Tuesday, January 13, 2015
You Have Two Things This morning when I woke up, I thought, "When you die, you have two things." You don't have money or security or prestige. You have what you love and what you hate, That's it. These two things determine who you are, nothing else. And you can subtract what you hate from what you love. That's who you are. That's what you take with you. It makes sense to pay attention to this all of your life. It's a simple math they don't teach you. Whatever you hate is subtracted from what you love. You take love with you because love is who you are.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
I was talking to my son Jules this morning. “I wish we all lived on the farm and you just painted,” I said. Dad,” he said, his tone partly beligerant, “I want to tell you something. I love what I do. I’m good with computers, really good. It is what I do. It’s my art now.” “OK,” I say. “I know that. I just don’t understand it.” “No one does,” he said. “But I love it.” “You’re right,” I said. I gave in instantly because he is right. “I don’t know squat about computers. I’m just archaic. I’m from a different world,” I said. “You like computers more than you think,” he said. “You depend on a better made car, on hospital equipment, on new medicines, on airplanes, on your TV and air-conditioning.” I didn’t tell him I wish I didn’t. “You’re right.” “OK.” “You are right. No one understands what I do when I write, either.” “No, they don’t.” “We thought that if you worked words into what you felt and thought, you created something for everyone. If you did it well.” “Yes.” “And that there would be someone to read it. Anyway, I’ll try to change. And not just for you. I need to learn the difference.” He knows where I’m coming from. Maybe I don’t know either world, mine or his. But it’s true. The entire world now is a step out of my sight. I recognize changes,. I see everyone hooked on cell phones and thinking in ways that computers have influenced them. They have changed my thoughts, too. Maybe I don’t know how much. Could I understand the world from a contemporary viewpoint now? What would that do to my brain? Make it smarter, yes. Make me broader and more realistic. Open up a world of things for me to pursue. It would make me think like them. This is everything I’m trying to avoid. Living as long as I have, makes me care about the past, about my friends and family who have died, my experiences which have gone away, and my dreams which have been surpassed. Holding onto the past is not logical. But the past is visual and visceral in my head. If I could change—if I could see, beyond the context of what I already know, as if I were young, and innocent in a way, ready to listen, to see, to be startled again for the first time. That’s the rub. New flowers tend to grow from old branches in the same way. Imagine a petunia’s being a rose or a gardenia’s being a tulip. How beautiful the concept of change is. My eyes widen at the idea. Like renaming the sun or the moon. Like calling love by numbers, not words. Or seeing memories through the future. That’s the key: the utter impossibility yet the absolute experience of everything. Its incomprehensible nature makes our lives dream like. What is, is a thing that beats with our hearts and lights up our eyes. It just requires our breath, one at a time.
As I walked along a sidewalk this morning, just ahead of me one, then two, and three sparrows darted from a hedge and flew up into a tree. A few seconds later, four or five more followed. Then nearly a dozen. Their flight was as quick as a shadow appears and disappears. I wondered how many birds could lie in the hedge there. I visualized them in those narrow branches inside the hedge, leaves everywhere. Then, as I reached the opening that they had left from, I peered in and saw nothing. Not a bird. There was no evidence of their ever having been there. I walked on, the birds not even in the trees now. So that is how life goes, I thought. And that’s what it leaves. At least inside us.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
I am not sure why but my talking to strangers lately has gotten more difficult. Maybe cause I am older. I have the same curiosity, but others are of course reluctant to focus on anything but their world.
I just spoke to a group of young people twenty to twenty- two whom I greatly admired. I felt joy, talking and listening to them. But I felt their resistance. It is a form of young people’s lack of interest in history.
They were bright, good looking, observant people. One girl struck me with her perceptive comments. She is a political science major, a senior. Two of the others were going to medical school. The others majored in political science or economics. They will become doctors, lawyers, good ones I bet.
Three of them had heard of Aldous Huxley and one had written a book report on Brave New World, but he hadn’t read the book.
When I asked them about their most important values, they each listed family first. Second, they said, was doing something for their country.
Although they looked Italian to me and spoke English perfectly, they were second generation Afkan.
These youths should be shown on TV.
One girl said the difference in the disadvantaged of the world and them was only poverty. With financial opportunity, people are pretty much alike, she said.
Another girl said she did not mind wearing a Berka if she could go to Afghanistan to visit.
As I left them, they were eating and moving on.
I did not touch them at all so far as I could see. But they touched me. They gave me things to think about. I worry a bit, disrupting their picnic, but I will tell others about how impressive they were.
You can explore more of James White's world in his novels. I Am Everyone I Meet: Random Encounters on the Streets of Los Angeles is available this summer for only 99 cents on Kindle right HERE!
Monday, July 30, 2012
Check it out! James P. White contributed to the guest post up on the blog of Jules White. Jules White designed the cover art for two of James's books: Observations Without Daddy and I Am Everyone I Meet. You can check out the guest post today by visiting THIS link!
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I think of my literary friends who have died. Their works have suffered the same fate that they have. When they were alive, together, we spoke together, what we wrote and we said and what we read had a oneness. We had a respect for the solitude we had when we read good writing.
We did not talk to each other outside of knowing we were writers.
Those of us who are alive did not realize that we would live in a world where that respect did not exist and would be misunderstood anyway.
We had no concept about the future.
“More people are reading now than ever,” silly people say. It’s like saying that more people know about the American revolution now than when the revolution took place. I miss that literary world and don’t want to be part of one that is counterfeit.
The weaknesses of the profession took over, like a disease and “writing” became something less than information.
Read more HERE!
James P. White's books are available on Amazon. I Am Everyone I Meet is available all summer for only 99 cents!
James P. White
All Rights Reserved
No unauthorized reproduction, except to quote for reviews or interviews.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Who are we? you ask. Are we these other people we meet on the street or are they us? Are we interlopers among them? The strangers we meet are some of the most precious gifts: we are allowed to pet the animals. Then we let them go back home without us.
You can catch more of James's work in I Am Everyone I Meet: Random Encounters on the Streets of Los Angeles, right HERE!
(Copyright James P. White 2012 All Rights Reserved No unauthorized reproduction aside from quoting for blogs or reviews)