Joseph Cavano's Blog

November 2, 2012

I don't remember who it was who wrote,"I'd rather be a dissatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig." It's been years since I first read the line; I've thought about it a lot since.
It's hard not to fill up on Life's special moments... ignore the flowers and the gentle breezes... the children at play daring you not to smile.
Still, I think it's a mistake to miss the forest for the trees... become so intoxicated by Earth's beauty that you don't realize it comes with an expiration date. Take a look North. It'll be a while before another Spring
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Published on November 02, 2012 08:30 • 50 views
I don't remember who it was who wrote,"I'd rather be a dissatisfied Socrates than a satisfied pig." It's been years since I first read the line; I've thought about it a lot since.
It's hard not to fill up on Life's special moments... ignore the flowers and the gentle breezes... the children at play daring you not to smile.
Still, I think it's a mistake to miss the forest for the trees... become so intoxicated by Earth's beauty that you don't realize it comes with an expiration date. Take a look North. It'll be a while before another Spring
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Published on November 02, 2012 08:30 • 140 views

October 21, 2012

Free. Free. A happiness pill with no
side effects. Perfectly legal and universally recommended.
Go to Google and type in U-tube Garner... Love for Sale.
I defy you not to tap your feeet and break into the broadest of smiles. Garner whop never bothered to learn how to read music was a true genius. He and a few others have been strangers who have accompanied me on my life's journey. Invite him on yours.You'll be glad you did.
From Me to you... no charge.
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Published on October 21, 2012 09:32 • 67 views

June 22, 2012

Two reasons why writer's seldom give away their books for free.

When told I frequently speak at book clubs etc. for free, an acquaintance and former executive advised against it. His reasoning was simple: "If you charge nothing , your audience will assume that is exactly what it is worth."

My favorite, however, is a story my father told a life-time ago.
In his early days in the insurance b...usiness, he actually picked up payments from his clients. One lovely September day, he stopped at a country apple farm and picked up a fallen apple. He shined it and took a bite. Not a minute later, an old man who he soon learned owned the farm, appeared and began yelling at him in the saltiest of language. The upshot of the very one-way conversation was that the "drop" apple my father had "appropriated" was worth five cents to him when he brought it to the cider mill. What followed was a detailed account of the labor involved in caring for an orchard from planting to harvesting.

I believe farmers are artists. Most put in ungodly hours and work under the most difficult conditions. I have yet to meet one who didn't love what he did.

Writer's are artists too.We labor in our own vineyards. A day lengthy enough to fit in all we need to, will likely never come. Like the farmer, we are mid-wives to our own children.It is not easy watching them leave home.
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Published on June 22, 2012 06:41 • 98 views

June 21, 2012

It's taken me an (almost) lifetime, but I believe I am now qualified; I've become a philosopher. Add me to the list that includes Socrates and Plato, Nietszche and Kierkegard, Sartre and my late Uncle Harry.
As such, I have now earned the right to express my world view.In my dreams I wonder what scholars will call it.Most of the good names already have been taken. No longer available are such beauties as Naturalism and Existentialism, Idealism, Realism. May I suggest the following: Itiswhatitisism.
Why name it at all? If those who make such decisions are certain they'll quickly perish if they don't,please have the decency to make the grandeur of the name fit the grandeur of the concept itself. Joe's Philosophy seems an apt choice.
Here it is:
Life just is. It has always been and always will be.The silliness of the watch and the watchmaker (Thomas Aquinas' canard to inject a Supreme Being into the Cosmos since everything that is must have been brought into being by Someone or Something else) is just that, a trick... a kind of intellectual sleight of hand.
We are born alone and die that way. Along the way we meet a lot of people we like,more that we don't, and a few that we love.Dogs and cats, pigs and frogs do ,too.
I think we should get over ourself, stop exaggerating our worth, and enjoy the ride.
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Published on June 21, 2012 16:49 • 120 views

May 20, 2012

I don't know how or why, but it's happening again.The "it" ,of course, is the evolution of our species. I don't like it and probably never will, but there's not much I (we) can do about it.
Whitehead wrote a book a while back, entitled something like "The Adventure of Ideas".I don't remember much about the book.Even back then as a graduate student in philosophy, I found it a tad difficult to understand. I think most readers would. Philosophers are kind of tough to comprehend anyway.
I do remember that Whitehead suggested a kind of inevitability to such changes...that by the time anyone recognized something novel was coming, the time to do anything about had passed.
The genius Stephen Hawking, recently warned that our species should prepare to leave our planet and head into outer space. I think we've been getting ready for that journey for a long time.
We don't just use robots today; we have become robotic ourselves. While the Digital Age has made it easier for us to contact one another, the quality of our contacts with others has suffered.Speed dating and texting have replaced intimate personal contact.I'm not a fan of such encounters. Encounters of the third (or fourth or fifth) kind are not for me. Woody Allan may have been closer than we think, when in his movie "Sleeper" he found a convenient outlet for his sexual tension by heading into the "orgasmitron."
The young seem comfortable with all these changes. They're always the first to catch on to new ways anyway.I'm not sure if the young invent the future, or merely follow the design of others who program them to think they did. You can see their comfort in our move away from what it used to mean to be human, in their taste in books and movies. Their heroes are likely to be aliens, or vampires... witches or warlocks.
Sometimes I think I'm becoming old at heart.. that like Socrates and a thousand others before me,I'm decrying what has happened to the world of my youth.Other times,however,when I remember the sonnets of Shakespeare, or the novels of Faulkner and Tolstoy,I'm not so sure.I wonder if what we may become will be nearly as wonderful as what we have been.
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Published on May 20, 2012 20:45 • 109 views

May 18, 2012

DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE YOUNGER THAN THIRTY: XXX

The rest of us know a dirty secret: if you're looking for a meaning to Life, you are going to be disappointed.Every wonderful step along the way is just that... another step that might just as well gone one way as another.I think life is a lot like Pavlov, and we are his faithful dog.Life rings a bell... sex,or first love, making the high school baseball team or graduating college , finding a well paying job and being promoted... and we come scurrying only to eventually ask the question "Is that all there is?"
Maybe that's why we love movies(and used to love good books). They took us quickly through a life, being careful to leave out the boring parts and end on a high one.
I continue to have a blast. I think those of us who know the dirty secret do. We accept the ride for what it is and don't look for any payoff but for the wonder of the experience itself.
There's a part of me that truly feels sorry for those who haven't learned the secret.I'd like to believe it isn't their fault,but I can't. There are too many clues out there for a person not to suspect.After all, Shakespeare referred to life as a "tale told by an idiot" and Faulkner appropriated the rest of the line... "Full of sound and fury... signifying nothing."
Isn't it strange that fiction often reveals the most basic of truths.
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Published on May 18, 2012 15:17 • 89 views • Tags: death, faulkner, fiction, joseph-cavano, life, meaninglessness, shakespeare

May 14, 2012

Sometimes it's nice to remember it isn't only parents or lovers---- siblings or friends---- who have played an important role our lives.Certain strangers have also.
I'm referring to those persons who have been a part of our lives without ever having met us.
For me, most of these special strangers have been writers or musicians.
William Faulkner introduced me to a South I quickly fell in love with.The smell of wisteria has haunted me me ever since.Like Benjy in The Sound and the Fury, I've also discovered that sometimes something as faint as the scent of wisteria on a spring day can recall a loved one.
As a reader, I was moved by Faulkner's facility with language ... his wonderfully fashioned characters. As a writer, I recognized that Faulkner could do things on almost every page that the rest of us would be fortunate to do once in a lifetime.He is still with me, a most welcome and cordial companion whenever I sit down to write.
Erroll Garner is another stranger who has brought me joy ever since the day I turned fourteen and heard him play piano.I remember thinking that if Jesus played jazz piano, He'd play like Erroll Garner. I've never had a day since that Erroll's obvious joy in playing didn't pull me out of even the deepest funk.His playing had that effect on almost everybody who heard him.I defy anyone to listen to Erroll, up-tempo, and not break into a broad smile and tap one's feet.
There were other strangers I've never met who continue to follow me wherever I go. Like Hemingway's Paris, they are to me a moveable feast. They are with me always.
What about you? Do you have such friends who have enriched your life for the price of a CD or novel?
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Published on May 14, 2012 06:16 • 127 views

May 11, 2012

Check out the movies playing at your local theatre.I'm betting you'll discover the same thing I have; movies about real people, are losing ground to pure spectacle.
Of course, it's a lot easier to do the latter. Technology has little difficulty staging action films.It's a lot harder to find the kind of writing necessary to produce a first-rate drama or comedy about real life .
Chances are most of today's moviegoer's are products of the digital age. They've grown up with speed dating and texting... spending time in front of a computer rather than sharing a life with others. I'm not sure how much such a person knows or cares about inter-personal relationship.Is it any wonder that having had little experience with the give and take--- the ups and the downs--- of living with others,he/she is apt to have little interest in the plight of his/her fellow man?
Candidate Romney is right: corporations are people.The same narcissism and self-absorption found in so many of todays youth,is writ large in the modern American corporation.
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Published on May 11, 2012 23:01 • 122 views • Tags: doomsday, joseph-cavano, narcissism, writer-s, young-people

May 9, 2012

I know all about the dangers of burning bridges behind oneself.Still,when you reach a certain age,or are fortunate enough to learn early on that " going along to get along" is the mantra of cowards,one's personal well-being isn't nearly as important as telling the truth as you know it and revealing the Emperor in all his nakedness.
I'm refering to the ubiquitous MFA in so -called creative writing. I'm glad that what has become a cottage industry pays the bills for a lot of wonderful writers who teach in such programs.Keeping the wolf from the door, allows them the opportunity to write, and we all benefit from that. I've talked to quite a few fine writers who labor in that particular vineyard. To a man/woman,they are clear as to the number of students of marginal talent, and the general sameness of much of the writing.As for myself, I've taught long enough to recognize the truly gifted student-writer for what he/she is: a treasure and uncommonly rare.Sure, some graduates may use the terminal degree to teach college and spend a lifetime telling others how to do what they never were able to do themselves.Too many,however,continue the onslaught of a never-ending stream of "first reader's"(editors!) at even some of the better magazines.Their sophomoric taste and limited ability to see beyond a 'one kind fits all" type of writing,does incalculable damage.
Many claim classic literature is dying.If true,one would be foolish to ascribe its imminent demise to any one factor.I think it's pretty clear the pletheora of MFA programs should come in for a part of the blame.
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Published on May 09, 2012 15:16 • 85 views • Tags: a-writer-s-life, fiction, heresy, joseph-cavano, literary-magazines, mfa