Sunday, September 25, 2016

one. two. three. four. then a bit more. i know, you know, we all know. direction. trees. god. mock turtle soup.

1.
Somewhere along the way Deb was reminded of a story her neighbor tells of two famous writers who one night slid off the road in front of her house. They were drunk. Maybe also it was snowy and icy. Anyway, they ended up staying the night. Deb couldn’t remember names, but did offer a clue: Nationally famous, of the Upper Peninsula, writing about the Upper Peninsula. Jim Harrison? No, no. You know … Oh, yeah, yeah, I know. That guy. Robert Traver, or Travers, no, I think Traver—yeah, that’s him—but Traver’s the pen name. What was his real name? Gosh, darn … I know, I know, we know, and it’s like right there but invisible.

The next day, at home, “John Voelker” popped into my head, a bright pinhole of light through all that grey matter. You know what that is like, right? You can’t think of it, can’t think of it, you know it, ah forget it, it’ll come to me later, and then, later, sure enough, there it is.

Voelker wrote “Anatomy of a Murder.” He also appears in the trailer for the movie which was, famously, shot here in the U.P. (Yikes. Now Josie wants beer in an ashtray.)



2.
The elevated train ride from Morse Avenue to Wrigley Field is about seven stops long. What I see in my head is Thorndale, Granville, Loyola, Lawrence, Wilson, Sheridan, Addison. This is just a piece of the Red Line, north to south. Last week Deb and I were making this trip and as we click-clacked southward we stood near the train’s doors looking at a map of the Red Line above the doors, a very clear, simple map, except it was backwards. At the far left was the last stop at the south end of the line. On the far right was Howard, the last stop at the north end of the line. The way we were headed, it looked as if we were heading toward Howard, in other words, going north instead of south, which would mean we were going the wrong way.

Deb asked me a few times during our el travels if we were going the right way. I always knew we were. But traveling south while trying to follow along on a map which has its north end on the south end—well, that is confusing and somewhat disconcerting. We figured it was an optical illusion, but I still can’t quite figure out why the map was like that, unless the train was traveling backwards, which kind of makes my brain stop like a truck jackknifing. And for some reason right now it reminds me of when I was first in the U.P. driving down some two-track dirt road that, starting out, seemed to be going somewhere because, after all, here is a road, or at least a semblance of a road, and maybe even this road is on a map, but give it ten or twenty minutes going down this road and that so-called road has me in a vague panic because by then I am sure this road is going nowhere and going so very slowly to boot.

We’ll get there.

3.
I transplanted a tree. Dug up a quaking aspen from the field just south of the yard and put it in front of the cabin, in the hole left by the old fire pit, having dug out the rusting remains of the steel barrel that had been sunk there into the earth about a foot or so. The yard looks better now with this tree, but I will have to think of a new place to burn stuff. This is near where I once planted two apple trees, both of which have died, though there is a little greenery coming up from the base of each. Two people have told me oh, those apple trees are coming back. I think well, maybe.

The aspen is about eight feet tall but was not hard to dig up. Less than a foot down into the earth two good-sized roots went this way and that way, east and west, like a T intersection. I thought maybe this is why the tree quakes, it has such shallow roots. But I had to cut through both roots to free the tree. If this kills it, I will be guilty. If not, and the tree takes hold in its new spot, roots now burrowing north and south, I will be rewarded with a lovely shade that dances in summer, quakes in autumn, disappears in winter. What spring brings, we’ll have to wait and see.

There are various way of changing direction.

4.
Someone is gnawing the trees along the river, stripping off ribbons of bark near the base, leaving the ribbons on the ground. Perhaps it is the beaver who has felled a couple of trees down near the bend in the river, leaving the trees lying there, and I wonder why. Why gnaw down a tree and then leave it lying there? Why not drag it to the dam site? Possible answers: Oh, that tree was too big anyway; or, maybe it was a young beaver, just practicing; or, maybe it was an old beaver, felled a tree then couldn’t remember why; or, maybe the wood needs to dry before hauling and damming; or, none of the above; or, maybe this is the Future Site of Beaver Dam Deluxe, Apartments Available. Please visit our website, DamDeluxe.com.

What is going on here?

5.
One afternoon it is warm but not too warm, early fall, afternoon sun, a light northeasterly breeze rustling green leaves yet on the trees though a few now brown, a few now dry, a few now red or yellow, slightly curled, letting go. Walking through the field all sunshine, a few pesky flies. Down the shaded bank to the river no flies, river flowing gentle tea brown, copper, dappled sparks. Above, leaves move, sway, murmur, and I think there is God. I hear some thinking I am saying God is in nature; perhaps that is right. I hear others thinking I am saying that nature is God; but that would be wrong. And Josie, I imagine, is saying: You mean those squirrels up there? They’re gods? What are you, nuts? And Elliott has followed us but truly, he pays no attention.

An interesting chisel.

6.
Today I am hoping a melody, some lyrics, and the title of a song will pop into my head. In the lyrics is something about mock turtle soup. It might be a Cole Porter song, and Frank Sinatra may be one of the many who sang it. Then I give in, google “mock turtle soup cole porter,” and there will be no bright light through grey matter, just this song to close with.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

wrigley field, september 16, 2016: best game ever / and holy goat, guess what, you can go home again

Chicago is my hometown, the north side and its close-in northern suburbs, one of which I grew up in, not born there but there since the age of six, so got my education there and had my first jobs there working at places like Hi-Lo Foods and the concession stand at the little league park. Later I lived in the city, worked in the city, played in the city, you get the picture, and, for the most part, it was all good. A little too noisy at times—especially some three in the mornings when people were out in the street fighting or reveling, car alarms going off, and then the prevalence of leaf blowers; and then, too, a little crowded at times with too many people, too many cars, and then those cars got so big, those SUVs; and then, too, after a while I just wanted to try something different, had always had this cockamamie idea about living in the woods, or on a farm, or along a seacoast, so at age 47 I moved away from home, north to the woods and farmland and seacoast of the U.P., never once thinking that ties to my hometown would be or could be severed or tested in any way. Indeed, I was sure I would go back to Chicago, could go back, any time, visiting or returning to resume, with a sigh of relief, perhaps, that life I knew so well. But a swift confluence of events coupled with my own personality made it such that when I moved away Chicago became lost to me, or should I say felt lost to me, and as it happened I never once returned for my own pleasure, of my own plan, of my own desire. And I accepted that. For many years, I thought it did not matter: I had no desire to go back. But sometimes I think we don’t know what’s happened to us until time has passed. Then we see how events both planned and happenstance have come to affect us and our lives. We live with these events, their aftermath, and we see what they make of us.

Wrigley Field through an alley off the el.

Earlier this summer, in idle conversation with my sister, I heard myself saying I was afraid to go to Wrigley Field—a place where I spent much of my youth and adulthood—because it was all so different now. I heard what I said, and it struck me that maybe I was afraid of my own life, either its past or its present, maybe the rub between the two, and I began wondering if I should go back to Chicago, just a short trip, knock out that fear. I had thought about a return the year before, for my 40th high school class reunion, but that’s a whole ’nother basketful of stuff, this was different, somehow more personal, and so for the first time in eight and a half years I began thinking seriously about a trip home.

Clark and Waveland.

I decided to try to go to a weekday day game at Wrigley Field. Luckily my friend Deb wanted to go, too. She is a Tigers fan, never been to Wrigley, was keen to see Wrigley but not so much during the hot months, so maybe September. She tossed in the idea of going to Hecky’s BBQ after the game. I happened upon a website, dogvacay.com, which offers up petsitters throughout the land, and I found a good one for Josie in Rogers Park, just a few el stops north of the ballpark, between the ballpark and Hecky’s. So Josie could go with. And I have a friend who lives on the north side of Chicago, goes to a lot of games, and he helped with some of the planning as Wrigley’s changed a lot in the past twelve years, since I was last there. Massive ongoing renovation and a huge shove into the 21st Century has changed the park and the neighborhood it resides in, much of the neighborhood—shops, eateries, bars, the haphazard apartments above—reduced now to construction zone rubble. I had seen the pictures, but being there, live? So I read Thomas Wolfe and after a bit felt I had what I needed to give this going home again thing a try. I called it the Holy Goat Road Trip 2016.

Apparently Josie likes awkward, hard plastic for a pillow.
(Photo courtesy D. Sobolewski.)

Friday, September 16, 2016, heading out about 2 a.m., Elliott left at home, outside, with bowls of food and water and all the cozy places where he likes to sleep in the open wood shed / barn / garage. —Well, what can I say? As the day progressed, a confluence of events made it not only a most successful homecoming but the
Best Homecoming Ever.

Change / No change.

Late the night before, by virtue of another team’s loss, the Cubs, those perennial “lovable losers,” had become champions of the National League’s Central Division. Wrigley and the surrounding neighborhood/construction zone was a sea of buzzing blue beneath skies of blue.

Souvenir stand on Waveland.

Sure it was different, but it was also just the same. I walked around outside the park and inside the park (the drive down was smooth; the drop-off of Josie without a hitch except for almost when Deb and Frank, Josie’s caregiver-for-the-day, got to talking about hot peppers—Frank had a great backyard and was obviously quite the gardener—and I felt the need to cut them off, be impolite because I wanted to get on to Wrigley; and the el ride then like a thousand others, no problem) and old memories and new sights mingled, hey, just the way it is, holy cow and hey hey and man, there were a lot of people at that ballpark and I was just one. Of course it was not the same guy I knew selling bags of peanuts at the corner of Addison and Sheffield, but still there was a guy selling bags of peanuts on the corner of Addison and Sheffield. Because they’re cheaper outside. Scorecards are cheaper inside.

The guy I bought my scorecard and pencil from.

As I walked around, I talked to ushers and concession people, couldn’t stop telling how I was there for the first time in a dozen years and ain’t it beautiful.

Well, I think it’s beautiful.

I’ve tried to think of something to complain about or to be irritated by and all I come up with is this: It could have been slightly less humid and maybe three to five degrees cooler. Deb lost her umbrella—the forecast was full of the possibility of rain so she brought the umbrella, forgot to leave with it. Otherwise … nothing.

What’s to complain? What’s to bother?

Well, Munenori Kawasaki could change his walk-up music. Not sure what tune that was. It does all get a little loud at Wrigley, louder than I remember. And Deb, who without hesitation will tell you she hates country music, did not like John Lackey’s good ol’ country boy walk-up song, but Tommy La Stella was at third so I got to sing “Oh what a night, late December back in ’63 … ” every time he stepped up to the plate. And David Ross pinch-hit in the seventh, walking up to “Forever Young” because he’s 39 years old and retiring and they all call him Grandpa Rossy, and we gave him a standing ovation, and that was great. He hit into a double play.

Later Gramps got a new cap and T-shirt and hey, those new video boards
can be kind of fun.

The wind was blowing out, Wayne Messmer sang the National Anthem, the game moved along at a nice clip, Ryne Sandberg led the seventh inning stretch “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” sing-along, some hits and home runs had the score at 4-2, the Cubs losing, but they tied it up in the bottom of the ninth with some solid hits and an odd scratch hit and whatnot, leaving the bases loaded. La Stella came up that inning with one run in, one out, runner on first, just the perfect opportunity for me to shout “STELLAAAAAA!” That felt good.

Guest scorecard, middle of the ninth.

Top of the tenth, Aroldis Chapman takes the mound, throws about eleven pitches, strikes out the side. By this time I was used to those new huge video boards atop the back wall of the bleachers and I appreciated seeing the speed of each of Chapman’s pitches, particularly the last three: 102 mph, 102 mph, 103 mph. Strike one, strike two, strike three. You’re out, buddy.

I’m pretty sure this is Chapman putting on his new T-shirt.

Miguel Montero led off the bottom of the tenth. It wasn’t a towering homerun he hit, but somehow we all knew, felt pretty sure, when it left the bat, sailed over the infield, sailing, sailing, beyond the outfield green, yes, yes, into the left bleachers:
Cubs Win!

My scorecard. The Official Scorecard of the Best Game Ever.

So it’s perfect. The Best Game Ever. Sing: “Go Cubs Go.” Sing: “Sweet Home Chicago.” Sing: “Taking Care of Business.” And who knew there was so much singing in baseball? The players are celebrating on the field, getting their new championship T-shirts and caps; the fans are celebrating in the stands, singing and clapping and waving the W flag; and, seriously folks, the sun is shining on Wrigley Field and it is the best homecoming ever.

I’ll say it again: Isn’t she beautiful?

When we finally left the park, we used my dad’s old crowd-avoidance maneuvers to get on the el in short order, even got seats, and we picked up Josie, who, we were told, after an hour and a half stopped watching the gate I had walked through and had himself a fine time, then we drove up to Evanston to get those ribs at Hecky’s, driving by my old house on the way, and at Hecky’s we got to see that old friend who had helped with the Holy Goat Road Trip 2016 planning, and then we headed home, and funny thing, the house I grew up in was right on the way to the expressway so we got to see that, albeit at dusk. It looked good. From the outside, barely changed. Soon we realized we were a bit tired, so we stopped for the night in Belgium, Wisconsin, which put us in Menominee, the U.P., late morning Saturday and another whole big event, one I wasn’t quite sure about but that was, after all, worth the standing around for on the US 41 bridge over the Menominee River, worth it just to be able to tell of it—the launching of the future USS Wichita, a big navy boat built there in Marinette, Wisconsin, south side of the river, the boat being dropped into the river to see if it would float. We stood along the bridge with all these people waiting. Shouldn’t that little row boat be getting out of the way? Look! Lights flashing on the police boat! A guy with a smartphone told us there was a countdown to launch on some website and he looked it up for us. Countdown was at zero. We waited. Get those fishermen out of the way! Josie got impatient. A Very Big Deal. We waited. Then suddenly the boat, it falls off these support things, plops on its side into the water, there’s this big rolling wave, the boat rights itself, voilá, launched.

There she goes and best of luck to you future USS Wichita.

Back home late afternoon, Elliott wanders out of the wood shed / barn / garage, greets us by snacking on some long green grass. All is well. And by the way, welcome home.

My souvenir Kyle Schwarber bobblehead. It was a give-away!

If this wasn’t enough for you, there are more photos of the Best Game Ever on my Facebook page.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

dead frogs, red clay, monsoon: a pea picklin’ diary

Monday
Labor Day. A little rain. A holiday.

Tuesday
Rain. But the mysterious knocking noise somewhere near the front driver side tire of the van must be investigated so early I drop the van at the investigator’s and walk home. In the rain. A lot of rain, lately. I carry an umbrella, wear a rain slicker. The world smells of fish. It’s just a mile to home. I walk, I smell fish. Must be all the rain. Rain, rain, rain. I see small white fleshy bones and weird fish-like skin scattered about in the road; I am walking alongside the road, in the rain; I smell fish, everything is damp, wet, soaked; scaly fish flesh and bone in the road. Weird, I think, but why not? I imagine a fisherman with his catch in the back of his pickup and out plops a fish, or maybe it jumps, gets shredded beneath tires on the road, and then another fish plops or jumps out, and another, and another, until—

With shock I realize these are all dead frogs. All over the road. Dead frogs. Run over, dead frogs. Bits and pieces of frog, here and there, scattered about, all about. Hardly recognizable as frog. Heck, not at all recognizable until I see one with enough of its frog form remaining to suggest: frog. Enough to know: dead frogs. Even though I have never seen a frog hopping across the road. Am sure I never ran over one. Yet here they are. Smashed dead frogs. All over the road.

Later, back at the investigator’s, I see a big marvelous snake in the middle of the road smashed flat, a divine curlicue. And that mysterious knock somewhere near the front driver side tire of the van remains mysterious.

Wednesday
Rain. I spend some time rearranging the loft, one-third of it or so, the desk space, the work space, the space where this winter—I have decided it is time—I will work on and write my magnum opus, Some Serious Writing. Yes, I have decided—it is time. No more fiddling around with typewriters, hand-typed books, weekly blog posts, all this flotsam and jetsam and such, just words, a dribble, a drabble. So. Step One. Rearrange desk and files and shelves and stuff. Very Important. Once Again.

Josie keeps track of his bed as it has moved out from under the desk, gets shoved here and there. Elliott stays in a bed down below.

Thursday
Rain—no! Well, yes. But, then—cool, dry, northwest wind kicks in, blows in, blows hard, blows out. Puffy white seahorse clouds. What a wonder: blue sky. Candle, candle, think, rearrange, mow. Slow late afternoon soaking up sun, wind. Later, stars.

Friday
Like an old friend, Orion strides across the southern morning sky. No rain but everything damp, condensation, dew, and after a bout with the lawn mower and wet grass I rest in front of my new favorite show, Wallander, the Swedish Wallander, Henning Mankell’s Wallander, and there is a knock on the door. A young man introduces himself as Kenyon, a pottery teacher at Finlandia University. He tells me his students are filling buckets with red clay from the riverbank, my riverbank, he thinks, and is that OK? A minute to process, but then, sure, can I come see?


(Just as an aside, by the river, in this one spot and every other spot, there are a thousand and fourteen gnats. Probably due to all the rain.)


So people just stop by, pull earthenware cups out of the riverbank.

I am delighted to learn that the riverbank—this part that tends to lose a bit of itself each spring—is deep with “red earthenware ready-to-go plastic clay” (or something like that) and that somebody—a few somebodies, it seems—can make something of it. Perhaps I could make something of it. Pinch clumps of it into frogs. Coat the frogs with beeswax. Protect them as they cross the road, because beeswax is hydrophobic, and of course that makes no sense at all.

If tomorrow’s forecast holds any truth, the farmers market will be rain rain and rain showers.

Saturday
The sound of rain. The early alarm. The forecast:
Cloudy with periods of rain. Becoming windy for the afternoon. Thunder possible. High 62F. Winds NNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of rain 90%.
We head out in a downpour, dark, headlights, a watery path through the dark, on through Pelkie, the bright lights of Pelkie, watery lights that somehow just make it seem all the darker, I drive more slowly than usual, the wipers swish back and forth, back and forth, brief sparkling beads of rain thrown into the night, out of sight, and Josie has settled into his co-pilot snooze. Past Pelkie a ghostly form, white and so small, so light, comes leaping out of the woods, into the headlights, onto the road, one big gangly hop from the right, the woods, the dark, into the light, and there’s my frog, there in my path. I catch my breath. Can do no more.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

every scorecard tells a story, don’t it, like trips to holy places

I went to the library to return “Look Homeward, Angel” half-read (the book depressed me) and I wandered into the poetry section coming home with four books, including Patti Smith’s “Woolgathering.” Much later—after Josie had gotten skunked, just in his face, mainly about the snout, and been bathed with a solution of water, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap, and rubbed about the face with the half tomato in the ’frig, then rinsed, dried, all the towels hung out to dry, then, dinner—I’m feeling poached, uncontained, jelly-like and discontent. I light candles, draw a bath, settle in, begin reading “Woolgathering.” Choppy waters calmed.


“Woolgathering” is poetry and stories and once in a while Smith goes out on her second-floor fire escape for the noise of the people and so now I want a fire escape of my own, more so a portal, an imaginary secret magical Alice in Wonderland rabbithole door that leads to a fire escape, fourth or fifth floor, and I can go there, to hear the noise. If I drape a cloth over the table in the kitchen maybe the door is under there, just lift the cloth, crouch down, go through, cross over, hear the rumble of the el, the cheers and boos of a ballgame, Wrigley Field, I am close enough to hear the incessant raucous music, like a hum of bees and crickets, cicadas, and I can almost see the field, from my fire escape, just down a block or two and away over that-a-way, it is warm, but there is a breeze, off the lake. A slip of a moon. An orange haze.


The ballgame ends. I hear the singing. A scorecard floats up. I grab it. Someone has kept score in blue ink, neatly, first inning to last. I review the game. I remain on the fire escape listening to the crowd as it dwindles, disperses, the honking of horns, the pounding beat of an urban sound system on wheels, a car alarm, the rumble of the train. I take the scorecard with me back through the portal, under the cloth, home, deer, quiet.

The next night, I do the same, Josie joins me, we sit on the fire escape, enjoy the noise of the people. Another ball game, another scorecard. This one in pencil. Not so neat. Looks like mustard in the seventh inning.

The next night, Elliott joins us, we sit on the fire escape, enjoy the noise of the people. The game ends, the crowd sings, a scorecard floats up, this one all in pictures, black ink sketches, the crowd, the players, a close play at third, Joe Maddon and Joe Maddon’s glasses.

Another night, well someone tried, but beer was spilled, the scorecard dropped, a shower of peanuts and Crackerjack.


One night I crawl under the drape hanging over the table, cross over, go through, and the city night is quiet. Cars, a bad muffler, a train, a siren, a yell, a murmur, a laugh, a dog barking, to be sure there is noise, but quiet. A scorecard floats by. I grab it. Cubs 3, Giants 2. August 28, 1992. A scrap of paper once tucked in falls out.
D: It’s good to live here + have Cubs Park here.
J: Is that haiku?
The next night, a scorecard with an earring attached, piercing the cardboard, a long U of silver metal at one end a blue bead. (May 9, 1986. Padres 6, Cubs 2.)


The next night, a paper airplane. I grab it, unfold it, it’s graph paper with my father’s precise notations depicting Cincinnati at Chicago, 8-25-71 - Sunny - 80s. Cincinnati won, 9-4.


I get out of the tub, feel so much better, and even though normally I would think it was too late for tea, I make myself a cup. Peppermint.

I turn on the Cubs game, read more “Woolgathering,” and I can tell there is something I am going for, (La Stella is back, that makes me happy)

like inspiration or something

and I wonder how much inspiration has to do with it

I can tell moreso that I need to mix things up a bit –

like drink peppermint tea past 8 o’clock
as if that might be a big thing

and read and write and watch a baseball game all at the same time.

One morning, I think I see ballet dancers caught mid-dance in the field, but, it is, as usual, Queen Anne’s lace.


The Holy Goat Road Trip will shake things up a bit. One day, one van, two people, one dog, one ball game, one trip to the past, one trip to the future, one trip to the alternative present: Holy Goat, now that’s one heckuva road trip! It’s in the back of my mind and there is all this planning, planning, so it’s in the front of my mind, but no matter where it is, it seems unreal. That’s the thing: It seems unreal. I have biked to Wrigley, walked, taken the el, taken the bus, driven across town, flown from Missouri, and once that road trip from Appleton, Wisconsin—but all that, different times, different people, different places.


Along about the fifth inning, Cubs announcer Jim Deshaies does this promo: “Fans, how do you get to Wrigley Field?” Well, JD: Get up in the middle of the night, grab your bag and your dog, head south on Pelkie Road—the full moon is shining—take a left on M-38, take a right on US 41, two hours in pick up Deb at the Holiday Station (should Deb have an alias? maybe), chug along through moony woods, pick up M-35, sunrise over Lake Michigan?, then back on 41, veer off to 43, 94, we know all this now, Milwaukee, Chicago, exit Touhy Avenue, unless traffic dictates an alternate route—my dad knew them all, I know them well—Josie goes to a dogsitter, the van stays there, Deb and I catch a bus or maybe the el, and then, by noon or earlier, if all goes well—and it will—we’ll be at Wrigley for a Friday afternoon Cubs game. Deb’s first, my—what is it? 200? 300? 569? One can not tell by scorecards alone.

I’ve now been inside Temple Jacob; that is a holy place. Wrigley Field, too, is holy—scoff, I don’t mind. I know it is. Things can be holy in wholly different ways. Though maybe history, still-standing-after-all-these-years, has something to do with it. The temple is a holy cube—being within the cube, there was something about its dimensions, felt just right. It is neat and spare and on that morning dappled light shone through glorious, poetic, stained glass windows. Every light fixture was a globe. Century old wooden benches. A library in the basement—oh, that library. A couple tall bookcases stuffed with books and a low table covered. From the table I grabbed what was right in front of me. The book that saved me from “Look Homeward, Angel.” Written by an anthropologist, Barbara Myerhoff, it is called “Number Our Days.” She spent time with elderly Jews at a community center in Venice, California, in the seventies, learning much. Such discussions they had! My favorite parts are the straight transcriptions of exchanges that took place in the “Living History” class that Myerhoff offered. Funny and poignant, at times like a Woody Allen movie. And then the insight into “Being Jewish.” I loved it.
It is a Jewish custom and sometimes an obligation to acknowledge the dualistic nature of life itself—at once a joy and a sorrow … 
There is much about storytelling. Toward the beginning, this:
In their stories … they witnessed themselves, and thus knew who they were, serving as subject and object at once. They narrated themselves perpetually, in the form of keeping notes, journals, writing poems and reflections spontaneously, and also telling their stories to whoever would listen.
And in the epilogue, this:
If none listen, nevertheless the tale is told aloud, to oneself, to prove that there is existence, to tame the chaos of the world, to give meaning. The tale certifies the fact of being and gives sense at the same time. Perhaps these are the same, because people everywhere have always needed to narrate their lives and worlds, as surely as they have needed food, love, sex, and safety.

And sometimes stories, like lives, drift.