Nothing she’d ever done had been a test.  “Trial by fire,” her father had always said.  She had the scars to prove it.

Her father, then had been the primary motive for a life as a stunt woman.  Now, a few cracked vertebrae and a plate or two in her ankles…now it didn’t really matter.  This was life.  As good as it was going to get.  No time for tests or testing things out.  No money, either.  B-Movies never had money for that.  So the car scene?  She had it in her head, sketched it out, and ran a few matchbox simulations, but other than that, no tests.  Just “Damn the torpedoes.  Full speed ahead.”

“F-you, dad!”  she screamed as she floored the pedal and kept her eye on the tach.

If she had any second thoughts before the impact, they may have been about the fact that all of this, all of life, maybe that was the test, and she was about to fail.



You are Here

Maybe you were thinking about the lake, a summer five years ago, the canoe, water like a mirror
Or the time you sent out for pizza, late fall, and waited by the door
Or perhaps the piano recital where your daughter filled the room with the sound of spring
Or was it the car, the light, a darkness from which awakening revealed only hours of your life…missing?

Or, if not those, you may have been recalling a banana, oatmeal, the blaze of a morning sun through the kitchen window
Or a distant voice in a crowd, that child forever calling
Or an idea that slipped between your synapses never quite touching
Or the spot on your back, just to the right of your twelfth or thirteenth vertebra, an itch beyond reach for years, now gone.

Or you are imagining yourself at a Christmas display, say Strawbridge and Clothier, December 12, 1989, mistaking yourself for the mannequin
Or making peffernüsse with a daughter, your laughter the only sound amidst a cloud of confectioner sugar
Or lounging on a white sand beach in Tobago, steel drums and aloe, manta rays swimming in your dreams.

Or, of course, you could find yourself beyond the garage, walking down the street, turning right, moving forward, the neighbor’s car cruising by, slowly
Or in a race, each foot driving you forward, the pack falling in the distance behind you
Or floating up, endlessly, the earth–that rare device–now a speck in the cold silence.

Or you are here, riding this ship, in a chair, seemingly alone, the wind warm and smooth across your face.

Garreth Heidt, 2016
(“Or” is the word of the day.)
Inspired by the work of Alan Lightman, David Eagleman, Italo Calvino…and others

Image from: Shinya Suzuki / Flickr


In this, my fourth post using a daily word from this site, I’ve decided the best tack to take is one against the prevailing winds of words that usually blow in my direction and instead seek out a visual current.

The word of the day is “ostentatious.”  One of the more likable (if only for its use of the word “vainglorious”) definitions is this one from Merriam Webster:

  1. marked by or fond of conspicuous or vainglorious and sometimes pretentious display

 Below, then, I offer a photo gallery…visual definitions of “ostentatious.”

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by Garreth Heidt

Nothing is as we thought it would be at age 9
When simple graph paper became home to wizards
Wyverns, giant centipedes, orcs.

When the roll of dice crafted Paladins , Clerics, Thieves
And our minds leapt to fill the blanks in story lines
Half-crafted and open just enough to

Insert action here;

When the world was a mere saving throw away from falling
Into a portable hole.

Now, nothing is as we imagined…
All life hinged upon a sleep spell
And the breath of a silver dragon.

Nothing is gone, only misplaced
There’s a chance, you see,
There’s a chance riding on a quantum of light
That you are crafting that sword of watered steel,
That I am immersed in the arcane,
A chance that the party is just beyond the crossing…

That the light hasn’t fallen here, for the last time.

(Image from Wizards of the West Coast)

If This is Coffee…

There was a time, I suppose it was the late 50s and early 60s…the age when my mother grew into adulthood, when America’s “Greatest Generation” was in their prime, when Jello was all the rage…the age that cultural critic and author Thomas Hine dubbed Populuxe (even more fascinating).  Anyway, there was this age, this time, when my parents threw big parties, the kind that would have made Robert Putnam proud, and the coffee was brewed in large, party sized percolators.

To a kid who really didn’t have any interest in coffee, the bubbling, brown liquid that blurped up through the translucent handle, the gurgling, the very physical exertion of the coffee as it heaved itself up and down, up and down over itself…to me, this was how real coffee was made.

It percolated.

If coffee could chew its own cud, that was percolation.  If coffee could take itself around the block a few times, just to chat, that was percolation.  If coffee could table and untable itself, as some sort of congressional rehash, that was percolation.

So when I grew up and wanted a real coffee maker, I looked for a percolator. And I bought one…something like this:

farberware-stainless-steel-percolator-142-superfast-12-cup-coffee-maker-like-new-bd87e71a2215e65959ce36982f90c8d1And it sucked.

So much for the good old days.