THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Awhile back I wrote about a dream I had. In the dream I was given the job of rewriting a television soap opera that had gone in the wrong direction. Bad stories. Dull characters. Unsatisfying denouements.
Dreams usually don’t have themes, but this one did. I had a very clear realization that the TV show I was supposed to rewrite wasn’t a show at all but rather human history and the state of the earth itself, which when you think about it (and, probably, even when you don’t) have gone terribly wrong.
Being a laidback old boy spending as much time as possible doing as little as possible here in the mountains of Paradise, my first thought when I awoke was, “I quit.”
My second thought was, “Wait! Who am I to say no to such a gig? The universe must think I know something. All I’ve got to do is figure out what.”
But large as my ego is, it still wasn’t up to plunging headlong into world-saving mode.
I couldn’t get past the concern that even if I knew what to do, how would I do it alone? How does one man “rewrite” destiny? How does one member of the tribe reach out to all of troubled humanity and ease its suffering and pain?
So I copped out.
I changed the pronoun “I” to “we,” and did what my mother was always trying to get me to do back when I was a kid.
That’s right. I shared. I threw the question out to the readers of this space and asked, as clearly as I could, “What should we do to put everything right?”
And got hundreds of replies.
One of the first was from a Texan named Jim, who looked at the situation from a political perspective.
“What entity is the major creator of strife?” he asked. “What entity forces its inhabitants to fight in wars?…taxes its citizens into poverty?…creates laws which force its inhabitants into jails?…I am forced to pay my taxes to support wars of aggression….How will I answer St. Peter when he asks why I continued to support the slaughter?”
Then he quieted down a bit, and as I read the e-mail I could see his shy smile. “You got to me today, and touched a nerve.”
Heather, who seems to really know her stuff, took a more cosmic view. She sent me the earth’s astrological chart. The entire history of mankind on this planet, showing where it’s been and where it might go, noting that, “The rewrite won’t be easy. It may not even be possible.”
At which point I thought, in that showbiz kinda way, “Hey, that’s why they pay us writer-producers all those Big Bucks!”
A thoughtful gentleman named Doug looked at the situation in a writerly way. “Are we allowed to alter human nature, or is that cheating?” he asked. “I think we should get extra credit for altering human nature. Otherwise it seems to me the plot is doomed from the start by the apparent inherent ingrained Id-driven emotions.”
The beautifully named Octavia had a more contemporary take on the issue.
“I talk[ed] with a friend of mine about various abstract conceptual (game theory) agendas played through regarding the ending and the beginning of our World ….currently at play. So many players so many different levels;…and then I realized I can be the machine and programmer and the player and the ball….”
“We have to write the…continuity to get beyond this level…[and]…fulfill our human capabilities,” she concluded.
Then there was Mike, who keeps his eyes on the stars. He suggested I do some research into the “Intelligent Design” of our planet by designers who also were interplanetary travelers because, he wrote, quoting the actor Michael York, “‘if this is science fiction it ranks alongside the most breathtaking of its kind. If it is true it is earth shaking.’ So if you want a good script [for the rewrite] you win either way.”
Still uncertain of how to handle my—our—task, I went outside and faced the Wind of Mystery as it blew out of the southeast to Cloud Creek Ranch. “How do we make the world better?” I said.
“You already are,” the Wind replied with a gust. “The word is out. Now everyone knows there’s a job to do. Can’t you feel their concerns swirling all around?”
I can. I do.
And for once I think I understand the Wind.
Because I feel how the very fact of questioning can change everything.