Jun. 23, 2003

Why I Take Good Care of my Macintosh

by Gary Snyder

MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2003
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Poem: "Why I Take Good Care of my Macintosh," by Gary Snyder (used by permission of the poet).

Why I Take Good Care of my Macintosh

Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,
Because it jumps like a skittish horse
    and sometimes throws me
Because it is poky when cold
Because plastic is a sad, strong material
    that is charming to rodents
Because it is flighty
Because my mind flies into it through my fingers
Because it leaps forward and backward,
    is an endless sniffer and searcher,
Because its keys click like hail on a boulder
And it winks when it goes out,

And puts word-heaps in hoards for me,
    dozens of pockets of
    gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods
    strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;
And I lose them and find them,

Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly layed out
    and then highlighted and vanish in a flash
    at "delete"     so it teaches
    of impermanence and pain;
And because my computer and me are both brief
    in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,
Because I have let it move in with me
    right inside the tent
And it goes with me out every morning
We fill up our baskets,       get back home,
Feel rich,      relax,      I throw it a scrap and it hums.

Literary Notes:

Tonight is Midsummer Night's Eve, also called St. John's Eve. St. John is the patron saint of beekeepers. It's a time when the hives are full of honey. The full moon that occurs this month was called the Mead Moon, because honey was fermented to make mead. That's where the word "honeymoon" comes from. Midsummer dew was said to have special healing powers. Women washed their faces in it to make themselves beautiful and young. They skipped naked through the dew to make themselves more fertile. It's a time for lovers. An old Swedish proverb says, "Midsummer Night is not long but it sets many cradles rocking." Midsummer Eve is also known as Herb Evening. Legend says that this is the best night for gathering magical herbs. Supposedly, a special plant flowers only on this night, and the person who picks it can understand the language of the trees. Flowers were placed under a pillow with the hope of important dreams about future lovers. Shakespeare set his play A Midsummer Night's Dream on this night. It tells the story of two young couples who wander into a magical forest outside Athens. In the play, Shakespeare wrote, "The course of true love never did run smooth."

It's the birthday of novelist and short story writer David Leavitt, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1961). His first story was published in the New Yorker when he was still a senior in college. It created a stir because it was the first story in the New Yorker with characters who were explicitly homosexual. When he was twenty-three, he published his first collection of stories, Family Dancing (1984). He said, "I don't think it's fair to say that writers have an obligation to write about any particular subject. A writer's only obligation is to write well."

It's the birthday of sex researcher Alfred C. Kinsey, born in Hoboken, New Jersey (1894). He was the first person to study human sexual behavior using modern scientific methods. He interviewed almost 19,000 people about their sexual behavior and published the results in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948). It found, for instance, that premarital sex was more prevalent than people thought, that masturbation does not cause mental illness, and that virtually all men do it. The book was 804 pages, and it sold 185,000 copies in its first year, making it a bestseller. Later, he published Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), which sold even better, and put him on the cover of Time magazine.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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