LOVE L-E-T-T-E-R-S (Part Three)

by Hills Snyder July 24, 2021


“The wind was the first thing,” the old man said.

– Jon Raymond

A growing number of people have been asked two questions, followed by a third in response to their answers to the first two.

Question 1: What is at the top of your mind?

Question 2: What is in the bottom of your heart?

Read on.

LOVE L-E-T-T-E-R-S (Part Three)

Jennifer Hope Davy (writer, Berlin, Germany)

1. What is at the top of your mind?

a person

2. What is in the bottom of your heart?


3. What is in the middle of your radiant?


Joey Fauerso (artist, San Antonio, TX)

1. This week at the top of my mind is helping my dad recover from hip replacement surgery. It has been a rough time for him, lots of excruciating pain and what looks like what will be a little bit of a long recovery. It has been hard on both my parents. He still amazes me with his good attitude. He is kind even when he is suffering, he tells stories and overshares with the nurses, always eager to make a human connection. I think that is why he is so loved. But to be honest the top of my mind is pretty packed. Brendan started a new school, I am teaching online, trying to support students who have been put through a lot. I am squeezing in making artwork in a ridiculous, fractured, hurried way, which I guess is how I have been working since I had kids.


2. At the bottom of my heart is the sweetness and steadiness of Riley. My love for my family and gratitude for my friends. The depth of my love for Brendan and Paul. Missing Katie Pell all year. After this year, at the bottom of my heart is tenderness and sadness, but also so much love. I was just talking to Michael Velliquette about this, one of the gifts of getting older is that your heart continues to grow.


3. “one of the gifts of getting older is that your heart continues to grow” — This is not a foregone conclusion, but a choice that experience may lead to. There is no guarantee of getting there. Any given day may present a series of forking paths leading you to or away from this ideal. If you find that you’ve chosen wrongly, do you tend to make a lateral move to get you back on track or is returning to the point of departure a more satisfying way to accomplish the return?

You’re right, it’s not a given that as we get older, we will grow in empathy, connecting to a broader arc of human experience, but that’s the hope. I think for myself when I realize that I’m on the wrong path, or have failed in my judgment, I tend to reset and try again from the beginning. I think of it more like a wheel than a path.

Heyd Fontenot (artist, San Antonio, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind?

Color! Pattern! Propaganda!

2. What is in the bottom of your heart?

A deep puddle of salty tears.

3. I’m seeing the mill that never stops grinding ankle deep in blue-brown water under a GOBO sky. You’re a heroic silhouette, at least from this angle. What’s your next move?

Exodus and Salvation

Renee Garvens (actor, San Antonio, TX)

1. Top of your Mind

Worries. They swirl around my mind keeping me up at night. I see the clock at 2 and then 3 and then 4 and a worry appears at the top of my mind and I can’t drift back to sleep. I am up and thinking. My clock has been set to the wrong time since Spring Forward months ago. Some worries are small … why haven’t I set the clock to the correct time? Some worries are bigger, without an obvious end point … will my children overcome the challenges they face and how can I help them without crippling their independence and resilience? I try not to let the top of my mind take all of the energy out of the day but sometimes, it does.

2. Bottom of your heart

Love. Pride and love and gratitude wash over me in moments every day. Beautiful, incredible, wonderful children of mine…perfectly imperfect, growing, glowing, becoming fully human with a friendship that grows and changes but always remains, mother and child. I am loved by a woman who is my wife. I never thought I could say that and the secret desire for that dream to come true is bliss unless we forget for a few seconds and fight over which towels in the kitchen to use to clean up the dog’s vomit. My family. My friends. I cherish them.

The grief lives there too… for my mother, for my brother, for the other people I have loved and have died. It’s unfair and anger lives there too. But inside this grief, in the bottom of my heart, lives a deep capacity for love that only the realization of the fragility of life that sudden loss can teach. I don’t waste as much time anymore on fragments of pettiness that don’t really matter and I try to live in that soft, mushy place at the bottom of my heart as much as I can.

3. There is no greater teacher than loss, sudden or otherwise. What is left is incandescent. Can you use that light to burn the swirls?

It’s true. It also leaves me somewhat impatient for the people around me who can’t see that light, that haven’t recognized that life is very short and fragile. We humans waste so much time. I am on fire to experience life fully. The light burns inside me to love with abandon and let go the petty expectations of how things should be. That’s the fire and the light within. Grief and Loss shine brightly and then burn out the insignificant. Could I use it to calm my anxiety? While I certainly recognize the need to embrace the present moment, the knowledge that loss is inevitable for all of us is the monster that keeps me up at night. I might try imagining the incandescent reality of our fragile existence as water and allowing it wash over me in moments when I am anxious and afraid. It feels possible to drown that monster with a blue wave of cooling water.

Mark Hogensen (artist, San Antonio, TX)

At the top of my mind……

I’m startled by the rapid change of my mental scenery — reminding that you really can’t think of two things at once. So many blurry ideas crowding into a limited space searching for clarity. Every thought arriving at the forefront comes attached with the asterisk of Covid 19. It requires a continuous recalibration, an editing or adapting of strategies to try to make sense of the previously unimaginable place I find myself. My inner dialogue argues that this is the way it has always been — and always will be. When the rare moments of clarity appear, I can once again appreciate the beauty and subtleties of life. At the top there is a preoccupation with family and my hopes and fears for the future.

At the bottom of my heart……

To shape and maintain a positive worldview while being simultaneously confronted with widespread acts that are not honorable in character or purpose, is a demanding process. I feel now, more than ever before, a need to embrace love and positive thinking as a restorative path forward for the well-being of my family, my friends and our world. Ideas are from the top of my head and feelings are from the bottom of my heart.

3. I well remember an encounter you had with the intoxicating angel. You said “I don’t want to leave.” Those words are solar for me, they shine at the bottom of my heart and illuminate everything surrounding with warmth. I sense you are polishing your sun, a lens. And you’ve alluded to something that has been on display for too many recent years — when the leader of a country puts bad behavior on daily display, it does naturally lead one toward self-examination. Patti Smith said something to the effect that the transformation of waste is the oldest occupation of humanity (and I don’t think she was only referring to the way the bodily machine processes food). How do you get past the duality of the inner dialogue, the constant “on the other hand” that, in the guise of open-ness, actually closes possibility?

Examine the validity of the conversation, the inner dialogue. Is it predicated on you as an unchangeable being? Will you continue to steadfastly hold to your long-held viewpoint? It’s easy to accommodate a dialogue when you are certain that your view is right. 

A former colleague of mine, in response to the murder of George Floyd, wrote an essay addressing the concept of justice by asking if you can shed your self appointed labels and be open to embracing truth — to rethink your well-learned habits.

No time like the present for rethinking closely held assumptions. A global pandemic, climate disasters, heightened racial awareness and political shenanigans have prompted a search for individual and community moral accountability. 

The “guise of open-ness” allows for the dialogue to flourish. Hopefully, as the dialogue evolves, new ground is explored and if you are more than a little bit lucky, a better understanding, or at least, a more thorough comprehension is reached.

On the other hand… .

P.S. this isn’t a reliable strategy for great outcomes, but it can generate the possibility of great expectations. 

Julia Barbosa Landois (artist, Houston, TX)

What is at the top of your mind?

Emergence and change. Another artist asked me what one word I would use to describe how I’m feeling and my reply was, “cicada.” Everyone I know has been depressed, and I want us all to crawl out of the darkness together like a bug-eyed choir. I want to sing in the hot breeze. I want to leave my shell for someone else to find.

What’s at the bottom of your heart?

People are probably sick of hearing about grief in a pandemic, but I might as well be honest. I’ve missed the rituals necessary for chewing through it — the casseroles and beer-soaked recollections; my mother’s cousin’s daughter’s face across the funeral home, wearing my nose. I’m old enough to know now that I should carry Kleenex in my purse, for myself and for the girl in the next pew who came unprepared. I’m waiting to be someone’s Kleenex angel.

3. The Kleenex is working for me. Thank you. And no worries, I’ll compost it, tears and all. Where will you most likely wait?

At the base of a tree, of course!

Jayne Lawrence (artist, San Antonio, TX)

1. The top of my mind is filled with the things in my life that elicit profound happiness. I envision that this area contains something like a strike pad on a lighter, sparking when over stimulated to create a flame, an internal light that when bright enough, others can sense.

2. The bottom of my heart is a chamber containing profound sadness and pain. It is the chamber that anchors or holds me to this existence. When the chamber is too full or over-stimulated there is a danger of extinguishing the flame at the top. It becomes hard to catch the next breath.

3. The first thing that occurred to me when reading your questions is the alchemical athanor. Is this concept relevant for you in any way?

I love that reference but I was thinking about the heart as more of a container of emotions in constant flux rather a metaphorical furnace used in the process of spiritual conversion. The heart contains emotions that are situational and based on their juxtaposition to other occurrences and timing. Processing our emotions occurs in the head. When the mind is separated from the heart, we operate instinctually, without rhyme or reason. We only feel and are left with the adage “The heart wants what it wants.”

Korby Lenker (musician, Nashville, TN)

What’s at the top of your mind?

Learning this new trick, which after some thinking I might call ‘resting in a bond.’ See. I just got married. Something about commitment is so, well, freeing. An important part of the question answered. I love her, and she, me. I have a family now. The new question arises: how does an essentially dissatisfied restless critical insecure daydreaming night-sweating person continue the press toward invention without squishing the actual apparatus of life?

Artists are dangerous. What I like about them. Just not sure I would want to be married to one. So now that she is, I consider her: when I work, she figures in. I don’t think she’s aware of that. The creative hours are so precious now. Daily deadlines. It’s more expensive than ever to take chances. Loudly ticks the clock. Always a hard out. So, I can go to the grocery store and buy her the yoghurt she likes and listen to the surprises of her day and rub her feet in the place where it hurts.

I think: maybe it is easier to love and be loved than it is to write one decent couplet. I think: damn she puts up with a lot.

What’s at the bottom of your heart?

Every artist’s heart holds a secret chamber. How can it be otherwise?

3. “I keep the ends out for the tie that binds” —  surely one of the greatest song lyrics from the previous century. I suspect you’ve nurtured that, the keeping the ends out. Anything you want to say about that, or even the song?

What a perfect expression. I’m not sure this was the meaning Cash intended, because he was already married when he wrote the song, but to me, the ends precede the bind. You keep the ends out in anticipation of the knot that may or may not come.

I kept the ends out for most of my life, because the prospect of participating in an absolutely committed relationship wasn’t as interesting as keeping myself open to some world of possibility and promise. I was in a few long-term relationships over the first two decades of my adult life, and they were all conditional. I probably wouldn’t have then admitted that in so many words, to myself, to my then-partner, but the proof was in the undoing. Something better came along. Most times, that better thing was just the promise of the road, the feeling of endless travel, the ease of being alone rather than participating in the catalogue of domestic communiques necessitated by a life shared. If I’m being blunt, no one was worth the inconvenience. And in the meantime there was music, books, writing, exploring working. I love working.

But at some point even the never-ending new gets tired. Ani DiFranco has a great little line about a goldfish inside a fishbowl swimming around and around, where the ‘little plastic castle is a surprise every time.” Eventually you get sick of plastic castles.

I was very lucky. Someone came along who was herself an endless adventure. When you place someone else’s well-being at the same level as your own … well, that’s a kind of living I’ve never known before. There are daily surprises. It’s a genuinely new adventure.

Leigh Anne Lester (artist, San Antonio, TX)

What is at the top of my mind?

Primarily, how god damned lucky I am. I have a stable home and I haven’t caught covid. I want to find the joy in simplicity. With that said, my mind is a parfait of thoughts and urgencies. It changes from day to day, week to week, month to month. That may not have been the case pre-covid, but, I believe with the monotony of life as we know it, I keep a scattering of attentions to make a diversion of variation. At least, that is what I am telling myself.

What is at the bottom of my heart? 

That is a dark place that wrestles with light. Presently, the light is winning. For self- preservation, I see the dark so as not to be blind-sided by the shittiness of human creatures. So more than likely, I am a light-hearted heart and the dark just keeps me grounded.

3. Jackson Browne sings a lot about the shelter of darkness — a factoid of any apparent purpose. If you were suspended above your scattering of attentions, giving a reference point to each focus, with you in the center, what shape would it be?

There would be a hood of darkness (of course!) and then there would be tendrils of ricocheting disenchantment, bewilderment, a warm beating heart of rapture, with miles that I can’t see to know who I am, staccatoed with long bits of nothingness and glowing realizations of bouquets. More tendrils would unfurl to trill notes of resourcefulness.

So in short, a circle.

David Longoria (musician, Austin, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind?

At the top of my mind is a place where I tag along with thoughts that are swimming by, like small fish. The ocean is vast, but now I’m thinking about my experience teaching high school students Law and what laws are made of and where they come from and how they make us feel when someone breaks them, or makes them. And I’m also thinking about Texas Highway 17 from FT. Davis to Marfa and this email that I got from Hills Snyder about the LP that arrived and the drawing with the big cottonwood tree. I’m thinking about babies. How do you take care of one? And back to the top of my mind… crowded? The question changes the answer. No, not crowded. The top of mind is empty and clear. It is warm and musical, but the signature is inconceivable. The notes ring out.

2. What is in the bottom of your heart?

A feeling is there in the bottom of my heart. It presents itself when I think of family and friends. The feeling can extend infinitely but it has some kind of home, near, in center-less space. I think a word that describes it is compassion. It feels like love and suffering at the same time. It is gentle. It is deep down in the bottomless bottom of my heart.

3. “It feels like love and suffering at the same time.” Sounds like expansion contained. Does the containment have a purpose?

That’s a great insight. I would say that the containment is part of the purpose, like a stage on the path.  I have a lyric, “like everything contained one day will be released.” Without containers it seems there would be no play of existence. We would be nowhere but without being somewhere first. You have to be somewhere to get to nowhere otherwise there’s no relationship.  The feeling has purpose because it changes.

Scott Martin (artist, San Antonio, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind?

Getting my family through this crazy year.

2. What is in the bottom of your heart?

Being my best self, a thoughtful presence that people (including myself) can rely on in uncertain times.

3. What’s the remedy when your best self lets you down?

Retreat and reassess

John Mata (artist, Louisville, KY)

Top of my mind:

The top of my mind is deceiving and yet reaffirming. I usually try to shut the mind off. It’s everywhere: Am I going to make it out here in Louisville. What is “Making It?” Am I just another Bob Seger song and “Still The Same?” Is death something to fear or something to look forward to. Am I living an honest life? Should I be closer to family back in Texas? My answer to all of three questions is yes, then no, then yes, then no, ad infinitum. But I still want to try and see if I can flip my own matrix. LOL.

Bottom of my heart:

I keep telling myself “one day at a time for the rest of your life” in relation to my challenge with self-judgment. I feel like my thought that others are judging me the way I judge myself is a sabotage. The “one day at a time” mantra helps with this as well. Let’s me know that it is a one day at a time for the rest of your life game.

Man, I love living, especially when given a questions like these. Thank You!

3. What will happen if you make these three drawings? — death / honesty / family

A triptych that puts the issues to rest or that gives them a new place to live. A way to move on. 

Michele Monseau (artist/musician, San Antonio, TX)

What is at the top of your mind?

Zig zagging, new beginnings, a sense of renewal, re-convening, resolve, old endings, putting things away, everything in its right place, hope, doors opening and closing, self-reliance, Marcus, a 19 year-old rickety, blind kitty with an incredible will to live, CiCi, a 15 year old kitty who just had a stroke but now seems back to normal — how difficult, stressful and rewarding it is having 2 elderly pets/family members. In this last year of solitude, which is not quite over, I’ve realized I don’t need much. I often wonder if I might be a robot.

What is in the bottom of your heart?

Everyone I’ve loved and lost
All the plates I’ve juggled and tossed
Far flung frisbees
Full of chicken soup

Conversations with myself and you
Intimations, implications, missing in action

Some days I take the highway
Sometimes I want to whiz by
Everything and everyone that’s burned into my mind’s eye

Some days I take the scenic route
Sometimes I need a pretty way out
Most nights I need an escape route

Some nights I take the highway
That leads me to the airport
I fly above a landscape I can’t see

Some days I take the footpath
If I had eight legs I’d leave eight tracks
But I don’t
I don’t
Sometimes I hear the birds call
Some days I go to the waterfall
And listen to the wind blow the storm in


3. What are you usually doing when you wonder if you’re a robot?

mundane repetitive activities

Gurf Morlix (musician, Austin, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind?      

Making art. Hopefully. Every day. That is the goal.

2. What is in the bottom of your heart?       

Friends, work, and family. In any order you might choose. That is all we as human beings have, really.

3. Can you share the memory of a moment when friends and family, either knowingly or otherwise, shared in the production of your art?

My art, and my essential being, for that matter, is some strange amalgam of every bit of music I’ve ever heard, every sentence I’ve ever read, every emotion I’ve experienced, and memories of every single person I’ve encountered in my life. Friends and family are up at the top of that pile. Well… most of ‘em, anyway.

Justin Parr (artist, San Antonio, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind? 

An as of yet unexplainable urge to get something pertinent done. What is that pertinent thing? I do not know.

2.  What is at the bottom of your heart?

That pertinent thing.

3. You’re suspicion of the moving image is known — “turn it off.” And your answers to questions one and two sound like you’re closing in on something from multiple angles. —— head, heart. Does bodily movement have a role to play?

It could have a role to play. Movement is definitely the common denominator. Your question makes me think of this:

Joe Reyes (musician, San Antonio, TX)

1.what is at the top of my mind?

love, usually. if it’s not love, then i’m doing my best to let love reach the top. and that’s the struggle most of us deal with. at life’s end, it would be best to not have anything in mind anymore except the idea of giving more love, even from beyond the grave. when i visited my aunt on the last day of her life, she asked if she could get ME anything. something like that.

2. what is at the bottom of my heart?

extreme gratitude, with the occasional flash of morbidity.
life is truly like a dream, in which i wake up and have the ability to codify what i feel with music. but like the grinds of coffee meandering at the bottom of the cup, there are downsides to this ability: ego, depression, anxiety, and the occasional physical pain, can warp the view, and the songs come out undone, overdone, not yet edible. they don’t go into a scrapheap. they go back into the hopper to be recycled into a poem, or a letter to a friend, or a lesson with a student. nothing is lost, everything is gained, so that the bottom of my heart and my cup keeps reading, ‘thanks’.

3. Your grandmother’s query, “can I get you anything” presumably from “beyond the grave” is indicative of a question and possible answer so very different from say, the dynamic of the Q and A in Boots of Spanish Leather. Would you mind speaking to that contrast?

In the Dylan song, there’s a sense of unrequited love in the Q and A between narrator and protagonist; that one person cannot give what the other person really wants — and Spanish boots seem to be part of a bargain made at the song’s end. I actually said in an old interview with artist Gary Sweeney that unrequited love may be the most powerful of all. But this was before my Aunt Bea fought for several years with cancer and our visits became more frequent when she moved to Austin to be with her sister.

My aunt’s devotion to a higher power, whose life had been in service to everyone in her community in El Paso where she lived most of her life, seems like the opposite of the Dylan song’s character. There is no pining, there is only the chance to help and do good. She was by far one of the most lively, generous, selfless people I’ve ever known. It was her ability to meet each moment head-on and do her best that influenced the way I live and play music; not for myself, but for all the other players, friends, producers, and listeners. Once I embraced each moment as she did (even her final moments), that’s when I felt myself align with the universe in the way that Richard Feynman, Kurt Vonnegut, or Ram Dass would. It was a philosophy that I was fortunate to witness first-hand, every time I got to visit with Aunt Bea and her selfless love of this world.

Erik Sanden (musician, San Antonio, TX)

1. What is at the top of your mind?  

At the top of my consciousness right now: my band, Buttercup. After a year of pandemic separation, we’ve finally gathered in our practice room to make music. In the pandemic I had written no songs, zilch, nada. My guitar literally covered in dust. I was surprised to find that, for me, performance is my muse. With zero performances on the horizon, zero songs get written. But now, the muse is back, and an epiphany followed: why not write what you really know? And that is us. Instantly, songs emerge, still half buried. Digging them out. A song about Joe Reyes. A song about odie. A song about Claire Rousay. A song about our practice room. A song about me.

2. What is in the bottom of your heart? 

My father. The loved ones that have disappeared. I carry the torch for them forever.

3. And in that mean time you wrote some stories, good ones. I’ve read them and kept them to read again, and kept them. And everybody here, and everybody not here, is collaborating on this story, that story, and the other story. When I stand on top of all the infrastructures that support the human hive, all I hear are stories. I hear them, see them, sense them. It’s as if stories are the point of all of it. Are they?

I would guess: yes. My friend Dana was asked the question “is literature useful?” by the New York Times. She said strictly speaking it’s not a tool — not like physics or maths. But that’s not the point of storytelling. She mentioned Kafka’s stunning definition of literature: “an ice axe to break the sea frozen inside us.” Wow. I like that very much. I know that it is stories that move me, that haunt me. That sustain me. So yes, this story telling ape wouldn’t last long without them.

Chris Sauter (artist, San Antonio, TX)

Funny how the answers to these questions can shift dramatically from day to day. 

1. What is at the top of your mind? 

mortality. My grandmother just died and I will be 50yo this year. Both of these events have focused my attention on life, legacy, possessions, focus, desires… with an end in mind.

2. What is in the bottom of your heart? 

longing. Feeling deeply that I want something and have something to say but not knowing exactly what those things are or even if they are the same thing.

3. I can almost hear you stretching your reach. Do you have a future as a blade of grass?

Although I have balanced a few cakes on a botanical finger, I think my future is more mycological.

Courtney Winn Sheets (artist, San Antonio, TX)

Top of mind. 

In summer of 2019, I moved from the Northeast to a new-to-me country in the United States, the balmy south central Texan plains. I was a newcomer to a loosely knit group of inspiring artists, writers, and creatives.  I found myself in the sweet spot of a Southernly arts hub full of lively charms. Everyone knew everyone and seemed to enjoy each other.  Meanwhile I settled into cohabitation with my beau.

Mere months later those I had just begun to form connections with were relegated to private pods. From my view in isolation, I pondered my role within this landscape while reconnecting with those in my former homes up and down the East and West Coasts, the Midwest and Southwest — all through a tiny screen (of course).

This social distance brought into greater relief the alliances formed over the years, dissolved, reformed, lost, newly found, transformed and put on pause until a precariously unknown future, when we could all gather, travel and breathe with each other again. A shifting of people, places and times coalesced into a web, based not on geography but affinity and availability. All plans were put on pause and reconsidered. Moving right before a pandemic made the situation even more surreal. I am grateful to be where I am and to have a partner who helps me stay in touch with reality & out of cults and is a constant example of creativity and love in action. I sense the warmth from a vibrant collective that pulses at an ever-narrowing distance, reminding me that this land is a welcoming and diverse habitat in which to grow.

Bottom of Heart. 

The nature of isolation and unemployment enacts off-the-grid routines that leave a gap for what lies beneath the normal activities, travels, and engagements of pre-covid times. Bubbling forth from every direction, perhaps excited for the stage finally, came my angels and devils to have words with me. I listened, took rides on some of them, cried with some, partied with others and made necessary adjustments. I asked myself how I could be of service to the collective as I am now, and what makes me most happy — not from a candy-coated lens, but from my can’t-live-without-it-if-I-wanted-to center.

Community can reinforce identities that have shifted over time and are no longer on the mark but our fellow humans can also keep our truth intact, giving us at times a clearer reflection of ourselves than we have without them. I miss the comforting connections, the everyday interactions of humor, kindness, shared insights, camaraderie, the less controlled environments and unpredictable adventures with friends, family and even strangers. These are essential and make me feel more whole. Exchanges in physical presence lend a richness and beauty that singularity and the inter-webs cannot reach. At our best, we are inestimable gifts to each other. We can be blessings, allies, challenges or curses to each another but no matter what the case may be life without each other is undeniably askew.

3. Isolation giving way to connection is a thread right here. Anyone who might be reading this that you’d like to get a message to?

If I haven’t been in touch with you, you are in my heart. My gypsy routes can be hard to keep up with and maintain. If you are wondering why I haven’t telephoned, don’t worry about it. We are connected.

Bryan Wheeler (artist/musician, Lubbock, TX)

I appreciate the questions. Even though they are fundamental, and I feel like I take time for reflection, I’ve just never thought about it like this. I can see value in revisiting these questions regularly.

What’s at the top of my mind?

Top of mind is family. There’s a lot of competition, what with the incessant mundane. Making time for all the daily things I want and have to do. And with, well, the matters of the mind. Trying to find meaning and unassailable truth, though I know it’s always over the horizon. But I always end up back with my parents, brothers, and Kristen and Jackson. Hoping and helping towards what’s needed, for now and later.

Bottom of my heart? 

I struggle with that. Hard to see down there in the shadows cast by what’s at the top of my mind. It’s something like an absurd opera whispered over a continually shifting, atonal drone. Based on the argument between Sartre and Camus. We know what’s right; we just don’t know how to get there.

3. What light is casting those shadows? Where is it located?

It starts as a spark, later an intermittent light. A moment of coming to consciousness followed by another instant of unconscious understanding, then a new plateau to explore. It exists where we find it. But for me, it often emerges from the distant past to locate me in my present.

Jackie Wheeler (The Wheeler Brothers’ mother, Lubbock, TX)

1. At the top of my mind is selfishness because I have been dealing with a total knee replacement for 4 months, and it is now called stiff knee and I have to have further hospitalization. I wonder if I will ever be able to walk again without limping, and the pain is there 24/7.  So it is hard to think of anything else.

2. The bottom of my soul finds me wondering about the happiness of my three sons in the corrupt world we are leaving for them.

3. Has the world ever not been corrupt… and yet people find happiness. Is it possible that the presence of the one fuels the production of the other?

There have always been corrupt people in the world. However, we have seen in the past few years that the Trump cult has garnered almost half the people in the US to follow him, a misogynist, amoral, sex offender. A country with that many people without morals is hard to live in. Keeping ourselves from those types of people is hard, especially in Texas. Our guys may have to leave the US to find people who have like ideas looking for happiness. Families used to be a good place to find happiness, but now they have fallen apart due to the ideas of our broken country. So, yes, I can see the corrupt cult fuels the lack of happiness.


Coming up in Part Four, appearing in Glasstire on Saturday, August 7: Kimberley Aubuchon, Mike Casey, James Cobb, Jennifer Ling Datchuk, Sarah Fox, Shane Heinemeier, Sarita Talusani Keller, Meg Langhorne, Melissa Longenecker, Jack Massing, Celia Álvarez Muñoz, Ariane Roesch, Walter Salas-Humara, Barbara Sturm, Gary Sweeney, Kate Terrell, Andrew Thornton, Randy Wallace, Catherine Walworth.

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