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Jest in Literature - The Last of the Awkward Teens...  Gunjan Saraf
 Aug 06, 2002 20:52 PDT 
5th August 2002    #     019

More Trouble !!
                          ~ The Doc

A Touch of Hollowness & the Writing Prompt -
                         ~ The Doc

Poetry Corner
                         ~ The Doc

Inspiration Corner -
                          ~ The Doc

Winding Up Cartoons

Last Words for those who aren't wound up yet...
                          ~ The Doc


----------------   MESSAGE   -----------------

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====> More Trouble!!

Howdy. Issue nineteen. Guess we're just about out of
those awkward teenage years. Trifling and petty mistakes
of the past are like shadows in the wind. (Or, if we consider
Inherit the Wind, they are a ghost pointing an empty sleeve
at nothing.)

Continuing the litany of physical mishaps, this week finds
yours truly squinting to finish this issue with but one eyeball
working. The other was lacerated a couple of days ago by an
errant limb bearing the force of hatred that all felled trees lent it
from the past. Smack, and so nefarious was it with this
clandestine attack that my eyelid didn't even react.

Flattened a bit of the socketed orb, but more handicapping is
the slice that runs straight across the cornea and pupil,
dead center.

As I mentioned to Gunjan, I seem to be a bit out of synch with
the universe these past few weeks. What a weird thing it is to
have no perception of depth: reach for things that remain six
inches further away, fall over things that you haven't gotten to
yet, set something down and fail to recognize it two minutes
later. But, the real fun is driving......

There are many ways to see, however. As Butch said to Sundance,
"I got vision, and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals."

Comments or Questions :

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==> A Touch of Hollowness & the Writing Prompt -

Inherit The Wind's 1960 film version by Stanley Kramer is
an inaccurate, but wholly enjoyable version of the "Scopes'
Monkey Trial." It is a fictionalized recreation of the trial
wherein the Bible Belt went to war with the Evil Evolutionists.
Spencer Tracy held the spotlight as the curmudgeon lawyer,
Drummond, and he took to task the character representing
William Jennings Bryant. The part of the movie that has always
stood out for me was at the end when Drummond and a
newspaper reporter, Hornbeck, played by Gene Kelly, are
going at each other for their own bigotries and false faces.
Drummond tells Hornbeck to stop ridiculing Brady (Bryant)
because, though short-sighted in his beliefs, at least he stood
for something. Hornbeck calls Drummond an old hypocrite,
and Drummond tells Hornbeck that he is a vulture who preys
on the carrion of other people's troubles. He feels nothing,
believes in nothing, and, Drummond accuses, he stands for
nothing. He is "a ghost, pointing an empty sleeve at nothing."

I wondered then, and now, if the playwrites had taken this
description from T.S. Eliot's "Hollow Men."

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us -- if at all -- not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

The line that subtitles the poem is: "Mistah Kurtz - he dead."
The reference is to Joseph Conrad's incredibly rich and difficult
"Heart of Darkness." Marlow, the protagonist of that book, at
the climax, looks into Kurtz's eyes and sees a man struggling
with himself. It is a fight with a hollow man, he states. And yet,
he doesn't quite mean that. As Eliot says in his poem, there are
those who have crossed "with direct eyes, to death's other
Kingdom...." Kurtz may have been a soul that lost his way.
He may have committed horrible acts of depravation. He may
have forsaken almost all that was human, but at his end, he
looked himself straight in the eye, and he said the truth about
himself and what he had done: "The horror. The horror."

There is a cliché that comes to mind here: "If you don't stand
for something, you'll fall for anything."

There is a theory that postulates that supreme evil comes from
a person's realization that he is empty; a straw man, a scarecrow.
From the schoolyard bully to the rapine industrialist, to the
cuckold, to the serial killer, there is a fear of the emptiness inside.
The bullying, the infidelity, the killing, and the raping of natural
resources are personal attempts to avoid looking inside and
discovering, at the core of oneself, an emptiness.

This prompt to initiate your writing if you care to write, is directed
by the following quote:

"Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly
in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that
is not there."

Comments or Questions :

The Devil's Dictionary defines LOVE as
'A temporary insanity curable by marriage.'
But if you're serious about finding it here's
The Easiest Way to Find the Love of Your Life!
Check out http://ebooks.wz.com/dating/a277.html
to have a great date next weekend...

===> Poetry Corner

The poetry prompt:

Last week's single-word prompt was: BETRAYAL. You still
have a week to submit a poem on that if you like. It is definitely
a loaded word that has brought in quite a few poems already.

If you need a trigger to get you started, consider this:

An open foe may prove a curse,
But a pretended friend is worse.

The single word prompt for this week is:


Poetic Submissions For Betrayal

Poetic Submissions For Fear

Some of the poetry submissions prompted by the word,

( I have to mention that some poetry relies on format. Those
are difficult to reproduce in the restricted format of this newsletter.
In fact, mostly it is lost, so please understand that, if your poem
does not reappear in the form in which you presented it.)


The wind sashays through hundred-year old pines,
Pitch-laden cones crash through the boughs like rockets
Hitting their target-spot on the corrugated tin roof with a deafening blast.
The cat dives for cover.
Squirrels chatter, Blue jays squawk, and crickets chirp
As the Hawk soars high above the treetops
Keeping his eye sharp for the random mouse or
Lizard he needs for dinner.

Down by the lake, the deer browse in the fern grotto,
Trout and bass rise through the water's mirror surface
Grabbing the unsuspecting low-skimming flies,
Sending ripples in ever-widening circles.

I carry my walking stick fashioned from an old cracked branch.
My ankles, golden brown from dust off the path,
My arms, suntanned from many days spent this way,
My soul wanders with me in this paradise.
A month in the mountains - a luxury not many know.
Please tell me that I have miscalculated and it's
Not over, not yet, please,
Please tell me that the month has just begun.

Darling 2002

(As I mentioned to Darling when I read this submission, it is hard
to find the point of denial in a bacchanalia of hedonism. I was
joking with her, of course, because she has a most incredible
way of painting pictures with words, as this poem demonstrates.
The language becomes honey.)


Denial is a river that
overflows its banks
and allows a lot of peasants
to plant papyrus

Papyrus is prepaper
on which Egyptians wrote
   nearly prehistoric prepoetry

about Denial overflowing
its banks and wrecking
the ecology of fancy furrows
facing Pharoahs' fine facades

Denial is the mother of beauty

Jo Bristol

Westport, NS

(I really enjoy this poem, Jo. The humor is wonderful, and the
originality of prepaper and prepoetry is the sign of a whimsical
nature. The alliteration that you choose to end with really makes
the mental tongue twist as well. This is a play off the saying, I
presume, that "Denial is not just a river in Egypt." Your last line
is, of course, the show stopper that should get many minds into
gear. Thanks.)

I am proud to present the following entry.


by Lane Pope

(Descartes, when asked if he wanted help walking to the street,
said, "I think not," and promptly ceased to be. Two words
would have been one too many, right Lane?)

Comments -

Turning Dreams into Dollars...

An ebook in which you won't find the get-rich-quick
garbage or motivational fluff that sounds good but never
works. Not too surprising, since the editors of
Internet ScamBusters are publishing it."


==> Inspiration Corner

Inspiration to excite you into movement if nothing else has:

Philtrum. Well, that's the technical term for the small indentation
in the middle of area above the upper lip and below the nose.

(Okay, there's nothing exciting about that one, but haven't you
always wondered?)

"A cat that falls off the seventh floor of a building has about
25-30% less chance of survival than a cat that falls off the
20th floor. It appears to take about 8 floors for the cat to
realize what is occurring, relax and correct itself."

(Two thoughts: one, at an acceleration of one foot per second
per second, just what kind of correcting is this cat going to do?
And two, who the hell performed the experiment to discover
this little tidbit?)

"I claim that the truth is a pathless territory. And one cannot
approach it by any path, by any religion or sect. This is my
point of view, and I hold it absolutely and unconditionally ...
Once you have understood this, you will see how impossible
it is to organize a belief. A belief is an individual matter, and
you cannot and must not organize it. If you still do it, it dies,
it crystallizes itself and becomes a belief system, a sect,
a religion, which will be forced onto others."

(Though taken out of context and continually misapplied, this is
very akin to what Nietzsche meant when he said, "God is Dead."
He meant that organized religion had killed the path to god.
Of course the joke is:

God is Dead - Nietzsche.
Nietzsche is Dead - God.)

I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird
religious cult. (Admit it, now you're curious, too.)

A little more inspiration for those whose minds refuse to
take a nap:

"The literate person who chooses not to read has no great
advantage over the illiterate person who cannot."

And, "Curiosity is one of the most permanent and certain
characteristics of a vigorous intellect." (As long as that curiosity
doesn't take the form of a cat which finally learns to relax with
twelve stories to go. Relax? Relax? Who's kidding whom?)

And, a little inspiration for those of us who have trouble
remembering the day of the week:

"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja-vu at the same time.
I think I've forgotten this before."

Comments or Questions :

If you're looking for a really fun way to earn some
extra money with humor, check out John Cantu's ebook -
Getting Paid to Make People Laugh
(Without Being a Comedian)


[John is the guy who showcased Robin Williams, Paula
Poundstone, Kevin Meany, Rob Schneider, and Dana Carvey.]


===> Winding up Cartoons

Pillow Fight

Small Budget

Cat tales

===> Last Words for those who aren't wound up yet...

A final thought for those who think English is a tough language
to translate:

From a Brochure of a Car Rental Firm in Tokyo: "When
passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet
melodiously at first, but if the passenger of foot still obstacles
your passage then tootle him with vigor."

So, until we get past this gawky teenage issue nineteen, and
enter the adultery of our olderness, we bid you adieu, and
tootle you most vigorously.

If you know someone who would be interested in reading
'Jest in Literature' please forward this entire message to them.
Better still invite them to subscribe. Thank You!
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JD Lentz
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