If I had never studied the Qur'an, if I had never known any Muslims, I might be ignorant enough to confuse the al Qaeda with Islam. That would be like confusing the Mafia with Catholicism ... but I have noticed that some people go out of their way to be confused ...
Major influences have been my lifelong fascination with religions, politics, cultures, history, and the way that people adhere to what they like, disregard what they do not like, and the way folks manage to misuse almost everything at the same time that they brag about their progress. Literary influences are too numerous to list here, but I owe much to the late Willian Safire, columnist for the New York Times Magazine and author of "On Language," a must read for any serious writer.
"Fallen Sword" is a favorite online role-playing game and I am also an avid player on Farmville - again as "Fallen Sword" - on Facebook. When I want some real action, I turn to Perfect World - where the monsters are awesome and they fight back. Reality is whatever you are interacting with right now, no matter what that might be.
Once in a while, I come up out of the virtual world into the light of day [OMG] of our Real World ... and then I become Ted L Glines ... long enough to scribble a poem, check my email, and see if anything has changed. Usually, all it takes is about fifteen minutes of watching CNN ... to make me dive back into the world of killing virtual monsters. Life is good.
I am far from sure that age bequeaths wisdom. Born in December of 1940, I am still looking for the fabled wisdom of those who are old and grey. Life is a teacher but often the lessons are contradictory and misleading. When I was very young, I believed that snakes with a fondness for apples climbed around in trees. Later on, I thought that my sexual ardour was the same thing as Love. At some point, I reasoned that God was probably not a white guy who looked like Zeus, and He also might not be busy writing my life story either. Big epiphanies! After so many years of wars and rumors of wars, all of them having excuses not worth anyone dying for, I have concluded that most of the supporting public is both ignorant and gullible, and they seem quite content to remain that way [thank you very much]. One of these days, I will go to my grave, assured in the knowledge that wisdom has never been a problem for me LOL
Religion? For me, the entirety of the Bible contains only several worthwhile religious thoughts; those short statements where God was speaking directly to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, and Jesus. Those six short speeches contain God's covenant with His people. The agendas of men have built religions where that simple covenant fails to exist, and that is a blasphemous shame. A confused religion begets a confused culture and God does not support confusion ...
"There’s an African saying: ‘If we go forward, we die; if we go backward, we die. So let’s go forward and die.’ " ~Interview by Leslee Goodman - Using the logic of lemmings in a fast-lane world, standing still is not an option.
On Abraham's Nose
by Ted L Glines
Five days into my climb, with pitons dug in, I was cradled in my safety-net on the bridge of Lincoln's nose. Even the biting Mt. Rushmore winds could not work through my multi-padded thermal gear. I was toasty and more than ready to be asleep.
One more day and I would be summit-camping on Abraham's hair. Channel 10 would have their photo op and a chartered chopper would hop me back to base camp. Today had been an exhausting inch-by-inch struggle up sheer and smooth rock faces. My whole body was a dull ache. Huddled into my favorite fetal position, I pulled my hood over my head and began my spiral down into soothing sleep. Perchance to dream an old dream.
There he was, propped on a high rock overlooking the wooded valley he had always loved. Dressed in his finest, fine pots and furs and stone jewelry lay all around him. Our venerated shaman began the dance and the song to send my grandfather to his ancestors in the spirit web. Family members and friends joined the dance in a slow circle, singing with the shaman. Running Buffalo, my father, wept openly, as did others who had been close to grandfather. The dance of death moved in a slow and rhythmic shuffle with a back beat of beads and copper bracelets, with the words of the song an hypnotic gutteral drumbeat of its own in a morning already perfumed by heat and sage. The song blessed grandfather's spirit and bid the ancestors to come and guide him to the star web, chanted words of praise and love for grandfather, praying also that his spirit should not remain on earth to roam in misery and do mischief. The words and the dance pounded on and on and slowly faded from my mind.
Silence. Quiet like I had never experienced before. For the first time in my life, I heard no outside sounds. I did not feel the rock against my fingers and the dry scent of the rock was absent. Actually, I could not feel my fingers at all, as if they were absent. Same thing with the rest of my body; no feeling of volume or bulk or substance. No light of any kind. I could not feel my lungs expanding and contracting, and the thump of my heart was not there. No sensory input of any kind. It was as if I floated in a non-sentient place, somehow out of my body and away from the sights and sounds and smells and tastes and touches which always had been there. Where was I?
Only moments ago, I had been hunkered down in a safety harness high on the nose of Abraham Lincoln preparing to sleep before tomorrow morning's final climb. And then the old dream. Maybe I had somehow slipped into an altered state of nothing where no substance existed and "I" was only a figment of my imagination. Maybe I had died. But, no, that could not be. In the stories, it always talked about seeing a tunnel and a bright white light.
I sensed nothing; nothing at all but my own wonderment and, way back in the background, the hint of a coming fear. I began to wonder, was this what grandfather was feeling? No, the ancestors were all around him, leading him home to the star web. His mother and sisters were with him. Spirits with no bodies. And then I thought, without lips, how could he taste their kisses? With no nose, how would he smell the wind and their cooking fires? How would he hear their laughter and their songs if his ears were gone? How would he see them, or anything, without eyes. And without fingers or skin, grandfather would have no sense of touch, would he? Things of the spirits are better left to the shaman. Which left me right where I was to start with. Nowhere, smack dab in the middle of nothing, an "I" with no connection to anything, with not even the feeling of time passing.
Yes, the fear came and with it, the sure knowledge that I had somehow died at the end of grandfather's dream. Where did that leave me? Out here in nowhere, connected to nothing, with nowhere to go ... forever? But what can "forever" be if no time passes? Where was the tunnel and the bright white light? No eyes meant that I would never see it. Maybe I was passing through the tunnel, unseen, but I felt no motion. Stillness without substance was what I felt. Not blackness, but nothingness with no volume. I had never believed the old stories about the ancestors coming to guide the newly dead to their home in the star web. In the same way, I had never given credence to the Pearly Gates, Heaven or Hell, or to Angels. Now, only now, I know why. Maybe something will happen? But when there is no passage of time, waiting has no meaning. If only I could write this down, but there is no paper, no pen, nor even fingers. If only I could have eyes again ... I would cry.