Awarding Influence

1. award, n. c1386

…A decision after examination, a judicial sentence, esp. that of an arbitrator or umpire; the document embodying it….

2. award, v.1 c1386

…To examine a matter and adjudicate upon its merits; to decide, determine, after consideration or deliberation. 

1. influence, n. c1374

The action or fact of flowing in; inflowing, inflow, influx: said of the action of water and other fluids, and of immaterial things conceived of as flowing in. Also concr. flowing matter. 

2. influence, v. 1658

trans. To exert influence upon, to affect by influence….

Etymology:  < French influence (13th cent. in Hatzfeld & Darmesteter) emanation from the stars (also inflow of water; affluence)…

(Oxford English Dictionary)


In the first place, I thank you Madeline Scribes for honoring me with this blogging award – I would think that any blogger is happy to hear that they have influence somewhere, somehow.  As concerns its meaning – its effect in ongoing flow – I am thinking that our passing these awards along through the blogosphere is an aspect of recognizing that the world around us matters that what we encounter continuously throughout our days effects the flow of them.  To award such influence must mean that, upon consideration, deliberation, we consider that influence to be of benefit or merit to the flow of our lives.  To diminish the function and roles of these eminently reusable and transferable images by querying the authority, justification, compensation or some other arbitrary criteria of significance or import seems to me to miss the point and ideologically dismiss their networked purposes and potentials.  I am very honored and very thankful for the effort and gift of recognition and assessment.

That being said – all of these awards (as with any gift) bring responsibilities…This particular badge indicates:

Award Rules


1.  What makes you happiest?

developing attachment with my wife and children; inquiring and creating new knowledge.

2.  Do you love mountains or oceans more?


3.  What has been a special moment in 2013?

reading has provided millions of them

4.  What is your favorite quote?

Today?: “I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.”
― Marlene Dietrich

5.  Do you like yourself?


6.  Do you stay up until midnight on New Years’ Eve?


7.  Is there something you wish could be done ASAP?

global peace and cooperation

8.  What is/was your favorite class in school?

philosophy/social science courses 

9.  What musical instruments do you / have you try/tried to play?

piano, saxophone, organ, drums, trumpet, harmonica, guitar, voice

10.  Anything you wished you would have learned earlier?

the world’s complexity and the constancy of change

11.  Do you like to do crafts, drawing or painting?

the effort extends and challenges me uniquely

And, given the reflective caveat above (that ALL we encounter influences us), I pass the award along to these fellow bloggers –

Life in Relation to Art

Multisense Realism

draw and shoot


Unwanted Advice

Simon H. Lilly




searching to see


Found Autobiography



A country mapped with invisible ink

Bob Hicok

Like we are the hole that grows in poor, unmendable

nothing: we blind needles: we unmoored threads:

like feeling I’m the enaction of a waterfall by my tongue


upon your body, as when a boat is brought to the edge

of exile and a hand extends to a hand or a tree

beseeches with its shadeshawl: however born,


there is reaching, we agree the wind smelled of copper

one day, a passport the next: like how to escape

my brain’s slum of words, the ghetto of the said,


while adoring there the rocks, the teacups,

if half of me is a Molotov cocktail and half

the inflection of loss and half a genuflection


to breath: like wondering if this extra half

is a country mapped with invisible ink:

like how windows ask to come along with the going


and preside over the staying, and I look at them

with all the love, all the shatter I can muster:

shards cutting me when I try to put the sky,


the distance back together: boredom cutting me

deeper when I don’t: like searching for a man

in a burning house and finding a piano as echo flees:


a whetstone still warm from the blade: sheets pressed

with brainfolds of sleep: a whisper from the bathroom

of running water: but no body: and I carry


these things to safety that are not the man: the piano

in my arms, running water in my mouth, the vespers

of sleep, the knife, so like a wing, like flight:


and say of him, that was me, to the ashes, the char:

and sift the memory of flames for their sorrow,

holding smoke to the mirror interested only


in solid dreams: like it will finally see

what isn’t there and give it my face, this presence

of absence I have tried and tried not to be


“almost as if I’m making her and this poem and my past

up as I go, to help me feel nothing


goes to waste, not even waste.”

-also Bob Hicok

Nathan Portrait


THANK YOU AND AWARDS FOR ALL – it’s long, but please read – it’s directed at YOU!

Acknowledgement and Re-cognition

Lately there’s been a rash of occasions in which I’ve been requested to tell things about myself (my wife would immediately note the choice of nouns as descriptor and tack on “well, that’s one way to look at it” i.e. as irritant, possible disease, discomfort – a “rash”).

I’ve noticed that discomfort.  Say I’m elated to have a poem accepted somewhere, or receive these lovely and encouraging blogging awards in WordPress, each joy arriving along with these little nettles: “please provide two paragraphs of biography,” or “tell us about yourself,” “list seven things about yourself your readers probably don’t know” and so on.

And I desire to tackle it all poetically, as fiction, an invention (which perhaps I think it actually is : “self-perspective” blah blah blah)…

…and yet…

Why are we writing or sharing recipes or art in the first place?  What is that urge?

To express, perhaps – we feel aburst with something and want relief, to press it out…into where?  why viewable?  readable?  hearable? physical?  For whom?

For ourselves, we might say, some more objective, ab-stracted processing of what goes on in us as we struggle to live?  Okay.  But, again, why do we share it?  Click the keys and hit “send” or “publish” or “post”?  Why not leave it all on our desks, in our journals, our notebooks, as undeveloped film and private files?


Maybe we write to discover, to create, pass along information, simply verbalize…I agree.  But also – why not just read?  We’ll never compass it all, even without adding another jot or image.  And if we’re paraphrasing experience as an exercise in knowing – echo – why share it?  Why book?  Why picture?  Why avail?

My guess is that, whether I like it or not (about myself, about being a social human critter, about existing) we all of us make/use signs, marks and gestures in order to engage.  In fact we must and we need to.  To acknowledge and be acknowledged; to process and join the process;  to have our being validated, even to ourselves, which still requires another.

I find that many of the blogs and their creators I have come so much to value are likewise reticent, withdrawn, coiled in a very unique, particular and special veil of language and machinery, cybernetic cyberspace…a safety of at least felt and imagined control over what re-presents us in our world, an edited voice, or bodiless pattern of thought.  Where we feel some level of risk-management and damage-control.

My wife was recently bullied in a small claims court case.  Last year one of my children was bullied on a walk home from school.  In both cases, I was enraged.  Almost uncontrollably vehement at what I perceived as injustice, depersonalization, predatory victimization, intimidation and abuse of power (etc.) I quickly activate into activist, I do things, strike back, strike out, and defend.  As she talked me down through this recent event, my beloved spouse asked me what it might feel like to come to my own defense in that way?  To be incensed at being ignored as a person, a voice, a being?  To say “no, you don’t get to do that to me” as if I were just as valuable as her, as our children?


I could hardly imagine such a scenario.  My instincts have defended me in fright or danger.  I’ve escaped, avoided or saved myself in andrenalin-rushed bravado or terror, but never really exhibited courage for myself, or because of my personally estimated worth.  Billions of graves, agnosticism, “life-happens-and-then-you-die” awareness along with saturations of accounts of wars and their rumors, poverty, destitution, abuse, genocide and all the etceteras have left me pretty humble around complaint, as if “first-world problems” didn’t count as “problems,” after all.

I haven’t figured all that out, but I’m willing to say that in whatever world, we all of us actually matter, and would do well to respect ourselves at least as much as we must all these others we care about, visit or “like,” protect or take the time to read.

I may never know any of you in a fully personal way, that is, embodied and face-to-face or voice-to-voice, but I am learning that whatever we do is personal, for the simple fact that we are persons doing whatever however whyever whenever we do.

So thank you – EVERYONE.  Whether you’re disguised behind an invented gravatar, code-name or handle, some fictional aspect of yourselves – it doesn’t matter – I believe it’s originating with a person, that’s important to me, and so are you.  Thank you each for whatever it is you provide to this vast and wriggling system of signs.

A “Person Award” to you all – as in recognition, not as bestowal.