Circles of influence

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Last night I was thinking that you could measure the flow of individuals in and out of your life by creating a simple graphic and placing each name where it belonged. Theoretically this would show you who you knew at what times of your life. It might remind you of relationships you had long forgotten.

I don’t know that this graphic would actually do that, but I can see that it could give you a sense of the great number of people your life touched.

We swim in a sea of people. We know it intellectually, abstractly. This would show it visually, viscerally.

Draw it much like an outline of the solar system, with yourself as the center of your life. Then, in a series of concentric circles, place those you have interacted with:

  • Within the past week
  • Within the past month
  • Within the past three months
  • Within the past six months
  • Within the past year
  • Within the past five years
  • Within the past 10 years
  • Within the past 25 years
  • Within the past 50 years
  • At any time in your life before that.

Like so:

As I say, I don’t know that this would help us much to cluster particular people who were important in our lives at any given time, but certainly it ought to show how many people we have had as part of our lives, how many people’s lives we ourselves have touched.































Papa’s Trial to be published

Good news! My novel about Hemingway is to be published soon my SNN Publishing, a company that is owned by my friend Chris Nelson.

I very much wanted Papa’s Trial to come out before the Ken Burns special aired, and now it looks like that will happen. The book’s subtitle, Hemingway in the Afterlife, will give you some sense of what it’s about. Papa kills himself, thinking it’s the end, and instead he finds he must defend what he did in his life. Which gave me a chance to say some things about the afterlife. Stay tuned.



Rationality in science and religion

[From a Facebook argument.]


  [I omit his name] Frank: Give me some examples of irrationality relating to Atheism and science. Compared to religious myths science and Atheism are quantum leaps ahead in rationality.

Frank DeMarco I will put this as gently as i can. It is not exactly rational to disregard thousands of years of human cultures throughout the world, and the informed scientifically and clinically based experiences of great intellects such as Carl Jung, Immanuel Swedenborg, Rudolf Steiner, Goethe, and hundreds of others who could be cited, just because your mental construct of religion is compounded of televangelists, bible-thumpers, bent clerics and anything else disreputable (but nothing reputable) that you come across. It is not exactly rational to dismiss the concept of the nonphysical world and an inherent order in it, and an inherent interaction with the physical world, just because some people have outdated cartoonish ideas. Just because some people think of an old man on a cloud when they hear the word God does not mean that they are the final word on the subject.

So much for irrationality in atheism. As to irrationality in science (not to mention the corruption that came with money and power provided through the state), one hardly need go farther than to see the irrational reactions provoked among physicalists when anyone suggests that this creation didn’t just come into being by accident (“over millions of years,” to be sure!) Would you think it rational if someone refused to investigate the possibility that a 747 came into being other than via a tornado blowing through a junk yard?

Rita’s World is in Chinese!

I am delighted to announce that after 25 years, I have my first foreign-language translation. And the first language is Chinese! Who would have thought? I owe this one to Anthony Pomes of Square One Publishers, which distributes for Bob Friedman’s Rainbow Ridge Publishing,

Who knows, maybe this is the first of many. Let’s program for that!


For reasons I won’t go into, I was led to post, on Facebook, my page of interview links here.  Then it occurred to me that, although that page is here on this site, many who read the blog may be unaware of it. So here it is. This includes more than a dozen interviews of various lengths, most of them 15 minutes or so, all centering either on ILC or my conversations or the books made of those conversations. Some will find it of interest.




Hemingway and death and life and despondency

Ernest Hemingway was smart, quick, experienced, and incisive. As an author he was superb. His novels are filled with life, and in them he has his characters say many memorable and valuable things, things that will enrich your life. He also has them say a very few silly ones, and ironically, the silliest thing he ever wrote is quoted on every side as if it made sense. From A Farewell to Arms:

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken place. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”

At best, this represents the despairing mood of a rather passive young man who was prone to fits of despondency. But look at those five sentences – really look at them.

“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them.”

Read literally, this says that “the world” wars against brave people, that “the world” is out to break everyone, and those that will not break, “the world” kills. But does this view of “the world” as a sort of super-psychopath really reflect your experience of life?

“The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken place.”

Perhaps he is using the word “breaks” in a special manner, here. It is true that everyone in the world comes to know sorrow and suffering, but to grieve and to suffer is not necessarily to break. Do you think that everyone you know – including yourself – broke somehow?

“But those that will not break it kills.”

This is just plain silly, almost beyond comment. If death is a tragedy, then life itself is a tragedy, because all life ends in death, as all death prepares new life. Do you regard each new death as one more tragedy in a tragic world? And is it “the world” that brings death, or is it the process of living? And does death strike you as an act of malice? Is it not often an act of mercy?

“It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially.”

If by this he meant simply that everyone dies, who could argue? But it seems to imply that “the world” has a special animus against “the very good and the very gentle and the very brave” and hustles them off the scene posthaste. Is that your experience of life?

“If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.”

Again, the sentiment that screams out of these words is a sense of “the world” as the enemy of life; of life as an inevitable tragedy because it changes form (or, as he apparently thought, ends).

None of this lessens my immense respect for a very great author. And in fact I often feel sorry for Hemingway, in that the cultural beliefs he was born into made his life difficult. But we do him no honor to put on a pedestal one of the silliest things he ever had a narrator think, and read it in awe-struck veneration, just as if it made sense.

Pottery days

I was going to show pix of some of the things I was playing with, a dozen years ago. But this is the only shot I could make this post accept. These are mugs that have been thrown, shaped, and trimmed. After this would come applying glazing and then firing in the kiln.

I never liked the glazing part much, and in retrospect I wish I had thrown many more pots and not glazed and fired them, but merely treated them as practice pieces until I got better. But I’m glad to have many of the pieces I do have, and until I went poking through my photo files, I had forgotten some of the pieces that I gave away, which naturally would be among the best things I did.