Random December Thoughts

Writers who write about empathy in stories and poems and essays are the least empathetic people I’ve ever known. It’s easy on the page. Not so easy in real life. Practicing empathy requires a face to it. No face on the pages. Is writing about empathy practicing empathy? Perhaps. It could lead to acts of empathy. We need models for positive behavior. Writers can provide them. They often do. However, I sense many writers of empathy fake it in the real world. I used to be that kind of fake writer of empathy. I extended vast empathy to dogs but very limited empathy to people around me. Not anymore. I can go vast on both fronts.

I am sitting in a waiting room. A fan blows. It’s 40 degrees outside. Doors open and close. I hear alarms toot.

I’m forever trapped in an algorithm that generates profits for colossal tech and media companies through clicks and targeted advertising. Think of that as the most dystopian aspect in current American life and it’s not fictional and wasn’t invented by a writer of science fiction. It was invented by corporations with youthful progressive CEOs and cool employees and we willing entered into the arrangement. So did the government at every governmental level. It is a scenario of lucrative and permanent enslavement that Orwell or Kafka never imagined. We did it to ourselves! It was cool! That’s more Huxley.

I feel so fatigued. Why is that? I’m in the best physical condition since 2008. I suppose I am metaphysically fatigued.

Whenever I begin to rally, then I somehow began to rubber band, and I don’t even know what that means.

I met someone who wants to be a poet. We talked of that. How does one become a poet in 2017? I sense poetry could be more important than ever. It has become more important to me than ever. I am seeing things around me that I can only comprehend through poetry, mine or others. Rilke is changing my life. Throwaway lines from Rilke are reeling me in.

The Alphasmart word processor initiated another unexpected and fascinating conversation about the nature of technology. Some people pine for the simplicity the Alphasmart provides. They want off the digital teat, but they don’t know how or can’t take the first step. Is it that hard?

I am reading a biography of Jack Johnson, the prizefighter, not the lite rocker, and his story is blowing my mind. He was a boxer, a spy, a matador, an activist, an actor, an exile, a prisoner, a flaunter of every racial and social convention of his era. He hung out with Rasputin! He is the wild forerunner to Ali, Tommy Carlos, Colin K. It is hard to believe his life hasn’t been turned into a new serialized show. His life is very much relevant today.

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