Monday, August 18, 2014


_________ Staying in Character _________

Endearing, though preposterous, as you were,
Real affection from persona fake
Incredibly, for your dear children’s sake,
Flowed naturally, –– but with a trace of myrrh.
This bitterness directed just toward you
Betrayed your guilt at living past the norm
Usually accepted as good form.
Oh how easily you’d have gotten through
Demands domestic, if you’d just been steady!
Sadly, however, urges wild and heady
Remained in charge, and so your judges ruled
Maturity you lacked. They’d not been fooled.
Only then –– by showing some resolve
Through queer disguise –– did you your problem solve.

A blessing in disguise

__________ Transition _________

Exactly what degree of sheer frustration 
Does it take, when one reaches the top,
Into the thorny depths of desperation
Causing Corey-like the urge to drop?
It seems success, applause and commendation
Unsettle more than they could satisfy.
Steeper grows the way toward relaxation;
Stifling, the climb would breath, itself, deny.
‘Tis not the rich reward of which one dreams.
No no! The price of glory’s much too high.
Inside the soul makes silent piercing screams ––
Bursting at the seams –– longing to die.
O, manic man, why did you fail to thrive?
Reaching out might have kept hope alive.

~ FreeThinke (8/17/14)

Robin Williams (1951-2014)


  1. RIP Robin Williams, your genius shall be missed

  2. FT,
    Thank you for writing these sonnets as tributes to Robin Williams.

    I hope that other readers of your blog will take the time to read and consider what you've written.

  3. Not even genius can always contain ambition/

  4. "I hope ... other readers ... will take ... time to read and consider what you've written."

    Thank you, AOW, but I won't bet on it. ;-)

    In the main people are not interested in what others have to say, what others think, or what others may -- or may not -- be all about.

    What people like most to do is complain about their lives, their lot in life, their illnesses, the state of the world, and most of all they love to shower contempt on each other.

    In my well-considered-but-rarely-if-ever-humble opinion Extreme Ego-Centrism is at the root, heart, and soul of mental illness and may possibly account for many physical ailments as well.

    The warped view born of self-centeredness may attract and hold physical problems -- in fact I see it as a kind of auto-immune disorder -- but it comes more from Poverty of Spirit than anything else.

    A long time ago someone published a book called The Excuse Factory. You may have read it, for it received a good deal of attention for quite a while.

    The Excuse Factory centered on a phenomenon brewing for decades that emerged like a flow of lava in the Sick-sties. It was yet another new "progressive" movement that aggressively promoted the notion that all undesirable behavior patterns must be considered a "disease" treatable, of course, with drugs and psychotherapy.

    Actually, part of the left's Let's Get God Our of Our Lives Once and For All and Ditch Him campaign, the Excuse Movement had wide appeal, because it fostered the belief that every wrong thing we do is the result of outside forces acting upon our innocent helpless, powerless little selves. In other words WE ARE ALL VICTIMS.

    Sound familiar?

    As most of us know -- or should know by now -- what-we-used-to-call "Godless Communism" without qualm of conscience is largely responsible for the slow-but-sure abandonment of faith in God and His Word and the replacement of our spiritual virtues and values with faith in materialism -- "Dialectical Materialism." Everything is purely PHYSICAL. Mind, Soul, and Spirit do not exist, except as projections of our pathetic desires and figments of our ignorance and vain imaginings.

    Think of what that has done to the world and to us s individuals.

    "God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap."

    'Tis the Devll who lives in "details." When we cut ourselves off from the Spiritual Essence at the heart of all phenomena, we cut ourselves off from the very Source of Life and all that is good.


    "Corey-like" refers to Richard Corey, the man in Edward Arlington Robinson's poem of the same name who had "everything" -- good looks, high intelligence, wealth, power. He was admired and envied by many, but "one night he put a bullet through his head."

  6. Terrific stuff, FT! I wish I had your gift. I would take it as a compliment that most either ignore or misunderstand what you offer. Please just keep on keeping on no matter what. You may have more fans than you realize, but even if you never hear from them, try to remember it's always better to be alone than in poor company. And I would add, when miserable people say unkind things it should be taken as a compliment, because it would be an insult if anyone of that sort said they liked you,

    ---------> Katharine Heartburn

  7. I was wondering, but didn't find anything pertinent when I Googled it. Thanks for the clarification.

    I don't suppose that you could channel Eliot or Joyce for me. I've still a few questions as to the meaning inherent in some of their references as well. ;)

  8. What does it mean for an artist to sell out?

    Was his life completely reduced to the pursuit of the almighty Benjamins...

  9. Just a few observations:

    The higher one climbs the further one can fall, and correspondingly the greater the fear of falling.

    One must of necessity be ego-centric to climb up on a stage in front of thousands, let alone tens, or hundreds and speak extemporaneously, let alone crack jokes. It's hard enough to speak from prepared talking points. I've been told I speak well and have done so in front of audiences numbering in the tens, MC'd events numbering in the 100's and walking off stage I could tell you what I talked about but don't have the slightest idea what I said ;)

    There is nothing more abjectly pitiful than washed up Hollywood types desperately clinging to fame and Hollywood (Not that I think Robin was washed up). I believe there is a common trait among that personality type that perceives fame as wonderful, infamy as acceptable, and public indifference as absolutely terrifying.

  10. To Thersites:

    MARK ROTHKO?!?! What utter crap! The critical praise heaped upon him is intellectualized SWILL. Talk about "pretentious!"

    This is why I remain devoted almost-but-not-quite-exclusively to the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods in music and nineteenth and early twentieth century British and American literature.

    So-called "Art" in the twentieth century became Irrational, anti-Social, and hostile to Beauty, Order and Refinement.

    Not that I haven't spent many happy hours at MOMA gazing in wonderment at myriad paintings and pieces of sculpture I wouldn't have in my house as a gift.

    But then, I wouldn't want Michelangelo's Ceiling in MY family chapel either, si there! };-)>

    I may be a classicist (primarily) but I am no Philistine.

    I may love the brilliant and refined, but I appreciate honest earthiness as much or more. I abhor the precious, the supercilious, the vain and the snide. And I abhor the sort of people who study "Art" in order to feel they have a right to look down on others who merely love or loathe it according to the dictates of their instincts and honest feelings.

  11. To Finntann:

    What an honor to have YOU here!

    "The higher one climbs the further one can fall, and correspondingly the greater the fear of falling."

    Yes, unfortunately that is too often the case, but a weak ego, poor-self-image, fears of innate inferiority, a frantic desire to get the love denied you as a child, etc. are most probably at the root of it -- NOT the artist's talent, itself.

    Ego-centrism stands in the way of TRUE artstry. Once the artist or performer becomes so self-conscious or so afraid he can't live up to his critical reputation he is apt to become paralyzed and effectively LOSE his TALENT.

    Pianist Validmir Horowitz, playwright Tennessee Williams, movie-comedienne Betty Hutton are notable examples. There are thousands of others whose careers were blighted by neurotic self-consciousness, fear of losing their audience, and falling prey to using drink and drugs as a crutch.

    HOWEVER, the very greatest creative and performing artists are so immersed in and absorbed by their work, so driven by a sense of mission, they rarely-if-ever think about themselves at all. They BELIEVE in what they are doing ABSOLUTELY. They are in fact POSSESSED by it. There is no PRETENSE about it. To this rare breed work is not a means to an end -- i.e. fame and fortune -- it is an end, itself. The artist's raison d'etre.

    I'm talking about such rare individuals as Shakespeare, Beethoven, Christopher Wren, Dickens, and odd, totally dedicated characters like Ghandi, Andrew Wyeth, and possibly Stephen Sondheim, a highly successful creative genius whose bravely experimental, uneven output I admire more and more s Io get to know it better. Derek Jacobi, the actor is another might put in that class.

  12. I was attempting to point to Rothko's suicide, and draw parallels to Williams'. It wasn't intended to be "art" commentary.

  13. ALSO:

    "I believe there is a common trait among that personality type that perceives fame as wonderful, infamy as acceptable, and public indifference as absolutely terrifying."

    Yes, I agree, and while SOME of those in that category may happen to be wonderful artists, the character flaw you describe so well does nothing to enhance their capabilities. Instead, it acts as a DETERRENT and DETRIMENT to their productivity.

    It wasn't until the ninteenth-century that a concept of The Artist as Hero came into being. Before then the Artist was regarded -- and regarded himself -- more as a SERVANT both to his Craft, which was extremely exacting, and to those who showed enough interest to COMMISSION his work to brighten up their Palaces, Cathedrals, Statehouses, Public Squares, Gardens public and private, Theaters, Opera companies, etc.

    Once the Artist "freed" himself from these constraints and became fiercely independent great wonders certainly did develop, but at a Price, of course. At this juncture the perculiar phenomenon of the Starving Artist Living in a Garret -- or the Gutter -- was born, and a lot of pretentious ne'er-do-wells with a paucity of talent began to crowd the the field and muddy the waters, as it were.

    As with everything the blessings involved are thoroughly mixed. Once "the vulgar populace," as Alexander Hamilton rightly dubbed them, began to call the shots -- thanks to the birth of Mass Production, Consumerism and the Advertising Industry -- cultural degeneration began in earnest and it's been downhill all the way ever since.

  14. I know, Thersites, but arrogant, snobbish imbeciles like Rothko who think more of themselves and their precious egos than they do of Life bug the bejesus out of me.

    If you read my sonnets carefully, you will see little evidence of mawkish sentimentality, hagiography -- or condemnation either. I am able to look at Art as separate and above those who produce it.

    In other words I don't care if Beethoven went around unkempt and practiced poor hygiene, or Schubert died of syphilis, or Andrew Wyeth had a mistress, or if Charles Dickens neglected his wife, or Michelangelo was a homosexual, or Laurence Olivier had an affair with Danny Kaye while married to Vivien Leigh or not -- or ANY of this crap.

    What matters is their WORK -- ONLY their WORK.

  15. That's very post-modern/ deconstructionist of you. I don't buy the "Death of the Author" meme. I still think that in order to understand a WORK, you must also know something of the Author and the message that HE was trying to convey.

  16. My comment about ego was in the necessity of having one, having a belief that the art one is producing is if not great, at least good and worthy of being put forward to the public, else one is likely to die with 400 paintings in the attic by someone that thinks you a little eccentric.

    On must by necessity have an ego to get on stage, show one's work, or perform one's work.

    I'm not sure that I agree with the vulgar populace assessment, art with mass appeal is looked down upon, snubbed, and made fun of. Art today is produced for, if you will, the vulgar elite, the art snobbery clique that can pat each other on the back while deriding the common man for "not understanding".

  17. ... make that "tossed out by someone that thinks you a little eccentric"



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