The Broken Wire

I’ve been drinking coffee and writing like crazy but I’ve reached that intersection between an empty mug, passing time, and a sore rear end when I will stop. I like, though, to reflect upon where I’m at in my writing and where I’m going.  Into that reflection creep other thoughts and memories.


I walked here through cold and warm breezes along drying streets and paths. Vague white splattered gray clouds hid the snowy mountain ridges but then cleared away from the highest peak to display a sun spangled white field. Snow, my spirit rejoiced, a salve for drought and water shortage anxieties, but it’s too little. That’s the first thought. A dam I didn’t suspect was there breaks. Other thoughts tumble out.

I don’t want to go.

I should go.

It’ll be boring.

It’ll be different. It’ll open windows.

Not windows. Portholes.

Portholes is accepted. We will use portholes.

It’ll open portholes.

It’s all about a baby shower. Never been to one. Don’t want to go to this one. I’m prejudiced against them and against most social gatherings. I prefer solitude. Even with my beer group, I ratchet myself up to attend each week even though I enjoy beer and the time I spend with these people, my friends. Even when I go to writing conferences, I walk and sit alone, smiling, engaging in pleasantries, but remaining aloof. I search for the broken wire in me that causes my attitude and behavior.

My poor, poor wife. She knows I enjoy solitude. I won’t say she hates it but my anti-social nature perplexes her. I will attend the baby shower, for her and me. She thinks this is about logic but it’s about that unfound broken wire. I claim it’s because I’ll be bored but that’s an excuse to cover the broken wire.

She hangs onto logic. “Bob will be there. There will be food and drink there.” Oh, wow, food and drink? Why, I can’t get that anywhere at all, now we must go, my snark answers although my lips don’t move. “Hmmm, mmm,” I say. It’s a safely non-committal answer if you’re uninitiated with human ways, but my wife knows my mannerisms. She knows I’m riding a wave of ambivalence about going.

Now here is the thing. I know that I will go but I don’t want to speak the words. Does a different broken wire cause that or is it the same wire? I see the gulf, Grand Canyon wide in breadth, between my intelligence and emotions. How do others cross those gulfs? I think, what would I be minus my wife to pull me from my gulfs? Who would save me then? I glimpse a reclusive life and make dismaying reflexive vows, dismaying and reflexive because I’ve vowed before to be more social, friendlier, more outgoing.  Those vows changed nothing. I need to hunt down that broken wire or that gulf will grow and grow.

I’m done writing like crazy for the moment although I dream of sitting down and writing more later. I’m feverish with urgency to write and edit this novel, to keep going with tired eyes and weary fingers.


Maybe, if I write enough, I’ll find the broken wire.

1415 Hits

That’s Okay

Take note: I recently spent some money. Gadzooks, stop the presses! I also used a coupon. I forgot about my military discount and later discovered I would have paid yet less with it. My wife pointed that ‘discovery’ out to me. She likes a deal and the deal is paying less for things. She dislikes finding out that she could have paid less for something, like my purchase. Saver’s Regret, I guess.


A session will sometimes follow, that we need to be smarter. I’m sometimes sucked into that resolution. “I will spend too much no more forever!”

My wife and I have repeated this vow throughout our lives. It could be on our family crest, which I figured would also feature cats, a peace symbol, the scales of justice, a shoe, cup of coffee and pint of beer. It’s helped us. We were never poverty stricken but lurked around the corner in lower middle class neighborhoods for a while. Steely resolve not to indulge in much and adhere to the budget kept helped us eat, pay the bills and save the money.

Life was good, though, despite our financial limitations, partly, I think, because it lowered our expectations for what we could do and afford while creating goals for us to do and afford more. It helped us understand our priorities and desires.

I’m drifting away from the family motto a bit. When my wife told me I could have saved more by employing my military discount, I shrugged and replied, “That’s okay. We still got a good deal and we could afford it.” Good deals are relative to those points.

I’ll never be a person who can live in money no object extreme wealth, or at least, lack the imagination engines to see myself in monster houses with gold plated bathroom fixtures in rooms larger than small apartments. Just not me. Paying more than sixty dollars for shoes makes me cringe. A friend has a customer made pair of shoes rumored to cost several thousand dollars, and I wonder, “Why? What is the point?” Maybe if I ever get a pair, I’ll change my mind. I admire Ferraris and other exotic sports cars but I don’t see myself cruising through town in one. Maybe given the chance to do that, I’ll change my mind, but for now I don’t think so. Just not me. I prefer a quiet life. I can see myself on an ocean cruise and I can see myself walking beaches throughout the world or exploring ruins. I can see myself admiring art in museums and books in libraries. That’s me. That’s okay.

Time to write like crazy, one more time. Because that’s me, too.

And that’s okay.

1117 Hits

The form of kaleidoscope


Broken and shattered, sometimes fractured, smatterings of shards of every size and shape.

It begins as a brittleness, a weakness that with every morsel sampled, dries more and more to become fragile until pieces suddenly snap off and fall away. Soon and without realising, they’re tumbling in gathered speed to freefall as an unknown journey to somewhere.

Snagging off scarps and clipping through craggy crevices that scratch angry, the freefall gathers momentum to hurtle towards a pit of devastation, a black hole with no landing. Pieces that once gelled to form the most glorious wings, flap in frantic fright as severely clipped with quills lost make wings useless to fly free.

Sometimes it’s not a slow fracture that bleeds to a fall but more a sudden and unexpected plummet from cloudless, blue skies, without warning or knowledge of any underlying delicate balance.

How and why ...

A burly panic, a paste and patch to fill the cracks and invisible pores that even under a magnifying glass can’t be seen. Scraps and specks, fragments and flecks ... somehow they must mend into one, to capture that essence of soulful core before it drains to depleted dry, before it becomes barren and desolate in a forgotten land. And then lifeless. And more struggle with the lifeless.

These chunks and slivers of shapes never seen before must rejoin with a super glue of the utmost strength and magical powers to form the ultimate bond.

Piece by piece, they mend back together to form something else, never in the original form that once was. New forma are made, new calluses spread over wounds and seams to strengthen that fragile resolve. These new forms are more beautiful and intricate than ever before with dents that dazzle in colours unseen and frays that frizzle to create a most unique and interesting kaleidoscope of form.

Sometimes though, the join or wound cannot mend and it becomes a permanent weakness where the slightest knock can damage severely. Sometimes, the super glue is inferior in quality or an imitation that’s simply a paste of flour and water, is used and the pieces can’t mend no matter what. Or if they mend, the first rain drop that skims the join becomes like sulphuric acid rampant on innocent skin.

It’s sad, heartbreaking. But even then, a new form is born.

As pieces come together and clipped wings mend, appreciate the intricate contours of form made, the breaks and falls, the welds that make up the unique and individual kaleidoscope of life. 

2612 Hits

A Drink Is Just a Drink

A friend's coffee maker was found non-functional this morning.  That means different things to each of us.  For me, it's time to go to the backup.  We have Keurig as primary but keep a Cuisinart in the closet...just in case.  We also have Starbucks Via on hand...just in case.  And a French press, with ground coffee in the freezer...just in case...and teas, in case I get really desperate.

Fortunately, there are also three coffee shops within a twelve minute walk, six if I jog it.  There's also a Wendy's, who serves coffee, and a Minute Mart who offers a coffee facsimile, if the situation is dire. 

Yes, coffee and I share a mature relationship.  Although friends at one point thought that I'd been born suckling coffee, I didn't take it up until I was in my twenties and in the military.  As I ~ shudder ~ AGED, I found a little caffeine on the midnight shifts helped stay awake and breathing.  I wasn't particular.  Sanka instant was available.  Nuke some water, shovel a few spoons in, stir.  Good enough.  Or the day shift had left some in the 30 cup coffee urn.  Heat it up, I'll drink it, or there was some cold stuff remaining in a carafe. 

In essence, I was a coffee scavenger, going brew to brew, consuming whatever was available.  A pivot point came.  Pivot points are always educational moments when your attitude or direction changes.  You eat steak for years then one day enjoy a well prepared prime cut.  Suddenly your taste buds sit up, startled, inquiring, what's this?  A legacy organic tomato comes onto your plate after years of hothouse tomatoes.  Romaine replaces iceberg.  Craft beers replace American lagers and Pinot Noirs replace Boonesfarm and Mad Dog 20-20.

Like an educated mind, an educated palate creates that pivot point.  You become more thoughtful and aware of the nuances.  What once passed as acceptable becomes scorned. 

Tasting a good cup of coffee opened me up to what was really out there.  I bought a coffee maker and a grinder for my home.  I added an espresso machine.  Did it all at home, sampling beans and roasts, storing them, trying them, refining my preferences.  Making and drinking coffee became a ritual.  Like wines, beers, cheeses and fruits, I found certain roasts go better with different foods, and could be dependent upon the time of day. 

I was hooked. 

It became known as so at my offices.  I always had a cup close by and passed judgement on what was brewed.  My coffee drinking at work grew legendary.  I liked arriving early so I could make it 'right'.  When we moved into new locations, co-workers suggested that lines be connected to the break room so I could have an IV drip from the coffee pot to my arm. 

Yet, priorities pass on to other matters.  Rituals consume time and I needed time for other requirements.  Coffee makers and roasters were also becoming more refined and sophisticated.  I moved from maker to maker until...along came the Keurig. 

At first, I dismissed the Keurig with contempt.  Coffee premeasured in a cup?  Bah, what good could it be?  Friends and relatives swore by them.  My wife wanted one.  She thought it would be convenient.  The words cut me;  had I fallen so low in my coffee consumption that convenience was my greatest measure? 

But...convenience is nice.

We bought the Keurig and tried different roasts and providers via the K-cups.  I had a K-cup whereby I could make my own and did so.  Meanwhile, I found Newman's extra bold French roast. 

Not bad.

Along came some northwest French bold.

Ah, there we go.  Now we were cooking.  The Keurig and I became friends.

It's worked out well with the Keurig.  I have my small collection of preferred roasts for different times.  My wife, who prefers coffee flavored water, has her K-cups, and we can offer guests a variety at will.  There is still a ritual but it's much easier, easily incorporated with other morning rituals of powering up the computers, feeding the cats, opening the back door to confirm the world is still there and sipping a glass of hot water (yes, it's another morning ritual).  The rituals are routines, freeing me to slip into my meditations and drift toward the daily writing and the works in progress and the tall masts of new ideas rising up over my imagination's horizons. 

The ritual is a pivot point embraced each day.  As it passes, the day really begins.

1845 Hits

Latest Blogs

“ The summoning of Courage is the most dangerous of spells. For you cannot summon Courage to do one thing. You must summon Courage to do all things.”...
The one thing in the world of value is the active soul,—the soul, free, sovereign, active. This every man is entitled to; this every man contains with...
  In Winter rain, the birds are flying Branch to branch, tree to naked tree. I can’t help wonder why. Why this one flies to that. Why those descend t...
It seems fitting that finishing off my PhD research should come with a last Farm Reflection. I only wrote a few over the three years of the research ...

Latest Comments

Rosy Cole The Narrowing
22 February 2020
When the way narrows, focus becomes sharper and dreams and distractions lose their power to seduce. ...
Stephen Evans The Narrowing
21 February 2020
I am hoping for a burst of energy and courage like yours Ken. As you say - waiting to be rescued is ...
Ken Hartke The Narrowing
20 February 2020
Writing from somewhere on my seventy-second trip around the sun, I recognize the narrowing but have ...
Stephen Evans Man hopes. Genius creates. 
18 February 2020
I was without a book at lunch, and keep a copy of collected Emerson in my car for just such occasion...
Rosy Cole Man hopes. Genius creates. 
18 February 2020
Have to admit that I'm glad RWE gave his successors permission not to be 'pinned down' by his often ...