I Remain A Traveler In Other People’s Reality   14 comments

Kenne Self-protrate art blogSelf-portrait 

Invoking the Full Meaning of Life

How best to express sharing new life

when each moment deserves its face.

What seems apropos for the moment,

when the next moment fosters a unique experience.

Is it in a number?

The number of days?

The number of thoughts?

The number of heartbeats?

The number of turns?

The number of prayers?

. . . you can count the ways,

only to still not know life’s score.

Is it in a word?






Words to communicate thoughts and feelings

when manifested in knowledge and experience.

Or is it in art?

Transforming thought,

expressing feeling,

experiencing emotions and

the desire to evoke life,

even when distance 

appears to separate a lifelong bond.

I wrote this in the 1990s. Since then, retirement and moved 1,000 miles from where we had spent 25 years, putting distance between bonds. In the three years since moving, we have watched the bonds drift away, causing me to question the desire to evoke life, even when distance can’t separate a lifelong bond. 

We had moved to the Sonoran desert with the illusion that friends and family would be beating a path to our new home in the desert southwest — not such luck. So we try staying in touch through social media, often questioning whether the bonds were ever real — confirming that we remain tourists in other people’s reality.

The other day I read a posting by blogger Old Jules, “These damned ego-warts.” 

Old Jules is a 70-year-old hermit, living with three cats somewhere in the Texas Hill Country and writing a blog I enjoy reading from time to time. Old Jules has concluded that he has spent over a third of his life “being insignificant in the lives of others.” 

In 1992, after 25 years of marriage and a career of 20 years, he began a new job and life in Santa Fe. 

All secure in the knowledge the extended family and friends remaining behind were part of my life in which I’d been and remained important.”

Over time he concluded it was all an illusion. 

“Kids, young adult nephews, and nieces I’d coddled and bounced on my knee pealed out of my life-like layers of an onion. Most I never heard from again.”

He began to realize that he was merely tolerated, “. . . a piece of furniture in their lives.” 

Over time he rebuilt his life with a more potent dose of skepticism concerning his worth and place in the lives of others, which resulted in his becoming a hermit. 

“I no longer assume I’m important in the lives of other human beings and get my satisfaction in knowing I’m at least relevant to the cats. 

Because cats, though sometimes dishonest, aren’t capable of the depth and duration of dishonesty humans indulge regularly.”

Old Jules has come to believe “. . . that life is entirely too important and too short to be wasted in insignificance.”

His new awareness of life is now in teaspoon measurements, “. . . measured in contracts with cats not equipped to lie. A determination in the direction of significance measured in teaspoons of reality, 

as opposed to 55-gallon drums of dishonesty and self-delusion.”

“Teaspoons, I find, don’t spill away as much life in the discovery 

when they’re found to be just another ego-wart of pride and self-importance.”

Bonds, illusion or not, have difficulty being when the moments are separated by time and distance, becoming gleams of light, for an instant, in the long night.

I understand where Old Jules is coming from and feel his disillusionment. There is, however, a binding force that comes from a homesick longing to be whole, to have completion, as Plato described in the myth of the human halves passionately striving towards one. Like all mythical totalities, humans are subject to the triple dramaturgical rhythm of primal completeness, separation catastrophe, and restoration. The most significant attraction effect occurs between the second and third acts of life’s drama, which is where I find myself today — maybe this is also where Old Jules is. I am learning to understand myself from a new divide, one half experienced, the other inexperienced — in such a way that I’m learning to understand myself in new ways. 

— kenne

“Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time!
It’s abominable! When! When!
One day,
is that not enough for you,
one day he went dumb,
one day I went blind,
one day we’ll go deaf,
one day we were born,
one day we shall die,
the same day,
the same second,
is that not enough for you?

They give birth astride of a grave,
the light gleams an instant,
then it’s night once more.”

— Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

Seattle Lummi Island & Vancouver_Stacked Rocks_0150 II art II blogImages by kenne

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14 responses to “I Remain A Traveler In Other People’s Reality

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  1. I have found the same thing whenever I move to a different region. I just assume everyone will visit, but I discovered what is easy for me to do–travel, explore–is not so with others. I have learned to respect that.
    I don’t know how you did your self-portrait, but it’s very very cool. 🙂


  2. Reblogged this on artattack.


  3. welcome (sends warm smile and hugs your way), you are an artist with words =^_^=


  4. Best wishes on your adventure. I hope it takes you in the direction you seek.


  5. Kenne. This post was so timely. I often feel this disconnect. Life gets do busy it’s hard to grasp the relationships ever present in your day – the children that need you – the go workers demands. Life just spins on. I yearn for simplicity and real relationships but can’t find a way to create that world. I know I still feel connection to you through your art and writing. I think you feel like others before you that you are putting something out there without the immediate response. Very typical of writers!! As for travel – we have boycotted AZ for the last years due to their immigration stance / position. We reduse to leave any $ there! Can we meet in Marfa???


    • Paula,

      Margaret, now that would be nice! I’ve got a feeling the people there don’t pay much attention to what’s going on in Austin. Of course, they now have hundreds of additional border patrol people there to help protect us from all those aliens coming across the border — Help! Help! The aliens are coming! The aliens are coming! :>)

      Thanks for the nice comment on my blog.


  6. Reblogged this on Becoming is Superior to Being and commented:

    For about a decade now, I have been following the blog “So Far From Heaven: Old Jules.” I learned to love the guy; we seem to have so much in common. Over the years, I have reblogged some of his postings. In recent months I knew his health had deteriorated while in a VA facility in Kansas. Yesterday, I got this email, “Au Revoir, Old Jules (Jack Purcell).” https://sofarfromheaven.com/2020/04/21/au-revoir-old-jules-jack-purcell/ Although I never met Jack, I considered him a close friend. Jack is now the second blogger friend that has passed away in the last several months. — kenne


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