“This wandering is more than filling”

I’m stuck on a Lisa Loeb song, “Would You Wander,” tonight. It’s uncanny how songs can creep into our heads and dig up memories and brave new notions. This one is conjuring up great journeys and greater loves. I couldn’t ask for a better bridging theme to take me into this last day of May.

I made some ambitious goals earlier in the month, including a website redesign and preparing for a writing project to work on for the next year. I’ve finished up the redesign but the planning has fallen short of my target. I had hoped to have a rewrite of the opening piece ready for the launch on June 1st but that doesn’t look likely. I could blame it on the added distraction that changing jobs is bringing, but I’ll be honest and admit it’s a task that needs plenty of thinking and breathing (and daydreaming) time, not the headlong rush I intended. That’s ok, though, because I really want to make this a project I’ll be passionate about and see through to the end.

What is worse than a wanderlusting romantic? A wanderlusting, romantic would-be storyteller.

So, with less than 24 hours left I’m trying to tie up as many loose ends as I can. I’d like to have something somewhat substantial to mention on the first day of my new year so I may dig out an article I’ve been keeping in my bookmarks for months waiting to comment on it. Or I may write something dealing with commonism and open source. I just now had the thought of including my running “Romance” fragments as a sidebar item on the new site, so maybe that’s something I can craft for those few who stumble across the new site in its infancy.

When I arrived here tonight the hotel manager, who happens to be married to my cousin, was working late and stayed for a couple hours. Before she left she related to me a woeful tale of her daughter being cut from a soccer (football for you proper English folks) team. She’s been playing for four years and loved the game but the poor girl was one of three to not make the team and was quite heartbroken. She simply loved to play. I can’t help but feel sorry for her having her hopes dashed so, especially knowing how sensitive the poor lass is (and she’s also one of the most empathic people I’ve met of any age).

I began my evening of work with a bit of inspiring reading in the form of a couple Neil Gaiman graphic novels. Little did I know when I picked them out that they’d both be fantastic explorations of memory, storytelling and childhood. Violent Cases dealt with violence, oddly enough, but was also an incredibly genuine look at childhood and perception.

An exploration of the trappings of violence and the failings of memory, Violent Cases marks the beginning of the astonishing and award-winning collaboration between author Neil Gaiman and the artist Dave McKean… Set only in the memory of its author, this brillant short story meanders through levels of recollection surrounding a childhood injury. After dislocating his arm, a young boy is taken to see a doctor – an aged osteopath who was once the doctor of legendary gangster Al Capone. Through studied observations and painstaking attempts at truthful recall, the author reconstructs his tattered memories of the events surrounding his meeting with the doctor, and delves into the psychological complexities that emerged from the doctor’s bizarre tales of Capone’s life of crime. Gorgeously illustrated in mixed media by Dave McKean, Violent Cases is a sensuous and thought-provoking meditation on our memories.

It was definitely one of the strongest graphic stories I’ve ever read; the visual work by Mr. McKean was incredibly evocative and fits Gaiman’s autobiographical story perfectly. Mr. Punch entwines a dark (it’s about marital disharmony and in this version includes murders), old puppet story that has spread worldwide and the story of a young boy.

In his grandfather’s failing seaside arcade,a young boy encounters a mysterious Punch and Judy man with a dark past, and a woman who makes her living playing a mermaid.
As their lives intertwine and their stories unfold, the boy is forced to confront family secrets, strange puppets and a nightmarish world of violence and betrayal, in a dark fable of childhood innocence and adult pain.

The photo work for the puppets added a great deal of creepiness to the story and once again McKean delivered artwork that matched Gaiman’s prose. These two books increased my already immense respect of both men and gave me an inspiring opening to the evening.

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