By William Markiewicz
Vagabond visitors are familiar with the page of excerpts from my book of illustrated aphorisms, "Extracts of Existence." To promote the book, I offered it as a prize for a 400-500 word letter about VP but there were very few replies. Why don't people want a free book? -- That is the question.
The book contains over 600 aphorisms, another 600 are accumulated in drawers, shelves, filling up notebooks, scraps of paper... I am actually ready for a second edition although all writers know how hard or close to impossible it is to find a publisher if your book is not in a quick money-making category. I have no time and am not in a frame of mind to initiate a series of query letters to publishers which will, anyway, end up on somebody's secretary's secretary's desk. So I will take advantage of this marvelous invention, the Internet, to present some of those aphorisms that don't figure in the book. Who knows, perhaps some publisher, dreamer enough to consider publication, may be found among the visitors.
I start the presentation of this projected second edition with a new section it will contain, called "sketches" or short word portraits. They will be interwoven with sketches in the usual sense of the word, meaning drawings which do not illustrate the verbal sketches but stand on their own.
On my left, a group of teenaged students debated philosophical metaphysical topics. On my right, a homosexual, a ritzy old satyr, keyed up for adventure. Outside, a little sparrow was pecking at the sidewalk in his quest for crumbs.
All those preoccupations, aren't they of equal importance?
In a Swiss mountain hamlet I met a man with symptoms of mental retardation, just at the edge of being institutionalized, who explained to me that if you sprinkle a thin layer of soil over chocolate foil wrappers, then plant whatever seeds you like on them, cover everything with soil and then water the area, the thin foil will hold moisture, heat and ultraviolet. So your salad tomato or whatever, will grow fantastically large and more than one crop. He said he learned this from his own experience. Sometime later I learned that he met an artist, and he himself became an excellent artist in the "brut art" category. I saw and admired his work. And he sells!!!
Where do the wings end and the cage begin?
On a small public square near a picturesque fountain in Geneva, a group of young fundamentalists argued passionately, fanatically, about some gospel verses. Sitting nearby on a bench, a drunk bum with a degenerate face hollered at them, "You are all a bunch of cretins!"
Where inhabits wisdom?
A teenager, wearing a baseball cap and walkman, moved rhythmically in place probably to a rock tune, chewing red licorice. He obviously lived an "epidermic", superficial existence. Across the aisle, another passenger was reading, "Deep Ecology." Two opposite universes facing each other. Were those differences conditioned by heredity, by environment? Was one smarter than the other or was it just a matter of a different philosophy of life? On which side would Omar Khayam stand?
Who am I?
Where do I come from?
Why am I here?
Where do I go?