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Margaret Atwood Travels Further Than Ever – Blessed Be!

the-testaments_margaret-atwood_3

I have noted some folk looking at this post from a couple of years ago. I had put it up because of the success of the television series, A Handmaid’s Tale.

Now, Ms. Atwood has produced a new novel, The Testaments, [which, by the way, has a brilliant front and back cover] with an international launch from London, England. I can humbly state that my part in her literary life remains the same.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was not my intent to piss off Margaret Atwood.

The opposite, in fact. I wanted her to know she was an inspiration.

She was giving a reading at the University of New Brunswick in my student days. I attended, but there was quite the gathering and she was whisked away at the end. However, I overheard there was a ‘gathering’ in her honour. Invitation only, of course. Academia and literati.

I crashed the party (that was the term used by the professor who clapped his sturdy hand upon my shoulder but – happily – did not thrust me into the night).

But Ms. Atwood was kept deep in many a learned conversation and I had no opportunity to converse. I did, however, overhear where she would be spending next afternoon – the historic University Observatory.

Next day I knocked upon the Observatory door.

It was not a cheerful Margaret Atwood who answered, and answered with alacrity.

She asked my name.

She asked my business.

And she asked how the hell I knew where she was. She had stolen the day to do some writing. Some ‘real’ writing, in this window-of-opportunity grudgingly offered on the book tour.

At least I was there to praise Atwood and not to bury her with some essay question.

Nor had I a manuscript to hand to her.

I might not have garnered a smile, but her curt thank you was reward enough.

For me, at least.

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Kafka As A Jew At Work

In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote. 

23 January 1917

The Director talked to me today. About not having sufficient people to run the Institute, and the other shortages caused by the war. And he asked my advice.

And I gave him good ideas – pointed the way. I do know my strengths – although far more familiar with my weaknesses.

And as the Director talked to me, he looked at me. In the eyes – as he so often does.

But he did not see me.

Not the I which I carry around inside myself. Not the K.

He saw an adequately dressed government official, Herr Doktor of Law, a Jew (I think he really does not mind), who knows well the operations of the Worker’s Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia in Prague. Has, indeed, risen to the rank of Deputy-Secretary.

And that is who responded to the conversation. Made comments  Smiled at the Director’s dry humour.

I watched this Jew with interest, and his act was flawless.

 

Do Not Wait For Time – Enjoy The Ride

treeswing7pp_w730_h887

What sights,

indeed,

are these,

that cause the racing clocks

to pant their minutes

in counterpoint

to a life still learning

the difference

between wretchedness and love?

{The swing goes up,

and the swing goes down,

and then goes up,

again. }

If you are on that race,

with childish yells and

up-down/mess-it-around

feelings

in the pit of your stomach …

They haven’t lowered

that coffin lid yet.

No – not yet.

 

[Image] https://themerrythought.com/wp-content/uploads/TreeSwing7(pp_w730_h887).jpg

Trump And Greta Walk Into A Bar In Davos

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~ You’re too young to drink, Greta girl.
 
~ And you don’t drink, USA President.
 
~ No, I don’t – so follow my lead.
 
~ You make a lot of bluster, USA President.
 
~ How else are they going to listen to me?
 
~ I don’t bluster.
 
~ You’re go the ‘cute girl’ thing going for you.
 
~ I look as I look.
 
~ And you don’t smile.
 
~  There are photos of me smiling.
 
~ You don’t laugh.
 
~ When I find things funny, I do.
 
~ Yeah, yeah. But really, you got that brain thing going for you.
 
~ I read that you have a brain thing going for you, USA President.
 
~ They say I’m crazy.
 
~ Yes.
 
~ Are you being funny, Greta girl?
 
~ Am I smiling?
 
~ Yes.
 
~ Yes.
 
~ I sometimes think you know what’s going on, Greta girl.
 
~ I think the same of you, USA President – sometimes.
 
~ If you played your cards right, you might get more of what you want.
 
~ My future isn’t a game, USA President.
 
~ It is to me, Greta girl.

Heading To Hell In A Handcart – New Bible Required

0814micah-prophet0010

Since I was once asked to re-write part of The Bible (see following blog) and – you know – I wrote the book – The Elephant Talks To God – I have decided to write a Book of the Bible. It will be the Second Book of Micah. I have always favoured myself as a minor prophet.

My credentials:

Some time ago I had an odd request – a very odd request, come to think of it – to re-write a portion of the New Testament. It is Luke 7 36-50, where Jesus is Anointed by a Sinful Woman. I was asked to write it from the woman’s point of view.

I met the man who made the commission at a Starbucks (his suggestion). He is a successful business man and owns and runs a professional corporation. He gave me the verses he wanted done and asked if I thought I would be able to do so. I said yes. I have the ability and the project intrigued me.  It would hold my interest.

He was not garrulous or forthcoming, and I refrained from asking him why he wanted this done. However, I did query the direction he might want the story to take. he was vague about that, also. A woman’s point of view. A woman of the times. I felt I pressed that issue strongly enough, even if I did not get an answer.

We discussed price. I told him what I thought such a project was worth. I explained it as an issue of time expended (even I wasn’t sure how much effort it would be). He agreed to an hourly price.

The end result was that he did not pay me. he disliked the finished story. I include the work and our email exchange at the end of the adventure. I wish he would have been as detailed in telling me what he wanted before the fact, instead of after.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Luke 7: 36-50

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[d] and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
I would like to see this story told form the sinner lady point of view.
****************************************
What I did.
The woman was a sinner. Everyone in the village knew this and everyone treated her accordingly. She would sleep with men for money, and thus was shunned. Except by those men who used her and paid her. But when they were done with her, they shunned her, too. Men are like that, selfish and deceitful. She has earned her money. They have earned her contempt.
The woman had reasons for being a sinner. Her parents were old when she was born and she was a chore to them. Not only a chore perhaps, but their affection was watered down. Their interest in her was always coloured with annoyance. She did not do what they wanted. She did not think as they thought. She had desires which had left them years before, so they did not think them important. And she was a girl – good only as bait for a man to marry. She was a burden.
However, she had a life to live. Her parents said she should thank them for her life. She said that instead she would blame them. She would look after herself if that was the way it had to be. She would use the tools that God gave her, just like a carpenter uses his tools to build. If there is no help from her parents; if her village looks down on her; if a man won’t marry her; well, she’ll set out on her own.
And she did.
It was not difficult to become a success at what she did. When with a man all she had to do was move her body and tell them lies. Praise them. Make those sounds they want to hear. Make then happy and she had a repeat customer. Keep the foolish secrets they seemed to insist telling her to herself. They trusted her as they used her. She used their stories for her own good. Learned where to purchase the best goods. Learned who to avoid. Make a bit of money on speculation. Even the cheapest grave digger when the time came for each of her parents. Be able to keep her parents house and even put some money away. What was a reputation compared to this?
It was from her clients that she first heard of Jesus. Yet another desert prophet full of crazy talk. The rabble seemed to love him. The Pharisees warned against him. He talked as if his words were the words of God. He seemed to give strange interpretations of the stories in the Bible. He seemed to think that more than just the rich were important. The men she was with laughed at that, but it was nervous laughter. There was something about this Jesus which troubled them, but also interested them. It was not usual that her client’s talk included references to God.
It was also from one of her clients – a Pharisee who liked to brag – that she learned Jesus was going to visit her village. The Pharisees were not happy with Jesus. They did not like what he was preaching. People are not equal. People need their leaders. Give people such ideas and they will be harder to control. So one of the Pharisees was going to invite Jesus to dine at his home.
The sinful woman decided she would attend the dinner. It was enough of a public event that she doubted she would be turned away. She wanted to hear what this Jesus had to say. See what he looked like. She knew about men and she was certain she could tell if he was to be trusted. And, men being men, she would bring him a gift. Nothing suggestive, just a jar of perfume to sooth him after his journey. She would present it to him if what she was hearing about him turned out to be true.
When she arrived at the house, and heard what Jesus had to say, she understood why the rich and powerful feared him. She knew the truth when men spoke it, because she heard it little enough. Jesus offered her comfort and asked for no favours in return.
She approached Jesus and kneeled at his feet, weeping. She was so affected by his compassion that her tears caused streaks through the dust on his feet. She wiped away at the tears with her hair, sobbing all the while. She then began to pour the perfume on his feet, rubbing the scented oils into his skin to relieve the ache of his walking.
Although the woman did not look up, she heard the condemnation coming from the Pharisee. She cowered lower beside Jesus’ feet and was prepared to be mocked and told to know her place. Forced from the house. Instead, Jesus remained seated and told a story. He asked who would love a moneylender more, one who had a huge debt cancelled, or one who had a small debt cancelled? The Pharisee replied that the one with the larger debt would have more love. Jesus agreed.
Then Jesus looked at the woman and smiled. He spoke to the Pharisee, and took the time to detail the actions of the woman since he arrived. He compared what the woman had done to the neglect of his host. She had paid attention to him, kissed his feet again and again, soothed him with perfumed oil after his walk, took the time to make him comfortable. The Pharisee had done nothing to put him at his ease. So if the woman was a sinner, then she deserved to have all of her sins forgiven, for she had done much for him. Her love was the greater, for she had overcome the greater sins, whereas the Pharisee, regardless of his fewer sins, had done nothing.
Jesus then forgave the sins of the woman, and told her to go in peace. And although this outraged the Pharisee and his guests, and made them question the authority of Jesus, the woman left the house cleansed.

*************************************************

Email Exchange Re: Bible Story

Inbox

x

Dale Estey

7 Mar (3 days ago)

Hi, *****:
Let me know what you think of the story.
Dale

Did you receive the Bible story?

I’m starting to wonder if I have the correct email address, though nothing is bumped back. Did you receive the story? I am wondering what your reaction is.

I’ll try this address and hope to get a response

Hi Mr. Dale,
I expected the story to shed the light on the values and habits of Jewish community at the time of Jesus. I would elaborate on the social rejection to the sinners who does not conform with the social rules. I would not picture her as a community defiant person. I would highlight her struggle with her temptations & her religious and community values. I would illustrate how the teachings of jesus to invite the sinners to repent made a difference to her. I would imply how her humplness made the difference between her and Simon.
I do not think that the story delivered the massage that we discussed.
[IMAGE] Https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nAShHmzx6BQ/WG5eCDa9_jI/AAAAAAAAJd4/b9keTeXrw5U1tMZZhKW9yQWdzA7HCl8dQCLcB/w1200-h630-p-k-no-nu/0814micah-prophet0010.jpg

Reality/Un/Dis // Fact/You/All /// DDD /// Ghost

shutterstock_715257643

 

I have a *new* message

From a “ghostwriter”

Who

Whom(?)

Will make my BOOK

look

BRILLIANT

Will this give me

A ghost of a chance?

{Image} https:/cdn.writermag.com/2017/10/shutterstock_715257643.jpg

Trump And Putin Walk Into A Bar And Discuss The Future

 

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang

~ How much vodka did you have, Vlad?
 
~ Why do you ask, Donnie?
 
~ ‘Cause you’re reaching kinda far – even for you.
 
~ What do you mean, Donnie?
 
~ Asking your fellow Ruskies to keep you in power for life.
 
~ Are you jealous, Donnie?
 
~ Well, I have God on my side, and I haven’t taken that step.
 
~ Yet.
 
~ Nyet.
 
~ You’re a funny little president, Donnie.
 
~  Gotta keep the deplorables laughing.
 
~ So far – so good. Isn’t that right, Donnie?
 
~ Yes.
 
~ So, how can I help you?
 
~ I’d like some pointers.
 
~ I’m preparing for 2024, Donnie.
 
~ I know.
 
~ Well, you’re starting too late.

A Happy New Year As Seen By Kafka From “Kafka In The Castle”

Franz Kafka

In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote.

 

Excerpt from : Kafka In The Castle

31 December 1916

The festivities down in the city are certainly subdued, which makes me one with the coming of the year.

There were a few shots fired into the air – which is a mockery, considering what is happening in the world. And some dismal fireworks.

Max wanted me at his party, but even he saw little point in celebration, and his entreaties were totally for form.

I understand form quite well – most of my life consists of doing the expected. Mouthing the proper words.

My letters to Felice have turned to such vehicles of propriety.

In such a way do all our days, and then our lives, acquire the necessary postmarks.

A Bear Does Whatever It Wants In The Woods

bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia

One Christmas season over a decade ago, I looked after a dog whilst her owners went out of town.

Tibbit is a big, friendly dawg who likes inspecting piles of leaves. She has a long lead which her benevolent human allows to go as far as possible. She knows (better than her accompanying human) that there are treats at the end of each walk.

One Saturday I didn’t get Tibbit out until after dark. We skirted the university (where her masters work) and went up a street bordering the campus. We both liked the Christmas lights. Near the top of the street we met an inebriated gentleman, warning us of a bear in the surrounding woods.

“Flush him out,” said he, pointing at the dog, “And I’ll get my 3 aught 3.”

“Get the rifle first,” I replied.

We then went our respective ways.

Tibbit and I doubted the veracity of the gentleman, so when we came to a trail through the woods, we took it. I will admit I did peer more intently into the gloom than usual. One trail led to a larger trail, which led back to the university. We advanced without incident.

On Sunday, I again walked Tibbit toward the university, though from a different direction. It was a crisp, clear day, and she gamboled (as much as the leash allowed ) through the new fallen snow. Sunshine gleamed. This time we were on the other side of the campus, but our walk eventually led to a position about half a mile away from where we were the previous evening.

We followed another trail into the woods, and admired the sun through the fir trees. The path was wide and sloped. It came to a turn some distance away, that led us even closer to where we were the day before. At the top of the slope, Tibbit stopped dead in her tracks.

She stared and stared. 

She glanced briefly into the woods, but mainly kept staring along the trail.

I saw nothing nor heard anything (and I was intent upon both).

Tibbit did not move and made not a sound. She just kept staring. After a solid two minutes of this, I started to backtrack.

She made no complaint.

You betcha she got her dog treats.

(image) https://i.cbc.ca/1.4288335.1505334305!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/original_620/bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia.jpg

An Elephant Tale At Christmas For Jesus

 

creche2b1

The Elephant was not oblivious to the

Christmas season, and wanted to pay his

respects. He travelled to the special clearing

where a cloud waited for him.

“It’s your Son’s birthday and I want to congratulate him.”

“Thank you.” The cloud descended further.

“It is a grand time.”

 

“I’d like to …” the elephant hesitated.

 

“Yes.”

 

“You sent your son for us to see, so we

would believe.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, I want to …”

 

“Spit it out,” said God. “You’re fired up.”

 

“I want to see you.” The elephant spoke

quickly. “I don’t have to see you, you know

that.  I believed even before you talked to

me. But I want to see you; it would mean so

much. I wasn’t around for the Baby, but

cows and sheep and things got to see Him. I

can’t explain, but …”

 

“Go home,” said the cloud.

 

“You’re not angry with me?” said the

elephant.

 

“No.” The cloud started moving away. “It’s

an honest request.”

 

“Thank you for coming to see me,” said the

elephant.

 

“Sing some carols.” The voice was distant. “I

like them.”

 

The elephant turned and started through

the woods. He ignored the tasty leaves

within easy reach, and the rich grass near

the brook. He wanted to get home as quickly

as possible, so he could join the singing at

the Mission he knew was happening later in

the evening.

 

He trotted along the trail, snapping a branch
here and there in his haste, when he noted
the stillness, the hush which had overtaken
the forest. He slowed down and then
stopped in his tracks.
He turned his head, his small eyes squinting
into the brush. There was movement
coming toward him, and when the trees
parted, he went to his knees with a gasp.
Tears rolled from his eyes, and the golden
trunk touched his own, and gently

wiped them away.
(Image) 3.bp. blogspot.com/-Cu2l0Z3a5RY/UNX-AVe2xcI/AAAAAAAABfo/xse8jdvJsLo/s1600/creche%2B1.png

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