(37)

Doesn’t matter where you go. Doesn’t matter what you do, or how you do it, where you do it, or when you do it.

Everything takes place in your mind.

Your entire life is experienced through one organ: all of it in your mind, your vision, your senses, your thoughts. So don’t be afraid. And understand it when you are, and you’ll probably stop being afraid. And understand that it is not through others you need to live, to be validated; but through yourself, through your mind.If you are happy where you are then stay, if you are not then go. If you dream of somewhere you can reach go there, if it’s a dream in your mind you long for in an imagined space then dream some more.It is your life. Your one chance at this. And it’s all happening inside this organ of yours, nowhere else. The rest of it might not even be real; who knows for certain, you? Whatever you do, experience, think, feel, and say will be yours, and no one else’s.

Unless you share some of it, like I am to you right now.

So don’t be afraid.

(36)

Can you hear it?

The music. Its in everything. Every syllable is a noise. Every letter of every word is a sound.

What do you do when you hear music?

And what do you do when you hear music in the silence, as you are now.

Your eyes: they’re conducting the symphony right this moment. Each word. Each sentence. The meaning was simply applied afterwards.

Let the story sing you its song. Of loss or of victory. Of wisdom and of fallacy. Dance to its rhythm.

I am a talented writer, but the visions I have, these the words can only sing about; and don’t the songs create the pictures for you too? I am an even more talented conversationalist. The topic doesn’t always matter, but it gives it context. What matters is the cadence, and my voice certainly has that.

After all, what is a writer if one is not singing a song directly into the invisible space, in that voice that only you can hear.

(35)

And on it runs.

Into the space of the eye of the mind of the creation of the swirl of the vortex of the black sphere in the depth of the lake and upwards into the angels wing in the feathery bloom in the endless empty air, tasting of sweetest nostalgia.

Wouldn’t that be something?

Never convince yourself you’re missing anything. It’s your life, it happens in your world, which happens in your mind.

And what of dreams? Do they become memories? Or vice versa?

 

(34)

I’ve been asked many times over the years, by non-smokers, to explain the allure of cigars. To them it’s a nasty, smelly practice akin to cigarette smoking. My mother, were she alive today, would frown upon my indulgence in the leaf, certainly prohibiting me from sharing a smoke with my dad within the confines of their home. And I would refrain―who am I to argue with my mother? Over the years my white kitchen cabinets and window blinds throughout my house have taken on a decidedly yellow appearance that some would find distasteful. To me it adds character to my humble abode.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to the satisfaction of one and all, the pleasure we cigar lovers take in lighting up, and that’s okay. It keeps us, we band of brothers, in pretty elite company. But for the uninitiated I will attempt, not for the sake of justification but merely for the pleasure of writing about it, to elucidate.

It’s all about ritual: walking to the humidor, a turn of the brass tasseled key, a lifting of the lacquered lid that bears a facsimile of a golden tobacco leaf, a quick inhalation and feigning indecision over which cigar to choose (I’ve made my choice long before opening the humidor). A quick snip of the head and a lingering inhalation of the wrapper causing a slight salivation, like the aroma of the Christmas ham from the other room; finally, the strike of the cedar match, the touch of flame to foot, the first few puffs, the blowing on the ember to watch it glow cherry red. Ah, sweet ritual.

Who could argue with Denny Crane and Alan Shore who, at the end of every episode of Boston Legal, shared a bonding moment―the day’s victories, their dreams and disappointments, mad cow, at times debating topical issues our society faces, even arguing over presidential candidates―all over a cigar and a glass of scotch?

Men are by nature competitive. But with a lit cigar we forgo our one-upmanship, free to be simply who we are, no pretenses. Our masks come off. In a world seemingly running amok―suicide bombings overseas, terrorist attacks, global warming, to drill or not to drill, the rising cost of living, the debacle on Wall Street, unaffordable health care, job insecurity, our indecision over which candidate for whom to vote―we find comfort, if only for an hour or two, in the soothing company of smoldering, smoking tobacco, handmade with care by someone we’ll never meet in some exotic place to which we’ll never venture. Fragrant Honduran filler wrapped by a maduro Connecticut broadleaf grown from Sumatra seed in Ecuador: poetry for the palate.

I sit this morning, sipping a cup of bourbon flavored coffee and drawing on a Punch Gran Cru Prince Consorts double maduro. This has become my own Sunday morning ritual, whether writing an op-ed piece for an online publication, a piece of flash fiction, a sports article, or working on a novel. My Sunday morning cigars have become my muse without whom I would sit, staring blankly at the blank page on my monitor, intimidated by the idea of arranging words into semblance of an idea.

Do you get it? If not, that’s okay.

Excuse me while I go pour myself another cup of coffee.

(33)

I have this vague memory of a story I read somewhere once. It was about a King whose people went mad.

This might be completely wrong, my re-telling, all I remember is the parable teaching of the story and the message it held.

The King was aware that the people of his kingdom were going mad. He knew this because he had been sent a prophecy by a Witch, who had told him she had poisoned the drinking well.

The Witch wanted to destroy his kingdom for some reason I do not remember, so it would seem in my memory.

He tried to tell people of his vision, but the people of his kingdom thought that he was the one going insane instead.

No matter how much he warned them, eventually his people began to rabble and his Throne was usurped. He was cast out.

He left un-poisoned by the well, as he refused to drink the water after seeing the prophecy, but he was now without a Kingdom.

And sure enough the people in his Kingdom did go mad. They began to fight and bicker and destroy one another where as once they had been peaceful. And sure enough the King discovered the well had indeed been poisoned.

There are now two possible endings I can remember about this.

The King left permanently to live as a vagabond, and eventually his Kingdom burned to the ground.

Or, the King found a cure to the poison in the well, and was returned to his throne not just as king but exalted as hero of the people.

(32)

The Good. Unlike near everything else in the human experience, cannot be pinpointed or labelled or pigeonholed. Nor can it be communicated or expressed as easily and readily as its counter. It is an unspoken feeling of liberty and togetherness, an unspoken recognition where for brief pockets of existence there is only comprehension and feelings of oneness without fear and without self-serving agenda and simply some sort of cognition, a quiet mind uttering only one thing: ‘This is right’ yet you do not need the words to feel it. That’s as close as I can get, but this Light is something you yourself will have to come to recognize, I sincerely hope you do or have.

I have.

It is why I am here telling you about it.

Modern life’s great deception, its driving force and its detractor is the selling of the dream, rather than the cultivation of the better dream. Making believe there is always something else, something more than the simplicity of the experience you inhabit. Something beyond, some other, better life that you are not living. Some other, perfect, beautiful person that you never meet and that we may then wish to be but cannot as we are human. This is the Good being confused with the Perfect. This muddled vision is the package that drives the economy of the false world of glamour. That can mentally destroy or define a person.  You see it in advertisements, in reality television, in the web of social media, you see it on a poster walking down the street, you’ll see it in shop windows. Does it create our modern heroes and villains or is it a toxic exchange?

Is there a better way?

The dream and the reality will always co-exist in the minds of humanity. They interpolate and exchange, a relationship, one always trying to improve the other.

So why not cultivate better dreams for a better reality?