The Holy Order of The Blank Book
The Blackbird Variations, Chapter V
He took long walks during the day and shorter ones at night. The land flat and streets wide and sometime after vespers I would come over him as fog, shadowing his thoughts based then mostly in Nietzsche and novels switching genres as his hunger more than taste prescribed.
And in this distance from the self anchored in the windy city and his feelings for his once-more-distant Lilly—two/thirds the span of his country afar—Thomas began to mythologize the past year of his life, laying out a needful trajectory in his experiences and events—not every one, but those which were like iron shavings drawn to his magnetic strain for meaning which I through foggy walk was somewhat able to work—these moments teased into a pattern which he thought of as the bildung precipitating a crafted roman—for on his Fresno walks he guessed that his education, for it to mean anything outside and apart from the institutions of education, must result in something approaching a product—for all must be reduced and then uplifted, in his time, to the status of a product; a product alone might be validated by the senses and exchanged for various lucres that sustain the cultured person and the natured body—a product being what lasts; being what refutes what fades—and the less compostable the better!
He wondered as he wandered into a well-lit shopping mall what sort of process poems, thoughts, and stories needed to undergo, to resist decay—even as they were fated for the landfill he wanted to know which linguistic and narrative compounds would keep intact for a thousand years to be dug up and made a part of the future’s wicked technologies (he needing now to scribble into a small notepad, while standing to the side of the lollygagging foot traffic):
Do stories evolve? Of course they do, but how from fireside recital to nightlit novel did they wriggle from the broth of mankind’s mess of meanings to ingest and gestate in and out of one another, sprouting wings and legs and tails and teeth only after endless forgotten failures & fraught endeavors until were evolved such things as plot and dialogue, action, character, lore and drama—moral! maxim! A matryoshka doll of hidden moves created myth—it could not have sprung fully formed from the unspooled skulls of sapiens—for everything that is was first a seed, and everything that might be is foreshadowed and shadows back at us so that there’s no reason not to speculate upon fiction and wonder if, fifty or a thousand years from now, will story have transmuted into a further genus, species—perhaps no longer even languaged, no longer heard, performed or read, but taking place all in our heads, an astral parlance, electric field, an innertainment, dreamforged of belief itself—
And if that is what becomes of what diverts us, what of what employs us? Could these malls, department stores, these closest to cathedrals my people have built—Mega-Churches are but stucco cubes now, so little artistry persists in my inherited faith—but could these malls contain a secret seed that one day will sprout into a thing unguessed?
For peering past the bathos, sifting whey from curd and wheat from tare and dispensing momentarily with the dread of mediocrity—admit at least as much as this: these stores of stores—evolving all entirely from the process of exchange—they house the breadth, yet fully plumbed, of mankind’s ingenuity—and if his genius has yet found its final form, why then suppose these arcades of clothes and things to own, to use and give as gifts that are refused and then returned for cash or credit for another thing—could things find not their end in us anymore but ended as our trusted floor—and we all rise above the obviousness of element, and become itinerate a bit whilst we seek new tenets for new tenements—could exchange itself be lifted from so that in future we’re unmoored from body with its pleasures and its needs—all its changes and exchanges—all that taken care of by the machinations of rationed automation—all matter no more mattered by scarcity, cupidity, so our exchange becomes displaced into a kingdom come, a finer place-not-place but state, where having as in material trapping won’t interrupt or even inform—to say nothing of define—our M.O.’d mode of being—
He resumed his stroll, his thoughts wending broader, senses feeling at the produced things about him and all the wants in him to have and to consume—and both at once, as is the purview of the imagining consumer.
Then passing by a wishing well between a jewelry and appliance shop, a ray of light scattered through my lingering cumulous and lit the long corridor where midday shoppers milled. His eyes spasmed briefly, and he heard a Chorus bellow:
We knew you! We never knew you!
Halted in his tracks, ears rumbling, the face of his father edging into his mind but then become the face of William, the philosophy student in Chicago some years older than the other George’s folk. And rooted in William’s forehead and his fierce blue almond eyes, Thomas found the severity what underlay his incessant doubts and certainties—especially those ego-doubts that caught him whenever his self-magnifying chest-swelling reached its outer limit and deflated in a fartastic expenditure of lame—and that pendent swing from full to null was uniform in its severity, reflected in the eyes of William superseding the eyes of father which during Sunday sermons made him most uncomfortable, delivering him to the closest thing to trauma in his childhood—that being “in trouble”—those long lectures followed by a few sound contacts between the belt and his backside—so that Sunday services were not a worshipful entreating of the Spirit but a wrestling with father’s voice, mirrored in himself, and those father eyes emphatic beseeching laity to embrace the grace of Christ—and did not Thomas’ internal blend of religious and poetic aspiration require more room than what modern Christianity provided, what with its What Would Jesus Do catchisms and Promise Keeper rallies for men in droves to brush up on their “integrity”—its either 100 or 20 year-old musics—musics which of late began to terrorize him with their blazing, all-too-easy emotionality—Tommy seeking something in Christianity (version 90’s Californian) that was real and true and solidly valuable—pleasing, challenging, expansive to his sense of dynamic accord/discord—after one service making smalltalk with a churchlady who asked him what he was studying in school, he told her he was ‘autodidactic, like Rilke.’
“Well—you’re no Rilke,” she knowingly replied, and (still standing beside the wishing well) he imagined her concoction of make-up and perfume reaching a critical mass of self-importance and detonating in the midst of the social space he could not stand above nor crouch beneath because they all had whipped their social nougat into too thick a draught for him to stand in any relation to—he rushing to a bench beside the fountain to flesh out or flush from him the flurrying thoughts:
As if there is no alternative for me but to either accept their expectations and live wholly within their prefabricated eternities, or else to quit the game completely, to write the whole thing off as bunk—even those parts of it that belong to me most intimately, those experiences of the Spirit which I am certain graced my childhood, but that this strictured superstructure of congealed agreement or merely agreeable belief must disapprove of, insofar as I do not relate my experience explicitly to their formal pattern of fall and redemption, sin and salvation—
“Patter! Patter!” the blasphemer in me brays: “Look at all their clean streets and wisely hedged insurance premiums, their prim social contracts that as a matter of course scorn the unpredictable and self-directed meeting of the Logos and the flesh!”
That Word-become-flesh and flesh-become-Word which I so long for—and worry that my longings for are nothing but a phase to go through, before I have to set aside all wilderdreams and shackle myself to their stolid truths, to sieve from myself all thirst for what is not yet known and proved and not really new but rather merely new looking—but it’s not about just newness, or novelty, either, for down in there, in those two thousand years of accumulated faith teems magnitudes of wisdom, potency, poetry—
The other day I took my great-grandpa’s black leather Bible from my father’s shelf, and I could feel the sincere, dedicated attention that has been invested into it, and so I asked dad for a Bible—meaning that one—and he later handed me something wrapped in plastic called the New Easy Wisdom Bestselling International Edition or something—and flipping through those pages my heart began to rend in shreds not my faith so much as my faith in this faith as it is given to me to swallow—
Flipping through the pulpy pages of that Good (Enough) Word I saw the translators have no sense of rhythm or the evocative powers of English—even American English—none! All that matters to them is clarity, ease of use and accessibility (beside the stairway installing a handicap ramp to Heaven)—the Word being something to be understood, not felt nor rapturously cracking you over the head with the language that (and I admit this thought scares the hell that lives in me out of me) is all the Word is, here, in this world of products—just language, and then meaning stacking up from there, sure, but the Word must be set down, and if it isn’t set down with artistic reverence, why bother? Why go through the effort of comporting with religion if that religion doesn’t speak of great things in great ways? And if the translations, line by line, are not held up to that poetic standard—then what then of the theologies themselves? What then of the stories themselves? To quoth the Christ:
“Neither do people pour new wine into old wine skins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
The Bible—isn’t that a husk, a container? And they work to update it continually (and seemingly more and more superficially), because, yes! There are valuable things in it—but they don’t really update the stories, do they? They don’t have the authority to do that! Their authority making its way not through direct creativity but dammed-up committee!
And so the Holy Book languishes in ancient ways of viewing the world—these heirloom anachronisms prescribed an indefinite legacy support so that agreement can persist, uninterrupted (though it constantly, constantly bifurcates and fractures, despite our devotions—and don’t even talk to me about contradiction and their defensiveness against contradiction—they have no clue the energy that is bound up and released through that)—and so the weathered chronicles and laws of obsolescence become a sort of code to be ciphered and deciphered by those who would insist upon their relevance—or their “revelation” sure, whatever—but ultimately all that’s left is reverence toward a reverberation of something that had once been RAW—
And what if one day God decided the Rapture would first and foremost apply to the ink on all our printed pages—and we had to start all over again, from the very beginning, from that very first line: “In the Beginning…”—and just like every granted given writing prompt, our scriptures would fractal radically, depending on some millions factors, like what sort of facial cream we use, how often we exercise, what electronic devices we let aide us, interrupt us, get us off, fix our hovels, match us with prospective spouses and so on, so on, son—
We knew you—we never knew you!
THAT would be the sum total of our 6 billion scriptures, were the ones passed down by tradition submitted to cataclysm, and all catchisms and catechisms perforce were re-found and re-founded and lovingly laboriously refined all over again—and to be a builder of the Renewed Scriptures—not to hack out a JW or LDS fan fiction—but to train oneself in the composition of immediate faith and guidance—to become sensitive to inspiration—all inspirations, from the dæmonic to the divine—and then to be made able to constellate them, to order from lowest coarsest bits to highest finest fumes of fate a system open, a mobile spinning, perpetual motion, emotion, meaning—
And to wish for that puts me right back in the ego problem all over again—the fashioning and fantasizing of all things to suit merely, meagerly, miserly my own small-minded short-sighted whims—
For how can I trust myself? What processes must I undergo to ascertain what prompts in me are compulsion and which come from and lead back to the lofty places, the ecstatic dances, the life-affirming self-enriching awesome-saucing founts of Grace and Genius???
Still—imagine! imagine!—imagine this: The Holy Order of the Blank Book
That night, through my fog walking, the image of the face of William returned, pitiless, interrogating: “What single speck of you is worthy of such a work?”
And Tommy felt small and crouching smaller beneath the weight of his pretended task—a task he could not fulfill as he was, a 20-year-old suburbanite standing at “the end of history,” so called, where the voting booth and marketplace—the collective will and commercial way—have restrained all art and greatness to a height accessible to the most common of denominations—all excellence suspicious, all high ambition stigmatized, the exceptional excommunicated for the sake of “inclusivity”—he could not, as he was, and when he was, and where he was, undergo such a task as he’d been contracted or dreamt up—and yet it was too late for him to set it down—and thus, and thus, what must be done but to contract a man more able and far more capable than he…
The image of the face of William flashed again before him, and once again Thomas lowered head, and felt the weight of his contracted burden, feeling this weight with his whole self, and feeling it to be greater than his entire self, and thus I allowed he shift that weight from his self and fix it to the image of the face of William, which image of which face in turn shifted to fix all weight upon the face of the man willing a marvelous Work, atop a Hill, within a Clearing, within a Forest—
And could now be when the Myth begins? Were we through he equipped to break from seed and sprout a longing root and willful stem in realm of men and ficciones’ weald emerging, merging, to federate a fluency of meaning, dreaming—Tommy, standing on a sidewalk’s crux, set his tongue to taste how close we’d come by reciting into the bovine redolent fogs of the Central California night:
There was a man, who with deft hand,
Drew a square upon the grass,
And in that square, his will declared,
Would amass a thousands paths…
He set a score upon the air
To call to him a Lady Fair,
A pair of Twins, a Wide-Eyed Lass,
A Centaur whose hooves on the—yawn—grass
Made muddy dents…
His inner ears rumbling, his heart and mind widening—the creaking open of a Door—but I felt a thing not intent enough within his tone, a thing too flagrant in his tempo and his temper, and so I stretched his mouth into a yawn and watered some his eyes with slumber, draining from him his wakefulness and willfulness—and truthfully, not only but for his greenness did I deny it come, for I admit still I wished to be acquainted better with those Four who observe the man laying deep the Dream’s Foundation.
So thus I draped him over with a heaviness he could not evade, him shuffling home to bed, via blanket and via pillow dispatched to dreaming of the
Poet sitting on the ledge of the fountain, staring at the pages that could not be read and so attention shifting to the Vicar in the Sculptor’s waiting room, lifting from a nearby table the leaf of some fragmented tome, to peruse whilst awaiting audience with the Master of Stone:
The Little Girl, feeling abandoned,
Left her House to find her phantom.
She crossed him in the Quiet Wood,
Bent behind a Thing that stood
On weirdly legs, with many vents,
And a grate through which she sensed
A pressured Darkness percolating—
Her inquisition quick pervading
Through his concentration’s bubble,
Causing him to pause and grumble.
He turned to her after she asked:
‘Tu Shea, what strange Contraption’s that?’
–I’ve nicknamed it my Piccadilly
‘Oh yeah? And what does that name mean?’
–Meaning’s not within a name
But what is done by what’s been named
‘Then what’s it do—please tell me that!’
–For bothersome Questions it’s a trap
‘Oh come on now, don’t be a grump,’
Said the Girl, whose thinking jumped
To what was held inside her satchel:
A fragile thing she softly handled
Through the gloaming of the Forest.
‘It’s my donation for your war chest!’
She cried as she extended him
A lightbulb he accepted then.
–I thank you Girl, now if you would
Scamper home, or out my Wood
‘Orlo, don’t be mean to me,
Or I’ll get sad, and then you’ll be
Forced to drop your work until
My feelings are again tranquil.’
–Very well, I acquiesce,
But only three things you may ask.
And then you must be off, or else
At least must entertain yourself
‘I think that’s fair,’ she smiled and
Smoothed her dress with both her hands
As she sat down upon the moss,
Her legs beneath the fabric crossed.
‘So answer me my Question One:
What is your Machine made of?’
–A pinch of This, a dash of That,
A spot of Dream, and smidge of Fact.
‘Hm. Now please answer Question Two:
What’s your Machine made to do?’
–It extracts Might-Be’s from that which Was,
He replied, –that’s what it does.
‘Very good! Now Question Three:
What will your Machine make me?’
–Well, as for that, ‘tis contingent
On what you have to offer it
‘All I’ve got that Was (besides my snacks),
Is a Rope that swung before it snapped.’
–Ah yes, ah yes, let’s do away
With that thing that’s been dangling
‘Then tell me what I need to do!’
–Quell your need, instead accrue
To your self a quietude
So that what my Device assumes
Is not adulterated by
Your constant Who-What-When-Where-Why’s
‘And my How’s?’ she asked her phantom,
Who shook his head and had her hand him
Her broken Cord, which then he placed
In his imaginical ‘How may—
—I help you?’
The Vicar glanced from illustrated page to find a boy standing before him, asking again:
‘How may I help you, sir?’
‘Ah, yes, I am seeking the Sculptor.’
‘I am his understudy.’
‘So I take it. Is he busy?’
‘He is not in Town.’
‘You don’t say.’
‘He’s surveying materials in the Austere Mounts.’
‘How long have you been his apprentice?’
‘Maybe a year? I haven’t been counting. I come from the City, but I’m here to learn to build.’
‘Your Master will have taught you much about material.’
‘And also form.’
‘Yes—and also form,’ the Vicar nodded. ‘But tell me, where are you at, in your learning?’
‘I am proficient with the broom and the rag, and know the name and use of most the tools.’
‘And stone? How well know you stone?’
‘I am proficient in fracture and cleavage, and am currently learning about tenacity, which governs a stone’s property of being brittle, flexible, elastic, malleable, ductile and sectile.’
‘That all sounds very theoretical.’
‘I assure you it is very practical, as far as knowledge goes,’ said the boy—who was pretty much a young man.
‘But do you practice, or do you know?’
‘Can one do one without the other?’
‘Oh yes!’ the Vicar declared. ‘The world is awash with those who know without doing, and do without knowing.’
‘Fair enough,’ the understudy shrug-nodded. ‘But tell me: where does faith work into that?’
‘How do you mean?’
‘Does one know faith or does one practice faith? I’ve always wondered that.’
The Vicar felt half a smile form, and examined closer the boy-yet-man, to gauge his sincerity and intellect. He saw in the sharp eyes of the Sculptor’s understudy an honesty—and a hint of anger just beneath that.
And should the Vicar address the honesty, or to the anger? The honesty would accept his words, but the anger would do something with them. And faith resided precisely at the intersection of knowing and of doing—it was not, as some misguided theologians supposed, the opposite of work, or the deliverer alone of souls to Grace.
Ah, but such discussions would branch off into theory, and likely frustrate the boy, and amplify his doubts without leading them to applicable insight.
So the Vicar searched his store of learning for an illustration that might give light to the relationship between knowing and doing, within the relationship of creature and Creator—he coming on a fable that might illustrate this network of consequence without reducing it—as is the fault of all theory—to a singular point, reciting:
A flood occurred upon the plains,
Dousing lion’s proud domain;
Trapping fauna in the mire,
Lest they flee to ground much higher.
And so in trees, and up on hills,
Many creatures found themselves
Who weren’t disposed to get along
For the predators belonged
On their own—and as for prey
They required abundant space.
The flood rained on, the waters rose,
A tentative truce was imposed
Upon an isle where reasonable
Beasts thought peace was feasible:
Those whose taste was for the meat,
Would partake of washed-up beasts;
Whilst those who favored vegetables
Rationed close their victuals.
Now on day three of the deluge,
A pose arose what threat the truce:
For washed ashore a half-dead yak
With a critter on his back.
This creature was a scorpion
And on its exoskeleton
A stinger bobbed, and as all watched,
It poked again the swollen haunch
Of the yak, whose shallow breath
Prodded fauna to ponder if
It was fair game yak be game fare—
Herbies thought no, Carnies all glared
With hung’ring eyes—and thus much tension
Descended o’er their instable kingdom.
For should the leopards and hyenas
Slay the yak, that frail patina
Of peace upon their tiny islet
Would rupture with the lust fer violence.
And as the beasts assessed this quandary,
Scorpion raised his stinger calmly
And said: “Look here, you fancy beasts!
Your truce is but a fantasy!
For though you have escaped the flood—
You can’t escape what’s in your blood!”
“That may be true,” lowed the yak
“But recall your words upon my back:
‘That when a change occurs in nature
We must exchange our stock behavior
For what befits our circumstance.’
Thus in good faith I took a chance
And carried you across the waters
But soon enough your virtue faltered
Or else your nature overtook
Your better judgment,” the yak then shook
His mighty tail, and returned to silence.
And to defend their frail alliance,
All turned to scorp, to stomp him out,
When he sued for their mercy’s doubt
And give to him but one more chance
For now he knew what circumstance
Demanded. And so—warily,
Pardon they gave—temporarily.
The following day, when they arose
(The yak still humid about the nose)
The fauna found that one among them
Had been felled by death most sudden.
And as they feasted, no one thought
To contrive o’er breakfast a murder plot.
The same occurred the next day hence:
In night death came, at dawn commenced
Another feast—the herbivores,
Pressed by need, munched hors d’oeuvres
Made of flesh, though guiltily,
And with stomachs pained by foreign feed.
And thus it was that by moon’s turn
The beavers, leopards, pachyderms,
Rhino’s, marmots, ocelots,
Antelopes, and slow-nerved sloths,
And many more on that islet
Had died at night, and now was left
The scorpion and the burly yak
Who had not died, nor got health back.
Then all at once, the flood receded
And shortly they found they were seated
In a desert, ‘pon the horizon
No puff of cumulous bespied them.
“It seems that now I’ll die of thirst,”
Said Yak, “if you don’t get me first.”
Scorpion clacked his claws and sighed:
“Why is it all the others’ lives
Took no more than several hours
To succumb to my poison’s powers,
But you, you stubborn yak, persist—
My neurotoxins you resist!”
“I do not die,” lowed the yak,
“Not for you deadly poison’s lack
But rather curiosity
Keeps me alive, for I would see
If life itself would modify
How you act, or if you’d try
To change yourself—but now I see
You are defined entirely
By your stinger’s wicked curve
And if you dulled it, you’d preserve
Nothing that makes you distinct,
And thus you would become extinct.
Now climb once more upon my hide
And poke me til at last I’ve died.”
“If you’re correct, then all I am,”
Spoke the deadly scorpion,
“Is a unique articulation
Of nature’s force, and thus my actions
Are not my own, but I am theirs—
And so I need not shed a tear.
For if I changed my agency,
No more a scorpion I’d be!”
The yak breathed deep as thence the scorp
Poked him til he was a corpse.
And which is dream? And which is literature—or its attempt?
He labored over syllables, sounding them into pages, then attempted to fit them into something larger. But for his age or else my influence he still lacked what a structure demands—patience and a certain hard authority—a cold, deliberate calculation that he found came to the fray of his father’s science fiction books, when their plottedness overrode the possibilities which at the start and key points along the way were what engaged him most—the what could happen necessarily being compacted into a string of did-happens which funneled all event and aspiration into a summative “fate.”
In church, people would speak of God’s Will as if God were some hack novelist contriving a veneer of deep symbolism out of chance meetings, lost car keys, little opportunities to be taught love and hope and faith—and here he was, attempting to write a fable about faith but wrote instead about nature, about the fatedness stamped in the blood—<<predestination seated wholly in predisposition???>> (scrawled into a margin)—and why? Why speak of these things? Why cling to the nursery rhyming schemes and sophomoric drab philosophies, when the real movements inside him were breaking against his shores as a manifold sorrow causing him to cry in shower, or crawl into closet to find no end to his sorrow’s cheek-salting inundation—and was his nature that of a feeler? Was his fate to be a poet sentenced to starvation as, on break of dawn in his undrawn dreams he found one more dead belief or slayed assumption which he could not consume or “integrate” as the psychoanalytic analytic psychology he had been thumbing through would put it—waking up to find a portion of his childhood expired, a dram of his possibility no longer wide and whispering to him to flesh me out, flesh me out—the flesh of his possibility he could not devour, but only weep over, hiding this from family and from friends who suffered his strangeness—always huddled over his blank black book, no matter what festivities dowsed and swelled around him.
For Christmas his family traveled to Los Angeles to visit with grandparents, aunts uncles cousins, and seated in his originary clan his sadness swelled and stretched him into a muslin ghost—and he asked inside if this was ancestral—if this was a mourning that had been suppressed for decades, generations, using him as a nozzle into the present—he could not speak or joke or laugh and his mother said something to the effect that he had been the funniest kid, a thespian or comedian—but had gotten “serious.” And he was stung with doubting if he was playing at being “serious,” if his despondency was pretended or, absorbing from his father a disappointment in his lack of “direction”—if his melancholy was not a means of putting off the passage into whatever is meant by Growing Up.
Later, he was invited by older cousins to the beach, and Chris was kind to him and asked about his life—and even listened—handing him a beer that Tommy drank slowly, and then walking the sands alone, the moon and he made eye contact, and the words of Rilke spoke to him:
You are looking to the outside, and that above all you should not be doing now. Nobody can advise and help you, nobody. There is only one way—go into yourself.
But what is inside my self? he wondered, stepping careful so no broke glass would broach bared soles—there are only beasts of all types, scrambling for dominance or at least a square meal—as around them swirls a salty flood, churning as they devour each other one by one, until all I’ll be left with is my stubbornness and this curved and stinging doubt—and then, a sun-scorched waste—
His vision flashed. He perceived a moonlit Desert beneath the flooded Sea. His lungs spasmed as he glimpsed a Tower out there—monolithic, irrefutable. And I allowed he know this be the End of our Myth. This vision justifying a week spent on a fable set to a kiddish rhyming scheme. And I rewarded him a guiltless clarity which he fastened to the moonlit night, composing after another bottle of lager and by aid of chords strummed on his cousin’s guitar:
And I don’t wanna fight
Did enough of that last night
Anyways you don’t know anything
You stupid man
Don’t know what I’m gonna do
But I’m old enough now to choose
Going out into the world
No more your little girl
You spent my entire life
Preaching all about Jesus Christ
But your love of God
Eclipsed your love of family
I’m sure mom would agree
Though she passed on my 13th
Leaving me to tend the hole
Dug by your search for soul
You know that licorice I stole
Must’ve been six years ago
When we lived in that cold house
With the half-dead live oak
And you marched me to the store
Where upon the tiled floor
You preached guilt & shame
And a hell wroth with flame
How the wages of sin are death
While deep down inside my breast
I felt the cleft
Surround the breath
That mother left—and then
Out back with the butcher’s son
My own hands his pants undone
And from him wrung
The joy he flung
My mind spun and spun
For if God created life, albeit all full of strife,
None other than the mind
Has created sin
So I don’t wanna fight
Done enough of that this life
Anyways you don’t know anything
You stupid man
Going out there on my own
No need of hearth or home
I’ll find my own way—
Yeah I’ll find my own way
The Last Temptation of Christ, Nikos Kazantzakis; The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey; some Vonnegut; The Waves, Virginia Woolf; Letters of Malte Laurids Brigge, Rainer Maria Rilke; Siddhartha, Herman Hesse; Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig
Matthew 9:17, NIV
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926. Letters To a Young Poet. San Rafael, Calif. : New World Library, 1992