Hiding Writers, Reading

‘Revisiting some (old) lyrics, and a theme, previously posted, perused in one of the blogospheres (I don’t know how many there are) … A different direction emerged while the muse came by.  Two fellas, met up in 1953, the elementary school-scene in Queens (N.Y.) became famous in their school play, Alice in Wonderland.  One was the White Rabbit (Paul Simon) and the other was the Cheshire Cat (Art Garfunkel).  Actually, they did not get famous from their work in the theater, doing Alice in Wonderland.  They continued to be bro’s through junior high school and high school.  Simon and Garfunkel, their junior year, emerged as “Tom and Jerry” playing some good music.  Seriously?  Yes.  Someone in the recording studio brought up the “Tom and Jerry” thing … and it faded quickly.  “Simon and Garfunkle” was the balm, apparently.  Eventually, after “The Sound of Silence” which put them on the map, they put together this song, “I Am A Rock”, with the lyrics … here:

” … Gazing from my window to the streets below /
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. / I am a rock, / I am an island.
I’ve built walls / A fortress deep and mighty … “

I really love these lyrics, for quite a few reasons.  One of my favorite writing quotes goes like this:  “My wife doesn’t understand that when I am staring out the window, I’m actually working.”  I agree.  Productive? Maybe not, but … still … working.  Because a writer is always watching, observing, taking it all in, appreciating (some) details, editing others.  A writer would take time to ” … gaze from (his / her) window to the streets below, taking notice of the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow …”  And a writer is also aware of how easy it would be to become “a rock … an island”, with “walls, a fortress …”  Such imagery.

” … friendship causes pain. / It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain …”

I believe that some writers struggle with friendship more than others.  I actually acknowledge my envy of individuals who don’t seem to struggle at all, ever, with friendships.  They seem to be sufficiently charismatic, cool, and people love to be around these individuals.  Friendships are sometimes hard, and I do think that such struggles contribute to a writer’s persistence in writing, and reading.   And that is why these lyrics, here, resonate for me.  And … a question emerges that I pass your way: would you say, on some level, that you “hide” with books? With poetry? And do you have your armor that you protect  yourself with?  

“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.”

What is a bit weird is that I really find … asylum … with the spy novels (Thor, Ludlum, etc.) sometimes the Western novels (Johnstone, Lamour), and sometimes the good old mystery-“Who Dunnit”s (Charles Todd, Castle, Craig Johnson).  And there is that great line from Shadowlands (movie): “We read to know … we are not alone.”

So, yeah … I was just curious if you guys “hide” … from time to time … in your books, your poetry, your armor.


Relationships, Reality & Redemption

What do I know to be true?  Know yourself, and I will know myself, and if I come up short in that area, then … then … What?  Then what?  Oh, my!  Maybe the earth will rip off its axis and hurl into the sun!!!!

No, I doubt that will happen.  Here’s one truth about me: I am able.  I am able to do both good, and not-so-good.  I am able to empower (good).  I am able to enable (bummer, not-so-good).  I’ve walked with many folks over the last 20 years in the counseling context.  And in the realm of addictions, I have encountered the “enabling” dynamic a great deal.  And, if an individual is an “enabler”, that does not mean … that their heart is not good.  In fact, with every enabler I have sat with, there has always been a good heart.  We, with our good hearts, are able to miss the bigger picture, to mess up the smaller picture.  And we, with our good hearts, are able to walk with a soul and inspire, without many words.  We, with our good hearts, are able to run races with specific individuals who have come into our world who want to run well, with love in their hearts … a healthy love, an empowering love, a fragrant love, a tough love, a tough love not without honor, a tough love not without integrity, a tough love not without gentleness.

I am able.  I am able to go after myself with rocks and razored insults; rage and disgust.  There is a fancy word for it, I think: “self-contempt”.  Truly, I am not exempt from self-contempt.  And, truly, there is no exemption from redemption.

And, to use the title of one of my favorite films, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, there is an indescribably intense piece of fighting with honor and love and fairness and staying in the place of a safe place.  Not fighting with physical warfare.  Not fighting with psychological abuse; or verbal abuse; or emotional abuse.  No … this is a fighting where, at the core, is a deep authentic love for the other; caring for the other; and choosing to not let the other “off the hook” … because that is the last thing we need, to escape the responsibility of loving well and “doing relationship” well.

And that is all I’m going to say about that, for now.

Fiddler? Is There a Fiddler Up On the Roof?

Tevye: As the good book says, when a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick.

Mendel: Where does the book say that?

Tevye: Well, it doesn’t say that exactly, but somewhere there is something about a chicken.

Fiddler on the Roof … 1971 … Its a great play.  Me and the family all have parts in the play … It’s getting closer, and we still don’t have it together.  I am Mendel, and I have some odd lines in response to the main character, Tevye; like the one above, about where the “book” says something about a poor man eating a chicken.

Fiddler on the Roof: maybe you have seen the movie, or the play, or maybe  you have not.  The story is quite different than most stories that you hear about in a play, or in a movie.  There is great pain for the community of folks who live in Anatevka.  The “Constable” is Russian and he has a number of goons with him all the time.  The Constable comes to tell Tevye, the leader of the comuunity, that they are being kicked off their land, out of Anatevka.  The people of Anatevka are heartbroken.  But one thing about the people of Anatevka is that they are resilient; they are tough people, and beautiful, and passionate.  Even through the conflict, the pain, the injustice.

Anyway, tonight I had someone take a picture of me, the Rabbi, and Lazar Wolfe.  I thought you just might enjoy it.


We are doing the play in February, in about 3 weeks, Wednesday / Thursday / Friday.  Friday is sold out; Thursday is close; but there are still some seats for Wednesday’s performance.