Year’s End (A Prologue)

Year’s End (A Prologue) © 2001

by philip scott wikel

Setting out on the prowl now

at “god-speeded” annum’s end

in the darkness and cold of 4am

and my slightly shaken converted garage

settling in the sand of time

when oceans broke down my back alley

and tore at what is now a row

of mexican sage hanging together with roses

and fuchsia…

Continue reading “Year’s End (A Prologue)”

A Child’s Christmas in New England

Hi Folks,

I hope this post finds you and yours well and celebrating the season in whichever way your tradition dictates. Whether its Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, Solstice or Sadeh, Christmas or Pancha Ganapti, I wish you all the best.

Following is my version of the Winter Tradition; at least as it was when I was a child. Ours, my family’s and mine, was one steeped in the Christian and Secular Tradition. Informed by the Christian Bible and embellished with the story of Old Saint Nick, we observed the birth of Christ and the Spirit of Giving embodied in Santa.

I hope you will enjoy this little story of mine and I also hope you will enjoy the company of good friends and family at this magical time of year. “Magical” in that, for many, all differences are set aside and an overarching sense of togetherness and good will are the markers of these days.

So without further ado, here is my A Child’s Christmas in New England (or somewhere thereabout), inspired by my favorite poet Dylan Thomas who decades ago wrote his A Child’s Christmas in Wales and for who I named my son.

Slainte! Merry Christmas! Le’chayim! Matunda ya kwanza! Feliz Navidad! Etc! Etc!

A Child’s Christmas in New England

by philip scott wikel

One Christmas was never quite like the other in those years in upstate New York, nearby the black dirt and the pines and Sugar Loaf Mountain all covered since Thanksgiving with a healthy velvet of white; slick, crisp and slippery (depending upon the time of day, night or clouds, and angles of the sun).

One Christmas was never quite like another, but all, from the morning of my eyes to the time when this snow-packed, snow-suited, frost-bit and chapped-lip boy went bounding toward the adulthood that swallows us; left as such to wish for the simple truth of a greyish-yellow snowbound sky, and snowflakes that gave chase and cooled the tips of tongues…

Continue reading “A Child’s Christmas in New England”

Here We Are Now, chapter 11

Hi Folks,

I still haven’t written chapter nine but here’s chapter 11. Nine’s going to take a while and some real focus and energy. It has to be right as, like I said before, it’s the turning point of the book.

Thanks again for stopping by.

See ya next time.


Here We Are Now, a novel of the grunge generation

by philip scott wikel

Chapter Eleven

Like everyone, Dylan had a million random thoughts. Not many liked to admit it and that’s where he had many of his problems with relating.

“How can an asshole wake up an asshole everyday?”

“Why do we poison each other with the crap that’s in food?”

“Why doesn’t Donald Trump get a decent haircut?”

“Where exactly is heaven if telescopes can see as far as they can?”

“Will Charlie Sheen ever make a decent film again?”

“Why doesn’t anyone say what they’re really thinking?”

“Why, after thousands of years of ‘civilization,’ the great achievements of the Greeks, Romans, the dynasties of China, the scholars of the Middle East, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, worldwide revolutions and world wars has the world still not managed to get it right?”

“Why does Christ get so much compassion when six million Jews experienced far more suffering than He did during World War Two?”

Every morning when I wake up I have to put myself back together. I’m in pieces and my psyche needs to be retrieved and reassembled. Some say it’s evidence of being the Taoist “uncarved block.” Nothing built-in. No expectations, illusions, or pre-conceived notions. Starting fresh every day…

It makes me think of other people; people in positions of power. People who make bad decisions based on their selfish needs and their egos. Do they wake up fractured and just decide to follow who they were yesterday? Do they not stop to think that maybe what they’re doing is wrong? Can they ever see things in a new light? Is every day a new day; new options, new thoughts, new decisions, about who they should be? Am I giving them too much credit for being self-realized? Do they just assume that the way they are is inherently right, not good or bad, just right? Maybe they just don’t question it. Maybe they struggle to avoid self-reflection.

Is it a “what’s good for the party” is good for all; what’s good for my friends is good enough for me? Or is it that what’s good for the bottom line is their vision of the greater good. Can people possibly never reflect?

Every morning when I wake up I have to put myself back together. The pieces are strewn about like shrapnel and I question my own assembly of them. And I feel more whole in pieces than I imagine others are in the assembly of their whole.

“Dad, I don’t understand the way things work.”

“Well that’s pretty ambiguous Dylan… what do you mean specifically?”

“I mean… well, I mean, it seems there was a time… maybe when you were younger… that people spoke directly to one another and didn’t dance around things so much. I understand that the PC movement is an attempt to bring about more appropriate ways of viewing the differences between people. I’m all for greater understanding… I mean people are afraid to hurt anyone’s feelings… but it seems… even in the most basic conversations things get tangential really fast.”

“You want to make sense of the world and be understood yourself?”

“Well yeah, but I’d like to understand what’s going on with other people,” Dylan paused, “I don’t know, maybe it doesn’t matter… yeah maybe you’re right. I guess I’m a bit concerned about being misunderstood. I told a friend of mine about what happened with Heather and he seemed to think I had this problem with all women… granted, I’m more than a bit gun shy now, you know it wasn’t just her… I’ve made some bad choices in women thus far… but anyway it’s not about that. It’s his understanding of that situation in and of itself.”

Morgan Blake sat thinking for a moment. His mind had been flooded with old films and conversations with his grandfather and Felix. It did seem to him that people used to be quite a bit more plain in their speaking and all this sort of creative obfuscation, used to protect the sensitivities of the person being spoken to and to protect the speaker themselves had made the average conversation something of a riddle. Obfuscation was widely used by politicians when they were trying to avoid answering a question for which they hadn’t a proper answer and, it seemed, it had made it’s way into the fabric of everyday conversation.

“Bear with me, I’m gonna try to work through this as I go… I’ve personally come to a point in my life where I know I can never be fully understood. I’m ok with that, to a point. I’ve always sought the very roots of the truth in everything around me. Sometimes this has involved allowing my mind to go too far in exploring the psychology of dark people and things. People have always judged my actions based on their own understanding of the world.  Further, my actions, many times, were performed by a thin-skinned, sometimes frightened and many times unenlightened person. For myself, I know now that my understanding is many times, limited, and it is best to reserve judgment until I have all the facts. And it’s also best to allow a little time to pass before reacting to situations. I’ve been called all sorts of things in my life.”

“It seems a lot of times people make up their minds based on the first thing you say and don’t allow time to let you work through a thought.”

“Yeah well, some think your initial response is the best and clearest. But that’s only true if you’re perfectly clear on everything, if you’re a perfect vessel. We all have blocks and it’s best to let something swim around in your head and heart for a while before saying anything definitive.”

“How do you avoid having other people misunderstand?”

“You can’t really. What you can do is to avoid those who will try to box you in. Then just try to do your best not to fall into the same traps… I try to ask for clarification when possible. I try not to make any assumptions. I avoid people who are not willing to deepen their understanding,. I ask nothing really of others but that we look at the ways we can help one another in this journey… I know, within myself, if I see someone that’s truly in need, I just help. I think of Christ and Gandhi. When someone is truly drowning, I don’t wait until they’ve asked for help 3 times and I don’t hand them a brick and try to kid them into thinking it’s a life preserver.”

“You’re getting off of it a bit dad.”

“I’m sorry, I’m just starting to weave some other stuff into it. I think it’s really just about lookng for the good in all people.”

“How’d you end up with such a good person like mom?”

“In some ways I was just lucky. She’s amazing. It took me a lot of time and sorting to finally deserve someone like your mom.”

“I don’t really get it. It seems like you’ve always been a pretty right on person.”

“Thanks, but, like I said before, no one’s perfect… and, well, you just have to be really sure of yourself before you get into a relationship. When you meet someone, they will, invariably be carrying some baggage. If they have too much. It’s best to move on as quickly as possible. You can’t run around trying to be a saviour of lost souls. When they throw their issues in your face on the first or second date, that should be a sufficient warning sign that all is not well. Me, I’m empty of my past, but I can clearly see that others like nothing more than to roll around in it…”

“Scott Aichner, roll film” all-time greatest blog post

I’m curious as to why the Scott Aichner interview, ever since it’s posting, has been the overall most visited post on my blog. While Scott is a great guy, my article about him is, in my estimation, only so-so. Why, with so many other postings (nearly 100 of them), have people read that article every day of the week for the past few months or so?

Thanks for stopping by.

See ya next time,


Skipping chapter 9, Here’s Chapter 10

Chapter 9

Zooropa (How U2’s Fall from Grace was indicative of a problem in the larger picture)

(To be written)

Chapter 10

“Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you.”

– Simon & Garfunkel

In the fall of 2003, Dylan began his third year of Junior College. A personality conflict with one of his high school teachers had resulted in a low grade and being passed over for a baseball scholarship. The teacher had for a long time shown Dylan a sort of special affection. He and Dylan were much the same in many ways; quiet, solitude seekers who believed in the beauty of accomplishments achieved which served the heart. He admired Dylan’s love for baseball because he seemed to truly love the game.

The complication arose from Dylan confiding with the instructor about his girlfriend. Dylan was very much in love with Katie in his senior year. The two were inseparable and, at the same time, very natural together. Their relationship was the envy of many, some became green with it. The instructor warned him away from her. He’d had a bad divorce and was something of a hermit. He told Dylan she would be his undoing. Dylan ignored his advice. He and Katie stuck together until Katie went away to college. And when she left they agreed to leave it be. It happened like this:

Continue reading “Skipping chapter 9, Here’s Chapter 10”