“That’s funny,” Robert Frost told Emily Dickinson. “I was twelve years old when you died. How can we be together now?”
“That’s true,” she conceded, “but this happens every time our author hears Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Dangling Conversation.’ “
“O now I remember,” the former conceded. “The line: ‘..and you read your Emily Dickinson/and I my Robert Frost’ always has freaked him out.
“Language, symbolism in general,” the Belle of Amherst proceeded to explain, “always inspire people. Anyway we only have a short time here. Chuck McCann has recently died so our author will be reminiscing constantly about his childhood.”
Welcome back yet again to Rochelle’s weekly Friday Fictioneers, a hundred~word story based upon a photo prompt. This week’s prompt has been supplied by Yardspinnerr
“There are three chairs here, ladies and gentlemen,” stated the philosopher king. “They provide a space for will, intellect and memory, as well as for text, context and subtext; melody, harmony and rhythm.”
My classmates and I were all quite smitten with our philosophy professor, Michael Soupios. Reality truly is, in so many ways, broken down into threes. This particular lecture of his also quite easily highlights the distinction between the symbol and the thing itself. It’s so nice to have a professor who’s willing to explain things in simple interesting language. Not everyone can understand the overly abstract.
I’d say that I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction about the same, though for different reasons. Right now I’m reading Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline” and Jane Austen’s novel, “Sense and Sensibility”. I’m also reading “The Story Of A Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux. I’ve always been interested in novels and poems because they allow me to travel to other places and time frames. I can permit my imagination to get entirely out of control. A well written novel or poem also can teach interesting lessons about human nature. Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” and Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” are exceptionally good examples of this. One problem with Dostoyevsky, though, is that he tends to be exceptionally didactic. Reading something of his always makes me feel as if it’s written in the form of a thinly disguised theology and philosophy lecture.I’ve always enjoyed seeing how many different symbols I can see in various works of literature. Two of the most famous examples of symbolism in classic western literature are a bookworm character, who reads a story within the story, a convention begun by Cervantes in “Don Quijote”, and travel, begun by St. Augustine of Hippo in his “Confessions”. Among works of non-fiction, I especially enjoy biographies, and classic works of theology and philosophy. By now I’ve read very many biographies of a wide variety of famous people, including writers, politicians, musicians and saints. Although I only have thirteen credits in philosophy, and no college credits in theology, I’ve always had quite a voracious interest in those fields. As a lay Carmelite I’ve read all the Carmelite classics I’ve been able to find. Since I really like to get involved in a good debate about the culture war, reading these kinds of things keeps me well informed.
When I was still only a youngster, still obligated to go to school, I’d always so thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, of course, it meant having to put a stop to all the uninterrupted enjoyment of summer, going back to school in September was always quite an interesting experience. The only time I truly let it bother me a little was at the beginning of the seventh grade, when, having moved from Jackson Heights to Lindenhurst, I was forced to spend two weeks in Copiague Junior High School, after which I went to O.L.P.H. in Lindenhurst for the rest of my time in grammar school. That was only because they were both new to me. Now that I’m an adult man, my feelings toward the end of the summer each year ultimately amount to mere passive resignation. Imo’ve always been quite smitten with symbolism and autumn and winter always abound with it. The last few months of each year always bring with them cold weather and dark gloomy skies. For a while autumn is quite nice. I’ve always quite enjoyed Labor Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was especially nice when I was in the habit of visiting my cousins in North Tonawanda. Eventually, though, the last few months of the year turn into a seemingly endless succession of mandatory concessions to all sorts of inevitable trouble. My mother died last September and my father died last November so from now on those times will also have quite a particularly sad twist to them.
I’ve always been quite a literary snob. Although I realize that every pop cultural figure, ranging from Joan Collins’s sister Jackie to Suzanne Sommers, and people from the casts of television shows like “Friends”, thinks he’s a writer, I inevitably restrict my reading material to the works of people like Dostoyevsky and Jane Austen, Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy, and all the other highbrow literary figures. Were I ever confronted with a literary fairy, who could give me the ability to become either an obscure novelist, whose work would be admired and studied by a small cult following for generations yet to come, or a popular paperback author whose works could provide immediate enjoyment to millions in the short term, I should choose to be a serious author. There’s nothing wrong with writing harmless fluff with no literary merit. I’ve simply always admired important literature and wished that I were capable of writing something truly profound and noteworthy. I don’t like having to be bothered with keeping up with trends, though several trends, throughout the past few generations, have most certainly caught my attention quite favorably. Great literature, like all the other disciplines in the humanities department, deals with human nature and a good author has to have the ability to have a lot of insight into history, psychology, philosophy and all other disciplines. If I were ever lucky enough to be a serious writer, I should make sure I should steer clear of all liberal ideas. Story telling is extremely important and the conservative voice has to be heard. That’s why I’ve always liked both music and literature. Politics, history, economics and other disciplines have their place in society but people tend to be more prone toward accepting ideas by way of the narrative approach rather than didactic. I should think that maybe I could be a serious intelligent alternative to the kind of pablum that comes from writers like J. K. Rowling. Even if my work would be admired and studied by only few people, as the object of a cult following, I should be quite happy with that, as long as I could write exceptionally good literature. That would be especially appropriate for someone like me, considering that I’ve always been quite a distinctive character who can be counted on to appeal only to people with seriously offbeat tastes and ideas anyway. I’ve always enjoyed Emily Dickinson’s idea, that one should “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” Symbolism, an important ingredient in all literature, plays quite an exceptionally large role in my world. Since I’ve never felt particularly comfortable in the company of strangers, I should have to be the kind of writer who would remain aloof from his readership. Frequent interviews and constant attention would be quite a burden for me to have to contend with. If anyone is interested in finding out about the other worlds that come from my imagination, though, he’d better most certainly beware of all the twists and turns they contain. Some of them can be awfully seriously disturbing.
I have absolutely no idea whatsoever of what might be the perfect example of a word that sounds like what it describes. It’s occurred to me,though, that “tangerine” might be quite a good example. Somehow I get the distinct impression that if a visitor from some environment where people have never heard of tangerines were to come here and to be confronted with one of these citrus fruits, he may be quite pleased by the resemblance of the symbol to the thing itself. The tangerine, quite similar to the orange and the clementine, seems, from the looks, feel and taste of it, to properties that could be very easily distilled into its name. It’s orange in color. The sound of the word has a somewhat similar feel to that of the word, “orange”. It’s such a pleasing sound that matches up to such a nice object. I have no idea of what could possibly provoke this effect in a word, other than a lifelong association of the sound with the appearance. All I know is that although a total newcomer to the concept of tangerine couldn’t possibly be expected to be capable of seeing it from that kind of point of view, its till makes sense to me that from my point of view it’s quite an inseparable connection.
As I’ve said so very many times before I’ve simply never been able to stand either cold weather or an early sunset. I’ve always so thoroughly enjoyed the warmth and long days of spring and summer. It would never strike me as the least bit surprising to hear that people generally tend to get more depressed in dark gloomy cold weather. I should be so very happy if only daylight saving time could last all year long. It’s not because I’m very active but somehow an early sunset for me represents so well the gloomy depressing side of life. During the warm months I don’t bother to take much advantage of the extra sunlight by engaging in any extra activity but I simply enjoy the feeling I get from all the extra light. In my imagination and experience, an early sunset has always been inextricably associated with snow and ice, fog and all things miserable. The cumulative impact of all that trouble gets me crazy. As a literature major I can’t possibly overlook the nasty imagery. It’s such a perfect metaphor for pain and unhappiness. Whenever possible I always go to bed early anyway so it’s not as if I take advantage of the sunshine by staying up late. Most of it is probably in my imagination. Midsummer has also always been associated with one of St. John the Baptist’s feast days too. There’s a lot of symbolism in the fact that, from now on, the days start getting longer until about Christmas Eve. Yet again there’s a reference to darkness and evil there. Unfortunately all this perfection can’t possibly last. As long as it’s here, though, I shall be on the absolute top of the world. My lifelong tendency to over react to things is frequently a disadvantage, but in warm weather, with a late sunset, it’s perfection.
Even though I haven’t paid a significant amount of attention to either of them in the many decades since I graduated, my two most prized possessions have always been my high school yearbook and ring. My yearbook is called the Forerunner because St. John the Baptist is the patron saint of my school. They most certainly aren’t the kinds of things an adult can possibly get any kind of mileage out of, but I always want to make sure I can account for them both. It’s boring for me to read all the things in my yearbook except on very rare special occasions. My ring, the few times I’ve tried to wear it, has always given me extremely bad blisters. My interest in them, though, has nothing to do with usage. It’s much more of a symbolic connection. I’ve always been quite smitten, perhaps even a bit inordinately, with my past, and also with the past in general. My yearbook and ring provide me with tangible links to a most significant part of my past. Neither can possibly be replaced. These days, thanks to the internet, I can get in touch with a lot of different people from my school days. I regularly communicate with former teachers and classmates of mine. My yearbook and ring, though, are in a category entirely their own. Associating with someone from my past brings him entirely into my present and there’s no way out of that. A yearbook and ring, precisely because they’re so inextricably linked with someone’s past, are especially specifically going to remind him of it. A lot of other people may consider a car, article of clothing or some other specific thing the most important possession someone can possibly have in his life. Most certainly the average individual would refer to something he at least occasionally uses. In my typically lopsided fashion, my most prized possessions are things I hardly ever so much as bother to think twice about.
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