Here I am at Barnes & Noble. So many bookstores have closed, and it is nice that this particular brick and mortar store is still here. Also, they have a little coffee shop, and WiFi, so why fight it? (Hey, B&N, I offered that slogan to McDonalds, but they passed, so it is up for grabs). Anywho, here I is, and later on I am going next door to Planet Fitness to take a shower, and then I will walk home. But first I type in my blog. Yes, I am using the B&N wifi to post, and not buying anything. So, if they close for lack of purchases, I will feel really bad. Of course, I just might get a job or win the lottery or something and then I will be buying tons of books. Rest assured. Tons. There are a lot of people here, so maybe they are buying things? I sure hope so. But wait. Even if I am not buying anything, I am what you call an Influencer. Not an Influenza. An Influencer. I like, talk about stuff and post it on Social Media which influences other people to buy stuff and read books.
Well, it is Sunday. That means the buses stop running at 6:30 PM or so, and the B&N closes at 8. PF is open 24/7, so even though I could go over there and use their wifi in the lobby, I will not do that because the ambiance is nicer here. That means that if I stay too late I will have to walk home. I am OK with that. I might see if I can stop by my friend Cole Ledbetter’s house. He is a guy I met who claims that he somehow co wrote a ton of hit tunes with a lot of the current canaries: Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, 21 Pilots. Seems very far fetched but so far his story checks out. Could be a pathological liar, or else an incredibly naïve individual? Never got paid or credit for writing all these big hit songs? He is Schrödinger’s cat, in that he is like that cat in the box that was either alive or dead, but you didn’t know until the box was opened. It was assumed to be either/or. Schrödinger’s cat or Schroeder’s dog? I choose to keep an open mind, but even if he is lying, he has a grand piano in his living room, and if I can just persuade him to get it tuned, well, Jam Pad DeLuxe.
Well, since I am not buying books, but since I do have “Barnes & Noble Intentions” I will have to say that I am giving B&N free publicity, and also lending a certain air of class to the joint. Above the coffee bar there is a mural of famous authors: Orwell, Nabokov, Joyce, Dorothy Parker, Faulkner, Steinbeck, Eliot, Kafka, Neruda, Langston Hughes. One day, they can either paint me in, or else maybe a plaque stating that I used to write here, and even occasionally drink coffee. Even buy books. So there’s that. Look at me like a lottery ticket. Though an admittedly slim chance (the chance, not my physique), scratch me. You could be a lucky weiner.
That’s what I just told Lindsay Sharp, my guru (sans the lucky weiner quip). I am learning yoga and meditation from her. She even gave me a ride here after I went to her meditation class. She seemed skeptical of my claim that I could be a lucky lottery ticket, but on the other hand, she was cool with continuing to help me out in small ways, whenever convenient. Pay it forward, we both said simultaneously.
She told me about a very interesting visit she had this weekend to some Tibetan Buddhist Monks in Los Angeles where she was empowered to chant the sutras and mantras of the sacred books, written in both Tibetan and English. It sounds great and I hope she can entice the monks to travel the 100 miles north to Bakersfield so they can bestow their ancient wisdom upon us, the unworthy riff raff of Oildale and environs. Wouldn’t that be lovely? And stay tuned to the same Bat Channel–same Bat Station, for future updates.
I finished reading Constance, by Lawrence Durrell, and let me tell you, it was an excellent book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a lot like his previous set of novels called The Alexandria Quartet. There are characters who are writers and writers who are characters. Two novelists discuss literary ambitions, and one would suppose that at least one of the texts under discussion could be the very one you hold in your hands. Very musical prose, like poetry, it reads. Like butter. You have to have an extremely large vocabulary — a big dictionary — to read this kind of stuff. Also, a lot of foreign language quotes left untranslated. It might be exasperating to some but I really go for that. But what I dug the most, the absolute most, was that they had an Egyptian character, Affad, who was a mystic, a gnostic, even, and Constance and he have a hot love affair, but she is more of a logical positivist, and as they are consummating their mutual attraction, so to speak, they are having these conversations about science versus magic. Spoiler Alert: Magic wins! Also, this is against a backdrop of intrigue and suspense in Avignon during WWII. Hitler is in fact searching for the lost treasure of the Knights Templar. He wants to usurp their power for nefarious ends. In short, this book has all the things I am interested in and the literary style of Durrell is a joy for me, even if I didn’t find the subject matter to my taste, which I do in fact. I find the subject matter very much to my taste.
As I researched the information in this blog post I came across this article about Hitler’s interest in the occult. I really do not care for Hitler, but nevertheless, I am fascinated by the mustached fascist’s interest in the occult. Also, I have often wondered how would I react to living under such a regime. The characters in Constance are faced with these moral dilemmas, and make choices, suffering consequences. I have wondered what I would do if I lived in a fascist regime, but now I know. Now we all know, even if you haven’t read this book.
Christopher R. Craddock © 2019
So here’s that article for fans of that sort of Billingsgate:
Three Charms for Hitler
By Yuval Harari