Quotes that Say Something

"Please, dad, get down and look. I think there's some kind of monster under my bed."

Life when seen in close-up often seems tragic, but in wide-angle it often seems comic. -- Charlie Chaplin

"And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear, you shout, but no one's there to hear. And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." -- Roger Waters, "Brain Damage"

Sep 30, 2010

A Docu-Fiction Biography

Reynolds R. (Butch) Ekstrom   -- is the sole owner and cluelessly accountable writer of A Big MonstEr Blog and is a sometimes freelance writer who, as the New York Times Magazine recently said, ‘has most definitely outlived his brighter days as a writer.’ Ekstrom is currently working on a new novel, probably his last, about two politically-connected cable TV pundits -- one black, one white; one left; one right --floating aimlessly, yet somehow heroically, down the Mississippi (on a raft), having adventures and blowing stuff up. The working title of the book is Huckleberry Spin. Ekstrom resides on Shutter Island, which is somewhere out @ sea because, frankly, no one can to be around him, and his bitter and quixotic dark side, for long. Ekstrom's favorite author's motto remains: “If I’d have known people would still be reading me after all these years, I’d have written stuff that was just a whole lot better.”

Recent reviews of Ekstrom's publications:

Homepage critic, Lynn Ekstrom, exclaims, "O, Butch. You can't say all that! Have you gone dopee?" Dispassionate and objective critics have said, "A tour de catharsis. You won't want to put him down." -- Others trumpet: 'Exhilirating. Boffo. Should make a great movie.' -- Edgy and Packs a Wallopalooza. A reader from out West, Norah C., has messaged, 'I laughed. I cried. I growled. I sighed. A lot for a 1000 word piece!'

Sourpuss reviews (critics -- can't live with them, can't live without them) have intoned -- 'OMG. Another bomb from Ekstrom!' 'Tepid, Weak and Uninspiring.' The worst? 'Ekstrom has proved again that he can't write a coherent sentence in English." -- and 'Whew. Be on guard. Hard to handle. You might throw up a little in your mouth.'

--  30  --

Sep 29, 2010

Look to the Western Sky

Something has changed within me, Something is not the same  --  Stephen Schwartz, "Defy Gravity"

'Well , that's pretty good. (He smiles approvingly) But I hear the 31st year is the hardest.' -- Saint J.J. of Arizona

The assault by mediocre '80s music is ripping relentless today. No one ever in public circumstances -- when I'm in the room at least -- plays a palatable 1980s tune anymore (of which there are very very few, btw) -- like "Rock Me, Amadeus" or "Another One Bites the Dust" or the spectacular "Tainted Love," by Soft Cell, or an early Madonna dance-stomp or something, which @ least had a little humor, imagination, and oxygenated blood in their systems. 

Lord help us,, it's '80s muzak now, like, everywhere, all 24/7. Simulating a low-grade bunsen burner, in a lab, flickering away inocuously. Flowing, like tepid water over cold stone, into every sinew of Western culture, every crack in the four walls, every stuffy elevator in every building that needs a lift, every suburban-ready auto that whizzes by, sluicing down and thru every city-street gutter, feeding all the street-side storm drains, and (of course) across almost every YouTube viral post that undulates on a PC, like a malicious  hulk of a stranger creeping out of a dark copse of trees. -- So . . . . , that was a rapid-pulse rant: but, you get it. Clearly, this insufferable, infected stuff, from an other awful decade, is humming away freakin' everywhere nowadays. 

Speaking of '80s tunes . . With real struggle, a while back, I was trying to swallow some very smokin' pepper chicken, with curry rice, which constituted my in-restaurant lunch of that day. The soundtrack of our lives cranked up. Oh no. Not again. Mercy. I was haunted by these things the last time I ate here. Life is . . . a total eclipse of the heart  . . . and Life is . . . . 'a highway, I'm gonna ride it all night long' . . . and, forever, Life is an . . . . 'I can't fight the feeling any-more' . . . horror-show. But, But, But I like the night life, baby! -- Enough!, I whispered, sighing. Hey, now. Can't you invisible, '80s music CD-makeing fuckers see that I'm trying to stomach some midday nourishment here? Switch it. Off! I was in a local Double Dragon -- Wok 'n Roll Chinese Fare!, encircled by young and old alike of pure Asian descent, sweating over their styrofoamed food boxes and plastic forks, unable to speak any English. I wanted to lean over to ask, 'Pardon me, Lee Fong Yum, but how do you folks say 'total eclipse of the heart' in your mysterious, Asian dialect?' Oh, hmmm -- you say: c'est tu? -- Really? 'That's all folks? Toast time?' Well, that's cool and certainly not what I expected, Wok-Master Fong.

A stupid grin creased my face. Nobody looked up from their formica and styrofoam. A gentle two-word phrase began to float softly down on me. From above. Right onto me; a downward cascade of hallucino-whatever bytes. Feeling like an embrace of sorts, a kind of soothing and body-warming blanket, as in an O.R. prep, right before the real cutting-fun starts.

The first letter of that prophetic pair of words -- a big D -- swept over my left shoulder and rolled down my side. The last letter -- a big and basic Y -- slid over my right side, and cartwheeled down past the edge of my hard restaurant chair, down toward the slate floor. The fullsome words swooped around and over me, as if a hovering archangel had hushed down and around my indigestive limbs and torso. Crap! What is that? I felt some other reality with(in) me. F____. Is this it? Now?, I barely whispered, gasping, becoming afraid. -- Am I gone? (Of course, I had whispered these hot words to no one in particular. No one within earshot could grasp what I was huffing. Unless of course I had absurdly gasped instead, 'F____me. I think it's the Sesame Chicken.' Which might have at least elicited a furtive Asian grin or two. )

Over me. Floating down and around. Into me. Oof. A silent, bodiless message from someone or somewhere unseen. << Hug, hug >>  DEFY GRAVITY.

What?   (In my feeble mind: Elphaba, all green and glorified and uplifted, with perfect theatrical lighting and glittery effects, takes silent flight. Up. Up! A straight, vertical whoosh, like an arrow shot up into airy Emptiness. The raibow-hued cast of characters all around below her crane their necks. . . . up, up --

        Too late to go back to sleep, It's time to trust my instincts
        Close my eyes, And leap --
It's time to try defying gravity

Whoa. Wicked cool effect, y'all. Here come the tears. Images of transcendence always get tome, and melt the audience folk. Hey, how did that tall, green girl -- with the pointy black hat -- manage that? Hey now. Bravo!)

Defy gravity, I thought aimlessly again.  And you can't, you won't, pull me down!

(Where did that come from?) Then, quickly, the illusion, a visceral magic trick that my mind had played on me, vanished.

(I should note this to you. Every afternoon, very tired, I drive home after work on a freeway. My car passes by the local city airport. About 5:00 on the dot -- a piercing, arrow-like Canadair commuter jet, crammed with living souls who feel aches and pains, and hopes and dreams, and fears, slices above my line of sight and across my freeway. It shoots in from the Western sky. I watch it powerlessly, in awe. It's heavier than air. Still it flies smoothly, violating every law of physics  ever known by me. The sleek little thing darts in from the open, angles down a bit, and like a bullet on its ordained track races eastward fast, toward its landing spot. X marks the end, a journey completed. Then the plane is off my screen, and it's gone, and so am I down the highway.)

In my mind, red dark curtains closed up quickly, as as some hidden voice (all Wizard of Oz-ly) cried, And you won't pull me down . . . , then those stunning curtains swished slightly. Intermission now? In truth, I hadn't thought about the play Wicked in a hundred years. My gray-matter defy gravity fireworks began to fizzle, as I drove on, dropping down like sparks from an opaque sky.

80s music  About the only song I get a decent, perceptible twinge of feeling from is a 1985 tune from Theater of Pain -- that's Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home."

For 30 years, and now a few days more, I have longed to grasp sobriety. It's an illusive state. Always a bit out of reach and out of hand. Always hovering a bit above one's bony grasp. Defy. Refuse to lose. No, chemical illusion. How many times I have said in my defenseless cranium -- defiantly but always in fear -- And you won't pull me down!

My Hearts Like an Open Book, For the World To Read, Sometimes Nothing
Keeps Me Together, At The Seams -- I’m On My Way, I’m On My Way,

Home Sweet Home, Tonight, Tonight -- I’m On My Way,
Just Set Me Free -- Home Sweet Home                                             
                                                                                                     -- Nur Hidayah
Are you the Monster, or am I? Maybe the Monster is both of us. -- Anonymous

Sep 28, 2010

Right Now

Today, a bittersweet irony came knocking again. It messaged me that 'a this' or 'a that' reality can look, sound, take shape -- chameleon-like -- in its time. And then, years later, the colors, and the meanings, morph. A hermeneutic struts, struggling, on. The words on the page alter. Watercolor pictures spring to life, as if not seen before. Symbols paint truths and disclose meanings wildly, unsuspected. The drama rolls. The fabric of life becomes your new right now. 

Old fashioned feelings
The new way of dealing
With love I see
These times were meant for me
No no no no no...
The past isn't anymore
The future only has in store
And round and round
and round it goes
And where it stops nobody knows
As far as I can tell
The only game in town is going down
And only happens
In the right now

-- "Right Now," Stephen Stills

Are you the Monster or am I? -- Maybe it's both of us.

Ugly Packaging

Man was (merely) matter. That was Snowden's secret. Drop him out a window, he'll fall. Set fire to him, he'll burn. Bury him, he'll rot, just like other kinds of garbage. The spirit was gone . . .

                                                                                                                             Joseph Heller, Catch-22

The dying and not-so-pure and innocent boy-man, Snowden, presents Yossarian, figuratively, with an awful truth. Or was it actually an awful question? It is and was this. Maybe there's not much meaning that can be discerned in the midst of absurd realities? Maybe there is very little -- such as a shredded flak jacket, and a sputtering and mortally-damaged flying machine --that is holding a lurching, wind-tossed, and bloody oozing real-world intact. Snowden? Some pure and lillywhite 'snow' ball -- rolling inexorably down hill -- that Snowden guy was.

There is a saying among religious fundamentalists -- Crucial truths from Him often come at ya in ugly packaging. (Like a massive snow urchin tumbling over and over down your hillside, into your chilly lap.) Not the most pleasant and inviting among messages. But the most human of temptations must not be embraced. Do not give in, you; do not gaze away.

Are you the Monster, or am I? -- I think it's both of us.

Sep 24, 2010

Rainy Afternoon in the Heartland

The MonstEr Blog has been watching quietly as the gray clouds slip and slide, in from the unseen West. Rain now. Coming in like big white linen sheets. Could this be harbinger? A Summer, that has seemed hoary and endless, fading finally into an unshiny Autumn gray? Friday's tarnished blues slide toward dusk.  --

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say."

                                                                      -- "Time,"  Pink Floyd

Are you the Monster, or am I? -- Maybe the Monster, actually, is both of us.

"Dad, I am pretty sure there is a Monster under my bed." -- Young RRE

Sep 21, 2010

Wish You Were Here

The question that keeps occuring to me is:

Are you the Monster, or am I -- or is the Monster, actually, both of us?

Sep 17, 2010

Some Think the 31st Year is the Hardest

I know that J.J. was just trying to kid me, on the phone, on that clear 9-15-10 morning. He said that the 31st year is the hardest. Still, as it turns out, he is probably going to be right. Asshole.  8-))

Those birthdays with zeroes on the end, man, there's something magical about them.
                                                                                                 -- Travis McGee

No Fear. No Worries.

Courage. Trust. No fear . . . . No more weaklings. Have patience.

I have decided to kil my old blog efforts. I want to go with this new one. Put your paws up. It's gonna get weird, and pretty fired up. I can just feel it.