October 28th, 2024

T. Ruggles’ new book…

  • el
  • pt
  • Oh boy, oh boyAgainst the Day, coming soon to a bookstore near us.

    Spanning the period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and the years just after World War I, this novel moves from the labor troubles in Colorado to turn-of-the-century New York, to London and Gottingen, Venice and Vienna, the Balkans, Central Asia, Siberia at the time of the mysterious Tunguska Event, Mexico during the Revolution, postwar Paris, silent-era Hollywood, and one or two places not strictly speaking on the map at all.

    With a worldwide disaster looming just a few years ahead, it is a time of unrestrained corporate greed, false religiosity, moronic fecklessness, and evil intent in high places. No reference to the present day is intended or should be inferred.

    The sizable cast of characters includes anarchists, balloonists, gamblers, corporate tycoons, drug enthusiasts, innocents and decadents, mathematicians, mad scientists, shamans, psychics, and stage magicians, spies, detectives, adventuresses, and hired guns. There are cameo appearances by Nikola Tesla, Bela Lugosi, and Groucho Marx.

    As an era of certainty comes crashing down around their ears and an unpredictable future commences, these folks are mostly just trying to pursue their lives. Sometimes they manage to catch up; sometimes it’s their lives that pursue them.

    Meanwhile, the author is up to his usual business. Characters stop what they’re doing to sing what are for the most part stupid songs. Strange sexual practices take place. Obscure languages are spoken, not always idiomatically. Contrary-to-the-fact occurrences occur. If it is not the world, it is what the world might be with a minor adjustment or two. According to some, this is one of the main purposes of fiction.

    Let the reader decide, let the reader beware. Good luck.

    –Thomas Pynchon

    [hat tip to woods lot]

    October 28th, 2024

    Marshall Massey

    I have a three month old check on my desktop made out to the Omaha Friends meeting that belongs to Marshall Massey. The check was written to support Friend Massey’s walk from Omaha to the Baltimore Yearly Meeting where he was a keynote speaker this summer. There was, to my mind, an underlayment of inducement associated with the check, and I have had a hard time writing the cover letter and mailing it off. We sense that Marshall Massey has something to teach us, and that his presence in Wisconsin would help us gather like-minded Friends to address environmental concerns. But after speaking with him this summer it wasn’t clear whether or not he would want to use his time this way, and it was even more clear to me that sending a check hard on the heels of our conversation could be misinterpreted.

    A week ago, he wrote the last posting in a journal that he began in April that documented his leading and his journey. The time has come to give up the money.

    Tomorrow, in place of the regularly scheduled First Day worship at Madison Meeting, we are gathering for an extended worship sharing around the draft “Northern Yearly Meeting Faith and Practice” chapter titled “Concern for the Earth.” Any Friend Jonesing for an hour of Sunday worship can come for the regularly scheduled 9am worship, but the 11am worship, the more heavily attended, will begin at 10:30 and end at 1:00 and address our concern for the planet. This is a big deal, and the rescheduling actually might throw the planet out of orbit, so hold us in the light, please.

    As part of my witness tonight or tomorrow, I’ll write something simple for a cover letter and mail the check off to Marshall Massey’s meeting, thus hopefully quieting the voice within that has begun to nag me into action.

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