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The Thrifty and Prodigal Suitors

There were once two suitors for the love of a wonderful, charming, creative and intelligent woman, and one was thrifty and one was prodigal. The thrifty one feared that the world would run out of food and offered his love rising with the dawn, sleeping with the sunset and meals of porridge while the prodigal one gave her gift of meat and fruit and musical instruments that took hundreds of man-hours to make and dances through the night by the light of gasoline fires.  She chose the prodigal one because he made her heart soar, although not without guilt, but then her mother explained to her that the soaring of the heart is a sign placed by nature that here is abundance, and here is safety and one can make a family.  Later when the world did run out of food she came looking for her thrifty suitor to feed her children, but his face was dark towards her and he did not let her in.  Now, children, was her old suitor right to refuse to forgive her?

Right!  Right!  If societies forgive those who do the wrong thing, then they will do the wrong thing when the opportunity comes again!

Oh, children.  But in this case there will be no “again”.

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The Old Yet Recently Updated Game “People With Problems”

  1. David August Jones.  He is a surgeon with a successful practice removing the limbs from apotemnophiliacs, people who don’t feel happy unless they have someone remove their limb.  Now the state he lives in has said that voluntary limb removal is illegal, they want to shut down his clinic.  And he is saving money to marry his girlfriend.
  2. Milinda Guo.  She has just completed a hundred and twenty thousand word manuscript of a science fiction book about a world of people trying to construct an enormous tunnel.  It’s the middle of the night and she has just woken up and realized a flaw in her novel.  A character who on page 100 acts in a way such that he could not possibly know that the race of engineers the Bloots are actually evil, on page 400 realizes that he knew about the evil of the Bloots all along.  The manuscript is due in the morning; it is too late to change. If she does not hand it in she will lose her home.
  3. Thongsak Vajiprasee.  His Dad is dead, his brother has stolen the family fish farm, he’s all alone, and people blame him for not being a better son.  He has no idea what to do next.
  4. Ally.  She has a sick imagination. Every time she tries to imagine what she will do next her imagination is no good; it comes up with options that are unworkable, morally wrong, esthetically repugnant or all three.
  5. You, the player of this game whose job is to figure out how each of these people with a problem can solve the problems of the rest and thereby earn release from the Donjon of the King of Games, Lord Tarabakay himself!
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People with Feelings of Inauthenticity

I have been thinking about apeople I know with feelings of inauthenticity.

For example I know a woman who thinks of herself as too serious, too much for a relationship.  She thinks she can never find a boyfriend because once she met a man and he learned how sad she was he wouldn’t want to share in her pain, and who could blame him.  On line her twitter persona is “Princess of Candy”.  She posts light flirtatious jokes comparing herself to different kinds of dessert.  But in real life the attention her twitter postings garner put her on an emotional roller coaster ride.  She gets a lot of attention but she feels bad because it is a lie.   They are interested in her as a light tasty snack, if they knew she was a heavy meal they’d run for the hills!

I know a guy who writes for a successful drama show that is all about guilt. The main character is a lovely guy, a surgeon, an admirable figure who cheated on his wife one night, and on this night he witnessed a murder, and as a consequence of this transgression he is being born like a leaf on a river deeper and deeper into a world of evil and deceit. (the bad guys are blackmailing him &c.) The guy, the writer’s problem is that he knows from guilt. Because of some issues in the family of origin that I won’t get into (they’re not really my business) he felt guilty since he was a little kid. So he pitches his boss stories of guilt and he thinks he knows guilt — he knows he knows guilt! he was a guilty three year old for God’s sake! — and they don’t accept them. So he has learned to come up with different stories of guilt and they are getting successful. The new songs of guilt he sings gather him praise. They’re loving him for how well he writes guilt! But he feels like a fake. I know real guilt he thinks, it’s what I felt when I was a little kid. And. This. Is. Not. It. Take back your praise! I don’t deserve it! I am a fraud a fake a thief.

I want to tell my two friends, your guilt over your inauthenticity is every bit as real as the depression you, Candy Princess feel, and the guilt you Guilty About Being Guilty T.V. Writer Feel.  In other words your feelings of inauthenticity are perfectly…authentic.  So in your worries about being real, you are, in fact perfectly real.  And in fact the same thing that makes you depressed about your body and your face although they are perfectly lovely, Candy Princess, also make you depressed about your twitter persona which is also, Perfectly Lovely and Delicious.  And the same childhood drama where you felt you were never good enough for your Family of Origin, Writer of Guilt, are what make you feel your new way of writing guilt is not as real as your long lost feeligns of guilt, when in fact it is perfectly good and nothing to be guilty about At All!

I want to tell that to my friends, but I know I am not the guy to do it. What I really want is for them to tell each other.

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A Few Sad Stories and a Happy One

i

A woman lives near a lake where beautiful scarlet birds come and nest every year.  Hunters shoot the birds for their feathers.  She comes across some of the plucked birds.  They have been injured and their feathers have been torn out but they are still alive.  She cares for the birds in her home and nurses them back to health.  She acquires a reputation as a do-gooder.  She falls in love and has children but her lover leaves her after a few years and she is very poor.  When her children grow they have no way to live.  So they find work with the hunters.  They introduce modern methods, kill all the birds by the lake, sell their feathers, use the money to take care of their aged mother.  She loses her reason, takes to wandering around town holding a skein of brightly colored scarlet wool.  She sets a fire in the town, igniting the children’s library with goes up in seconds.  She is placed in an institution for the insane where she dies.

ii

A boy is sure that he is no good and that if he follows his heart he will hurt people.  He has a few love affairs at the technical college with women of the lower classes but always breaks them off saying “I am hurting her!”  He sets himself up in business and on a holiday falls in love with a woman who is a nurse.  When he tries to break off the affair citing his usual worries, that she is too good for him and that he will hurt her, she tells him the story of deliberately taking an elderly woman’s life in a sanitarium as a young nursing student.  “Don’t you see?” she says seriously “I am worse than you are.”  They marry and have a son, but he is haunted by the unconscious feeling that happiness and love are dangerous, and not to be risked.

 

iii

A bird is flying over a lake very, very early in the morning, while the sky is bright with grey light but the sun has not yet risen.  Although the landscape is still dim and monochrome the bird’s bright red feathers stand out like a drop of blood.  We look at it and place our palms over our eyes.  A trickle of sweat drips down the small of our backs.  Tiny gnats perform evasive flights near the surface of the water, rising and falling, wheeling and turning.  On the lake’s muddy edge a whirligig beetle emerges, stretches its six legs in the morning sun and begins to spin.

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