>A hero is someone who does decent things in a way that everyone notices but it is heroic to do decent things when no one takes notice. Hero’s tend to get applause from everyone. Someone who is heroic usually has the love of only those who know them best. Personally, I think it’s far better to be heroic than to be a hero…...
People are creatures
Born of spirit
Born of earth
Like all the other creatures
Who inhabit our little blue planet
We all have an inclination
To look for danger first
This is why our news
Show our problems, show our grief
It’s common to believe
You should error
On the side of safety
But this is just a way to say
“Listen to your fears
Listen to grief”
To ignore your anxieties
Balance yourself with care
And error on the side of optimism
If you gotta make a mistake
Do it on the side of compassion
Rise to the hopes of your spirit
With the piece of you
That looks for the best in life
And in people
In all that you do
In all who you meet
Give living half a chance
And the benefit of a doubt
You’ll be surprised
How many times
Life rises to the occasion
Dewey Dirks 2011
Review of “Dave Riggler’s Stories”
Today I’m going to take a look at “Dave Riggler’s Stories” written by Brian Hartman. “Dave Riggler’s Stories” is series of six short stories in one binding about a man who was born with spina bifida, a spinal problem that prevents him from walking. The book is small, at about forty-five pages. It is presented as a series of scenes from Dave Riggler’s life starting with a story from his early youth before his was in kindergarten. It follows Dave through his life ending with a story about dating from his thirties. Mr. Hartman is the sort of writer who says a lot in just a little space. The book is absent of drawn out or flamboyant descriptions, and the work carries itself quite successfully on storyline, conversation and poignant choice of narrative alone.
As I read the book, I quickly began to like Dave for his kindness and his determination. A few pages in, and I couldn’t put it down. Dave is a fellow who approaches his handicap and life in general from a very pragmatic viewpoint. It’s very interesting to read his views on daily life and his opinion of the medical community such as the physical therapists who try to get him to walk with a walker when he was a teenager. Time and time again, Dave shows considerable empathy for the lives of those whom he happens across, such as a suicidal woman he meets one night in a bar, and a homeless man for whom he buys a meal. In one of the most dramatic passages of the book, Dave recounts his experiences on 9-11 as he watches the disaster unfold while working in a multistory building himself. He watches the news in shock as he thinks about all the people in the Twin Towers and about those among them who are in wheelchairs and likely would not be able to escape a building in which the elevators no longer work.
Two themes run throughout the book. Daves experiences with the medical community and his experiences with trying to find a partner. He mentions in one passage that by a certain time in his life he’d undergone surgery thirteen times. One has to read a book like this to begin to develop an appreciation how significant a part doctors, psychologists, and surgeons play in the life of some handicapped people.
I finished the book wanting it to be longer so that I could come to know Dave Riggler even better. He’s is the kind of person you’d like to spend a few afternoons at coffee with. If the book has any shortcoming at all it’s that it could be of greater length. At the same time, in forty-five pages, Mr. Hartman very successfully gives you a heartfelt, well rounded, very well written look at the daily life and emotional wanderings of a man who goes through this world on wheels rather than on legs. The fact that Mr. Hartman is able to accomplish this in a work of this length only confirms the fact that he approaches the art of the pen with a very great deal of skill. I recommend Dave Riggler’s Stories as a must read for anyone interested in learning about the heart and mind someone who is handicapped. I would like to thank Mr. Hartman for the opportunity to review his fine book. It has been a real pleasure to read. ——Dewey Dirks
If you want to care for people as the Gods do, you have to do much more than just love them. You have to like them…..Then you have to like them in spite of the fact they’re a pain in the ass….Then you have to like them in spite of the fact they think you’re a pain in the ass too.
Death gets us all, it’s true…..but life gets you first.
Life is art….Are you painting something you like?
Mark Hawkins who was very kind to allow the use of Valkenvania Blues in this video, requested that I include in the credits, a few other musicians who worked on the song–so here is an updated version of the video
Today I’m going to use a poem and a video that have previously been featured on the Questioning Way blog to make a point—-
Shit. Damn. Fuck. Hell. I’ve used all of these words from time to time in my writing and speaking. They are an integral part of the lexicon of vernacular English as it is commonly spoken and written in the United States in the early 21st century. They are very important to our language and are widely used because sometimes it is just impossible to employ any other word besides one of these as we each try to express the emotions we feel every day. A little further down the page, I’ll illustrate this point a bit more poignantly. With the exception of one MMO computer game that I’m a massive toad for called ‘Spore,’ I rarely stay for long any place on the world wide web that tries to censor me if I happen to use one of these words to express myself. Now, it might not seem like such a big deal if this or that website has a problem should I use the word shit or hell when I feel so inclined, but I know that the desire to censor speech and thought is a dangerously contagious disease and an astoundingly slippery slope that must be guarded against constantly. With truly frightening speed it leads to vagrant attempts to control free thought such as experienced by the woman in following video, which tells the story high school teacher who was recently harassed by a TV station for having the audacity to be a teacher and a erotic romance writer at the same time. The principle of free speech is of the utmost concern to all of us if we are to remain a country that in the farthest reaches of the imagination, could be called ‘free.’
Fortunately, thousands of people came to this woman’s aid with a show of support (The Questioning Way blog included) as her story made it’s way around the web. To the TV stations credit, they later aired a piece correcting their mistake, but only after so many people came to her defense, it became painfully obvious to them they really screwed the lurch.
I’ve also felt the sting of serious attempts to control what I say and write. Some years ago, I was invited to publish some poetry to a federally funded website ran by the National Endowment for the Arts. At the time it was a pretty nice break for me because the site enjoyed thousands of viewers. Among the work I published there was the poem “Don’t Call me Collect—God” It was subsequently banned from the site for using the word ‘damned’ because I had God saying “All the rest be damned!” in one of the lines of the poem. If you don’t think that swear words serve a vital function in our language, just substitute the phrase “All the rest be darned!”in place of original phrase and see how the poem reads.
Don’t call me collect –God
Perhaps on some golden throne
alive in the sky, you watch over each of us
–rain warm love, bathing one by one
man and sparrow with most tender care
Or, like a child at play
did you make the clock your grand experiment?
then, called to dinner, you plan to be back at eight
wondering if we’ll still be tocking
Are you a big ashen bearded daddy?
with all the answers up there
will you spank us forever if we don’t believe?
Maybe you’re a cosmic hippie
you say “Hey don’t you remember?
ten thousand years ago
we all stood at Salisbury in ecstasy”
Then, with hand to forehead you say
“Or maybe it was nineteen seventy-one
you know, all that acid still gets to me”
Are you a wrinkled old man?
stuttering, the very edge of senility
you wait at the gate, white picket complacency
We come home for a hug and obligatory visit
the younger playing Grandfather for a free dime
Perhaps you are a crone, ancient and wise
living in rock, road, brook, and tree
You made a hard, wondrous, magical land
where stumbling, we acolytes slowly learn of beauty
With fire on your finger tips
maybe you throw lightning bolts
make floods, cause the sky to darken
Perhaps you’ll let five thousand faithful in
“All the rest be damned!” you say as the earth quakes
Perhaps one time, some time, ever time
we’ll be sitting in the park, you and I
Muhammad, Gautama and Einstein play dice across the way
cool green grass, white daisies, blue sky, shade trees
I say, “You know, I wondered always if you were a figment”
You say, “Don’t we all, my friend, begin and end in fantasy?”
Dewey Dirks Copyright 2010
….This poem goes to prove you can never take life too not seriously…or is it too not unseroiusly not….;)
Lord it’s hot up here today
an’ all this smog
from yonder city
is flat out chokin’ me
Lookit that car down there!
man is he goin’ fast!
maybe he’ll run a rabbit down
an’ I’ll have sumthin’ to eat
Oh no! here comes Hank!
he’s that asshole from Death Valley
an’ I’d bet a dead rattlesnake
he thinks he’s gonna bum some food from me
Hell, if birds had teeth
that sucker’d steal yer tail
while he was smilin’ at yer beak
Well hullo there Hank!
howzitgoin ya ole scavenger!
long time no see! Oh I’m jist fine
What’s that? Nope nuthin’s bin kilt off yet
not even a horny toad
What? Yer leavin’ already?
nice seein’ ya Hank, fly by more offin’!
taker’ easy an’ have a good thermal!
Well, there he goes…
I hope he flies into a 747
Dewey Dirks copyright 2011
A very wise man once said, “There are many causes I would die for, but not a single cause that I would kill for….” Sounds like a good philosophy to me. If more people felt that way we’d all live in a better place
If you think education is expensive, try ignorance
I rarely make political posts on the Questioning Way Blog, and I rarely have guest writers. Today I’m doing both. My young friend, Ambrosia, is a 20 year old college student who is livid about the fact that many in this country have lately become intent on targeting education for budget cuts. Ambrosia and I are both astounded that Federal and local governments in the U.S. appear prepared to further impair an educational system that is already a flaming piece of shit. (as we all are quite aware) Starve the young a decent chance at education to save a few bucks? What kind of reasoning is that? Anyone who wouldn’t be wiling to pay a few more taxes in order to give the young a decent education ought to wake up and fly right. We all should be ashamed. I’m sure you all will find Ambrosia’s essay to be written from the heart. –DD
I just found out today, that my favorite elementary school is being closed down, due to budget cuts. This made me furious, and sad. We keep cutting the education budget, like there’s still a chance that ruining it will save us. The education budget can’t be cut any longer, what we need to do is cut the budget for other things. One thing that would help everyone, is cutting the funding on military purposes. Cut down the spending on the pentagon. If we just protested harder we could get the government under our control. We the citizens are supposed to be the government, not just a select few. To my dismay it’s been quite obliviously been pointed out to me, that people don’t want or care to do anything against this injustice. They think any sort of fight is useless, because the government is going to do anything they please. No, it’s because we the citizens don’t fight enough, that our government is taking control. We are letting this big bad government intimidate us, thus they continue to bully. Some people don’t want to fight, because they think the government’s half assed protection is worth losing liberty. “A society that will give up a little liberty for a little security, deserves neither and will lose both,” Benjamin Franklin. This is what is happening, and this is what’s true. No one fighting for our rights, is putting us in a headlock. We are making ourselves suffer, and making future generations suffer. We need to not be so afraid of having our voices heard. Go protest. Protest the cutting of the educational budget, and start demanding a cutting in the pentagon expenses. Make a change, we need a revolution, and we need it now. —Ambrosia Cunningham
I see several people have been looking for a poem I posted up here some time back. So, here is a repost of “Bravery” for those of you who’ve been looking for it. This is a poem from the latter half of The Questioning Way
When I walked into the bar
Two kids were calling him out
One had a broken bottle, the other had a short club
Steiger was not a big man, and he was unarmed
But good lord, he had a look about him!
A chill went through the room and he stood to face them
Steiger squared up and said
“Before you start
With whatever problem it is you have with me
I’ll tell you this— I don’t care
What kind storm you think you are,
I guarantee that you have never seen the like
Of a few of the storms I have been through.
Now, you do what you think you want to do
I just thought you ought to know.”
The kids stared back at him
I don’t think they knew exactly what to do
Finally, one of them pulled his friends shirt
He said, “Shit Jeff! Come on let’s go!”
Ole Jeff dropped his bottle and walked out of there
I guess he realized
He’d bit off a little more than he could chew
Steiger sat back down
And I shimmied up beside him
I said “I’m pleased to meet you
I think that’s the bravest thing I can recall seeing
Steiger took a drink and smiled
‘Said “Hell son, that wasn’t brave
That was just solid sense.
Now brave? I’ve seen brave a time or two”
Brave is jumping back over the wall
To save a good man down
As the bullets come flying back at you
Brave is being alone on your bike
And trying that corner at seventy
When there’s gravel, the sign says twenty-five tops
And you know what’s gonna happen
If the ground takes a swipe at you
Now, that’s the kind of bravery that faces death
But braver still, I think
Is the kind that faces life, son
Brave is being a single mother alone in the big city
You come home every day to two little ones who are hungry
And you know the only thing
Between them and some serious hurt
Is you and your shitty job
Down at the 7-11
There is a kind of bravery
That hopes beyond all hope
And still tries to get things done
When just about everything in life has fallen apart
All the chips are down
And all you’ve got is a pair of three’s on the table
There is a kind of bravery that has a dream
And still keeps crawling on
When you’re only half-way done
As all the bills keep coming due
And for all the world it still appears
That you don’t have a ghost’s chance in hell
Of ever seeing it all the way through
Then there’s the kind
That loves deeply and loses
But dares to try and love again
And the kind that loves easy
And dares try to find room in their heart
If you face death and lose
Well, you’ll be dead and gone
And nothing much will matter to you
But if you face life and lose
Then you have to live
With what has happened to you
Dewey Dirks copyright 2008
Here is a new version of the video “Melody” We had such a problem with the licensing on the last one we decided to put it to new music….
Update—Man, going live with one of these things can be a mess. We had a couple details wrong and had to do a new edit of the video real quick and post it back up–the version you see here is actually the third version I’ve post up today gggrrrrrrr 😉