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I have three and a half glorious hours left before I have trudge back into work–again. Normally, this isn’t such a bad vibe, but the fact that I got off at 12:30 last night, and the sleeping herbs didn’t kick in until about 1:30, doesn’t help. “Think money, money money!” is sadly my only condolence.

Spent the day working on long over-do writing and what not. Got some fiction sent off to Prick of the Spindle, Oklahoma Review and the ever elusive FRIGG. Ah, FRIGG. This literary journal has become my target. It seems like everything I’ve written, everything i’ve thought of writing, comes back to “Will Ellen like this?” I want FRIGG. Sadly, though, I have enough rejection letters from FRIGG to publish a whole other novel. Alas, I submitted three fiction pieces, one of which I ended up writing for my mom’s college lit class, and even with her changes, the professor seemed to like it, so why not give it a chance?

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On The Bus.
The dinner was both lazy and rushed. The courses of fried, home down chicken and grits were quickly prepared, but filling. Good enough for the band of misfits and mystified heads that now surrounded the old wooden table. The conversation quickly turned to philosophy and literature, armature debates began and altered ideals were tossed around the room. The dull hum of voices changed slowly to exclaimed emotions and proposals, only to be quieted by the soft hum of words expressed at the head of the table. “Shh.” someone whispered, the soft hum quickly overtook the excited exclamations that filled the room moments prior, “Kesey’s talking, man. Shh.”
Ken Kesey sat at the head of the table, his calm blue eyes staring directly into Neal Cassady’s own deep brown. We watched, mesmerized. Kesey nor Cassady turned,  or acknowledged the sudden silence, and we used this opportunity to strain our hearing only to catch these two mind’s theories. “That’s not what I’m saying, Neal.” Kesey spoke calmly, his Oregon country accent slipping in every so often. The man never lost his temper. His companion watched him with quick eyes, catching his words and storing them in his mad mind. “What are you implying, Chief?” Cassady’s voice was fast and slurred, trying to get the words though his mind and out of his mouth. “You don’t understand the road, you can’t. Until you’ve lived it, been there, you just can’t see it, man.” Again, Kesey watched carefully, nodding, making sure that Neal was finished with his train of thoughts before he gave a response. “I’m aware Neal, but you speak as if this were the last time on the road–you and Jack. Don’t forget who made  you remember the speed, I ain’t saying it was all me, man, it was the thought behind the trip that got you hooked, but it wasn’t Jack.” Cassady’s arms flew into the air then back to his lap. We watched his mind turning, the wheels spinning as he remembered as well as we did the bus trip of sixty four where this wild man had driven us across America. We stood with Ken. Cassady spoke again, “Man! That’s what your hang up is! It’s all about the trip for you, the feeling. It’s not always like that! It’s not always some decoded message! I was not this man when I came to La Honda! I was not this mind! I prowled the streets of New York, lived in the village with Ginsberg, and first I traveled the road with Jack! I saw it from clear eyes, man. I saw the people, the poverty, I lived it! The women, Kesey! I saw the women!” Cassady was lost in his mind again, remembering his first trip out “on the road” with Jack Kerouac. Ken waited patiently, not wanting to pull him back from his memory prematurely. After a moment he spoke softly. “You’ve told me, Neal. When you came to me and asked to ride with us, you told me about the road. You told me about the women, about the poverty and about Colorado, remember?” He breathed deeply, his mind reeling now. “But you told me you were on the bus, kid! I relied on you to be on the bus! Just because the Harvester is parked out back, in the day-glo trees and tent city, doesn’t make it less real! The bus is your mind, it’s your thinking, and either your on the bus or off the bus. Remember Neal?” For the first time Cassady stopped. He stared at Ken, his huge eyes like saucers in the dim light. Collectively, we held our breath, what was this man thinking now? What did he mean, clear eyes? A smile spread across Cassady’s face, and he was nodding vigorously. “Yes, man, you’ve got it chief. You’ve got the idea, now. I’m on the bus, it’s my way of thinking. No matter if I’m in New York with Jack, in Colorado aimless, or even Mexico with old Bill, I’m on the bus. You haven’t lost me, Ken.” The last sentence was said softly, urgently. His motives discovered, Ken smiled back at Neal. “You’re on man, you’re so on.” He paused, looking sad for a moment, his eyes hooded and dark, then just as quickly they were twinkling. “Remember the lake, man?” Neal looked up, shocked by the change of mood. “The lake….” Kesey waited, looking for recognition in his old friends eyes. Cassady laughed uproar sly. “The lake man!” In an instance there was a flash of understanding between the two men and they were silent. Conversation flowed back into the room, following the old pattern of topics as if nothing had happened. No one spoke of the exchange, and the dinner passed on, as if nothing miraculous had happened at all. Under his breath Kesey whispered to his friend. “You’re on man, and you’ll always come back.” Cassady was at this time otherwise engaged in debate, but almost as if he had heard, he turned to Kesey, his brown eyes laughing.

and I also sent in this short:

Transcending

It was a curious bunch. Grotesque in many forms, I thought. They seemed to radiate the feeling that the war was dragging on, but pretty much over, and they would never be faced with any hair splitting challenges again. They are still a part of me. Very much, I feel them inside of me. I see them now and again, in the old town, in the mental hospital, on the bench from our childhood. They were called then “A Wasted Youth” sure to “fester and spoil.” They were persecutors of the golden age, but somehow never good enough nor bad enough. Never sane enough or mad enough for their own minds. Too young to have been involved in the war and too old to be Vietnam war off shoots, a nothing group.

Will any new experiences jar us from our purgatory rut? From the undoubtedly bland and insipid days that has become their era? I do not see how anything ever can. Stuck in the middle of times, as if frozen in a whirlpool of events, all of them coming close but never quite touching home. Prepared to fight for something, itching to stand up for someone, but never getting that gratifying happening. Endless experimentation with the mind, stuck forever on my simultaneous rise and fall of words. I am back where I began, in a small town with an idea, surrounded by profound influences yet unable to feel anything more than a dancing half hope for humanity. In the car everyday I pass the place I graduated from, transcending into the place where my mind stands. Half-Howl half On The Road, I am betwixt myself. I flash back to the days before my youth was set in stone to be the decadent ones we have become. When we were all busy with our textbooks and our giggling phone calls as little girls, moving ourselves toward being prominent self sustaining citizens rather than the strung out, mystifying heads. The reaction was inflated egotism and disdain at our high hopes, crushing for some, driving for others, and when the reaction was set as a guideline our generation fell. Perhaps now that the era is forgotten, another retort will surface In the interest of realism and helping fellow man our silly little illusions will be recognized, our preservation of man will begin. The coddled period has gone. The time for love and harmony, I think is here.

________

So, we’ll see how those turn out. I am strangely hopeful.

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