep blue glass container that once held perfume.
The note that accompanied the gift said this:

This bottle contains moonlight tea from Pack Creek Valley:
A fine wine maker would call it a meritage – a blend.
From several sources:
Water from the first fine snowfall of the winter of 2012 – collected on the Solstice – December 21.
Water from the end of a huge melting ice sickle hanging from the edge of the roof just outside the door of our home.
Water from Pack Creek as it passes under the bridge near our house.
The mix was aged by moonlight during the night of December 21.

I wondered what became of that bottle.
I asked her.
From out of the secret corner of her closet where she stores keepsakes,
she produced a little red satin bag.
Alas, the bag was slightly damp – its contents were leaking.
Oh, no . . .
Was it broken?
No, the wax I had sealed the bottle with was deteriorating.
The bottle was now only half full.

So I took out the cork, topped off the bottle with the fresh snow from this morning, and resealed it with a heavier coating of wax.

I added to the note I once wrote to accompany the gift:

I’m returning your bottle – refilled and resealed.
It’s not worth much, in a way – you can’t buy it in a store.
It’s just water – as we are, mostly.
Without water, there’s no us, no life at all.
I don’t need to explain this gift to you.
You know what it’s for and why and how it came to be.
Like a fine brandy, it’s aging well.

It’s also a renewal of a promise to you to keep you in my mind and close to my heart, even in the small and ordinary events of a day.
You may open it and dab a little behind each ear.
It’s the perfume of abiding love.
And now it smells slightly of pineapples.

Merry Christmas.

I gave it to her this morning.
I’m not good at waiting for small joys to happen.

(for larger joy, link to my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

link to this story




December 07, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The end of the first week of December
Full moon last night
Clear, mild, no snow nor even frost.

TALKING TURKEY

Let’s talk turkey.
The bird is front and center for a few weeks at the end of each year.
But we don’t usually talk about it – we just eat it.

In fact, despite much etymological speculation, nobody really knows where the notion of “talking turkey” originated, though now we use the phrase to mean “let’s get serious.”
So I propose to talk turkey about turkey.

Why?
In the spirit of being useful to you in a time of small crisis.
Sometime during the festive holidays you will likely sit down to a turkey dinner with family or friends.
Sooner or later the conversation will drift into the fog of small talk - when engorgement stifles intelligence and there’s not much left to say and not many alert enough to hear.
Silence falls around the table in chunks.
There is a pause before pie.

It’s like the end of the second act of a play that’s been adrift since the first act – you’re ready to leave – but maybe something will happen in the third and final act that will save the evening – so you stay – for pie.

Now is the moment for your memorable performance.
A contribution of value way beyond the creamed onions.
I shall arm you with information that will render the gathering speechless - in awe of your knowledge – and grateful that somebody had something interesting to say with which to end the feast – like a winning score in overtime.

Imagine: the ball is in your court and you announce:
“I know some fascinating things about wild turkeys.”

Those at the table look up, intrigued in a numb sort of way.
And you plunge on . . .

1. Turkeys, Meleagris gallopavo - the scientific name for the wild turkey - have been around for about 10 million years. Longer than homo sapiens.

2. There are fossils records of the ancestors of turkeys that go back 23 million years or more.

3. Turkeys are native to Mesoamerica – raised by the Aztecs and Mayas – even worshipped as part of their divine pantheon.

4. Turkeys were imported by the Spanish to Europe, where a process of breed improvement soon produced the domestic bird we eat today.

5. Domestic turkeys were imported to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1608, which is to say turkeys were already here when the Pilgrims showed up in 1620. And the wild turkey had arrived long, long before that.

(You will notice that your audience is dumfounded by now. Fear not – they are putty in your hands – Onward!)

7. Once almost extinct, it is estimated that there are 7 million wild turkeys now. Turkeys abound!

8. Accurate terminology is important – take note:
A mature male is called a Tom – a mature female is a Hen
the chick is called a Poult – an adolescent male is a Jake – an adolescent female is a Jennie – and the official word for a flock is a Rafter.

9. Only a Tom turkey makes the gobbling sound – hens cluck and click.

10. The skin of the head of a Tom turkey turns blue when he has sex on his mind – red when he wants to fight – and pale white when he is maximally excited.
(Imagine if that was true for men . . .) The loose skin hanging off the end of its nose is called a snood.

(Notice that nobody has interrupted you – they are awed into profound thought or else have gone brain dead. Keep going!)

11. Turkeys can run up to 25 miles per hours and fly up to 55 mph.

12. Turkeys roost together in trees – preferably oak.

13. Turkeys nest on the ground and the chicks are born feathered, ready to rumble within 24 hours.

(Your audience is stupified in disbelief at the extent of your erudition. They are welded to their chairs. No stopping you now – go for it!)

14. A mature wild turkey weighs @ 24 pounds.

15. Turkeys are omnivorous – but the wild ones are not all that good to eat – dark, somewhat stringy, strong-flavored meat.

16. Research indicates that they are quite intelligent and have good eyesight, hearing and sense of smell.

(By now your audience will have approached the zombie staget – they’re barely awake or functional – with at least one person slumped face down in their pumpkin pie. At this moment you play your ace with this factsmile

17. Finally, get this: Japanese geneticists have developed a breed of turkeys with four legs – that’s four drumsticks for the big meal.

That last statement is not true.
But if you say it loud and clear, you will get a rise out of those whose minds have experienced mental tectonic plate drift during your lecture.

“WHAT? No way!”

And now is the time to break out a bottle of Wild Turkey Bourbon.

In Kentucky they call this meal-ending ritual “Giving them the bird.”

You will be remembered at this time next year.

Maybe not invited – but remembered.

http://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

link to this story




November 30, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
The beginning of December
the 335th day of 2014
Clear and cold – but snowless.

December first.
For me, it’s the lowest-key holiday season in many years.
My closest friends, children, grandchildren, and the new great-grandchild are all far away.
I write from my home in Pack Creek Valley, 25 miles from the nearest town and all the busyness of Christmas.
There’s no snow except on the highest peaks.
So far no decorations – no tree – and no plans to do much in particular.
Not that I’m in a Grinchy mood – just Christmas-neutral.
The only sign this is not some other time of year is the half of a pecan pie in the kitchen left over from an a semi-Thanksgiving dinner.
(Now somewhat less than half a pie as of an hour ago . . .)

The holiday season comes like a major weather event – unbidden, uncontrollable – it is what it is and what it will be – never identical to the one last year, but with the same elements.
The dark side of the human experience continues, of course.
There’s never been a December when evil was turned off for a month –
war, disease, racism, all the rest . . .
But slowly and surely, one gets sentimental and hopeful and nostalgic – as unpredictably as the weather.
One begins to look for small joy.
Caught unawares, one begins to hum carols.

Surprisingly, there is a poinsettia on my office desk – bearing colors of deep red and rich green.
It was not on my things-to-get-in-town list last Friday, but here it is.
And a couple of wreaths of mixed fir and cedar boughs came with it. One is now inside adding the smell of green to the living room.
One is outside – on a door - welcoming my wife to her painting studio.
And as I write, classical music of the season plays – thanks to Pandora.
“Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” rings out and I sing along, off key.

Finally, when I woke up from my afternoon nap I was remembering Decembers past – and the stories I have lived and written over the years.
It wasn’t long before I was re-reading, re-thinking, and revising
one of those stories – the one I’m about to share with you.

The substance of the tale has not changed – its root is a thousand years old – it has only been reframed from the mindset I had when I first wrote it to the state of mind I find myself in now, as December comes around once again . . .  .

STORYTIME

For twenty years I was the minister of a small suburban Unitarian Church (1966-1986). It was our custom to hold a midnight family service on Christmas Eve.
One year I planned to read an old story from medieval France about a wandering juggler who happened into a monastery in deep winter and asked for refuge. You may know this tale called “Our Lady’s Juggler.”

The story says that the monks were busy making gifts to lay before the high altar of the monastery chapel in honor of the Virgin Mary.
They believed that if she was pleased, her statue would shed a tear of compassion for humanity. But when the gifts were presented at the Feast of the Nativity, the statue did not respond.

In the middle of the night, the juggler, who had thought he had no gift worthy to offer to the Virgin Mary, went into the chapel alone and juggled before the statue – to the very limit of his skills.
To make a long story short, angels sang, the statue did indeed shed a tear – and the baby Jesus in her arms smiled – because the juggler had given everything he had, withholding nothing in his generosity.

So goes the story, and you can see how its spirit could be applied to a 20th century Christmas Eve celebration.
Generosity is never wasted – that’s the point.
All I had to do was read it.
But why stop there? Why not get a real juggler to perform for the congregation to illustrate the story? Why not a little show-business pizzazz for the midnight service.
Why not?
Never one to leave well enough alone, I engaged a juggler.

Alas, when time for the service came, the juggler had not arrived.
Not until the singing of the second carol did I see him working his way up the side aisle of the church sanctuary.
I barely recognized him because I had specifically asked him to wear his jester outfit - and he was not in costume.
He wasn’t carrying any juggling paraphernalia, either.
What a disappointment.
No magic-at-midnight this year.

While the congregation and choir turned the corner into the last verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” the juggler and I held a whispered conference off to one side of the chancel.
His car had been stolen. His costume and equipment were all gone.
But I was not to worry – he had an idea about what to do.
“Trust me,” he said. “You read the story, and I’ll take it from there.”

No time to argue. The carol was finished. The show must go on.
I assumed that when it came time for his act, the juggler would explain his circumstances, and use some odds and ends he found in the church kitchen for a short performance.
A reasonable assumption.
However, Christmas Eve is not noted for reasonableness.
I ought to have remembered that then, as I do now.

So I read the story.
And the juggler stepped into the light from out of the congregation.
A slim young man - wiry, athletic type – longish brown hair.
Black tennis shoes, jeans, green turtleneck shirt.
Solemn expression on his face, and only his own freckles in place of the expected makeup.
So ordinary in appearance and demeanor.
And no tools of his trade.

He smiled - an inner light animated his face.
And he began his routine - just as if he actually had balls and clubs and knives and scarves with him.
We had all seen enough juggling to recognize what he was doing.
So we could imagine what we could not actually see.

But in each part of his routine he went one step further than he had ever juggled before or we had ever witnessed.
Seven balls is supposed to be the limit for a good juggler – but our man did eight, and we knew it when he did it, and applauded his triumph.

On through twelve silk scarves in the air at once.
And seven knives.
We even knew when he set his torches on fire and got eight in the air all at once and caught them without burning himself.
We laughed and shouted encouragement and applauded his audacious performance.
We couldn’t really see all of it, but we believed it.
We gave him a standing ovation – on Christmas Eve – in church!

But he wasn’t done.
He held up his hand for silence, and motioned the congregation to sit.
He was going to do an encore.

He started juggling things we couldn’t quite recognize.
What’s this? Chickens? Birds? Some kind of tree?
Rings – one off each finger. Five? Five gold rings?
Yes! We got it!
He was going to juggle everything in the “Twelve Days of Christmas!”
The partridge, the pear tree, and all the rest.
Impossible - but he was going to give it a try.

He continued.
A swan swimming, a goose, an egg. Yes!
I was thinking that he would never get the maid milking the cow off the ground, but he did it.
You could imagine the look on the face of the maid as, with a great heave from the juggler, she sailed up into the air.
After that the leaping lady and the dancing lord and the drum with drummer were a piece of cake.

Finally, every gift was in the air going around and around – way, way up in the air because this was a lot of stuff to juggle.
As each piece came around we knew what it was and shouted its name as he caught it and tossed it back into the air again.
Fantastic!
Nobody had ever done or even attempted to do this before.
The juggler was laughing, and the congregation cheered like a crowd at a championship game when a last-minute score won it all for the home
team. Yes!
Here comes the maid milking the cow again – wait for it . . .
YES!

The juggler suddenly stopped, clapped his hands loudly, and stood still.
Nothing fell down.
All the parts of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” somehow disappeared into thin air.
With one finger in front of his lips he asked for silence.
And silence came.
We stood looking at him in awe – and he at us – in awe - at what we had accomplished together.
It was the most powerful and meaningful moment of quiet I ever experienced on Christmas Eve.

A brief sermon was supposed to follow the juggler’s performance.
And it did. But it was not I who spoke.
Rarely, but once in a while I have the sense to keep my mouth shut.

We were all addressed by a sermon of eloquent instructive silence.
The silence in which we absorbed the power of the vision we had of the impossible event we had wished into being.
The silence in which we thought about our capacity to realize things we can only imagine.

Some of the most wonderful things have to first be believed to be seen.
Like flying reindeer and angels, and a baby in a manger.
Like peace on earth, good will, hope, and joy.
Real only because they must be imagined into being.

Someone – I don’t know who – began to sing “Silent Night.”
As was our tradition, people on the first row lit their small candles from the big candle on the altar, and then passed the flame on to the candles in the rows behind them.
The church filled with soft, moving light.
We filed out of the church singing, into the Christmas Eve night.
And went home, taking our light within us.

And so, you may ask, is this story true?
Did it really happen just as I have told it?
Well, yes and no - it took place, after all, a long time ago – and good memories must be polished up if they are to last.

It could be true.
It should be true, don’t you think?
As you read the story, were you not present as a witness?

And anybody who was there will have their own version of what happened that night, but all would agree that what they still hold fast in their hearts from that Christmas Eve contains lasting truth.
Anything and everything is possible for those who yearn for joy.

And as for you . . .
Well, you, too, can imagine . . .

http://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum

link to this story




November 23, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
Third week in November, 2014
Clear and cold – old snow melting – new snow coming.

PLAYING WITH FIRE

1. It’s not easy to start fire with water.
2. It’s not easy to put out water with fire.
3. But it can be done.
4. Using metaphors.
5. Sometimes you have to do it.
6. And you can.
7. What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.
8. And how high you walk on the water.

(I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s what fell out of my mind onto paper one afternoon after I walked along Pack Creek, and then went home and built a fire in the fireplace.
Listening to water and staring into a fire can be a combustible mix.
The outcome can leave one wondering, “Where did that come from?”

* * *

Long ago, when I was a teacher of art in a high school, I collected a handy a bag of tricks available for those times when the creative energy of a class was at low ebb – when a provocative change was in order.
“Bag of tricks” is a euphemism.
For me it meant “desperate acts arising out of a class crisis.”
Every teacher knows about the pedagogical doldrums.
When the instructor, the students, and the curriculum are all shriveling up like raisins for lack of the joy-juice of enthusiasm for the course.

That’s how my Playing With Fire Unit came into being.

Each student was given a full box of old-fashioned wooden kitchen matches and a hot glue gun.
Each was asked to construct something out of the matches.
Whatever came to mind.
Complete the task in an hour.
That was the total instruction.

There was always a puzzled pause . . .

“What are we going to do with what we make?” the students asked.
“Take them outside and set them on fire,” I replied.
“Really?”
“Yes – go for it.”

And the students did – with explosive enthusiasm.
They never asked why.
All their lives they had been told not to play with matches.
And never, ever to fool around with fire.
And now they had permission - from an adult authority figure.
Invited to go beyond a No Trespassing sign into forbidden territory.
Yes!

What did they construct?
A wide range of things:
- abstract concentrations of matches designed to burn fast and hot
- buildings
- houses
- people
- towers
- snakes and insects and imaginary animals.
Just to name a few.

And then what happened next?
We carried the constructions out behind the gym to a concrete pad.
The teacher sprinkled a little magic juice on each match-thing.
(kerosene, actually)
And, with a small torch, lit them – one at a time.
Whoom!

The students were always quieted by the actual event of burning.
They stared at their little matchstick creations being consumed by fire.
The foolish joy of setting something on fire on purpose was always followed by a reflective mood of solemn semi-sadness.

I wondered . . .
Were they thinking that daylight came from the burning Sun?
Did they consider that the Earth itself was fire-born and still had fire in its molten core?
Did it occur to them that creation and destruction were stages in the turning of the Great Wheel of Life?
Did they remember the myth of the Phoenix bird?
Probably not.
But they were thinking something deep – their silence said that.

Ok, so then what next?
We collected the ashes in a pail, and went back to the classroom.
We added boiling water, some powdered gum arabic, oak gall, and alum.
Stirred the mixture well, let it sit overnight, and voila! – Ink.

At the next class meeting the students were given bamboo dip-pens, a portion of the ink, and fresh paper – they were set to draw.
Using me as a model - (clothed, of course – don’t let your mind wander.)
“Draw me,” I said.
And they did.

The Playing With Fire Unit was not really a trick.
It was field trip excursion into the philosophy of art.
It was an act of theater – about transformation – about the stages of creativity – the combustion of imagination mixed with a radical change of view and substance – into another possibility of creation.
In essence, the whole universe and all life is a form of combustion.

I never told them all that – words about the process could not compete with the actual experience they had, and sometimes I was wise enough to shut my mouth and leave the thinking to the students.
The fire was now inside them – and they would go with that.

As an aside I should tell you that the most successful burn was when, on a too-windy day, we accidentally set a field of dry weeds on fire - rousing out the maintenance staff and the Headmaster of the school.
Now we needed water and explanations.
The water worked – too well – because, as you would have expected, we ended up playing with water.

The explanations were another matter.

“What the hell is going on?” asked the Headmaster.
“It’s an art project,” said I.
“Really?”
“I can explain.”
“Good – stop by my office – I’d like to hear your explanation.”

So I did that.
And to his everlasting credit, the Headmaster, one of the most open-minded educators I ever met, had this response to my explanation:

“Promise me that you’ll never do that inside or outside on a windy day.”
“Of course. I promise.”

“And promise me that the next time you play with fire, you’ll invite me to come and make a match-thing of my own with the class.”
“Sure.”

“And invite me to come along to the class later to see what they have to say about playing with fire.”

Alas, an opportunity to include the Headmaster never arose.
But if he had been in class the next day, he would have seen the students plunging back into art with new enthusiasm.
And though I waited for them to talk about playing with fire, they never had much to say.
Fire had somehow moved back inside them somewhere, ignited their creative energy, and burned brightly in the form of ongoing art.

Only years later did a student recall playing with fire.
He said he never forgot it – and still did not quite have the words to say why it was memorably meaningful.

We all play with fire from time to time.
It’s a metaphor – and metaphors are the wagon in which we haul around meanings that defy logic and articulation.
No rational explanations are really necessary sometimes.
Or even possible.

* * *

After writing about this, I realized that I had never done it myself.
I had led the students through the exercise of construction and burning and making ink and producing a drawing.
But I only supervised without participating.

So today I played with fire.
(Explaining what I was doing to my wife was interesting.)
But I did it.

Enough.
I’ll end on a light note:

“One afternoon, when I was four years old, my father came home, and he found me in the living room in front of a roaring fire, which made him very angry. Because we didn’t have a fireplace.”
― Victor Borge

(You can see the photos of my playing with fire on my Facebook page.
Note that if it just looks like a pile of burning matches, it’s because I tried to build a large rhinoceros and it fell over. Eager to get on with the burning part of the exercise, I set it on fire anyway. But I assure you that there was most of a rhino there at one time. You can imagine . . .
(http://www.facebook.com/robertleefulghum)

link to this story




November 19, 2014

Pack Creek Ranch - Moab, Utah
Mid-November, 2014
Clear and cold – icy snow left over from a weekend storm.
Roof still leaks, but not as much.

This is being posted a little behind schedule.
It seems there was a system-wide failure of the internet.
All of Pack Creek Valley was off the web for a day.
That’s OK with me.
It’s like getting an electronic snow-day.
The wide world is on hold, and I can connect to the nearby world .
Get out the saw and axe and get outside to restore my firewood supply.
Get online in my mind . . .

DROPPING. . . AND . . . LETTING GO . . .

Medically speaking, dropsy is another word for edema - an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitium, located beneath the skin and in the cavities of the body – usually manifested as swelling in the legs and arms and hands.

That is not my problem – not the dropsy that concerns me.

Dropsy is also a colloquial term for a tendency to frequently drop stuff.
The cause is inattentive clumsiness and haste.
That I know about.
There are whole days when I seem to have an acute-but-unexplainable case of this form of dropsy.
As if my hands and fingers were coated with Teflon.

Kitchen catastrophes on days gone by come to mind:

I recall dropping these things:
a full quart of milk
a large jar of honey
a plate of deviled eggs
a bottle of olive oil
a whole pan of macaroni-and-cheese
a box of blue-berries
a skillet full of hot grease during doughnut-making
a dozen fresh eggs
and, of course, a jar of peanut butter.

You can imagine . . . or remember your own domestic disasters.

And then there are the mishaps in the bathroom:
Dropping small pills or even a whole container of pills.
Losing control of delicate parts of an unassembled electric razor.
Not just dropping a tube of toothpaste, but stepping on it.
And then there is the loose bar of soap in the shower dance . . .
Dropping soap in the shower is a sure way to feel like an incompetent fumble-fingered fool.
Soap-On-A-Rope as a solution.

Supermarket disasters come to mind:
I don’t even want to talk about this – you wouldn’t believe it.
One piece of advice – don’t take small children into the aisles where pickles and olives are within reach.
And it’s just morally corrupt to walk away if nobody else is in the aisle when you unleash the jar of salsa from the top shelf.

Some Dropsy observations:

1. Things dropped do not land directly beneath the drop point.
Pills and blueberries are “runners” - capable of long-distance travel.
Deliberately dropping these items to see their capabilities is instructive.

2. Small items – pills, screws, blueberries will always roll to the most inaccessible place available – start looking there to begin with.
Unless . . . you are operating over the sink or a toilet.
Sooner or later you will learn not to do that – maybe.

3. Try not to drop things in the dark. But if you do, and it’s glass, and it breaks, and you are barefooted . . . don’t move, call for help.

4. On the other hand, very large, heavy items will fall straight down -
- you don’t have to look - your toes will notify you.

5. If the container doesn’t break – no glass shards in the mess -
then anything dropped may be picked up or even scraped up and eaten,
especially if nobody else is around or the dog doesn’t beat you to it.

5. The contents of large containers of liquid will be distributed over a far wider area than you think – when you are cleaning up, always check the nearby walls and the next room for random splashes.

6. Unbreakable items will fall on other items that are not.

7. Remember that the law of gravity has not been canceled – things that are let go of will fall down - only balloons fall up.

8. For entertaining after-dinner conversation, ask your guests to finish this sentence:  “I never will forget the time I dropped . . .

When researching the word “drop” I learned that it is one of the 1,000 most used English words.

Consider: 

dropping in
dropping out
dropping by
dropping off

dropping the subject
name dropping
just drop it
just a drop

dropping the curtain
getting the drop on someone
shop ‘til you drop’
drop dead

drop the bomb
drop off to sleep
ready to drop
drop your voice

dropped from the team
drops of rain
eye drops, nose drops
dropping temperature
dropping the ball, a hint, one’s guard, one’s trousers, a stitch
and dropping acid

And metaphors:
A young acquaintance recently said to me, of a girlfriend:
“Her eyes were open but the curtain in her mind had dropped.”

Enough of that.

__________________________________________

When I went out to chop wood while waiting for the internet to be resurrected, my mind eased over into another category – a relative of dropping, but deeper and wider:
Letting go.
As in “turning loose on purpose.”
Big difference.
For example:
Dropping a dish is fast and easy.
Letting go of love takes time.
And it’s never quick and easy.

Letting go always takes time – disconnecting from family, lovers, friends, spouses, children, religion, culture, country, professions, feelings, memories, notions of self, and ways of life.
All that.

In my novel, THIRD WISH, one of the main characters is in a major state of letting go. He is on a train leaving Paris for Barcelona:

“As the train slowly backs its way out of the station through the railway marshaling yards, Max-Pol leans back in his chair and sighs. It is as he wished it might be. The night train from Paris to Barcelona. Food of another place. Service of another time. And no one he knows has any idea where he is or where he is going. It would take Interpol to find him.

Exile. Deliberate exile. Affirmative exile. To leave home, work, friends, and culture - to surface somewhere else. Exile, knowing that a new life will have to be constructed mostly out of the remnants of the old.

Still, for now, exile. Not as one banished, but as one going the long way around to be at home again in his own skin. He is not going off to find himself. He knows where he is now. But for the first time in his life he hasn’t planned exactly what comes next.
And, for the time being, it doesn’t matter.

He recalls three sentences from the notebooks of Albert Camus:

“I withdrew from the world not because I had enemies, but because I had friends. Not because they did me an ill turn . . . but because they thought me better than I am. That was a lie I could not endure.”

Max-Pol takes out a fountain pen and his journal, and writes: 

“Letting Go is not the same as giving up.

Admitting you’re beaten is not the same as defeat.

Withdrawal with honor is not the same as running away.”

_______________________________________________

And I, Robert Fulghum, would add, from my own notebooks, some rules for letting go:

There is a time to let go.
And a time to hold on.
When you become old and wise, experience will have taught you which is which and what was the right thing to do at the time.
You will have scars on your soul to show for it.

You may have to let go to go on . . .
But never break or cut what you can untie.

link to this story