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Jason Crane Posts

Soup’s On!

Soup’s On!

My skull is filled with alphabet soup. Occasionally the letters make a word, but mostly they slosh around, defeating my every attempt to make sense of them. It wasn’t always this way. My brain used to be a series of filing cabinets. The drawers were shallow but numerous; an inch of information about any particular subject, miles of breadth. Just enough knowledge to stay in most conversations, not enough to truly master any one subject. That was fine. I liked that. A friend called it “librarian brain.” Who doesn’t like librarians? But “soup brain”? That has neither the same ring nor the same positive connotation. Soup brain means never quite having the details at my fingertips; a blank spot on the tip of my tongue. I don’t think it’s a sign of disease. Rather, it’s a symptom of discombobulation. The circumstances of my external world are so disordered that my internal landscape can’t help but reflect them. My prediction is that the presence of family and friends, along with a place to live and a more stable life, will slowly drain the soup, revealing the long rows of shallow cabinets that have been there all along.

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18 May 2022
Pittsfield MA

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Buddhism can be pretty @#$&^% useful

Thought process I went through just now:

1. I wonder if I should have a conversation with my sister about what my intentions are when one of our parents dies.

2. I might feel differently about that situation when it actually happens.

3. There’s no need to deal with it until it occurs.

4. That applies to so much of life. Too much planning and overthinking and playing out stories. 

5. The better way is clearly just to deal with what’s actually happening right now.

6. That @#$%& Buddhist approach sure does get proved right quite often. 

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Scorpio full moon tarot reading

Thanks as always to Seeds of Shakti for the spread.

1. Scorpio is extremely intensive, emotional, and highly intuitive. As a water sign, what old wounds will Scorpio help to illuminate, cleanse and heal? (Ten of Swords) This can be a card about healing painful endings. I’ve recently made a decision that seeks to find new peace in a place that previously represented pain. I hope the solace implied in the background of this card is what I’ll find.

2. What aspect of my life is undergoing a potent transformation? (The Hanged Man) Like the hanged man, it’s time for me to view the old world from a new perspective. And to do it through an intentional choice.

3. How can I magnify my senses to experience pleasure? (Six of Pentacles) I’m trying to make choices that are more about giving than receiving. I don’t have much in the way of material resources, but I do have my time and my love and care, and there are people for whom those would be worthwhile gifts.

4. What illusions do I need to break through? (Four of Swords) A good reminder to renew my focus on contemplation and meditation and emotional recovery.

5. What suppressed feelings will surface during the Scorpio full moon to unravel insights? (Queen of Cups) I’m at my best when I’m connected with my emotions, but when they don’t control my every action or overpower my ability to think.

6. Message from the ancestors. (The Lovers) The relationships in my life are what give it meaning. I need to spend more of my time and energy being present for them and cultivating them. That can also mean being near them.

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Arboreal coinkydink

This week I read this short, wonderful book called The Easy Life In Kamusari by Shion Miura. I read a translated version. It’s about a city kid who graduates from high school in Yokohama, and his parents then ship him off to work for a forestry company in a remote area. A kind of tree called a Zelkova tree plays a role in the book. I’d never heard of that kind of tree. Today I used an app to identify the kind of tree beside which I park each night. Of course it’s a Japanese Zelkova tree.

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Poetry and the present moment

The idea of living in the present moment is central to Buddhist practice, which I’ve been trying my hand at for more than two decades. As I’ve come to understand it, the basic concept is that the past has passed and the future is unknowable, so the only time with which we can interact is this moment right now. And right now. And … you get it.

The instruction to remain centered in the present is one of my favorite parts of Buddhist philosophy. It’s also remarkably difficult to do, at least for me. No matter how much the present might be demanding my attention, I still find myself caught up in memories and daydreams, returning to past successes and failures, and turning over future visions in my mind.

Poetry can be an aid to present-minded living, serving as it does — or at least as it can — as a textual photograph of a moment. This is supposed to be one of the main methods of creating haiku, for example, though I find even in that form I am often mired in the past. The more I deviate from the nature-word-plus-present-description method of haiku, the more likely it is that my tiny poems will contain sharply pointed thorns of memory.

I overheard one of my coworkers this morning talking about an “on this day” post they’d received on Facebook and how it had dredged up difficult memories. I’m glad to not be on Facebook, because I have too many memories I’d prefer to avoid. And yet, when left to its own devices, the Zuckerberg in my skull is all too happy to pull up some scene I’d sooner escape.

Perhaps one problem, if that’s the word, is that my current life is — or seems — very small. I work in an office during the day. After work I retreat to the 32 square feet of my van, which is where I spend most of my non-work time. This might be an excuse, but I feel like these circumstances don’t lend themselves to the kind of noticing so fundamental to poetry. So instead of seeing things in the world around me, I mine the shafts in my brain for the ore I need to write.

That last paragraph does feel like an excuse now that I read it again. Noticing can happen in any circumstances, and the present moment is the present moment, no matter what it contains. Maybe this whole essay can serve as a call to action for my own writing (I accidentally typed “righting” — a useful accident?); a reminder to pay closer attention to what might seem mundane or confined. I guess we’ll all find out together whether I heed that call in the weeks and months ahead.

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The more things change

Sometimes I pick a random era of my own blog and look back to see what I was writing about. I came across this poem today and the parallels are … sobering.

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Books I’ve read so far this year

(As of 12 May 2022)

1. Without Fail by Lee Child
2. Persuader by Lee Child
3. A Call For The Dead by John Le Carré
4. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
5. Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
6. The Enemy by Lee Child
7. One Shot by Lee Child
8. The Hard Way by Lee Child
9. Humble Pi by Matt Parker
10. Into The Light by Charles Soule
11. The Great Jedi Rescue by Cavan Scort
12. Into The Dark by Claudia Gray
13. A Test of Courage by Justina Ireland
14. Marvel’s The High Republic Vol. 1 by Cavan Scott
15. IDW’s High Republic Adventures Vol. 1 by Daniel Jose Older
16. The Monster of Temple Peak by Cavan Scott
17. The Rising Storm by Cavan Scott
18. Race To Crashpoint Tower by Daniel Jose Older
19. Showdown At The Fair by George Mason
20. Marvel’s High Republic Vol. 2 by Cavan Scott
21. IDW’s High Republic Adventures comic Vol. 2 by Daniel Jose Older
22. Marvel’s Trail of Shadows by Daniel Jose Older
23. Out Of The Shadows by Justina Ireland
24. Tempest Runner by Cavan Scott
25. The Edge of Balance by Shima Shinya and Justina Ireland
26. The Fallen Star by Claudia Gray
27. Midnight Horizon by Daniel Jose Older
28. Mission To Disaster by Justina Ireland
29. A Really Big Lunch by Jim Harrison
30. Bicycling With Butterflies by Sara Dykman
31. The Great Post Office Scandal by Nick Wallis
32. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
33. Leia, Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray
34. Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
35. The Easy Life In Kamusari by Shion Miura

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