The Days Grow Short

Why do the church-bells go off frantically at exactly 7:38 AM on Saturday morning in downtown Milwaukee? That's another mystery I need to solve, by doing research, or asking around. My imagination is not getting me anywhere on that one. 7:38?

I had a very strange dream last night, worth writing down, and telling people about, but before you stop reading (which is what I know people do when someone starts talking about a strange dream) I forgot it, so I'm not going to be able to write it down, unless it comes back to me later during the day (which is always kind of weird when that happens). I think I forgot it because of a later dream, where I was pouring some cheap whiskey into a more expensive liquor bottle, and then I went out to where the people were, who were waiting to drink the whiskey, and poured the whiskey from that bottle into an even more expensive whiskey bottle—right in front of the people so they could see I was doing it.

What did it mean? I have no idea who the people were or why they were drinking the whiskey, but they were happy to get it poured into their little glasses, and they chuckled about me first pouring it into the more expensive bottle, and some might have remarked about it being pretty good whiskey, regardless. After I thought about this, after I woke up, I realized it was a very nice illustration of the concept of exposing or admitting to a lie in order to cover up a deeper lie. Which is, of course, a very common practice that probably comes naturally to many of us. There must be a name for this kind of lie, but I don't know what it is. I've got to figure that out. (If anyone reading this knows, send me an email: see the “contact” page for the address.)

Maybe I was thinking a lot about lies because of just watching the 10 part Vietnam documentary on PBS, or, of course, reading the current political news. Or the sports news. “I Tell Lies Every Day.” I'm not saying that—it's a song I just heard by Black Randy and the Metrosquad. Though, I'm lying, I didn't just hear it, I heard it years ago, but it makes more compelling writing to say “I just heard it.” We all lie, of course. What? You don't? You're lying.

Or maybe I was thinking about lies because before going to bed I was playing one of my songs, with one of the corniest lyrics I ever wrote: “I'm a big liar/I put out the fire/in the hearth/but not the fire in my heart.” I have recently put together a double set list of songs, from A to Z (song titles starting with those letters), mostly mine, a few covers. Which I hope to play if I can ever get over crippling stage-fright, and then find a place that will let me play two one hour sets, that's not a bar, is preferably not too late in the day, and where my music doesn't merely serve as an ignored backdrop to shopping, working on laptops, or disturbing sex rituals (whether they be of a Christian or Satanic nature).

Or maybe it is a book I started reading, Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon. I always loved and hated the movie made from that book, so it occurred to me to finally read it to see if I can find some insight into why I both love and hate the movie. You might sum up the story by saying it's about lying, lies, and liars, though of course it's about much more. But lies are at the heart of the story. I am really liking this book so far (first I've read by the author) and I'm also kind of riveted by the similarity and differences to the movie (which I've seen many times). I'm really, really curious how it will end.

And now, because I always bring everything back to me, there is also my book, called Nine Lies (which I just recently re-read) (actually, not that recently). You can find out more information about it under the “Media” tab. If you haven't read it, you might consider it. I still think it's pretty good. But it's not really about lies at all (well, sometimes it is). I guess the title comes from the idea that fiction, or stories, are essentially lies. But, of course, I don't believe that. I think stories are the only way to chip away at the unreachable, mysterious, knowably unknowable but still somehow important thing we think of as the truth.

Randy Russell, 30 September 2017