Thursday, December 12, 2013

Journal Entry 12/12/13

I keep feeling like small tasks are urgent.  I need to read a book immediately.  Or I need to clean my apartment before I can do anything constructive.  I need to find a better job, or figure out what big step I'm going to take next in life.  I just turned 30.  Time is running out.  Or is it?  Maybe I'm a late bloomer, and my fame and fulfillment are just around the bend.  One thing I've been wanting to do lately is write more often.  You know, just to get my thoughts out - to clear my mind.  And one of the things I've wanted to write about, briefly, is my first memory.  Well, it's not one specific memory, but my initial realization of a tangible reality.  I remember where I lived when I was two years old.  I didn't necessarily know it was Kaukauna, WI, but I knew about the friendly old man at the end of the block who entertained me with his parrot quite often.  I knew the calming sensation of hanging out with my parents in our attic (though I somehow have no recollection of the lower floor(s)).  I knew the girl across the street, Erica, and I remember the swing set behind her house, as well as the layout of the kitchen which one could enter from the back yard.  There.  Now that I've written down my first memories, they will forever be preserved.  And during the years and decades since these preliminary memories, I have documented many more in writing.  Maybe not enough, but a substantial amount.  When I occasionally go back to peruse my journals, I am sometimes captivated and enthralled by the excavation of forgotten memories - memories I may never have revisited.  Events buried by time and age and distraction.  Do yourself a favor; next time you have a compelling experience, write an account of it.  Or dictate it to an audio recording device (which I have also found helpful at times).  Include as many details as possible.  How did you feel?  Who was with you?  What did they say?  What was the weather like?  Describe the room, the mountain, the water, the sand.  Explain the context, the relationships, the idiosyncrasies.  Be a biographer, a historian, an omniscient fly on the wall.  Maybe a decade from now, you'll stumble across this personal artifact.  Maybe two decades.  The enjoyment gained from reading it will easily be worth the trouble it took to write it.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Benjamin Dolezal: Fiction/ Roast

Hello.  I’m Ben's older brother Matt.  As an introduction and disclaimer, I’d like you all to be aware that I have written and performed monologues for my two other younger brothers during their respective high school graduation parties, and those speeches were based on the theme "Fiction/ Roast".  Anyone who knows me well knows how much I value tradition.  Therefore, I have attempted to construct this narrative in a format and style as true to the originals as possible, as though this were the third installment in a trilogy.

            In good conscience, I feel I must be perfectly honest on one subject:  Unlike his two older brothers Adam and Luke, Benjamin did not work for the CIA.  He did, however, hold a brief desk job at the FBI, until he was put on probation and later fired for taking J. Edgar Hoover's name in vain.  But that’s neither here nor there. 

            Let’s just start at the beginning.  The year was 1994.  On January 1st, president Clinton passed the North American Free Trade Agreement, eventually resulting in a net loss of more than 600,000 American jobs.  In April, one Kurt Cobain, front-man of the popular rock band Nirvana, was found dead with an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound.  In June, Microsoft announced it would no longer sell or support the MS-DOS operating system apart from Microsoft Windows.  Indeed, the year seemed rather dark and bleak, until, on August 11th, a precious ray of sunshine was bestowed upon the unsuspecting city of Appleton, Wisconsin.  Its name was Benjamin Michael Dolezal.

            This vaguely humanoid entity quickly evolved into an enthusiastic ball of soft flesh, whose endearingly flamboyant lisp put his sexual orientation in jeopardy for years to come.  Since the amalgam of his anatomy constituted a loosely spherical form, Ben was quite the tough and durable little runt, and wasn't afraid to get rowdy with his older siblings.  Declassified video evidence has depicted Benjamin and I engaging in various forms of tomfoolery, most of which were incidents of me either throwing pillows at Ben or Ben at pillows.  During such games, this eager little rascal would squeal with glee, like a naive pig awaiting slaughter.  Ben's tolerance for pain still amazes me, and to this day I only recall him crying on two occasions, neither of which resulted from physical injury (unless you count his broken heart of 2008).

            In addition to invincibility, another quality Ben developed during his formative years was a capacity for eccentric storytelling.  This skill was largely inspired by the "half an hour movies" he would avidly watch as a young lad.  At age 3, Ben gave a lecture on the socio-political implications and gender-role issues of the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz".  The talk became one of the most cited sources in graduate dissertations nationwide.  Ben later became a brilliant purveyor of prose, and is now a dedicated connoisseur of history.

            Today, Ben’s myriad interests include art, woodworking, reading, writing, history, video games, music, and god only knows what else.  He even taught me how to play guitar, which really paid off when our hit single “Emiliano Zapata” climbed to the top of the Mexican pop charts.

            Of course, young men around the world have come to envy the Renaissance Man Benjamin has become, but there is a lesser-known detrimental side to such vast personal enlightenment – namely, Ben occasionally lacks awareness of his surroundings.  Due to an overload of obligations, passions, hobbies, and daydreams, Ben is seldom aware of the current year, much less the month or day of the week in which he resides at any given moment.  It also goes without saying that he, in many cases, is clueless regarding what to eat, when to eat, how to prepare something to eat, and most of all, when to stop eating.

But these irrelevant facts have no place in the world of a genius.  For the world of Benjamin is filled with vivid colors racing together in enigmatic equilibrium.  It is alive with howling hoodlums, hairy hobbits, and hallowed hallways of history.  It is pulsing with catchy drum-beats, radiant organ riffs, and nostalgic folk tunes.  Benjamin’s world is a world beyond ours because it is an irresistible product of his uniquely innovative mind and his courageous spirit.

       As Benjamin is released into the wild for the first time, I’d just like to say, on behalf of everyone here, we wish you the best of luck, Ben, and we are honored to be part of your world.  Thank you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Jonathan Clove & the Great Percolator

One summer day several years ago, while waiting at the bus stop, I spotted an eccentric figure approaching.  He held in his hand a small silver percolator, which he carelessly swung about while whistling an old Louis Armstrong tune.  I immediately recognized this man as an author, a poet, a recipient of numerous awards for masterful literature, who, through no shortage of misfortune, became a raving and disheveled hobo.  As tragedies bombarded him year after year, his incremental surrender to mental illness rendered him an outcast in his own city.  I greeted him, and mentioned that I was fond of his work.  He was noticeably impressed that I had identified him so easily, and I went on to inform him that I consider myself a writer as well.  He asked if he could hear a few of my poems, and I recited three that I had memorized.  The man remained enthusiastic, but his demeanor became calm and pleasant.  He told me I reminded him a bit of a young W.B. Yeats, and that I had great potential, and the spirit of a true visionary.  There was a brief pause, so I asked him about the coffee maker he so casually carried.  His eyes widened, and he began to chronicle this wondrous object.  The pot was allegedly an original ‪Alfonso Bialetti‬ from 1933, made in ‪Piedmont‬, Italy.  I had no way of verifying this, but his passion for this glistening item subdued my skepticism. He claimed that brewing coffee with this percolator gave him profound creativity, and lit his mind ablaze when writer's block had stifled him.  He said it brought him the words he sought - like a whirlwind of eloquent diction transported though a supernatural vessel.  The man likened this prized possession to Aladdin's magic oil lamp.  Calling it his good luck charm (as I regretfully did) would have been an understatement.  His hand jittered lightly and steadily as he held the percolator out in from of him.
    "Here," he said boldly. "It is your turn to take the torch, good sir."
    That was the last time I saw Dr. Jonathan Clove.