Running for Your Life: Faulkner Fix

Being a native Canadian in America can have its befuddlements … Like trying to figure out US race relations.

Ah, that’s where William Faulkner helps. Consider this theme line in “Go Down, Moses,” that goes a long way to humanizing an understanding from the mind of my kind of Southern Man:

“He’s more old Carothers than all the rest of us put together, including old Carothers. He is both heir and prototype simultaneously of all the geography and climate and biology which sired old Carothers and all the rest of us and our kind, myriad, countless, faceless, even nameless now except himself who fathered himself, intact and complete, contemptuous, as old Carothers must have been, of all blood black white yellow or red, including his own.”  

Next: Running for Your Life: Fall Rhythms

Running for Your Life: Letters and Penmanship

When it comes to disrupting the disrupters, think outside the box, as in outside the pocket computer, tablet, laptop, Alexa, Oculus, Portal+ …

Write a letter. Not an e-mail, a letter, what Lord Byron called,

“The only device combining solitude with good company.”

Not to your “friend” or Congress-friend, but to a loved one: your mom, your BFF, a pal having a hard time of it.

Don’t wait for a reply. Just write another letter.

Buy some correspondence that appeals to you, some first-class, global stamps.

The legibility of your unpracticed script may be on the ugly side in the beginning, but give yourself time. It will improve. And you’ll be so much the better for it.

My advice? Get thee to an artist supply shop and test some pens.

They are not all created equal. Ballpoint can be smudgy; fountain, precious; craftsman, too arty.

I was touched by what I saw in “The Banished Immortal: The Life of Li Bai,” by Ha Jin, about the eponymous hero of this unreadable novel. It seems that some calligraphy has been discovered and attributed to the eighth century poet.

The calligraphy – his penmanship – is seen as a treasure trove for those looking to define the character of this ancient legend to the Chinese.

Sure, Western folks have handwriting analysis, that is associated with voodoo pseudosciences like the horoscope, but Chinese calligraphy study is seen as the real deal.

Find that pen that says your “John Henry” and get down to putting your special words on paper. Yes, the old-fashioned way.

Next: Running for Your Life: Faulkner Fix

Running for Your Life: Pittsburgh 2019

I started this blog going on nine years ago.

The impetus, in part, was a decision to return to marathon running after a hiatus of 23 years.

It began in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins, a team I’ve been following since I played bantam ice hockey in Owen Sound, Ontario, play. The Penguins starting franchise goalie, Les Binkley, was a chum of my local hockey star cousin, Bruce Neath.

So, Pittsburgh it was.

A light rain fell on that day in May 2010. I shocked myself with a personal best time, and the community’s outpouring of support – electric garage bands playing under leaky tarps, come to mind – was also the best I ever experienced during a marathon.

I love this city.

It is with determination and a heavy heart that I will be going back to western Pennsylvania to compete in the 2019 Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday, May 5.

I will run, as I’m sure countless others will too, in the loving memory of those 11 Jewish worshipers who were massacred last month during services at the Tree of Life Synagogue in the city neighborhood of Squirrel Hill.

Pittsburghers will surely be out in force to cheer on those who’ve chosen this city to run in the months after the killings. It is that kind of close-knit town.

Regardless of my race time next May, this marathon promises to be the best in so many ways, far beyond the personal.

Next: Running for Your Life: Penmanship

Running for Your Life: So, You Are STILL Undecided

Hard to know, but it’s possible, just possible, there remain some undecided voters out there in the United States, with the midterm elections coming on Tuesday (Nov. 6).

If you are among those undecided – and remarkably in these days of social media masking for old school print and radio reporting – who have yet to buzz in your respective hive of predigested facts (I’m looking at you Fox and CNN …)

Then do yourself a favor – and read the text below ...

Not advocating any one position, you understand. But this essay by Eliot Weinberger, “Ten Typical Days in Trump’s America,” in the London Review of Books may very well be worth the equivalent of the next five days of 24-7 coverage on US cable news.

Read it – and reap. (Or weep – it may just come to that.)

Next: Running for Your Life: Penmanship 


Running for Your Life: Too Early But …

It is too soon. But these days, given the speed at which events cascade like floodwaters in a coastal storm, it is only right. Stay ahead of the news cycle, at all costs.

With that in mind, consider this ghastly thought.

Israel under Bibi Netanyahu is committed to a far-right approach to world order as dictated by religious ideologues and will take zero meaningful action to construct a response to the lack of official American redress to the violence done to those in Pittsburgh – reportedly an ecumenical Jewish-Muslim community of disparate strands of faith – stricken by the bloody massacre of eleven worshipers in a religious house of prayer.

They – Trump and Netanyahu – will stand mutely by and those victimized by their political imperative – those SLAIN FOR THEIR FAITH as the New York Post so rightly shouted out on Monday’s (Oct. 29) front page – will have died for nothing.

Whose names, sadly, will soon be swamped in the endless storm of cascading events.

Next: Running for Your Life: Penmanship