Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Reminder From Finland

Today I will put this postcard, a reproduction of a Norman Rockwell painting, that appeared in the August 20, 1968 issue of Look magazine, in the mail.  As you read this, this postcard is traveling to Jouni Vedenoja, a young man who lives in a small village in Finland.

I'm a member of Postcrossing.  Members receive postcards from other members who have "been assigned" their name and address by Postcrossing, and members send postcards to other members who were "assigned" to them by Postcrossing.  

Name assignments include a profile of the member who has been selected for a postcard.  Today Jouni was assigned (by random computer selection) to me as a recipient for a postcard.  I selected this for him based on his words from his profile:

"Peace, freedom and equal rights for everyone and everywhere are important for me.  Freedom of speech is a great value!  Open democracy is important!  Freedom is not politics, it is a human right..."

On this noteworthy day in American politics, I found my friend Jouni's words a most welcome and inspirational reminder. 

Thank You, Jouni

Friday, January 17, 2020

Postcard and "Thank you" Postcard

I sent Dave Bishop this neat vintage train postcard.

Dave replied with this outstanding "thank you" postcard

Postcards, a message with a picture, better than a FaceBook message. 

Thanks Dave - Happy Postcossing.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Postcard to Russia

Postcard heading to my friends, Maria, Ivan and Matryona, in Russia - Have a wonderful day, your friend, Bert

Friday, October 25, 2019

This post was originally published in March 2015.  I posted a total of 5 Divine Moment Posts - you can find them all by searching Divine Moment in the search box in the right column.  

And It All Boils Down To #1 in the Divine Moment Series

I've been on a mission since I was five years old.  Today I'm close to my seventy-third birthday.  I'll save you the calculation.  That's a sixty-eight year mission and it's not complete yet.  I suppose my mission has a completion date, but I'm not privy to that information.  On the other hand, recently I've come to believe there are more rules to my mission than I suspected when I set out on it, rules that change the concept of completion dates and other things, but that's another whole story.

This post is just a brief update on the status of the mission along with enough information for you to Google a point or two and maybe amuse yourself for while.  

Or, if you're on a similar mission, you might want to spend a bit more time following the points I'm about to lay down.

This is not a religious statement because I'm not religious, not any more.  I was born into a religious family which lived in a religious part of the world.  For a time, I wanted to be a missionary and for a number of years I was a minister.  For a long time, a lot of people told me I had made a difference in their lives, and for a while I actually believed them.  Then I got it that I can't make more of a difference in anyone's life than they are willing to have a difference made there.  I pondered that and realized that if a person wants a change, they will find a way to do it whether I'm there or not.  That was a big relief, because I'm on a mission, and it's not about making a difference in anyone's life but mine.

 The Mission is simple.  I want to know God, or Allah, or Jehovah, or The One, or  whatever you choose to call the force that created all that is.  There's never been a doubt in my mind that my mission is doable, and I know I'm getting closer to my objective.  There have been many wrong turns, a lot of misinformation, and a number of false prophets, still I've made a lot of progress, though I can't quantify that for you in any way other than a statement of knowing that it is so.

The booklet I'm going to tell you about in a moment speaks more eloquently to that situation:

A mark of progress
at one stage
is an obstacle at the next.
You cannot note when
(or how much)
you have progressed toward 
any liberation...
only discern your limitations
less and less.   

Without a guide, mentor, or teacher, I've had to rely on books.  I just did some quick, conservative, calculations on the number of books I've read, which doesn't include The Bible (which I've read through a number of times) or all of the versions of The Tao I've read (one I've copied by hand three times), and here's what I've concluded:  In fifty years of reading, twenty esoteric books per year, with an average of 50,000 words per book, I've read fifty million words.  

The irony of that is that everything I've read and studied, EVERYTHING, is covered in great detail in The Divine Moment, a 900 word booklet written by Pama Rab Sel (James Lane Prior - born in Deland, Florida in 1928 - died in Kathmandu, Nepal in 1990.)  Though I never met Pama Rab Sel, I've walked and talked and laughed with him since we met in a bookstore in Huntington Beach, California in 1993.

The Divine Moment is long out of print, however, if you want to chase a used copy here's gone now to the only one I found on the web - it gives the pertinent search info.

I'm thinking about blogging about the key points in Pama Rab Sel's amazing work, mostly for my gratification.  You're more than welcome to follow along and add comments - or not.

The Divine Moment begins this way -

This moment is it.
There is no "better" moment 
than this one.

Later I'll tell you how it ends.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Whistling Loudly

Cold Water Books - #5 on my list
I haven't tweeted or even opened twitter in a long long time.  A few days ago I did and this tweet from Allison Devers @andevers caught my eye, probably because I love small, independent bookstores - cozy places, where book nuts are safe and warm and in the company of like-minded folk.

Here's the tweet:  I just paid my first two months "security" on my bookshop and that is just over £2,000 and I am whistling loudly, so please come shop at @secondshelfbks if you haven't yet. The most hidden bookstore in London, in a small Soho courtyard awaits you!
In another lifetime, I turned down a number of opportunities to visit London and Stonehenge.  That was before I met Inspector Morse, and Endeavour, his younger self, and Dr. Who (all 13 of them).  When I looked at the picture of The Second Shelf, I was absolutely sure that the Tardis was parked just around the corner.  I immediately added The Second Shelf to my Bookstores To Visit List.

Besides being cozy, comfortable places; small bookstores have something else in common with each other and with every other small business on the planet.  They are owned and operated by people who are, as Allison so beautifully said, "Whistling in the dark."  Whether the bookstore is as new as the Second Shelf, or has been around a long time, like Otto Penzler's The Mysterious Bookshop, in New York,   - the second bookstore on my Bookstores To Visit list.

Unlike the Second Shelf, I have visited The Mysterious Bookshop, albeit virtually.  Adrienne Wall, a friend and one of my two lovely business partners, gave me a signed copy of The Promise by Robert Crais, in in so doing introduced me to the bookshop.  There are many traditions at The Mysterious Bookshop.  One of them is inviting a prominent mystery writer to write a Christmas short story.  Christmas customers then receive a copy of the current short story.  So, with The Promise, I received Secret Santa by Ace Atkins.  It is a delightful short story, and one I know I'll reread every Christmas.  The Mysterious Bookshop is also the place where I found a  signed and lettered copy of The Mysterious Disappearance of the Reluctant Book Fairy, a special Christmas gift for Christina.

Now, it's time for you and me to drive.  We are going to visit the next two bookstores on my list.  First, we will go to The Bookstore in Kilgore,  owned by a good friend, Stephen Woodfin.  Notice the temperature is hovering around freezing, just as it was in New York, but know inside it's warm and cozy and there is a faint, not unpleasant sound of whistling coming from somewhere.

I haven't been inside yet but I've made a point of checking all the photos posted and their web site, and I know it is one of the good places in the world because another friend, bestselling author Caleb Pirtle, told me so -
and if Caleb says its good, you can bank on it.

Just look at the place - a historic home, planted in the shade of tall Texas trees.  Heck partner, you know this place has been here since the beginning of time and you know for sure it's a place to pull up a chair, order a coffee and open a book.  It's also a place to spend the afternoon listening to Stephen spin tall tales as he keeps your cup and your heart full.

It's time to leave Kilgore, and head for the last bookstore currently on my list.  We're going to head mostly north and we aren't going to shut down until we get to Fairfield, Iowa.  Now, plug this address in the GPS, 112 North Main Street, and let's ride.  If you get tired, I'll drive.  That way we can make it in 12 hours.  It's only 782 miles, that's no "step for a couple of steppers like us."

When we shut this old boy down, we'll be in front of Revelations, a bookstore, cafe, and world renowned Scrabble Center.  Betsy, the world class owner of this world class establishment, will, on occasion, tell a joke. My pen friend, Jacqueline Signori, told me so, in confidence, and she also said that all the Scrabble players headquartered at Revelations, call Betsy's jokes, groaners but not when there is a chance Betsy, the owner of the greatest hangout in Fairfield can hear.

This whirlwind tour has been presented for your reading entertainment by my love for books, and places where they are served up... it's a gift for all you book lovers.  If you have a special book stop please share it in a comment - maybe there will be additional postings of "whistle stops for book lovers."  Thanks for being here.. and there.

Happy reading.

A Reminder From Finland

Today I will put this postcard, a reproduction of a Norman Rockwell painting, that appeared in the August 20, 1968 issue of Look mag...