Thursday, December 19, 2019

Episode 107: Wonder

Flash was in no hurry.

Whatever was out there, would just have to wait. He was not one of those who would snoop for presents as the holidays approached. He liked mysteries. He liked surprises. He didn’t dig through the cereal or Cracker Jack box to find the prize hidden inside.

That is not to say he didn’t wonder.

The blip on his radar screen could be anything. Once its true identity was revealed, it could only be one thing.

Objects tended to be disappointing. The Wizzzer, the View Master, the temporary tattoo or plastic monkey charm at the bottom of the Cracker Jack.

Contemplating this, he called upon the table of elements, and was soon digging into a snack of caramel popcorn and peanuts.

No thanks, said Lem when he held the bowl toward her.

At the bottom of the bowl was a small, red and white striped packet. Printed on the outside of the sealed packet, in blue letters, were the words

Do what you dream.


Aren’t you going to open it? Lem asked.

Not now.

Poikani looked disappointed, but all Flash could think about was the bit of peanut skin that had lodged between his tooth and gum.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Episode 106: Cool Boredom

Flash Meridian didn’t know what time it was. When you are no longer orbiting a star, time becomes fiction. There is no sunrise. No sunset. No day or night.

He knew what day it was on earth ... what time it was in Michigan. But it no longer had anything to do with him.

He would sit and think. Read. Eat. Sleep. But it all felt random and subjective.

It was stifling and liberating at the same time. It was not a luxury since there was no other to contrast it to out here.

He thought about his child, and imagined the children yet to come. The impossible children he longed for, like the one who had come and gone.

The longer he thought, the less he believed. All the while, he watched Poikani grow.

Poikani was proof that this could happen. Children could come. In his head, Flash invented them, and made up memories for them.

He experienced cool boredom in the monotony of his flight through uneventful space. His life wasn’t punctuated by big moments, and over time, he grew to not only tolerate this, but to settle into a deep gratitude in partnership with his friend Lem. He saw his life as a spiritual practice.

One day, he said to Lem, I’m too old. I’m alone.

He felt silly for dreaming of another child. For expecting the atoms to come together to form another thing like him.

Even as he thought this, or maybe it was hours ... or days later ... at any rate, a beep sounded from the radar screen. It could have been anything. A rock or metallic asteroid, a spaceship, a whale, or a pumpkin, adrift in the vast expanse. It was like fishing and feeling a tug on your line.

Could be a trout, a bluegill or a boot.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Book Tour

My next book tour date will be Saturday, March 16, 3 pm at the Cook County Senior Center in Grand Marais. I'll be reading from all three books, and will have books available for sale.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Episode 105: The Whales Grew Feet

At times, Flash felt as though he were just a bystander, watching the events of his life fall, eventually, into place. At other times, he felt that he had a hand in how events occurred. He couldn’t take credit for anything. He didn’t know what might happen next, yet he was part of the process. He was part of it all.

Sometimes, it felt as though the universe had pulled the rug out from under him, but so far, he had always persevered. In retrospect, the time he spent worrying was pointless. He decided to trust something bigger than himself.

He put his arm around Lem and Poikani, her son. His fingertips just happened to graze the corner of the Ololian book. Subconsciously, he fondled the book flipping the page corners with his thumb. He felt relaxed, his mind unencumbered by any conscious thought.

The cockpit of the mothership was well lit, but Flash had a far away look in his eyes. His vision transcended the physical world, and thoughts bubbled up from somewhere. He was aware of memories and dreams that floated up from his own distant path, and some that started from someplace deeper still, from the river that flowed through, and connected all human beings.

Wordless fragments rose, their undulating shapes passing through him from some ancient place, and continuing their ascent far beyond him without labels or definitions. He would catch up with them one day, when, free from the confines of his now necessary cells, he also surfaced.

Eventually, something unnamed beckoned only to fade. The longing alone remained, both comforting and taunting him, until he picked up the book.

Here, too, images were presented, only these engaged his conscious mind.

Certain whales preferred a connection to the ground, and hovered so close to the soil that their flippers touched down.

Flash read that they swam so low that they left a trail of grooves in the dirt. They fought the tendency to float any higher.

Over generations, their limbs would transform into feet, and these few whales were content, touching the ground.

Deep inside, they remembered that they once flew.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Book

The Flash Meridian books are here!

My first book, entitled MY HAND PAINTS, arrived on Christmas Day. MY HAND PAINTS was written in 2018, while I started writing The Adventures of Flash Meridian 19 years ago.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Episode 104: Poikani

Flash and Lem sped along through space, and nothing really changed all that much. On one occasion, though, Lem opened her eyes after sleeping by Flash’s side.

Something was different. Yes, something had definitely changed. She just stared, unsure what to make of it. Something hovered above the control panel. It floated there, and Lem couldn’t be sure if the thing was glowing, or if it was just backlit, hanging, as it was, in front of the viewing screen. She didn’t move a muscle as she watched it, and actually began to wonder if it was really there. Maybe she was not quite as awake as she thought.

It rotated. So slowly as to be almost imperceptible, it turned on its axis. By the time it had made one quarter turn, Flash opened his eyes and saw it, too.

A thrill went through him as he remembered the arrival of his daughter in that very spot.

Do you see it? Flash asked.

Yes.

What do you think it is?

But Lem already knew.

It is my son.

Flash got up and took the tiny creature, cradling it in his arms as he brought it to her.

The universe knew how to form its entire existence from a tiny particle, so why shouldn’t it be able to create children like this out of seeming nothingness?

Lem was content, and Flash looked on, feeling a mix of joy and longing.

He looked like her, down to the spots that migrated across his body.

Poikani, Lem whispered to the sleeping baby.

Flash was happy for Lem, and happy to have this new life join them.

Naturally, he thought about his own daughter who had come unexpectedly and then grew up so fast.

He understood that she could not be content, as he was, aboard the mothership. She was drawn to the mountains of Olo, and he savored the safety and familiarity of his home.

Oh, but how he missed her!


I want to do this again, he mentioned to Lem one day.

She looked at him, and said, Do what?

I want to have another child, he answered.

Do it! came her unexpected reply.

Flash Meridian drew a blank. His daughter’s arrival had been so unexpected, he wasn’t sure he could conjure up another child.

What is meant to be, will be, Lem said.

His daughter hadn’t come from wishing or begging.

Since she left, the cells of his heart had been heavy. He could never replace her. She had filled a vacant place in his spirit that he hadn’t even known was there. How many other open places did his heart hold, unaware?

Lem’s words came back to him. Your heart was open.

Flash had initially pictured a welcoming heart with doors swung open, a cozy home filled with love. He now pictured a heart with open spaces ... voids that had always been there, or empty areas that had been eroded by loss.

Either way, his heart had room available, and enough love to share.

His heart mirrored the infinite vacuum of space, and he did not know the secret to filling either one. Perhaps, like the universe, his heart already contained everything, it was just expanding.

Like the crystal shards of Olo, or the molecules in the table of elements, the universe already had all the pieces.

He could hardly wait to see how they fit together.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Episode 103: Microcosm

Life aboard the spaceship was very different than life on Earth.

There was no up, no down, and no orbit to measure time in segments of day and night. That manufactured grid of Earth “reality“ was obsolete. Within the mother ship, Flash still thought in terms of up and down. He was used to it. Toward the cockpit sole was down. But when he was in the TNI2, that same direction became “up” again, nestled, as it was, on the “underside” of the spaceship. Artificial gravity allowed him to sit without strapping himself to the seat. It also allowed him to drink from a cup, and set things down. These were side benefits to the real purpose of manufactured gravity, which was the ability to exercise his muscles.

He could turn it off and on at will, allowing him to float about, and access hard to reach equipment. Lem preferred to keep the gravity on.

All the water on Earth was said to have been there since the very formation of the planet. Similarly, all the water aboard the mother ship had been there since Flash began his journey. Those oxygen and hydrogen atoms kept coming together as pure water, regardless of the many functions they performed along the way.

The mother ship was a microcosm of Earth. Like the Earth, it had limited resources, which were sufficient to sustain the lives of those aboard. These resources however, had to be respected in order for life to continue.

The Earth itself had become stressed by greed and overly optimistic beliefs about its power to heal.


Lem’s planet, Ino, was an example of what could happen if such attitudes went unchecked.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

Episode 102: Anything Is Possible

Flash and Lem cruised through space with everything they needed, and they both felt that this was a very good life they lived.

At the same time, Flash was often nostalgic about his life back on Earth, particularly his childhood.

He told Lem stories about life on the farm with his parents and brothers, more for his own enjoyment than hers, although she enjoyed them, too.

Part of him longed to reconnect with something from his past. Some tangible item that he could hold, and reconnect with.

Even the cells of his body changed. Old cells were constantly being replaced with new ones, and he began to wonder if there was anything at all left of the child that he had been.

Perhaps a facsimile would suffice. He could ask the table of elements for anything. Why couldn’t it make an exact copy of a relic from his past? But what should he request?

This became a major topic of conversation between Flash and Lem... an old book that he had read as s child... perhaps a toy.

What is it that you miss the most? Lem asked.

My cat, Flash answered without hesitation. You remind me of her.

But why would you want a dead cat?

No, I want her back alive, of course, he mused.

He was sure that this would be crossing a line.

You said I remind you of her, Lem thought aloud. What if... her voice trailed off. What if the cells of her body somehow came back together... those basic building block elements... reunited to form... me?

That sounds pretty unlikely, Flash admitted.

Oh, we’re already unlikely! Said Lem, but you have to admit, it’s possible!

She was right. Cells are recycled. A body goes into the dirt. It comes up again in grass. The grass may be eaten by a cow.

The cells get shared around.


Theoretically it could happen, Flash agreed.

His mind presented all the obstacles to such a thing actually happening. If there was one thing he had learned, however, it was that anything is possible. She did remind him of that black and white cat he had had as a child. The more he considered this idea, the more like her Lem seemed to become, and he realized that this is why he had loved her all along.

I’ll call up one of my favorite toys, he said.

A wizzzer? Lem asked.

Flash smiled. She had been listening.

He asked for the wedge in green and yellow. Soon, the toy appeared.

What does it do? Lem asked.

It’s just a toy, Flash explained, but it demonstrates the conservation of angular momentum and gyroscope stability.

He glanced around the cockpit and realized there wasn’t sufficient space with a flat surface to demonstrate it.

Let’s try something else, he suggested, and ordered up a view master.

What is it? Lem asked.

it’s a special-format stereoscope.

Lem only looked at Flash, and then glanced at the high tech viewing screen that was built into the ship.

He had forgotten to ask for a set of reels, and as Lem appeared unimpressed, Flash didn’t pursue it further.

It didn’t matter. He hadn’t wanted to play with these items. He only wanted to hold them. For the nerves in his fingertips to reconnect with a memory. The plastic toys felt cheap, and were much smaller than Flash had remembered.

After a few flicks of the view master lever, he looked at Lem and sighed.

The sigh turned to a giggle, and soon Lem joined in laughing.

I should have asked for a book.

One nice thing about the table of elements was, whatever it produced, could be broken back down into its component molecules. Even plastic, unlike the plastic that clogged the oceans and continents of earth.

And so the Wizzzer and view master were reabsorbed.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Business Tech

Here's another video. This is me speaking to middle school students in 2011.

Episode 107: Wonder

Flash was in no hurry. Whatever was out there, would just have to wait. He was not one of those who would snoop for presents as the holida...