Retweeting: A Villanelle

[Native: https://twitter.com/dpfilmore/status/897778608797868032]

Oh, that silent partner in viral spread

It’s a power beyond what you can say

But, it’s not an endorsement of what’s said

 

It’s just a smile and nod before bed

Perhaps a lazy way to spend the day

Oh, that silent partner in viral spread

 

You can retweet a thing of beauty bred,

say, by @lin_manuel, as if to pray

But, it’s not an endorsement of what’s said

 

Or retweet @realDonaldTrump, who’s red

with anger, and make yourself feel okay

Oh, that silent partner in viral spread

 

I’m part of this thing that’s in your head

That I tell myself when I join the fray

But, it’s not an endorsement of what’s said

 

Is it too much to ask: retweet this thread?

To raise the thing above the fray, and pay?

Oh, that silent partner in viral spread

But it’s not an endorsement of what’s said

Presidential Thread, Before a Joint Platform of System Administrators

@VicePresident, @SystemAdministrators @MembersofCongress, Unblocked #Citizens, tonight we come tgther as a gr8 nation, a diverse network 1/

2/ of my followers, to bask in the great grt things that are coming out of my administration. The terrific legislation,

 @Chief                                                                                                                                                            Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                                  Praise your agenda!

@VicePresident                                                                                                                                            Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                                  Basking in the honor!

@FrogGuy                                                                                                                                                    Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                                  White people!

3/ the big Executive orders, the grt  golovfe

4/ @SystemAdministrators tell me there were not quite enough ‘likes’ for that last line, abt the terrific legislation. What can I do? I’m so so popular but it is important

5/ for the cntry’s sake to give me those likes Otherwise I have to assume, is it the terrorists that got the likes? the #FakeNews MSM? Remember them?

6/ @membersofcongress, exercise those thumbs please

7/ Thk you, @SystemAdministrators. It looks like you took care of the situation, as you always do.

8/ Back to my spectacular progress. So many people are talking about the things I’ve achieved!! Very tremendous stuff!!!

7/ I’m talking now directly to the Unblocked Citizens, those that make this country great.

102/ Citizens, we have entered a new era of SAFETY SECURITY JOBS!!!!

13/ No longer do you have to feel threatened by the criminals, the lying ‘journalists’ the joke judges

14/ Because they are Blocked. And when they are Blocked…

@Chief                                                                                                                                                            Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                                 they’re blocked!

@VicePresident                                                                                                                                            Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                                  blocked!

@FrogGuy                                                                                                                                                    Replying to @theCEO                                                                                                              black people!

14/ Yes, Blocked from rights from the ability to harm this just really really great system we have, the real America

Folks, let’s honor the @SystemAdministrators. Really!

8/ I am sitting at my fabulous resort in this tremendous luxury chair and your sitting wherever your sitting getting my unfiltered message, why?

9/  the @SystemAdministrators is why! Thank you!

10/ With my great law that I signed: the Social Media Sedition Act all that matters are my tweets & your likes & keeping the system CY-BER SECURE

11/ I have employed many of you in keeping the system CY-BER SECURE and can I tell you something? You’re doing a really great job, really great

12/ And I’m announcing right now tonight that everybody Everybody here will get a bonus of Four THOUSAND followers. Happy to do it.

13/ @membersofcongress will take care of that

14/ NOW PLEASE @membersofcongress, Ha ha

15/ Everybody is back to WORK – SAFETY SECURITY JOBs MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN

16/ Except for the crazy #FAKENEWS MSM Those people don’t work Have you heard their LIES?

325/ That blonde one who could lose some weight was very misguided last night in talking abt my beautiful new Hotel and Resort conveniently located at US Congress.

18/ It was very rude and just SAD. She needs a facelift, not to be talking about my spectacular accommodations for Select @membersofcongress and visiting leaders

19/ the Kremlin Room is really Excellent

25/ @SystemAdministrators tell me that you wouldn’t have seen that broadcast. Lucky!!! IT WAS GARBAGE

@theCEO Retweeted                                                                                                                           @RealNews                                                                                                                                               The most presidential Twitter storm in history? https//put.ly/6tvPDFRI

@theCEO Retweeted                                                                                                                           @FrogGuy                                                                                                                                                 Has anybody noticed that the Star of David when unwound rhythmically to the tune of the Israeli national anthem exactly predicts the US stock market?

20/ In conclusion, the state of the Union is strong, and by the way, the Likes are looking good. That was a RECORD number of Likes. People are impressed!

21/ Folks, there was some fraud happening during that earlier line the one about TERRIFIC legislation. A real pity. Probably my opponent

22/ Directing her supporters from her #blocked wasteland No jobs there!!!

23/ Sore losers!!

24/ But folks, Maybe you can do better? For CY-BER SECURITY. Was I

22/ too quick with the followers? Folks? @SystemAdministrators can’t do everything.

23/ BTW, watch the US Capitol Open tomorrow at the new resort. We will have the best golfers!

24/ @membersofcongress will have to vacate chambers by 11a. We need the space!

23/ I just blocked some big league sore losers. SAD! But state of the union is better now. WATCH!

@theCEO Retweeted                                                                                                  @SystemAdministrators                                                                                             Lуспокойся  а также выйти

tweet kremlin

Meditation In A Mid-Life Crisis

A rhyme, a rhythm, an incantation that landed in my head sometime in my early twenties, while bustling to the Metro through the streets of DC, after work:

What’s your situation?

Location  Location

What’s your situation? 

Vocation Vocation

What’s your situation?

Your Nation  Your Nation

What’s your situation?

Creation  Creation

It came through my head with a sort-of hip-hoppy feel and moxie (but, I’ve found over  the years, it can also sound cool with a prog rock, overly dramatic theme, heavy metal, or minimalist spoken word approach; feel free to experiment!). And it stuck in there, surfacing periodically over the years as a mindworm, a silent chant – a delivered, spare hierarchy of, you know, ‘the fucking condition, man!’ or, I guess, the template of the condition: your XYZ momentary position; followed by your daily grind or lifelong passion; up to and maybe overlapping with your Identity -your people, culture, religion; and finale-ing at Creation, that is, the underlying shit – the secrets behind, life, death, the universe, this blog post, and where your situation stands with it. (maybe?)

Now, I’m thinking, this was a message from my older self, or a momentary spark of wisdom beyond my years, that is now slowly (or quickly?! Image result for existential fear emoji) being caught up to by my actual years. At 40, these seem like more serious questions — rather than just a nifty rhyme , or something with cool philosophical undertones, or something with the potential to come out in the course of a discussion, that ensues between me and a record-producer guy that I happen to sit next to on a plane sometime, and it happens to be the perfect hook for a track he’s recording, leading to some sort of hip, literary fame…. (a person can dream, right?).

In my most questioning and self-critical of times, the steps on the situational ladder now seem more fraught, more time sensitive, more zero sum. In my best ad-copy voice: “Just FOUR easy steps  to understanding, Exactly, where you fucked things up and fell short. No money down.” OR: “Where the hell have you been on being on top of this shit, you braindead, blasé asshole!” (That second one, was less ad-copy voice, and more existential scream guy – see above)

But, it seems, those times are mostly about answering the wrong question- what is NOT my situation?

  • Now: I’m not writing and contemplating in a study, connecting deep thoughts and creativity. I’m not in the thick of anything bigand important.
  • My daily work is not a positive force in the world. I peddle information for industry, for what?
  • See above, and I’m a lot of “not-reallies” – not-really Jewish; not-really handy; not-really a sports fan; not-really an activist; not-really an aficionado of anything in particular. I haven’t found “my people” (like Michael Chabon’s son has).
  • Image result for existential fear emoji

(Man, That also all sounds very whiny). Answering to my situation more affirmatively,  though, I realize, can be more satisfying. Now: I am sitting at my computer, blogging, in the early morning, while my kid’s sleep, my wife jogs.  Soon, I’ll be a lunch-packer, a nagger, a hugger. After the kid’s are on the bus, I’ll be in an editor, a middle-manager, a remote-worker, a meeting-goer, a salary-maker. I’m a husband, father,  homeowner, baseball coach (well, assistant), a blogger (?), a writer (?), a gardener (let’s not get carried away). I feel a sense of community when I walk in the local JCC or parks. I still have underlying reverence for the ineffable in the world — and Sometimes it doesn’t completely freak me out. Also, I still might find myself at some chance, fortuitous meeting on a plane, or otherwise in the right place, at the right time, right?

How’s The Parking Around Here?

I am starting this blog on my 40th birthday, in a fit of yearning, or desperation, to try out ideas, experiment with my public voice, feed my ego, stretch my creative writing muscles,  become mildly famous, and that sort of thing. I call it a parking journal, mostly because I needed a shtick to make the effort seem worthwhile to me.

The shtick is derived from a snippet of this interview with Chef José Andrés on the Ezra Klein Show podcast last fall.  I can’t say I took away much practical insight on innovative cooking from the hour-plus long conversation I listened to while raking leaves in my backyard. And, anyway, I’m not much of a cook. But its always interesting to hear creative masters attempt to describe ‘how they do it’ or ‘where the spark comes from’; it makes you appreciate, first, the fact that simple, boring hard work is a crucial factor and, second, that the thing that transforms the work into something recognized as special is largely ineffable, or, at least, something that can’t be described in a manner satisfying to the average podcast listener.

That absence of a satisfying answer was the primary spark of the discussion for me. That gap, in the presence of apparent hard work and mastery, can be frustrating, but it can also be heartening. It underscores a sort of magic in the world, or in humanity, that many have likely recognized at isolated moments of their life. Its that flow, things clicking together — having the time and ability to focus on the project, the skills that match, and the dopamine receptors that are specially charged by it. The point is, Chef Andrés, we Know the thing you can’t explain, the creative factor that exists in the spaces between your responses to Ezra’s 4-minute-long questions. The question is, how does one make it the dominant energy of one’s life, rather than a discrete time, a moment fated to be the source of wistful longing?

I did take away something more specific from the interview. Something relatively prosaic and obvious, perhaps. On one of Klein’s attempts to get Andrés to lay out for listeners his actual process and strategy for achieving innovation, the chef underscored the importance of being able to “park” ideas. I sensed a particular level of passion and enthusiasm in describing the act of coming up with an initial thought on a new cooking concept and, then, being able to park it — to let it develop, to let it, forgive me, stew. To give the idea space to find the the right time and elements to be what it should be.

The simple image of parking an idea struck a chord with me. As I see it, the ideal spot in which to park an unformed idea — as with a car — will be sufficiently spacious; it will also be a place you can find easily when looking for your idea. It needs to be a secure place, so everything is how you left it when you return. But it also should be easy to pull out of, so you can climb back into your idea and take it for a ride.

There may have been more to it than what I could glean from Andrés’ comment about parking an idea. Was it the little notebook that the scientist or novelist keeps near at all time to write down mini-epiphanies so they are not forgetten, so they can be captured in original form, for later use? Was their more infrastructure and formality to the process?

One sense I did get, was that while it was not a public parking lot where his concepts sat, it also wasn’t a climate-controlled, security-guarded private garage. It was a space shared with his collaborators. Parking an idea means, in part, giving it space and time for others to react to it and build on it. And, also, it means giving yourself permission to leave something you know is just a fragment, half baked, without worrying about passersby belittling your low- horsepower clunker.

I have some half-formed thoughts, concepts, story ideas, and the like. And I find scrawling them illegibly into a notebook, as is my way, is not a dependable parking plan. I was hoping to secure a few spots around these parts of the Interwebs. How’s the neighborhood?