Friday, January 29, 2016

But there is, as mentioned before, the theme of a particular kind of story.   The joke is one bardic vocal form, a carefully remembered and acted piece if it is to be good.  Like a joke it's an attempt at some valid insight.  An attempt to be serious.

Jesus walks into a bar.  Or, rather, is it a guy walks into a bar, and it turns out, eventually, as he realizes, it's actually Jesus who is the bartender.  Or is it that Jesus is the bartender, but that he doesn't have a girlfriend and there are other issues in his life regards his employment and where he's at in life, and so that every Monday morning, a bit too early for him, he goes to see his therapist.  He's not even sure he's Jesus anymore.

And then is that really it is the therapist who is, secretly or not, Iyengar, or Buddha, or maybe rather she is Jesus and you're not, or you're just taking a day off from it, let her carry the burden, tho' you are the one, poor purgatorian devil that you are, like Hamlet's father's ghost--indeed, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring a great work like that, Hamlet, into  a therapy session, and just read from it and feel all the things that are within people and happen unto them--who has to do the talking.  While she's looking at you.  Jesus Christ.  Ha ha ha.

But Jesus, let's say, the best is a combination of all and several un and yet to be mentioned.  He's a bartender.  And he has to reinterpret, to bring alive again, the Christian teaching and deft touch for parable and story and good humor, bring it out to a dull audience who sometimes does not say please, or barely thank you when they order something, not even introducing the subject, coming out of the blue to a man who fields many requests of all sorts, let us not fool ourselves, "Miller Lite."  Yes, what about it.  Miller Lite.  Hmm.  Lite.  Miller.

Jesus, this current version of him, he can stay up too late sometimes.  It's a quiet time, a time of regrowth and cleansing.  Like sitting in the sauna of silence, to sweat out the good pure blood of his real thoughts.

What's he mulling over?  He's mulling over why he's a writer, who bartends, who does it well, passively listening, smiling, speaks when spoken to, avoids excessive opinions.  He's mulling over all the things he's written over the last twenty five or more years.

Because, you know, he started out in a certain way.  And somehow part of the story, similar to the finding the kid when he was twelve or so sitting on the steps of the Temple talking with the priests, really engaged with them.  But also, like a Buddha, silent, a mind deep into meditations and noble silences.

So that it would be natural that he continue on a certain way, because doing so, doing the actual tiring work even, the mysterious work, the unfathomable payoff, obscure in potential even, for it.  And the thing, he is good at it.  Good for trying, in his own way, generous with his time.

Generous with his time in a way people now hardly understand.  Even further and further and further way from that concept of long time to a true karmic pay-off.

And the joke, if it ever were to be sustained, part of a larger literary project, how would that come about?  Would it be a thing pasted together, like a plant suddenly seeing from all its own little tiny cellular perceptions that it was one thing, all cells working together, differentiating, each to a particular task to behoove the total, seeing the light that feeds all cells, the stem root cell becoming one day the cell helping form a leaf's underbelly.

If you read him, Jesus, in a particular way, one in which to me he makes sense, he's so good at what he does, I mean, the way he handles people.  One of the Pharisees is getting on him for dining with publicans and sinners, and Jesus is more than kind to him in his manner and explanation.  "Look, my friend, it would be dumb to force new wine into old bottles.  Old bottles {this is complementary of the Pharisees' thought} have better wine in them anyway.  But, there are new garments from time to time, and that's all good."  Something like that.  Jesus, to my ear, is not racheting up the tension.  He is not kicking anyone, in fact he's being quite deferential.

To get those parables, you have to listen sometimes.  You have to ponder, even for, like, twenty years, and then, one day, dumb, rolling over, you can say, ah, ah-hah, I get it...

I do wonder, sometimes, late at night, when it's my time, when it's perfectly quiet, when I am alone, why would a writer, one whose own attempt at journalism is self-reflective and haphazard, why have we, not that all of us have, maybe none of us, why have we left abandoned the high ground of  Dostoevsky?  Why have we plunged down a hill that was our best form of battle to cede position against a foe that then is larger, superior in force.

The Idiot, Notes From the House of the Dead, The Brothers Karamazov, it could all start with that line, from the Gospels, about the kernel of wheat, falling to the ground, to die, to bring forth much fruit.  Why leave those 19th Century prisms of visible light...

we had a prism when I was a kid.  I wish I knew where it was now.  Beautiful thing, glass, triangle form...  great on cold winter mornings.

And let's face it.  Work, that to which one was born for better things, sucks.  It's good for socializing, to keep you from going mad, it's good in that way for your brain, but it's a singular activity that sometimes takes away the ability and all those years during which one is supposed to develop and feed his own family life, like it says in the Bible.  There are a lot of questions to be asked, of this work thing.  Like, why?  And why am I so Dudley Do-Right responsible toward it when not everyone else is...  or maybe they are...

And educator is trying to feed you something.   And they have to make it, if they are good, to be digestible to a wide variety of folks.

Shit, I'd talk to everyone, about cooking, about where they found, about people they'd met, where they were from, you never knew when a good subject would come up.  Sometimes, as my friend David pointed out the other night, it's like the Hopper painting of the diner at night.

A man needs to show a respect for the Gospels, an active understanding of them, ultimately, for literature, for a woman,  She needs to see that.

A million jokes never get said, to tell you the truth.  There's barely time for a barman's wit.  Lurking subtly, late at night when he has conquered them into a truce.  They don't know I'm a man who likes to use the language on his off time.  Like a garden outside the city that Hemingway spoke of in moveable feast, a waiter, refused to shave off his mustache for the new regime at the cafe...

This man, D, he's retired from living in Lord of the Rings.  He was one of those... you weren't an elf, no, or a, the guys with Legolas, or, Strider?

But still, doctor, one loses confidence.  All the golden opportunities, all the chances to let your talents out, and you're shy, or crazy, or can only do it on your own.  No 'partner' like they see 'partner', but just, disciples, I guess.  I mean, I'm not better 'en 'em, but, these guys...   like....  listen to what I say.  I mean, finally, the small intimate talk that's always gone on in my head.  And I've conducted this writing seminar so that they are all able, because I've taught them well, like, to just go for it, to tell the story, to go write a gospel, or a Paul's letter, or something, I've taught them to talk, cleanly and purely, from their true selves.  Not the culturally conditioned, I mean, patterned by new influences that might not be so poetic, the inability to see beyond the image of the advertisement.

Jesus spoke to everyone kindly.  Beaming it out.

His healing cure to the Pharisee with those nice words of his, about how the old wine was truly better, but that there was new wine too, and you couldn't all stomp it out like a child at an ant mound...

Those sketches of Jesus the teacher,  they were chastely written remembrances, like at a eulogy, where you don't want to go overboard and take too much time but, convey the sense...

"Doctor, I should be with a woman.  Why am I not with a woman?"

Somewhere in hyper space, Dr. Torrey is dealing with it...

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