This One Starts Out Boring

Firing the big gun (1915)

My recent inability to access the most interactive features here on are producing interesting results.  They are interesting to me, that is.  I suspect they may be boring to my readers.  However, since I still can’t comment on most blogs or post in the Forums, I’ll have to say it here and see if I get any reactions.

Here’s what I’ve done so far to try to fix things:

1.)  Updated the three browsers I use, so now I have Firefox 13, Safari 5.1.7 and the latest Google Chrome.  I can’t update my Mac OS to Jaguar, because most of my music and recording software will not be compatible, and I don’t have the thousands of dollars required to update all of those programs.

2.)  Turned off allowance of third party cookies, and cleared out the caches.

3.)  Checked access from another person’s Windows-based computer.  There were some differences in what I could and could not do, but I’m not going to use Windows or update my ancient laptop, the one with XP I bought because my X-ray school required it.  I’ll give up WordPress before I give up Mac.  It’s that much cooler to use.

I am able to leave “likes” at other blogs.  If some of you regulars see likes from me on your blogs, it’s me waving at you from outside a closed double-paned window with leaded stained glass.  I’m still reading and loving your work.  I’m just unable to say anything about it, which is sad.  If I get desperate to explain myself, I’ll email you.  Or you can email me, if you want my opinion on a particular article of yours.  I always have a stack of unused opinions next to whatever computer I’m using.  Yes, you may have one.

I am able to leave comments on any blogs NOT housed at or, such as Galen Pearl’s site That tells me the incompatibility issue is partly because of bugs at WP, not incorrect settings or the set-up of my computers.  But I can’t discuss it with Happiness Engineers because I am unable to post to the Forums, or rather I can, but the posts are only visible to me when logged in.  When I log out, the posts do not show.  I don’t know whether Staff can also see them or not.

For reasons entirely unknown and mysterious, I AM able to leave comments at Cat’s blog (, which ought to make you feel special, Cat.  Ironically, she is going through a period of deep introspection right now, so often she posts with the comments turned off.  That’s a great Zen joke.

Since my blogging experience is currently less social, it is also more meditative, which is what writing is like for authors of traditional media such as novels.  You do it alone, forming a story in your own mind and transferring it to a page.  No one else looks until long after it’s completed.  I don’t have an agent or editor, and my wife sometimes doesn’t read or react to my blog for days after I post.  Don’t worry.  She still talks to me every day.

The enforced introspection is encouraging me to work on longer pieces, which probably won’t end up as blog posts.  Perhaps this is just the next step in my learning process as a writer.  Solitude has always been mind-expanding.  I’ll tell you about an experience that happened a few days ago when I was alone.

Mary and I had gone to a big state park where the zombie parts of last weekend’s steampunk festival were to take place. The park is called Fort Worden, and was the shooting location for the army camp in the film An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).  We didn’t know exactly where the punks and zombies would be.  Someone at the park’s information office said “Battery Park”.  There wasn’t a Battery Park listed on the map, but there were a number of batteries shown.  The batteries (as they are now) are large concrete structures with heavy iron doors and rows of ascending stairs.

Back in the 1890s, Fort Worden was built because the location was at the point where any fleet of ships would have to enter the region.  It originally featured huge cannons placed on high ground, pointed out to sea.  It became an active army base in 1902, but because war technology changed, placing less reliance on naval fleets, the guns were removed for use in Europe during World War I.  The fort remained a training installation until being decommissioned in 1953, and it became a state park twenty years later.  It’s a rusted gray ghost town now.  It’s spooky, and strangely picturesque.

Where long ago the guns were trained toward the sea, the trees have grown over the view at the top of the cliffs.  I sat on the solid roof of a concrete battery, waiting for my wife and the dog to catch up.  As I sat completely still, a doe and the youngest faun I have ever seen emerged from the trees by the cliff.  She was smaller than my dog.  Because I was still and breathing shallowly, silently, the bouncing faun came within arms length.  Her mother was aware I was alive, and she stood at attention watching.  I slowly turned my head to look, and they both bounded back into the cover of the trees.  That’s my relationship with all things divine.  As soon as I dare to look, God is instantly out of reach over the next mountain, just past seeing.  But I can still feel the presence, the reality of holiness.

This was the natural world reclaiming a space formerly used for war machines.  The soldiers and cannon and concrete and iron become enveloped and embraced in moss and trees and grass, and the deer, having stayed away for generations, return to graze.  Oh, how I wish you were here to see it.


Filed under animal communication, Metaphysics, symbolism, Thinking about thinking

12 responses to “This One Starts Out Boring

  1. First of all, sorry you are having technical difficulties. Knock on wood, but WordPress has, so far, always worked flawlessly for me. Interesting comments though on the “forced introspection”. I can’t really imagine spending years writing a novel, with no feedback other than maybe a few friends and family recruited to read. When you write a blog, there is instant gratification, replies and likes and comments popping up, within minutes, sometimes even seconds of posting something. To work for so long on something without that feedback? You can understand why so many authors are CRAZY!

  2. Having started out half-crazy, it might not seem as far a distance for me, but thanks, Steve. Having you here to comment is water in the desert.

  3. galenpearl

    All I can say is that you are light years ahead of me in even trying to fix these problems. Thank goodness I know people like you I can call on to come over when I get lost in computer world. And so glad you can leave comments on my blog, especially when I have comments enabled! (Funny about Cat’s blog!) I feel special!

    • I’m not trying all that hard, but I appreciate the compliment. I’ve progressed from irritation to bemusement. If I was unable to post HERE, that might bug me. And yes, Blogspot aside, you are special 🙂

  4. “The enforced introspection is encouraging me to work on longer pieces, which probably won’t end up as blog posts. ”
    Have you thought of splitting these longer pieces up, and posting them in numerous parts?

    • I have, however, I’ve also thought of (GASP!) selling them. I always wanted to move toward short stories, plays etc. I didn’t know whether I would be able to do it. The easy way to avoid taking the risk was to say I didn’t have the time, which for the past several decades has been true. I also had other excuses like inadequate academic training.

      However, being a full-time writer is mostly choosing to spend the time doing it instead of other things. Ray Bradbury’s recent demise inspired me to think about what makes a writer. He was one of my favorites, and he was self-educated. The difference was that he chose to write every day. Not to “publish” every day, as people do here, when works are one-quarter formed and only half-polished. But he wrote each day, so he was able to finish, to really finish hundreds of great stories, a dozen or so novels and even a few plays and screenplays.

      I want to be that kind of writer. I’m less than four years from retirement. I’m running out of time-based excuses.

      • Ah, had assumed they were blog post-type pieces that were running a little long. I agree if it’s more crafted work or forays into fiction you should certainly first pursue paid publication before considering putting it up here.

        Graham Greene was extremely diligent in writing 500 words each day. Once he was at 500 words he would stop, even if it was mid-scene or mid-sentence. The next day as he started his next 500 words he’d pick up that scene and sentence. Maybe worth trying. I’m thinking of adopting it myself for my own fiction. I need to be far more disciplined too.

        • Thanks, Anthony. I love that story. Greene’s work reads like a person who’s diligent and habitual, and he even uses that as a basis for humour in works like “Our Man in Havana”.

  5. “That’s my relationship with all things divine. As soon as I dare to look, God is instantly out of reach over the next mountain, just past seeing.” Word, bra. Ain’t that the way?

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