Progress While Walking Backwards

Prose, January 1, 2010 at 12h01

Upon finishing Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I was left much more affected than I’d been during the previous dozen chapters. The dense philosophy had lost my attention many times, but I kept reading, hoping that satisfaction was waiting by the end. And it was, although it took until the Afterward for things to really sink in.

Robert M. Pirsig explained the concept of time that the Ancient Greeks had understood. Often, we think of ourselves walking forward through time, facing tomorrow. This is inaccurate, as it fails to address two crucial elements of perception and time. First, we cannot see and we cannot predict tomorrow; thus we do not face it. Second, the past is never at our backs because we see it the entire time, however fading away it seems. So it is, then, that the author wrote, “They saw the future as something that came upon them from behind their backs with the past receding away before their eyes.” Continued…


Prose, December 30, 2009 at 11h15

To my horror, I’d lost her. On each floor, by the stairs, under the bed; she was missing. She, a tiny human baby in its larval form, without any defining features, without bones or muscle, smaller than my palm. I was taking care of my niece in this dream and set her down for a moment, and then either the wind or chance blew and carried her away, over the railing beside me. Frantically, I ran down the stairs — three sets of them — checking for her meticulously at each level, but there she wasn’t.

In time, she appeared from nowhere, a girl that had no insect-like qualities, a girl that looked everything like a beautiful young woman. And it was at this point, in this confusion, that I woke up uncertainly. My pillow still under my head, my love still by my side. My niece, still nowhere.

Preparing for Winter

Prose, December 21, 2009 at 01h43

As winter sets in, life stops. The leaves fall under the snow and trees begin their long wait. The cold snaps at them the entire season long, and all they can do is endure as best they can.

And when the world thaws, the tree begins its fight back to life. Its branches once again form leaves to catch the sun and rain, and it does everything it must to grow stronger than it was. And when the winter begins to set in, the tree endures, because all of nature knows that sooner or later it must.


Prose, October 2, 2009 at 01h22

9 o’clock thursday night
with a scientist
– a first year biochemist, to be exact –
who knew science would save us
a militant atheist
– so he claimed –
but didn’t see that his belief
was as fierce as if
science were his god
and his god, infallible

A Brief History of the Human Animal’s Diet

Prose, August 31, 2009 at 11h26
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In the beginning, the human animal was hungry. It ate plants that provided all the nutrients for its survival. Then the human animal began to keep other animals for their entire lives, born into slavery for their savoury skin. The other animals ate the plants and the human animal got whatever nutrients remained after they had been digested and processed. Disease followed in the animal’s captivity, so the human animal devised medicines to cure the diseases. But the cures were imperfect. Eating other animals made the human animal unhealthy. Its blood was thicker, its body slow and cumbersome. So it devised other medicines, like adding tubes and displacing organs and connecting mechanical parts. And these cures too were imperfect, so the human animal lumbered on, searching for new ways to fix the problem it created for itself. An endless effort to artificially attain the nutrients for survival.

Some of the human animals suggested that they eat the plants instead. But of course, that’s silly. We’re much too accustomed to doing things the difficult way.

Feet Into Ashes

Prose, May 26, 2009 at 02h54

On the edge of a desert cliff, staring down into an endless black, I wonder how I might cross. There is a fountain on the other side. Overflowing. Trickling down into the gorge. As long as I have been here watching it, sun beating me to ash, it’s been gathering below me. Years, years, years, it must be a river by now. So thirsty, the water could catch me.

I do not look back. Turn, walk the world around. Feet burn in the sand with every step. Everything is behind me, I know it. And everything I need is on the other side of that canyon. I know this. So I do not look back.

And when I arrive at the other side, when I finally reach the fountain, I drink from it. And I live. And then I look across the emptiness and see myself standing there, staring. Thirsty. Lost in dreams.

When I wake, I wonder which side I am on. If I’m really living or if it just feels that way. And I wonder if maybe, if I’m not willing to dive, if I should at least start walking.

A Conversation

Prose, February 26, 2009 at 11h26

I said, “I just have got to get my life in order.”

And my life said, “What’s the rush?”

So I replied, “I’m getting bored.”

Apathy looked up, said, “Yeah, but we have fun together, don’t we?”

I said to him, “No, we don’t.”

Apathy said, “Well, we certainly spend enough time together.”

Ambition turned to us, interrupting. “Yes, and I think he’s had exactly that: enough time with you.”

Apathy did not argue. He never has to. Some people don’t have to say anything to make their point.

Distraction flashed his eager grin, captivating. So nobody said anything for a quite a long time, until I broke the silence, and I said:

“I just have got to get my life in order.”

The Longest Line

Prose, February 7, 2009 at 06h56

At the point when this took place, I could feel daylight softening across my face, but I was still very much asleep.

There was no line at all, anywhere, when I began to wait. I was just tired of moving, so I stopped. I heard a noise behind me and turned. There was a man, and behind him, another man. As I leaned further over, I could see a line of men endlessly behind me, all appearing from nothing, queued up; and and whereas before I was simply tired of moving, now I was at the head of something enormous. Now I had purpose that I hadn’t been aware of. And still, I did not know what it was.

A Rush of Life

Prose, February 3, 2009 at 07h00
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Weeks ago, I put determination above disappointment and overcame a difficult mechanical situation. There was a tone in my father’s wireless voice that believed in my ability more than I did, so when I sat down in front of the broke-down engine, I chose to try again rather than undo what I’d done. Then I heard the rush of life in the fuel pump, and it sent a rush of life through me. And somewhere across the frozen prairie, I knew he was proud.


Prose, January 2, 2009 at 10h03
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This morning, I woke up without any idea how I was going to get my things to Vancouver. There was no way I could pack all my precious belongings into two – even three – bags. This is still what my subconscious believes, that possession is nine-tenths of my life.

In passing moments, my mind has been out walking. It comes across things that I’ve long-since forgotten and other things that I’d be best off to forget. My mind gets tired of walking and it lingers in these memories with no positive outcome other than to remember what I want to forget. I maintain in my best a pleasant demeanor, and this is who I am, but there’s another bit – one-tenth kept deep down inside – that could huff and puff and blow down a house of bricks.