November 17, 2013 · 12:12 am
Generally, as most of us get older, we have a very good idea of what our likes and dislikes are. Recently, though, I have been thinking about doing some things that I know I do not enjoy or usually want to do. It’s an odd feeling.
As I wrote before, I don’t like to be outdoors. Maybe I spent too much time outside when I was growing up, but the great outdoors has far too many hazards and discomforts for me to want to spend hours there. I know there are people who love the outdoors and spend a lot of time there, and that’s all right. They can have my share.
The odd thing is, I’ve been thinking about aboriginal Americans who lived very close to nature. Whether their shelter was a lodge or teepee or pueblo, they had to have been aware of the elements. With a fire for heating and breezes for cooling they were right in the midst of nature.
I have been camping exactly once in my life. I was ten years old, and I remember not sleeping much and just about starving since each of us was responsible for his own food. Lately, though, I been wondering what it would be like to stay outside in a tent. I could pitch one in my back yard and not be that far away from the comforts of the indoors. Of course, I’d have to buy almost everything I need, including a tent. I do have a sleeping bag from my daughters’ Girl Scout days. It’s a thought, but a strange one for me. Still, I find myself thinking that being outside with nothing but a thin nylon wall between me and the outdoors would be intriguing, although I’d probably wait until spring to try it.
Then there’s traveling. I’ve decided I don’t like to travel. Oh, I like to see different places, particularly places with history and good restaurants and good bookstores, but actually getting there is pain. I don’t care for driving, which is mostly monotonous and occasionally terrifying. My wife is a great driver (and a wizard parallel parker, even left-handed), so she does most of the driving when we go somewhere. I do the navigating, and I’m good at that, except when I’m not. That’s a subject for an entire column, but not just now. Anyhow, if there were a Star Trek-style transporter available, I’d use one, even at the risk of scrambling my molecules. To be able to be some place instantly has a huge appeal for me. And don’t even think about flying. That used to be fun and an adventure, but I don’t have to tell you what a pain it has become. No, I’m comfortable where I am, with everything I need right here. That’s why my travel impulse is a strange one. I’d like to fly around the world. I’m not talking about flying around the world non-stop on one tank of gas. What I’m thinking would be fun would be to fly around the world using scheduled flights. I’ve checked and it’s possible. It would take about three days. I think I would like to go business class since I would plan to be on an airplane most of the time. I wouldn’t even leave the airports or clear customs—I would just go right on to the next flight. This is even crazier when I consider that I am mildly claustrophobic. That’s why business class. I could leave on a Friday and be back Monday if my calculations are correct. It would be cool to say I had done it.
Then, I’ve been having an impulse lately to have another career. That’s not that unusual for an early retiree like me, but I’m talking about an entirely different career. When I was in my early teens I wanted to be a rocket scientist. (I was too tall to be an astronaut then.) What dissuaded me from this career path was the sad reality that I was not very good at math, and math is important to being rocket scientists. My impulse is to take science and math classes and earn a degree in astronautical engineering. I figure with the coursework I’ve done already I can skip the core classes and things like phys ed. and go right on to advanced science classes. It would be a whole lot easier for me to earn an M.F.A. in creative writing, but becoming a rocket scientist in my 60’s sounds much more appealing, even if I am probably worse at math than I was in high school. Grandma Moses started painting when she was in her 80’s, so maybe I do have a future with NASA.
So I have these random impulses, but I’ve found if I lie down for a while, they soon pass. Thank goodness for small favors.
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Tagged as aerospace engineering, airplanes, being outdoors, Biscuit City, blogs, camping, courage, Grandma Moses, NASAS, native Americans, nature, outdoors, poetry, Prince William County, random impulses, reading, school, spring, transportation, words, work, writing
August 5, 2013 · 6:19 pm
Gordo back in the day.
Faithful Readers may or may not know that the title of this effort comes from a rather obscure Gordon Lightfoot song (obscure unless you are a GL fantatic. Who, me?), “Biscuit City,” which was on his Salute! album (c. 1983). It’s about a state of mind, according to Gordo, not an actual place, so you can go there any time you want (just point your browser at https://ltdanverner.com/ <– shameless self-promotion, the best kind!).
Anyhow, my friend, writer, poet, librarian and funny lady Leigh Giza posted this video link on Facebook, a song by the Krayolas called “Gordon Lightfoot.” Enjoy, and thank you, Leigh!
August 5, 2013 · 2:01 am
Actually, truth be known, we didn’t go much of anywhere. I can’t speak for the entire Biscuit City staff: I don’t know what they did or where they went, and I don’t want to. Becky and I were close to home most of the time. I did some painting and fixup work at the church and helped out with the annual (26th year) summer music camp that Becky and some very talented people stage at the church. We both taught at the State Summer Music and Worship Arts Camp at Eagle Eyrie, outside Lynchburg, VA, and attended a “destination wedding ” in Charlottesville late in the month. All in all, it was a somewhat busy month, but a gratifying one as well.
In other news, which I’ve shared on my novel blog, Wings of the Morning: A Novel Series about an American Hero, I finished the first draft of the second novel, On Eagle Wings Upborne, and am working on having the beta version out to my readers this week. I’d also like to start on the third novel, which has the working title of On Wings of the Wind.
I still don’t have a publisher, but I’m continuing to work on that. Thanks to all those who have been encouraging and complimentary about my foray into the world of extended fiction. Hang on: something’s comin’!
In the meantime, I plan to blog on Biscuit City Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and on my devotional blog, Preaching to the Choir (http://choirdevotionals.com/)on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a post on the novel blog (http://huckfinn47.wordpress.com/)about once a week.
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Tagged as 26th year, Biscuit City, blogs, Charlottesville, destination wedding, home, July, Lynchburg, Manassas, music camps, On Eagle Wings Upborne, On Wings of the Morning, On Wings of the Wing, Preaching to the Choir, summer, summer music camp, Va, Virginia Baptist State Assembly and Conference Center at Eagle Eyrie, Virginia Baptist State Music and Worship Arts Camp
March 29, 2013 · 11:32 am
First, the announcement: it’s spring break time for the Biscuit City crew, so Molly, Nancy, the Harrisons and B. Russell will be taking off for undisclosed locations. With budget cutbacks there will be no use of the Biscuit CIty Spa and Resort. That’s for paying customers, Molly says, and we believe her. We’ll be back with a post on April 8.
And now this poem:
Seven Stanzas at Easter
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.
The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.
The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.
And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.
John Updike, 1960.
A happy and blessed Easter to all you Faithful Readers!