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Becalmed in Louisville

Another day in Louisville. I’ve come to rest here, like a fishing float in an eddy of the Sargasso Sea. Overhead fly the honking geese, blurred by the falling snow.

The long barges putt up the Ohio River, passing through the locks of our Falls City.

Disguised as an elephant tusk, the Great White Worm sniffs the air for the scent of humans.

This morning I got together with two brothers that I knew well in high school, Phil Ardery and Joe Ardery. They were in the Chevalier Literary Society with me—a Louisville social club. Phil is a year older than me, Joe two years younger. Great guys with brilliant minds, a thrill to meet with them after all these years. I met Phil for breakfast in a Steak’N’Shake coffee shop on Bardstown Road.

And then I dropped in on Joe where he works in the offices of a legal firm housed in an sinister-looking monolith downtown—it looks like a building that one of Superman’s rivals might have his lab in. One day Joe will rule the universe…

On the way back out to my brother’s farm, I stopped by the Zachary Taylor military cemetery, which lies about half a mile from the house where I grew up—which is on a street named, synchronistically, Rudy Lane.

Even now, more than fifty years later, I still have dreams about the Z. T. Cemetery, not exactly nightmares. In the dreams its surrounded by high hedges. Sometimes I’m just trying to go in, or peering down the paths. Sometimes the dreams lead to endlessly unfolding phantasias with infinite regresses of casket doors. I used a sequence like that at the start of my novel White Light.

Our 12th President, Zachary Taylor himself, is buried here, you understand, and you can see his stone sarcophagus through a glass door. As I imagine it, I rip off the top, and there’s another lid and another and another, all the way down. The tumulus depicted above was his original grave.

I used this spot in my Louisville novel, The Secret of Life. That stone wall in the background is where my hero finally confronts his fellow aliens, who have marooned him here, disguising him as a human. (The high-school state of mind in a nutshell.)

In the afternoon, I was back to wandering in the woods with Ziggy the dog. There’s something so atavistically familiar to me about the patterns of the bare Kentucky trees against the sky. These are, after all, very nearly the first shapes I ever saw.

4 Responses to “Becalmed in Louisville”

  1. Laura Says:

    Your blog is like falling backwards into a calm & warm (but miraculously non-scummy) pond. It’s my most consistent non-guilty pleasure. Thanks.

  2. Eric Craft Says:

    I just wanted to say thanks for the story and the photos also. I was in Louisville the weekend before and am going back this weekend. I’ve only been 4 hours away for half of my life and am just now discovering the beauty of Louisville (and the rest of Kentucky).

  3. michiel Dorenbosch Says:

    Dear Rudy

    I tried to send you a email but I was “Greylisted”
    However to my opinion you could be interested.
    That why I try this possibility:

    I send a link to a paper that discusses a reframe of consciousness in the context of evolution. This draft is without any embargo as long as referred to.

    As a biologist, personal counsellor and strategist, I am writing a book about the basics of human motivation. In doing so, I came across the little progress of mankind in understanding consciousness. Being a strategist for me a first question was: “What is blocking our progress?”

    This is where the paper starts. A query which leads to an unexpected new cognitive frame of consciousness.

    After first realizing that the earth isn’t the centre of the universe and after realizing that mankind probably isn’t the centre of creation, this paper suggests that not we but the nervous system could be the centre of consciousness.

    Drs. Michiel M. Dorenbosch ,

    Citation: Dorenbosch, M.M.(2009) The Origin of Consciousness: softening the hard problem. Free essay on internet: draft: 7 Febr. 2009.

    “THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS”©, “softening the hard problem”© Draft: 20090207, Drs. Michiel. M. Dorenbosch


    Consciousness is an intriguing phenomenon. For some reason it conceals its real nature as long as mankind exists. This modest progress could justify the question: “Is the understanding of consciousness really about consciousness itself?” Maybe it is all about the way we look at it? Searching along this line, there is one remarkable aspect in human cognition that possibly could restrain the answer. We all believe to be conscious ourselves. This widespread certainty is discussed in the context of evolution, suggesting that not we, but the nervous system is conscious.

    The approach seems to offer a humble doorstep to the possibility of insight about consciousness, its origin, function, locations and its nature. At the end of the paper the insights are discussed in the context of the hard problem.

  4. Rudy Says:

    M. Dorenbosch, I did get your email. I admire your quest, and maybe I’ll get around to looking thorugh your manuscript sometime. I wish you good luck in any case.

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