met at the high school. The band, the color guard, the veterans. Then
off for the quarter mile march down Hopkins Road, martial musicing to the
cemetery, right turn to the flagpole at the center, then lined up for the obligatory
speeches by the dignataries followed by the American Legion Post rifle salute
then the lingering notes of taps played over the hill.
to the park for picnics, sack races, softball games, band playing show
tunes, little kids running between the blankets where families sat, potato salad
tempting the ants.
home to reflective bed, the dead asleep in their graves, the
who sent them there asleep too.
But anyway, the point is, is that there are
all around us all the time, that we’re not aware of,
and some of these spirits are not good people. It’s the battle between good and evil, I think, that must be
going on everywhere in the universe, that these are opposing kinda things, but anyway, so the bad spirits,
they’re malevolent, and their leader is Mal, and Mal is the baddest of the bad. These spirits can’t live on the
planet like we do, in the material world, so it’s like they’re watching a ball game or something, but they want
to be in the action. But they can’t get in physically, but they can worm their way into your head. They have
agents working all the time, and a lot of their agents are human beings that have been so taken over by the
malevolent spirit that they will try to impose their scene on the rest of the world. You see this going on everywhere.
Guess what? There are also benevolent spirits up there! And the
spirits are lead by Bene…
and she’s a woman. And so Bene is working all the time, trying to get you not to think that crap, but think about
what’s good, and so finally the real thing comes down to like the I Ching says, you cannot fight evil head-on,
because it grows stronger. The more you fight against it, the stronger it gets. So you gotta slide sideways when
you’re doing something against evil, and let something from Bene come in there, until finally, if you’re really
good at this, and I suppose only the saints and Dalai Lama and people like that are, there’s no thoughts in their
mind except benevolent thoughts. That’s the real person inside, the benevolent, human person. So this, to me,
is something that I think could be taught in schools. Not a regular school, but maybe there would be an internet
school of the mind, teaching, it’s like music, you learn the scales, you’d learn how to do this… and then you turn
it loose and you just go, cause everything you do, you have to learn in a conscious way, you have to learn it step
by step by step, and once you’ve got it done it goes into your subconscious, and you don’t have to think about it
anymore, you just go. This is the groove, so you find the groove, and you go in the groove.
is an element of mystery because it happens so many times. It’s best if
just quit arguing with it. It’s more than serendipity. It’s more than coincidence. There’s a sense
of intelligence to it. This isn’t just random magic, this is magic for our benefit. Things are arranged
with a red line drawn under it saying Pay Attention To This.
is still paying attention. The kids are paying attention. But they’re
to the wrong thing. They’re paying attention to the loudest noise. If you’re a kid of three or four and
your parents are paying attention to television all the time, and you get in front of the television
just when there’s a gun battle going on, the parents will say, ‘Get out of the way!’ The kid is going
to say, ‘Look, what do I have to do to get attention?’ And what he does is he goes out and gets a gun
and that’s the quickest way in the world to get people’s attention. I think it’s going to be a good long
while before we get over television and the gun shows. The Wild West attitude. Let’s kill all the buffalos
because we’re white. But we have to get over that attitude or we won’t survive as a nation. We’ll tear
each other to
Perry earned a BA in poetry from the University of Iowa Writers'
author of two books of poetry and many published essays, interviews, and short stories. She was editor
and publisher of "Wild Dog Magazine," and the international literary journal, "Talus & Scree." She is
also the founder and former executive director of Writers On The Edge and the Nye Beach Writers’ Series
and is the owner of Dancing Moon Press. This interview was first published in Tin House Magazine April 2002.
every book they sell lands in some local household, or better yet gets passed around among
several households; and if it’s a good and worthy book, its influence in that community may
be felt for generations. Good books have resonance; they teach us how to behave, and our
behavior touches everyone around us. When a book is read by all of us—or some of us, or
even just a few of us—, it connects us to each other, via an intricate web of shared information.
You and I may not know one another at all, but we both know Randle P. McMurphy very well.
an old joke about a little boy with a toothache. His mother sends him
who pulls the offending tooth. When the boy comes home holding his still-aching jaw, his
mother says, “Well, how’s the toothache?”
“The toof don’t hurt,” the boy says ruefully, “but the toof-hole do.”
the effort to save Tsunami fails, the loss to Eugene’s arts community
incalculable. The toof-hole will hurt forever.