Mythos & Marginalia

life notes; flaws and all

j.g. lewis

original content and images ©j.g. lewis

a daily breath...

A thought du jour, my daily breath includes collected and conceived observations, questions of life, fortune cookie philosophies, reminders, messages of peace and simplicity, unsolicited advice, inspirations, quotes and words that got me thinking. They may get you thinking too . . .

Mondays are just young Fridays

It is a substantial record: Clues.
   The 1980 album by Robert Palmer took new wave sensibilities of the late ‘70s and ushered in the magnitude of what would become standard ‘80s popular music.
   I listened to the record intently last week, twice in a row. It has been decades since I have done that, but I had to. I enjoyed listening to the music that much.
   Years ago, I used to do it often. As a teenager, I remember the excitement of buying a new LP and listening to it repeatedly for hours and days. These were the times when radio wasn’t playing a lot of rock and roll. I grew up in a city that had only one AM station for the longest time (until a country music station took to the airwaves), and it was more focused on news, current events, and mostly my mom’s kind of music. Evenings they would play to a younger generation, but only the more popular pop songs (there was also an FM station but it played only classical music.
   Records and Rolling Stone magazine were then my link to real music.
   Back then you would play new records repeatedly, learning the songs, studying the lyrics and cover art. Elton John’s Don’t Shoot Me comes to mind and, of course, Dark Side of the Moon.
   As my music collection grew over the years, as important as each record was, albums would be played less frequently; I had more albums to choose from. It had to be a damn good record to be played frequently.
   I know that changed when I owned my first car. The radio was still reliable, and I used to tape albums to play in the car’s cassette deck. Prior to that, listening to music was a stationary experience. Because of the limitations of the turntable, you had to stay in one place and listen, usually on headphones.
   I decided I wouldn’t buy any new albums this year, but instead listen to the music I already owned. I have a lot to select from, in all genres, on both vinyl and compact disc. I listen to music a lot, and in past years would frequently visit record stores to search out and both new releases and unfamiliar vintage albums by artists I was both familiar and unfamiliar with.
   I’ve now got a lot of alums that all need a good listening to.
   Clues was one of those albums.
   The album rocked a little harder than Secrets, his previous effort, but also dwelled in the synth-pop territory. One song, I Dream of Wires, written by new wave darling Gary New is sonically propulsive, a noticeable change of direction from the sophisticated strains of Palmer’s soulful, occasionally jazzy, sound. Palmer was the first artist I heard described as “blue-eyed soul”.
   This record captured the spirit of the times, without now seeming nostalgic. His albums that followed, both solo efforts and his work with The Power Station (an unlikely hook up with members of Duran Duran and Chic) continued in a similar groove, appealing to the Pepsi generation on MTV with his movie-star good looks and videos with the highly stylized back-up babes he became associated with.
   As I flip through my music collection, I am finding more and more albums worthy of re-discovering. All this music was purchased for a reason, and no doubt hasn’t been listened to with the intensity it deserves to be.

02/19/2024                                                                                        j.g.l.

truth or dare

Landscapes, like weather forecasts,
altered daily. Attitudes of how
we view our world, however,
remain stagnant.

Acid rain, climate change, dangers
inconvenient as carbon footprints in
freshly-fallen snow. We wait only
for it all to wash away.

Fossil fuels and solar flares, impotent
political dialogue of truth or dare.
Do we pay any heed past what
remains of the day?

Shame and blame living as we are.
What we do, or what we can do?
If only we would comprehend
how we have devolved.

Temperatures rising, though you
couldn’t tell it now. Common sense
approach far too common. We accept
what we cannot know.

We struggle, unknowingly, ignorant
of our ways. Messages lack meaning.
All talk. No action. Zero-sum gain
if all we do is complain.

02/16/2024                                                                                          j.g.l.

work in progress

I need to remind myself, more often,
who I am and what I have become.
More so, I need to remind myself of
what I am becoming.
If I am truly a work in progress, how
much progress have I made?
How can I tell if I don’t remind myself
or question myself?
Only I can really know.

02/15/2024                                                                              j.g.l.

I'm like a pencil;
sometimes sharp,
most days
well-rounded,
other times
dull or
occasionally
broken.
Still I write.

j.g. lewis
is a writer/photographer in Toronto.

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The Letters Remain The Same

Posted on July 17, 2021 by j.g.lewis Leave a comment

No matter how quickly our technologies evolve, or how fast our processors process, we still rely on ancient methods to make our way through each day.

Just yesterday I wrote in my journal, printed out a card to a loved one, and tapped a text message to my daughter. I started a letter to a friend, composed a forceful email to a pharmaceutical company, and contributed to ongoing dialogue with a curious collection of sensitive souls.

I scribbled out a couple of lines to a poem, added onto the grocery list, jotted down an upcoming appointment in my agenda, and recorded a client concern warranting further investigation.

I wrote with a pencil in a notebook and used a pen on a preprinted form. I also employed a laptop, then a desktop computer, and made use of a few apps on my mobile device.

Through it all, my daily communication — regardless of the format, font or function — was done using the same standard 26 letters and 10 digits that have been used for centuries, along with a handful of punctuation marks for proper order.

In a society that wants to do everything differently than we have on the past, we are stuck on such a simple practice. My country is bilingual; both languages (English and French) use the same characters.

In my life as a writer I have used all the traditional hand-held writing instruments from crayon to fountain pen, and mechanical devices including typewriter, mainframe computer, tablets and my phone. But the alphabet has not changed in my lifetime, nor that of my father’s, or my father’s father.

The alphabet is old, its roots dating back to 2700 BC. Since the early days of hieroglyphics, we have used similar symbols to show love and anger, and to emphasize sadness or fear. Our wants, our struggles, and our fantasies are illustrated as they always have been.

The letters remain the same. A combination of curves and lines, an R is always an r, the S is the same, again and again, like an A is an a: upper case or lower. We have barely even altered how the letters are used. Today’s Apple keyboards are essentially laid out the same as the keys on yesteryear’s Underwood.

Even the meanings of words can change, but not how they are produced. Words keep the world moving, and learning; they maintain order or spell out anarchy. And we understand. At the turn of the millennium, the printing press was named the greatest invention of all time because of its ability to help spread the written word.

We use the written word more than we ever have. Yes, the format has changed (again) but it is still both our primary form of communication and the essential instrument in recording history.

Years ago, just as this whole digital thing was really catching on, as personal computer sales began to dramatically increase, there was talk about a paperless society. Oh how wrong they were. Newspaper and magazine sales (and production) have declined, but we still shuffle an awful lot of paper at the office. While we don’t mail letters like we used to, yet our email inboxes continue to fill up.

It’s only words.

We can boast about how society has changed or evolved (even improved), but the foundation of communication are the letters that grew from symbols once scratched out on the walls of caves.

How simple; how profound; how enduring.

@ 2017 j.g. lewis

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