Mind Fields: Interview With A Fish

Insight Into a Writer’s World

 A note from Arthur Rosch:

One day I was passing the fish tanks in a large pet store. I hadn’t intended to buy a fish. The idea was absurd, as we were then planning to move into an RV. Nothing stays put during the driving portion of RV adventures. An aquarium would be a disaster. Now that we’re hardened RV hipsters, we understand the uses of Gorilla tape, bungees and slip-loks. We can, to a degree, securely fasten doors, closets, cabinets, drawers, small children and  demented adults. In the early days any sudden turn would bring all the silverware out to bury itself in the faux wood paneling.  

A fish swam up to the glass and fastened its eyes upon me. It was a thumb-sized cichlid with iridescent stipples of blue and red. It was stunningly gorgeous.

“Hey,” said the fish. “I’m for you. Get me out of here.”

I tried to ignore the creature but it kept pace with me the length of the aquarium. Other fish got out of its way as if it were a predatory monster. 

“I’m serious,” said the fish. “They don’t obey my orders in here. They don’t know who I am. What am I supposed to do with an undisciplined rabble like this?” Its eyes almost crossed with contempt. “Angel fish? Mollies, guppies, goldfish? Star fish! I have only one good thing to say about star fish. They don ‘t drop their weapons and run when the fighting gets hot.”

 I had to stop. The fish and I squared off and looked deep into one another’s eyes. 

 “General?” I inquired. “General Stonewall Jackson?”

“I know,” he replied. “This is embarrassing. I was a Presbyterian.”

That was how I acquired The General. He liked people. He hated fish. He ate the female cichlid we introduced into his tank. 
         

We rigged a special travel bowl that hung from a hook on the motor coach’s ceiling. No matter how we bounced and yawed, the nylon sling that held the bowl kept the General’s water nice and placid. When we planned to stay somewhere for a while, we bought ten gallons of bottled water, heated it to the proper temperature and put The General in his aquarium. It was a major pain in the ass.

End of  note. Begin interview.

General Cichlid: Mr. Rosch, you’ve maintained a literary career of extraordinary purity. You sold a story to Playboy Magazine in the late 70’s. It won a prestigious award. The online magazine Exquisite Corpse published two of your satirical pieces. Aside from fleeting brushes with notoriety, you’ve barely sold or published anything at all. In fact, I believe no one besides your partner and your household pets has ever read your most important work. 

Arthur Rosch: First of all, please call me Arthur.This formality is silly. You are one of the household pets who has read my work. In fact, you’ve read more of my work than anyone besides my partner.

General: Yes, thanks for setting up that music stand and turning the pages. You’re a patient man.

Rosch: Fox did most of the page turning.  You know how she is.  Anything for a reader.

General: Let’s get back to the uncompromising nature of your written work.

Rosch: It’s easy to have integrity when you’re not getting paid.  The lack of pay is a great motivator.  There’s always the looming possibility of posthumous fame.  I don’t worry about it too much.  I’m fairly certain I’ll be forgotten long before the quality of my writing is recognized. I’m content to leave my work for my posterior.

General: You don’t find this obscurity frustrating?

Rosch: Not at all. If I became a successful writer, I would have to behave like one. I would have to increase my medications. I would have photos taken of me with my chin on my fist. I would have to travel on airplanes. Who wants to do that?

Further Author’s Note:

As you can discern, The General was a remarkable fish. The preceding fantasy is half true. One story about The General that is completely true involves an amazing leap of faith, an awesome feat of piscatory prowess.

One day I was cleaning my friend’s aquarium. I had prepared a large bowl with about three gallons of his water, and set him to swimming in it while I poured out the rest of the water and cleaned the gunk off the glass and out of the filters. The General wasn’t thrilled about this; he slapped the surface of the water with his tail and darted in angry circles. Before meeting The General I had never conceived that fish could have such elaborate personalities. Now I know better. Animals, all of the creatures on this planet, need to be taken seriously. Fish, fowl, mammal, invertebrate, they are all conscious, each with unique complexity. The General was a lesson.

Having cleaned the rocks, the castle, the toy soldiers, (Yankee and Confederate) and the pumps and filters, I put the aquarium back on the table. I went through the procedure of getting fresh water to the correct temperature and began filling the tank. The General was in the big bowl, about four feet away on a dining table. I was going to net him and transfer him back to the aquarium. Then I would gently pour the water in the bowl back into the tank until it was topped off. 

I approached the table with the net in my hand. I was about to chase The General around the bowl until I had him in the little rectangle of green mesh. He saved me the trouble. With an explosive leap, the fish flew through the air to make a perfect dive into the aquarium. Sploosh!!


Let me make this completely clear. A fish the size of my thumb flew a perfectly accurate arc that must have been at least twenty feet in total extent. If he had missed he probably would have died.
         

I will assume that the General was taking no more risks regarding demise by friendly fire.

This, I swear, is completely true.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

___________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: This is Where Your Fantasies Take You

I’ve lived in the world of my sexual fantasies for decades. There are times to put away the fantasy but first I must ask it why it was there in the first place. I’m seventy five years old. I’ve had enough sex in my life, with a number of partners. Men born in the forties and fifties grew up entitled, so they thought, to all the sex they could get. Turns out that things have changed and sex is no longer a perk of the boomer male. Sex is more complex because we became aware (some of us) to the fact that women have been treated with abominable cruelty, apparently forever. There is no style of feminism that comes close to redressing that injustice. I told my partner yesterday, “I’ve been so unfair to you.” It was true. My fantasies pulled me away from her. We are the same age.  She doesn’t’ conform to the image. She’s a granma. Of what sexual use is she? I’ve deleted post menopausal women from my sex fantasy life.

SO… I’ve come to a decision to put away the fantasy. I’m not really horny any more. This issue, the transition OUT of sexuality, is difficult. I‘ve been slow to release it and give it to the process of my emotional maturation. There is an evolution to such feelings. They have to be owned and then governed from within. Honesty is required. This inner transformation takes time and help from our therapists and peers. It’s been something of a wild ride for me but things are settling down. I’m revising my identity. I am an elder. I have been motivated by a sense of my having new tools at my disposal. New insights. I had wanted to bring them into a relationship and that relationship already exists, with my partner and with my peers.

The fantasy of falling in love is powerful. It can be all enveloping, overwhelming. Its allure is its intoxication with a sensual element. Everyone wants those feelings of love: until they have them. Then, it is often a case of getting what you wished for and discovering its unintended consequences. A new vulnerability exists, and a new responsibility. Things are never that easy. Falling in love brings the possibility of confusion and devastating betrayal. It’s a simple formula: one cannot make someone else happy. Don’t look for love to complete you. Be complete. It sounds so simple. It isn’t; but it comes at the right time, when one has prepared the way for being complete.

________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_____________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: The Highwayman Of Failed Dreams

Note: I wrote this piece ten years ago. Things have changed. I’m doing much better than I would have expected when I wrote this essay. Here it is in all its misery.

Lately I’ve been waiting for a heart attack to drop me in my tracks. It isn’t that I have heart disease. I just turned seventy and I’m waiting for my official Hypochondriac’s License to be delivered in the mail. I think that every little twinge in my body is an incipient cancer. I’m waiting for the stroke that will paralyze my speech centers and put me in a wheel chair. I’m old, and I’m terrified. My imagination runs wild as I fantasize every possible affliction. I feel as though something awful is lurking just around the bend. It’ s like a giant boot in a Monty Python skit, it’s waiting for me to walk under it so it can go SPLAT! and squish me to a gooey puddle.

This is called “catastrophizing”. It’s a feature of depression. When I wake up early in the morning I’m churning with anxiety and my mind boils with fears of the worst things that can happen to me. Life is hard and I’m like a child: I can’t reconcile myself to the level of difficulty that life has thrown in my path. I’m inadequate. I’ve been broken since childhood. I want my mommy. I want to feel safe. I feel vulnerable, lonely, unsupported and bereft of family and community.

Now that I’ve introduced you to some of the fun features of depression, I will make an observation. Depression is extremely common. So is despair, but that’s different than depression. Despair is an emotion. Depression is a disease. It can kill you.

When I turned sixty five I was waylaid by the highwayman of failed dreams. It was too late (I felt) to rebuild my life. It was too late to develop an audience for my writing. To say that I was disappointed is too mild. I was heartbroken. I had worked my butt off but the world had changed and suddenly everyone was a writer. Five million self published books were elbowing my fine works into oblivion. I couldn’t gain traction. In spite of great reviews and an award from Writer’s Digest, I couldn’t even give away my books.

I have become almost proud of my obscurity. When I say “I couldn’t give away my books” I feel a weird yet heroic conceit. If my books were shit I would still feel proud, but my books are not shit; they’re damned good. They are compelling. One reviewer called them “important”.

There’s no reason you should care about me. You don’t know me. If you’re still reading it’s because I’ve touched a nerve. You may share some of these feelings and I’ve roused your curiosity. “Oh, does someone else feel overwhelmed the way I do?”

Yes. I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment, respond on Medium and Facebook, talk to me! What we lack is connection and mutual support. I’m looking to connect. I’m not looking for a dialogue about depression. I’m looking for truth. I want to know how you really feel and are maybe too ashamed to admit it.

It’s important to consider the state of the world when we contemplate our emotional pain.

The world is sick. The planet is reeling with toxic conditions. These things affect us personally, they have impact on our health and our moods. Seeing the faces of certain politicians rouses me to anger and nausea.

Every human being comes into the world with a set of parents and a third parent that is the culture in which he or she lives. The information that programs the infant child is transmitted by the parents and the culture. If it’s good information chances are that the human will live a good life. If the information is flawed there may be problems.

Let’s start with the culture, this culture, American culture. Every child born in America inherits an inner blueprint that guides in the construction of a personality. A Self. The weird thing about this blueprint is that it shows a structure that lacks a foundation. There’s no bottom on this diagram. It starts on the first floor.

If I had lived a more fulfilling life I might not be so catastrophic. My life, however, has been one of incredible effort and little reward. I have been endlessly creating works of music, literature, photography…that no one cares about. It’s good that I’m not prone to self pity. (Sound of sardonic laughter in the background.)

I don’t have any significant heart disease. My blood pressure’s running high but that’s because I’m terrified. It’s a vicious circle. Terror increases the BP and the BP increases my chances of stroke and heart disease. You can’t win.

Depression can stop you in your tracks. It is epidemic, it’s the most dangerous disease of the human race. I know you don’t care about my problems. You care about YOUR problems, whatever they are. Health, money, relationships, all the basic stuff that won’t behave and won’t get organized in a sustainable way.

When I’m REALLY depressed I don’t want to live but suicide’s not an option. I have responsibilities to people. I feel like a prisoner in my life, in my body, and that’s a fact. It’s irresistible. I can’t even open my email because none of it is for me, it’s all spam and fills me with ennui. I’m socially isolated. I’m old. My friends and family are scattered and gone. If I had a family I’d probably tell them to get lost. You know how families are: when you have one you loathe most of the people in it, but when you don’t have a family you feel cut adrift from reality.

This is my screed from a moment of dangerous difficulty. I understand that obstacles are necessary to my development. I get that. I accept the fraught process of living. There’s little else I can do other than bow to the will of a higher intelligence within myself. I believe in that higher intelligence. I believe it is not only possible to know God but that God has designed our consciousness so our understanding progresses by increments towards that knowing.

__________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

______________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Ideas, Poems, Thoughts

I don’t know what to call my writings any more. Poems? Not really, or not always. Sometimes these things have a poetic rhythm, sometimes not.

I Forget

September 26, 2022

I forget that evil tyrants run the world.

I forget that poets and artists

barely exist, barely scratch by

with a sigh, with patient resignation.

I forget that kindness is hindered

at every turn by evil intentions of those who command

the power of Calamity. I forget

that bad guys have no love

but don’t even miss it. I forget

that tenderness is

but a beginning to ever greater tenderness.

I forget that

we create ourselves in versions

of the pattern laid down within

a larger memory whose boundaries extend

beyond the edges of everything.  I forget everything

except that I exist and sometimes I forget that, too.

What I remember is this: I am aware of you. I am aware of your scent and the streams of feeling that flow between us. 

That I Can Never Forget.

The Big Bang

The Big Bang was the beginning of consciousness.

As consciousness is not confined by the laws of physics

it presents to us an enigma that we strive to unravel.

We take the first tentative steps towards this end with Quantum Mechanics. Quantum science acknowledges the influence

of the observers’ consciousness. That is only the first baby step

on the road to full awareness of the sheer magnitude of existence.

We may find existence terrifying and baffling with its beauty. That is up to us, not up to God or anything else. As entities with any degree of consciousness we are tasked with the responsibility to love our own awareness and then love it in all other beings.

_________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

__________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Poetry & Such

Ideas Like Never Before

Boulder breakers and charcoal makers

the poor

wait for something they don’t know what

just breaking rocks to earn a penny,  rocks to pave

gravel roads that go away. Anywhere

is better than poor in Africa, Asia, America, the poor are broken just like the stones they break.

Ending poverty is the work of a civilization. If we can’t end poverty anywhere in the world, we are not a civilization

What to Believe

These days I can’t believe anything. A lie

hovers overhead day and night. All the competing agendas clash

and the books, videos, news,  none remain without a stink

of mendacity. The liars hold the highest offices. They control

information. Their tech is the latest but

their lies are old, ancient, lies told by tyrants to the innocents.

Those who are brave defy their terror and protest. In Iran,

the women are sick with disgust at control by tottering old men wearing white fezzes and large skullcaps. Liars! I can’t

hold enough outrage! I see things daily

I never expected to see, ever. People are murdered by lies. 

It was said, “A lie is both murder and suicide in the world of the spirit.” Mostly these days it’s murder. The suicides will have to wait

to write their notes. The supply of pencils, pens and paper

has been interdicted by the Lie Police.

Will Truth set us free? Perhaps in the Kingdom of God, but here

Truth has been split asunder and reality can’t be recognized by anyone but other liars, and those are so far lost from Truth that they would not know it

IF IT BIT THEM IN THE ASS.

Saving What’s Left

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee. Except me. I’m the baby sitter. I know how he feels. 

The world is broken, our world.  And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away”, croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.” ]

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

_____________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_______________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Poems And Ideas For The Field Of Mind

Intrinsic humility is the understanding that one’s own life may be full of fascinating details but the lives of countless others are equally as fascinating to themselves as your life is to you.

Sound of  rainfall:

tiny infant fingers

tapping the roof

thousands at a time.

The Enemy

Life is not my enemy. True,

It will kill me before too long but

death is the act of highest compassion.

I have a purpose. How kind of life to provide

me with that sense of my being.

Life is not my enemy. How would a great teacher be

a nemesis unless it was necessary? Life is not my enemy.

We Must Fix What Is Left

Oct 31, 2022

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. 

The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee.  Except me.  I’m the baby sitter.  I know how he feels.  The world is broken, our world. And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away,” croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.”

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

I Forget

September 26, 2022

I forget that evil tyrants run the world.

I forget that artists and thinkers

barely exist, barely scratch by

with a sigh, with patient resignation.

I forget that kindness is hindered

at every turn by evil intentions of those who command

the power of Calamity.  I forget

that bad guys have no love

but don’t even miss it. I forget

that tenderness is

but a beginning to ever greater tenderness.

I forget that

we create ourselves in versions

of the pattern laid down within

the great infinite Memory. I forget everything

except that I exist and sometimes I forget that, too.

What I remember is this: I am aware of you. I am aware of your scent and the streams of feeling that flow between us. 

That I Can Never Forget.

________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

__________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Agoraphobia and Astronomy

Mind Fields

I Conquered My Terror Of Open Spaces with Astronomy

Once upon a time I was severely agoraphobic.  For years I had a terror of strange spaces. I was limited to my house, my yard, my car, and my place of work. If I attempted to break this tight little orbit, I got sick. At the time I didn’t know the term “Panic Attack” but I had all the classic symptoms. My stomach churned, my heart raced, and I had to fight for every breath. If I tried going anywhere outside my tiny race track I got so tied into knots that I was completely paralyzed. I had no social life, I did nothing but read, watch TV and observe the animals that visited the hillside behind the house.

One day I was out in the yard in the deepening twilight. I had a pair of binoculars in my hands for watching a herd of deer who came to feed on the ripening pear trees at the top of the hill.  It was almost dark and I had an impulse to turn the binoculars towards the sky.

I was stunned. The binoculars showed thousands more stars than could be seen with the naked eye. It was visually confusing but so beautiful that I instantly fell in love with the night sky.

I spent the next several hours scanning across the heavens, trying to locate familiar stars in familiar constellations. My Sky Vocabulary was pathetic. I knew The Big Dipper (which is only part of a constellation), I knew Orion and I knew Cassiopeia, because of its distinctive sideways “W” shape.

I saw things through the binoculars that I couldn’t name. I saw clusters of stars that looked like back-lit luminous cotton. I was lost, in the topographic sense. If I chose to examine a single star in an obvious constellation I could find it.

I could locate the end star in the Big Dipper. But it was difficult to maneuver to the next star in the line without first taking my eye off the binoculars, locating my target, then carefully measuring my angle of movement. Otherwise the sheer abundance of stars was confusing.

I was lucky to live in a dark suburb sixty miles from San Francisco. There were no streetlights.  In late summer the Milky Way can be seen with its glowing fleece and its lanes of darkness and dust.

It breaks my heart to think of the billions of people who will go from cradle to grave without seeing a dark sky, without seeing The Milky Way in all its majesty. There is a vast population of human beings who will live without giving the night sky a passing thought. To me, a life without awareness of the sky’s beauty is like an amputation of the soul.  It’s as if one is cut off from one’s ancestors, from the thousands of generations who measured their lives by the movements of the heavens.

I’m not a scientific person. I have no math skills, no understanding of chemistry. I slept through those classes when I was in school. Now I became a student. I was determined to give myself some training in astronomy. I raided the library for celestial material. I learned to read sky charts and I subscribed to magazines. I joined a club.

I needed to see a darker sky. It became an insistent organic hunger. I felt compelled to go places more than a hundred miles from a large city. There is a substantial difference in what’s visible from a washed out sky and one that isn’t compromised by light pollution. I HAD to be under that dark sky!

The problem was that I was agoraphobic. The idea of getting into a car and driving to a new place hundreds or even thousands of miles from home made me break into a cold sweat. I have since realized that my agoraphobia was but a subset of phobic responses to a larger meta-phobia that I call Neophobia: Fear Of New Experiences.

This is a common posture for people with PTSD. I consider that almost everyone has some kind of PTSD, that PTSD is another name for the experience called “Life”.

There are, however, people who have more severe life trauma, longer lasting and more intensely painful body memories. I qualify for this troubled group. I’m wandering a bit, here, but that’s all right. This is about reviving in myself the ability to wander. The point of this little article is the way I pitted a powerful passion against an equally powerful terror.

I was corresponding with sky observers who had been to places like Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego State Park. These are DARK places. On clear moonless nights the sky opens like a new love affair! Stars are rated by magnitude, with the lower numbers indicating greater brightness. 

Let’s describe a star of Magnitude 1 as a star visible even in a well lit city. The star Sirius, the brightest naked eye star in the sky (excepting the sun), is a magnitude -1.4. That is Negative One Point Four. The brighter stars go into negative numbers. A bright full moon is Mag -12.6. The sun is magnitude -26.8. If you stand in the middle of Times Square you might see thirty stars. I could see several thousand stars in my unlit suburb. One way that astronomers describe sky clarity in terms of visible magnitude. I was living under a Magnitude 3 sky. My friends in the Mojave Desert were under a Magnitude 6 sky! In practical terms that would describe a sky so rich in stars that the outlines of well known constellations almost vanish in the profusion of surrounding stars.

I was yearning to experience dark, beautiful skies. At the same time I was terrified to leave my yard.  I could barely cross the street. But I wanted to go to the high desert, down to the Mojave and cross into Arizona, where the cities are distant and the sky is dark and the colors of the stars sort themselves into distinct categories of white, red, yellow, green and blue.

I struggled, I procrastinated, I beheld my fear like a chain and a set of padlocks, and I was angry with myself. Everyone goes places! Millions of people jump into cars, get into airplanes, leap from coast to coast, continent to continent without giving such travel a second thought.

I was barely capable of making the twelve mile drive to my place of work.

I had an acquaintance who spent a lot of time in Yosemite Valley. She was planning a drive from the Bay Area in two weeks. I explained my phobia and asked if I could come along. She was willing to help.

The big terrors that we harbor in our fantasies usually turn out to be less taxing than the grief we’ve given ourselves in anticipation of the event.

On the appointed day, I got into my friend’s Honda, carrying my binoculars, a book of star charts and two changes of clothes.

As we drove up Highway 80 I sat in the front seat, rigid as setting concrete. I was desperately ill for the first sixty miles. An hour-long panic attack savaged me like a hungry wolf. I felt as if I would never be able to get back home. Then I  had the sensation of hitting a giant rubber band. It stretched and stretched, urging me to reverse my direction, to turn back. 

I had deliberately trapped myself by this arrangement. I couldn’t tell my friend to cancel her trip because I was phobic, because I was, basically, a great big scaredy cat.

I knew I had to break through the rubber band. I was so sick with fright that we had to stop on the side of the road three times so I could puke. My friend was beautifully patient and supportive.

Just beyond Sacramento, about eighty miles from home, I puked one last time and the rubber band broke. The pressure vanished.

I was free. I could go. I was still scared but I could go to see the sky from Glacier Point, from an altitude above five thousand feet, from a place where the sky’s clarity is utterly pristine. 

Nobody really wants to face their deepest fears. We would prefer to get through life dodging and weaving, minimizing our risk; but some fears are debilitating. My phobia was preventing me from pursuing a love affair with the sky. My phobia was crushing my life, and if this was the only way to deal with it, pitting terror against passion, then so be it. 

Passion won the contest of psychic forces. Since my breakout to Yosemite, I’ve traveled thousands of miles, lugging telescopes, cameras, attending star parties and living a life of stellar enjoyment. What can I add? Go ahead: elope with your terrors! Go! The things you fear are never as bad as you think they will be. In fact, they seldom happen at all. You’ve wasted years dwelling in a phobia when you could be living a free unfettered life.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison.

These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Mind Fields: Baby Boomers And Self Hatred

Mind Fields

I’ve noticed that some (as they are called) Baby Boomers are like Jews who are anti-Semitic. My mother was a classic Jewish anti-semite. Hateful rhetoric dropped from her mouth like crap from an owl’s cloaca. “The Jews will trick you every time,” she often said. “You can’t trust them.” Another of her favorites: “Money’s what they’re about. Money money money.  Jews do one thing well, and that’s make money. It’s a shonda that Hitler didn’t succeed in wiping them out!” The word “shonda” is Yiddish for “shame” or “too bad”.

As I got into my early teens I stopped being afraid of my mother. I’d outgrown her. She couldn’t beat me up. “Mom”, I would riposte,  dodging her clumsy right hook and restraining my urge to retaliate with a knockout uppercut. “You’re a Jew, I’m a Jew, dad’s a Jew, Sandy’s a Jew. How can you say this horrible Nazi crap?”

My mom was crazy. I mean truly bat-poo crazy. Her mind ran like the railroad tracks that led to Auschwitz. There were predictable stops at the same stations at the same times. There were no deviations. Is that one definition of crazy? “An extreme rigidity of thought in which facts and nuances cannot be accommodated lest the pathological structure of said rigidity be broken like a bridge without proper support.” 

Let me get back to my original thesis, regarding Baby Boomers. I’m seventy four years old. Demographically I’m a baby boomer. In other cultures I would be a respected Elder but in Amerika I am seen by some as an irrelevant, un-hip old fart who still listens to Sixties pop music. Let me correct this misapprehension. I listened to (and still listen to ) John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and their ilk. I admit to being a huge musical snob.

I enjoyed post-1965 pop music. I bought a limited number of pop records. I bought the second Rolling Stones record. I bought five Bob Dylan records, starting with Bringing It All Back Home and ending with Blonde on Blonde. I hesitated at John Wesley Harding. I had to wait a few years for Dylan’s Multiple Personality Disorder to roll over like slot machine fruit to a configuration I recognized. I never bought a Beatles record. I wasn’t a fan. I am now, but I still don’t buy their records. Who needs to? 

It’s weird when I read articles in which Baby Boomers are generalized into a sociological cluster that resembles a haul of mackerel in a giant net. Our nation has been dominated by some nebulous force called Youth Culture since we were Youth ourselves. Now, if we don’t understand or enjoy Hip Hop we’re relegated to the Outer Limits of cultural discard.

Some of the best music I hear is television tease-music. These are theme songs, fragments or background percussion/guitar riffs. They are sound-memes, identifiers of historic hit series like Sons Of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. My ear tells me, “Hey, that’s pretty good stuff..”.  Fortunately there is a Breaking Bad CD, or several, divided by Seasons. They’re like playlists. Tasty!

The contemporary musical acts to which I am exposed are forgotten as soon I’ve heard them. I give Lady Gaga props for her science fiction wardrobe and catchy tunes. But most of the singers or bands I hear get me to wondering. Can they play at all? Have they spent fourteen hours a day practicing fundamental exercises on their chosen instruments? Can someone explain to me why the musical acts on “So You Think You Can Dance” are so abysmal? We love the dancing and choreography. Love it! I’m convinced that dance is in the midst of a golden revival, the invention of truly new languages. But when each week’s “musical guest” appears we shudder and watch in horrified dismay. Is some paradigm being revealed? Is music being sucked into a rip tide and washed out to sea?

I seriously doubt it. The distinction here is that the music that’s getting “play” is crappy. I have no refuge. If I want to listen to jazz I’m welcome, of course. But there is no more John Coltrane, no more Charles Mingus. Now we have Marsalis Gumbo, that well known New Orleans dish. It’s good stuff, it shows prowess, soul, it’s jazz. It seems, however, that musical innovation is being led by technology. One can buy a machine that makes sounds that seem to emanate from remote corners of the galaxy. It has no difficulty playing in 15/8 time. We can write and play whatever we want! Our imaginations have been unfettered. Where are the people putting these awesome tools to use? There are no musical categories any more. Jazz as a dynamic art form ran out of gas around 1970. It had played itself into a corner called “New Wave” or “New Thing” and hardly anyone could tolerate the caterwauling that emerged from the saxophones of Albert Ayler or John Tchicai. (A confession here: at the time, I loved New Wave. I was taking acid). 

I’m not ashamed of being seventy four years old. The alternative is to be dead. Anyone who has reached such an age has survived a given amount of horrible shit. I’m proud to be a survivor. I know certain things. Shit is a great teacher. 

My mother taught me by negative example not to feel contempt for my own tribe. Her railroad tracks ran out in 1980, when she committed suicide. She rolled up on the terminal station of her mental Auschwitz and it didn’t look very inviting.

I know this isn’t my best-written piece, I know it’s sloppy and barely hangs together. I’m trying to start a conversation. I’m tired of being dismissed by little kiddies half my age who are now taste-makers, trend-setters and power brokers.

I’m trying to make my mark as a writer and I passed Rejection Slip #500 a long time ago for my novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN. It’s as profound and touching a story as all get-out, it will make you laugh and make you cry but it has no vampires, nor anything with long teeth, it’s just about people and the way they go about healing themselves from having crazy mothers. Seventy pages of this book take place in 1982 Afghanistan! It’s exciting as  hell!

Literary agents, editors,  publishers, taste-makers and other cultural filters and gate-keepers will some day be either seventy four years old or six feet underground. I invite them NOW, (before it’s too late) to get on my train, whose tracks are constantly being built right under the engine and we never know where we might end up.

(Today’s magic word is “Duck on a string”.  Okay, four words.)

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison.

These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – “Missing: One Male Libido”

Mind Fields

LOST: ONE MALE LIBIDO This libido (center figure) was last seen on December 31, 2016.  It is approximately ten feet tall, six feet wide and four feet deep.  It has between twelve and twenty horns of various descriptions.  It’s covered in long brown fur and has eyes all the way around its cylindrical body.  The number of fingers, tentacles and hands it may possess are unknown as it can sprout extra limbs at moments of high stress.  It is not very intelligent but possesses a wild cunning that can catch pursuers off guard. If you see this libido DO NOT APPROACH IT. DO NOT ATTEMPT A DIALOGUE. IT IS NOT AMENABLE TO REASON. Call the local sheriff’s department, dial 911 or email me at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.

There are commonly available and well known techniques that calm this libido but I discourage their use except in extremely dangerous situations. Under proper conditions this is a highly trained and valuable libido. I am reluctant to cause it damage or harm. You might call it by one of its names: Thor, Zeus or Johnny. This tactic may backfire, however, for if it is Johnny and is called Thor or Zeus it gets very upset. Likewise if it is Thor and is called Johnny, etc… The best approach is simply to say, “Hey big guy. How’s it hangin’.” It has been trained to recognize this as a non-threatening mnemonic. It may trigger my libido’s desire to return to its so-called master.

I repeat: DO NOT APPROACH THIS LIBIDO. CALL THE AUTHORITIES OR NOTIFY ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.
REWARD OFFERED: I will give you, free of charge,  my guaranteed technique for healing all stress, depression and emotional trauma.

SPECIAL CAUTION: Do not mistake this libido for the so-called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or Skunk Ape. It is not a primate and is immune to veterinary drugs. Rather than seek out police or Forest Rangers it may be more useful to find an old shaman from the Chumash or Miwok tribes. A qualified shaman will likely be more useful in the safe return of this treasured libido.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Coltrane’s Dead

Mind Fields

This is an excerpt from my novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man:

The men get into the car and Zoot steers it carefully across the bridge. “Still need a Pissngas?” Zoot inquires mockingly.

“I forgot I had to pee,” says Aaron. “Now I got to pee really really bad.”

“Well shit, get out and pee, we about fifteen minutes from the Steelville turnoff.”

Aaron goes out behind a bush and relieves himself. He hears the sound of his own stream against a world that has gone supernally silent. There is no wind, no bird song. The sky is a weird shade of pink. As soon as he is finished the rain begins to fall again. The drops are huge, heavy, laden with silt. Covering his head, Aaron races back to the car.

After driving for ten minutes in silence, a black and white road sign appears. The trapezoidal shape of the state of Missouri encloses a number four. Fifteen yards past this sign there is a green board with white letters and an arrow pointing to the right. Steelville, eight miles, it indicates. At this one-sided intersection is a little gas station and a tiny grocery store skirted by a wooden plank walkway. Zoot pulls into the station. He gestures to Aaron to stay in the car. This part of Missouri isn’t explicitly segregated, but it has the taint of old rebellion. Zoot asks a black attendant to fill the tank, and Tyrone jumps through the rain towards the store, looking for another pack of cigarettes. Aaron watches the Schlitz Beer sign flicker, rolls the window down to smell the storm-soaked earth. He knows this country, too. He has come here for vacations with his family. They have gone to Bagnell Dam, Lake of the Ozarks, Wildwood Resort. In a childhood with a paucity of happy memories, this country means peace, relief, respite, jumping from a pier into the lake, riding horses, mom on her best behavior, dad relaxed and having fun.

Zoot chats with the station attendant about the twister, informs him that the Willens Creek Bridge is no longer covered.

“Be damned,” the man says, “twister blew the top the bridge away? No shit?”

“No shit, almost blew us away too, turned this here Lincoln Continental hundred eighty degrees backward but left a cigarette in the ashtray, still lit and ready to smoke.” Zoot’s dialects always reflect his circumstances. He pronounces “this here” as “thissheer”.

Hurriedly finishing the transaction to get out of the rain, the attendant takes Zoot’s money and rushes back into the shelter of the store.

A moment later, Tyrone comes walking out, holding a newspaper limply in his hand. His mouth is hanging open, his eyes have a staring and shocked quality, as if he has just survived a terrible battle. He opens the passenger’s door , throws the newspaper towards Aaron in the back seat and slumps abruptly on the plush leather, one leg hanging out the side.

“You look like you just got terrible news,” Zoot observes with concern.

Tyrone nods and points towards the newspaper.

“Coltrane’s dead,” he says mournfully. “It’s in the paper. He died yesterday.”

There is a stunned silence. Aaron feels as if he has just taken the first plunge on a roller coaster ride, his stomach goes up through his chest.

“No,” Zoot says. “No.”

Tyrone has the paper folded out to the entertainment section. It is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There is a big article about Barbara Streisand, a review of the new James Bond movie, a review of the Led Zeppelin Concert at Kiel Auditorium. Down in the far right corner of the page is a two-paragraph squib. ‘Jazz Musician John Coltrane Dies,” it says. There is sketchy information about the jazz giant succumbing suddenly to liver cancer.

Aaron puts his face in the paper and squeezes himself with it, crumbling it around his cheeks. “He is forty years old!” He wails. “Forty years old! What is happening? Why are jazz musicians dying? Why Coltrane, of all people, Trane? “

Desperately, he claws at Zoot’s shoulder. “We’re all professional jazz musicians, Zoot. Is this my future? Is this Tyrone’s? Are you going to die on us, too? Why can’t we survive? What are we doing to ourselves?”

Zoot stares straight ahead, seeing nothing. He reaches across his shoulder and pats Aaron’s hand, squeezing it.

“You’re just beginning to see what it’s like,” the old musician says. “It’s dangerous to be a genius. That’s why I stay in this chitlin circuit groove, play the college campuses, keep my mid-stream profile. And this is hard enough. You think Coltrane can be inspired every night? You think he can get up there and reach down into his guts and deliver a brilliant set five nights a week, be a genius?”

A core of bitter reflection stains Zoot’s voice. These are things he generally keeps to himself. As he speaks, his anger grows and his voice scrapes with frustration and old pain.

“You have to use something, like Bird, like Lester, you have to use something to get to that place where you even feel like playing at all, let alone be great. Then you raise the standard, people turn out and expect to be transformed, to hear an oracular performance, night after night. I smoke my weed, that’s how I do it. And I don’t ask too much of myself. That’s why I’m sixty-three and still playing. I know how much I can give. Men like Coltrane, they don’t know moderation, they can’t know moderation, they have to keep pushing the limits or the critics jump on their ass, the fickle fans get restless, the talk on the street starts goin’ ‘round, ‘Trane’s lost it, Bird’s lost it, Jackie’s lost it, Prez’s lost it, Bud’s lost it! You have a couple bad nights and all these assholes who can’t play a note go talking, he’s lost it, lost it, getting’ tired, man, runnin’ out of steam, his great days are behind him, what a shame, used to be a great musician.”

Zoot pauses for a moment, looking at his sidemen, at his disciples in the mystic art of music. Then he spits a long gobbet out the window and says, with a lengthy and contemptuous drawl, “Sheee-it! Son of a fucking bitch!”

He turns backward to look at Aaron. Cobra-like, he shifts his body, glancing at Tyrone beside him. He is seething, indignant. “That’s why genius musicians die. They have to die! Ain’t no choice! Once they get a reputation as a genius, they have to be a genius every night. They use it up! Then they’re gone!”

He turns on the engine and drives about a hundred yards down the road. He pulls onto the shoulder and scrunches the emergency brake with his foot. He puts his large hands in front of his face, then leans into them and begins to weep.

It is contagious. These three friends, of different ages, races, different backgrounds, are not afraid to show their feelings to one another. The three jazz musicians, on their way to a gig, taking a short cut through the back roads of Missouri, pull onto the side of the country lane and weap for John Coltrane.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Honest-Man-Arthur-Rosch-ebook/dp/B01C3J0NK2

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

____________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.