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Thread: The Esoteric Diaries

  1. #21
    stickinthemud is offline Junior Twelever +1 TwelevePlus
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    Default Organic Chemistry

    Sister Ruth

    When I deceided to attend college, I went to an all male christian liberal arts university. One of the first things I did was to find a place when I could contemplate in peace. finding no such place, I took to standing on the corner talking with the drunks and derelects that often gathered near the university. Most of them drank, cheap wine or whiskey, and they would often offer to share it with me. I did not refuse.

    During my junior year, when I was taking Organic Chemistry, taught by Sister Ruth. I was called into her office, for a discussion. I knocked on her door and sat down, as she had not yet looked up. She began by telling me that her concern was my laboratory experiments - it seems that my yields after chrystallization were a bit high, and that maybe I was improvising. I looked at her and said, I have meticious laboratory notes in my labbook, which anyone could repeat. Sister Ruth acknowledged that, but said "you have to follow the procedure exactly, low yields are expected".

    I thought about that, when she said, rather suddenly, "I have received a request from a major medical school, asking me to comment on your suitability". At that, I  became somewhat excited, and forgot about the response I was going to give. She continued, "I am not going to respond to this request." Perhaps, unknown to her, this was my last chance to pursue a dream. I stood up, thanked her for her time, and left her office.

    Hoping that I would never meet her again in this life. No more than dust, she was - I had other dreams.
    Being and nothingness are illusions. Rollo May

  2. #22
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    A light flickered in the window, in the little space where the blinds didn’t quite cover the bottom of the window frame. He wasn’t sure what it was. It could have been the headlights from traffic, or maybe a camera flash from next door. “Dad, it’s lightning!” his son told him. Definitively with the confidence of youth. Distractedly as a movie played on the television. Dismissively to the parent who was surely experiencing senility.

    When the movie was over, he stepped outside to find it raining. A downpour in April was rare, but always welcome. The lightning crackled across the sky, leaving thunderous booms in its wake. As he turned to call the rest of the family out to see the show, all of the lights in the house snapped off. The rare thunderstorm had caused an even rarer power outage.

    In the past, there would have been the frustrating hunt for available flashlights – scattered throughout the house as they were played with, discarded and found again. This time he knew exactly where the camping supplies had been stashed. “Who’s the man?” he asked himself. In the darkness, he felt his way to the stairs, up to the bedroom (while dodging the normal amount of junk on the stairs and the feel of his kids’ bodies), through the bathroom and into the closet. There, in his closet, were two backpacks stuffed with headlamps and lanterns.

    After the excitement of the storm and the tedium of having no electricity had faded away, his family started drifting off to sleep, one by one until he was the only one awake. Lying on a bed backwards to watch the lightning from the window, he finally slept, lulled by the flashes of light.

    The darkness, supercharged by the lightning’s electricity, gave rise to wonderful dreams. In them, he was whole. The brief passages of the music he heard in previous dreams played on – a symphony of his own creation. The plot that danced just beyond his reach finally came to him – a masterpiece waiting to be written. Finally, the words he had struggled to say appeared. With those words, he would be complete. The answers to all of his questions were before him.

    He was in bliss until just after midnight. Midnight, when the power was restored, and with it everything that was on before the outage turned on again. Lights flickered and started to shine, televisions blared the sound of static, and alarms started to cry throughout the house. As quickly as reality interrupted his peace, his dreams started to fade.

    Jumping from the bed, he ran to find something to record his visions. There were no pens upstairs; there were no notebooks downstairs. With each step, his dreams slipped away even further. The unrecorded symphony vanished while he was looking for something to write with. The great novel evaporated during the search for something to write on. Just as he was sitting down at the computer to type the words he needed to say, they too disappeared. It was all gone.

    He sat there at the desk for hours, trying to recall what had been in front of him. Everything he had wanted had been there. Everything he had needed. Only to be ripped away when the electricity came back on. He finally fell asleep at the desk and dreamed of those wonderful things again.

    And, as they usually did, his answers disappeared before he woke.

  3. #23
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    Each time we part,
    I think it will be the last time.
    Regretting some of the things
    that I said. That I didn’t say.

    Every time you leave,
    I feel ridiculous for feeling the way I do.
    Irrational and illogical desire.
    So embarrassing. So needy.

    Each time you come back,
    I wonder if you’ve found it
    somewhere closer.
    Whatever was missing. Whatever I gave you.

    I worry about driving you away.
    Desperately grasping, obviously clutching
    At what isn’t there.
    Each time. Every time.

  4. #24
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    Thanks to everybody who so generously donated their talents here in April. Here's an update on the April twollar giveaway, for all the entries since my last payment on the installment plan:

    J15 20T
    Nodon 60T
    12pm 100T
    Holli 10T
    Kat 25T
    SITM 10T

    Thank you all -

    Carol

  5. #25
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    all are awesome....

    love that last one stu...i totally know the feeling of everything you conveyed...specially the dodging ! lol
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    “You willing to send me a box of water paints & charge to me one that has gay colors in it bright yellow and light yelloe and orange and light red & other gay colors if you have them & willing… Don’t let folks know anything about this… send me the box as privet as possible.”

    -Nancy Luce, in a letter to Edward Munro, September 1842





    Hard Luck Shade in Tiah’s Cove

    There are bleak shadows in the greying soul
    That long for light’s release, that peaceful whole
    Where color bends its balm beyond the shade
    Of who we are and what from selves have made.

    And so she wrote, a prism prisoned in the cage
    Of scrawled despair. Her chickens crawl each page
    Like clucks of bad luck times. Her wintry cove’s
    A cave unreached by rays, or gayer mauves

    Of lilacs, peaches, plums. Some lives, like hers,
    Just never spring the colors earth inters
    With stoney, darker touch. Rebirth’s not cheap.
    Cold times can kill, despite the spirit’s leap.

    Sometimes we learn by going where blues live
    And only then can all lost hues forgive.

  7. #27
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    Upon Attempting to Repair an Old Oak Desk

    Some pieces never fit back square again
    Once rot and shear have had their way. Often
    We wield Makita power, glue and screw
    To no avail. Oak stood for sturdy, true;

    But solid craftsmanship just can’t repair
    When planks’ planes buckle. Boldest joints despair
    When worm and wear hold sway. I make my stand
    Against test’s time, but flunk its failing hand.

    One desk has taught this scholar entropy:
    The rule that breaks the mold upon the tree
    Of life, owns death. No matter student’s will,
    A class of oak can fall despite the drill.

    And in the end, although I’ve given it my most,
    This wood must now yield up its crafted ghost.

  8. #28
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    Billie peered through the blinds. The roar of thunder, the flash of lightning, a summer rain storm. Billie looked at the clock by the bed, the red numbers glowing in the dark room. 2:15 in the morning. The sounds of August were enhanced by the wail of an ambulance and the swirling red and blue lights from the police cars below the window.

    Billie chewed on the filtered end of an unlit cigarette. There would be no going back to bed. There would be no more delaying the inevitable. Billie picked up the phone and dialed a number she had long ago committed to memory.

    Just as a voice on the other end of the line said a sleepy hello, there was a flash of light brighter than any lightning and a roar louder than thunder. All was eerily quiet and still, the rhythmic sound of wind driven raindrops on the side of the house was the only disturbance to the dead silence.

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    It's great to have you here, Corgi.

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    A few notes from my trip:

    The Tuckaseegee river banks, particularly around bridges, were made of stacked automobile carcasses.  The barest bones of Fords, Chevies, Buicks, and Oldsmobiles rose from the earth as if trying to escape their deaths. Black snakes the size of basilisks hid in their stunned mouths, waiting to strike life.

    At the sight of strawberry fields, my mouth watered as I recalled quite fondly my first alcoholic drink ever, a strawberry daiquiri.  The fields were laden with fresh opportunities for red-lipped girls to discover themselves.

    As we approached each railroad crossing, I heard the sound of the bell bend.  The doppler effect struck me as very fourth dimensional, and I decided that time also bends like that around some central event, slowing and speeding up with distance.  With just a little reflection, I easily heard my life's clang, noting depression's arrival and departure.

    Bryson City had the distinct smell of decay.  Cheap housing in old flea markets and rows of abandoned motor homes in fertile pastures led me to concur that the rot must be society as I know it.

    On the train, when we went through the mountain tunnel, our open air car was completely black for a minute or two.  The girls' light up tennis shoes made it a very laser-show-like experience, and their shrieks were deafening.  Boulder walls enclosed us and stilled the breeze from my hair.  When we returned to daylight, the girls all had wide, wild eyes, like animals in a cave, caught in a flashlight's glare.

    That night, our campfire was full of little girls in their PJs, trying to dry their long, wet hair after swimming.  We made the obligatory s'mores, and the leader read an Indian folk story while we licked the charred marshmallow from our fingertips.  After the moon had risen high above the pines, fumes of marijuana wafted in from nearby campsites.  Some moms giggled nervously; others closed their eyes and took deeper, longing breaths.  

    I'm now old enough to have seen that missed opportunities become regrets, so on Sunday, when we went to the large bouncy pillow to let the kids jump, I wasn't going to be the mom who just nursed her vending machine coffee.  I handed my keys and camera to a friend of mine and said, "I'm going in."  With the kids, I did splits and sitties and laughed so hard that I practically couldn't breathe!  When I fell, the kids decided to bounce right over me in sort of a reverse limbo.  (My spleen is still intact, thank you very much.)  And best of all, one by one, the other moms joined in.  Score one for middle age!

    We went gem mining and tried our best to GET RICH QUICK! (for only $6 per person).  My mathematically-oriented child muttered something about how the old man with the buckets of dirt was the only one who was getting rich, but she let it go and was pleased to find an amethyst crystal the size of her hand.  (I think she liked it just because it was purple; momma was thinking bling.)  We went inside the gift shop, where I sat and spoke with a female employee about the healing power of various stones.  I listened as she leaned on the edge of her card table chair and whispered to me about the mysterious disappearance of her rose quartz.  She told me her secrets, but then again, most people do.

    We ate a picnic lunch back by the river, and the girls found a slimy mass of eggs caught in the river rocks.  We guessed they were frog eggs waiting to become tadpoles, but we couldn't tell.  Each of the kids went a little further upstream before dipping their toes in and croaking a ribbety lullabye to their new baby friends.  

    Our ride back was typical.  In no time, the girls slumped all over each other like newborn kittens, mouths slid open and muscles spent.  While they dreamed, I melted into my seat and watched the black, ear-tagged cows pass by in fields of yellow wildflowers.  

    Home is always different when you’ve been gone, even a little bit.  My daughters were older; I felt younger.  Sure, we need to paint our garage, but our kitchen smelled like home: sauteed onions and toasted pine nuts.  Long after my two glasses of merlot, long after a hot shower, long, long after I had let the laundry go another day, my flannels eased this bone-weary woman back into the same old, same old with the softness of old love.

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