WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING ALIVE

or read on…
 
THINGS I LIKE ABOUT BEING ALIVE
 
1. I like meeting new characters and curmudgeons and wits and dullards every day…fascinating, inspiring, frightening, boring–you never know who’ll turn up next.
 
2. I like popcorn and marshmallows and olives and Ruffles. Can’t get enough.
 
3. I like taking off my shoes at day’s end. It’s like skinnydipping.
 
4. I like watching Liz cook and do art and sew and talk animatedly with anyone. She turns everything into high art.
 
5. I like watching myself grow older. It’s unbelievably funny and entertaining.
 
6. I like watching bureaucrats and clerks mindlessly following rules. They are clueless as to how amusing they are.
 
7. I like watching extremists rant, be they right-wing, left-wing, atheist, agnostic, religionist, radical, liberal. They have no idea that they are all trapped in the same dead-end compound, blindly following their self-righteous cul de sac logic.
 
8. I like being pleasantly distracted from reality, through books, film, theatre, excited conversation, intimacy. This always beats facing the universal truths.
 
9. I like it that we are all equal in the way we exist–we start out living and wind up not living. Nothing at all can be done about it, so we’re in the same leaky boat. No amount of politics and wishing and beliefs can trump this dead-on fact.
 
10. I like it that you humored my rant by reading this to the very end. You are now my unintentional friend
 
(c) 2011 A.D. Jim Reed http://www.jimreedbooks.com

HOW TO RE-VIEW YOUR WORLD

Listen to Jim: http://jimreedbooks.com/mp3/howtoreviewyourworld.mp3

or read on…

 

HOW TO RE-VIEW YOUR WORLD

 

Sometimes, stopping to smell the roses can be thorny. But sometimes, it’s a good way to re-start, re-boot, refresh the day.

 

You might even consider getting up close and allowing the roses to enjoy you.

 

Consider these notions about gaining control of your world on your own terms:

 

Turn down the sound on the radio and watch it closely for  

30 minutes.

 

Adjust the television image and watch a color film in   

black and white.

 

Turn the sound down and just watch television.

 

Then, keeping the sound off, read the closed captions.

 

At the movie theatre, use a hand mirror to view the audience behind you, ignoring the film entirely.

 

Pop a blank CD into a player and listen to the quiet for 70 minutes.

 

Carry snapshots of your parents and grandparents and brag about them every chance you get.

 

Have someone read you a bedtime story.

 

See what happens when you go a full day without television, ipad, texting, facebooking, tweeting, emailing, phonetalking, gameplaying…see what it’s like to avoid setting an alarm or looking at a clock or using a timer or switching on the car radio.

 

Try watching a turned-off TV screen by candlelight for 20 minutes.

 

Read only the last line of each newspaper article today.

 

Read a short story backwards, from end to beginning.

 

With eyes closed, clutch a very old book to your chest for an hour and imagine what is happening inside that volume.

 

Turn the world upside-down for a day and tell me what that was like

 

© Jim Reed 2011 A.D.

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

RAINY DAYS AND SUNDAYS NEVER GET ME DOWN

Listen to Jim: http://jimreedbooks.com/mp3/rainydaysandsundaysnevergetmedown.mp3

or read on…

 

RAINY DAYS AND SUNDAYS NEVER GET ME DOWN

 

The cartoon strip character Ziggy once said something like, “When you’re down and out, lift up your head and shout, ‘It’s going to be another lousy rotten rainy day!’

 

I get this cry of despair from people a lot, especially on rainy days. Don’t know why, since I have memories of many wonderful rainy days.

 

I’m a kid playing in the back yard with brother Ronny, when we see rain coming in. This could be an adventure! We decide to crawl under a big wooden table that has Mother’s plants and doodads on it, and pretend that it’s a shelter in the wilderness during a typhoon (we don’t know what a typhoon is, but it sounds dangerous). Sure enough, we ride out the storm, huddled against the imagined snakes and grizzlies lurking just a pebble’s throw away. The flash flood misses us, the wet grass captivates our sense of smell, the surrounding mud is great fun to stick our toes in. The nearby rusty oil drum awaits our next escapade and becomes a time machine to lurk inside.

 

Rainy days like this remain safely in memory dear, to issue forth at just the right time in order to conquer just the wrong mood.

 

Rainy days mean the making of gentle love, the launching of handmade sailboats, the re-booting of dusty landscapes, the abolition of dew, the cleansing of an attitude, the conquest of thirst, the revitalization of thirsty critters.

 

Rainy days remind me that, should I weather the outdoors sufficiently, I will know when safe haven arrives. There’s no guessing about the moment when the rain stops, there’s no guessing that that overhang at the shop signals the end of wetness, there’s nothing preventing me from running out into the drizzle, nothing stopping me from running for shelter. Rain lets me know my boundaries, lets me know that no amount of whining is worth missing the rain and the Sun.

 

I’m happy to see Sunny, happy to see Rain.

 

Besides, what would it be like to have no weather at all?

 

Kind of like hearing the sound of one hand clapping

 

© 2011 A.D. Jim Reed http://www.jimreedbooks.com

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS AND STORIES OF MY LIFE

Everybody has a list of favorite things in life.

Here’s my list of books and stories. What’s your list?

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS AND STORIES OF MY LIFE

 

Note: These are stories well worth the reading, well worth the writing style.

Some are disturbing. Some are inspirational.

Some are quite worthless save for their lingering images.

All are compelling in one way or another.

Most are difficult to forget, even if you try.

Bixby, Jerome. IT’S A GOOD LIFE

Bradbury, Ray. DANDELION WINE, THE ILLUSTRATED MAN, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, ZEN AND THE ART OF  WRITING, THE SMILE, TO THE CHICAGO ABYSS, THE TOYNBEE CONVECTOR, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

Caldwell, Erskine. GOD’S LITTLE ACRE

Carlin, George. BRAINDROPPINGS, NAPALM AND SILLY PUTTY

Carroll, Lewis. ALICE IN WONDERLAND AND THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

Cleaver, Eldridge. SOUL ON ICE

Cozzens, James Gould. CASTAWAY

Davies, Valentine. MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET

Defoe, Daniel. ROBINSON CRUSOE

Dickens, Charles. A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Einstein, Albert. RELATIVITY FOR THE LAYMAN

Elliott, Bob and Ray Goulding. FROM APPROXIMATELY COAST TO COAST

Farmer, Philip Jose. THE LOVERS

Faulkner, William. INTRUDER IN THE DUST

Frankl, Viktor.  MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING

Goldman, William. THE PRINCESS BRIDE

Gray, William. FUN WITH DICK AND JANE

Hemingway, Ernest. THE GREEN HILLS OF AFRICA

Hunter, Evan. BLACKBOARD JUNGLE

Huxley, Aldous. BRAVE NEW WORLD

Jackson, Shirley. THE LOTTERY

Jones, Guy and Constance. PEABODY’S MERMAID

Kazantzakis, Nikos. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST

Kelly, Walt. POGO

Kerouac, Jack. BIG SUR, ON THE ROAD

Khayyam, Omar. THE RUBAIYAT

Kiersey. PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME

Lee, Harper. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

MacDonald, John D. THE GIRL THE GOLD WATCH AND EVERYTHING

Matheson, Richard. I AM LEGEND, BID TIME RETURN, THE SHRINKING MAN

May, Robert L. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER

Menninger, Karl. THE HUMAN MIND

Merritt, A. THE MOON POOL

Miller, Walter. A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ

Moore, Clement C. THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Nabokov, Vladimir. LOLITA

Orwell, George. 1984

Parker, Dorothy. COLLECTED POEMS

Raines, Howell. MY SOUL IS RESTED

Reage, Pauline. THE STORY OF O

Reed, Jim. DAD’S TWEED COAT, CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A DAY, YOUR PEOPLE MY PEOPLE

Rilke, Rainer Maria. COLLECTED WORKS

Robinson, Frank. THE POWER

Sagan, Carl. THE COSMIC CONNECTION

Schweitzer, Albert. OUT OF MY LIFE AND THOUGHT

Sheehy, Gail. PASSAGES

Shulman, Max. BAREFOOT BOY WITH CHEEK

Silverstein, Shel. WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, FALLING UP, RUNNY BABBIT

Smith, H. Allen. HOW TO WRITE WITHOUT KNOWING NOTHING

Smith, Thorne. THE NIGHT LIFE OF THE GODS

Spillane, Mickey. I, THE JURY

Steinbeck, John. TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY

Stevenson, Bryan. JUST MERCY

Stoker, Bram. DRACULA

Tazewell, Charles. THE LITTLEST ANGEL

Teasdale, Sara. COLLECTED POEMS

Thomas, Dylan. A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, UNDER MILKWOOD

Thurber, James and E.B. White. IS SEX NECESSARY?

Thurber, James. THE THIRTEEN CLOCKS

Tolkien, J.R.R. THE HOBBIT

Voltaire. CANDIDE

Vonnegut, Kurt. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, HARRISON BERGERON

Watterson, Bill. CALVIN AND HOBBES

Wells, H.G. THE HISTORY OF MISTER POLLY, THE TIME MACHINE, THE

                    WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE DOOR IN THE WALL

Wilcox, Ella Wheeler. POETRY

Williams, Tennessee. BABY DOLL

Wilson, Edward O. CONSILIENCE

Wylie, Phillip. FINLEY WREN, GLADIATOR

The lessons I learned from some of these books never quite go away.

The ideas they proffered endure. The images they evoked don’t fade

jim@jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com

http://www.jimreedbooks.com/podcast

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