Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Red Rubber Ball


Having already made a contribution to Freedom's Place, I turn my attention to what damage I might create here at "Thoughts". I decide to go surfing thru my favorite blogs to see what's going on with the breathren, stopping first at Dizgraceland, and my attention is riveted by what's on Tim's mind today. I read it again, just to make sure I understand the sentiment. Hmmmmmm. Then I read the comments. HMMMMMM. Interesting. Excuse me for a moment, I need to go somewhere.........


Virtual reality being the state of mind that it is, I find myself strolling up the path towards the gazebo in the town square of Freedom's Place. The skies are leaden and overcast, and a gentle breeze sweeps the square, kicking up an occasional unswept leaf, two metaphors dancing with each other. Then, I notice a little boy, dressed warmly in a woolen coat and stocking cap, tossing a rubber ball at the bulletin board, bouncing it off the cork-board covered in posts. He doesn't exactly look happy.

"Hello, Timmy, what's happening? You thinking up a post?"

He doesn't say anything at first, just bounces that ball, back and forth, back and forth. His brow is pinched, like he's trying to think of the right thing to say. Finally, he catches the ball and turns to me.

"Maybe I don't WANT to post. Maybe I wanna go home. I like my place better."

I stare at him, taken aback somewhat, but I realize he has feelings about this place that aren't all that different from others who have passed thru lately.

"I like your place too, Tim. Matter of fact, I'd bet almost everybody who sees it thinks it's one of the best around."

He stares at me, that look of hopeful suspicion on his face, like he doesn't exactly trust what I'm telling him.

"You think? Well, if it's so good, why did you drag me over here?"

"Tim, I didn't DRAG you over here, I INVITED you. There's a difference."

"Well, fine, but I don't see the point. I have my own blog; I can say all I want there."

"Indeed you can, Tim. We all can. And we all do. Perhaps I can try to explain the point a bit better. Or, maybe I won't, but I'll try, if you give me a chance, OK?"

"Sure, go ahead. Whatever."

I sigh, and gather my thoughts. I glance over at the statue of Tim-Id/Braveheart. He follows my gaze, trying to look serious, but I can see the grin creeping past his serious demeanor.

"Tim, I don't know about the others, but I personally think that is one of the finest contributions we've had here in our town. And you know what? It does more for your blog than it does for us, to tell the truth. It piques a visitor's curiosity and makes them wonder where such a cool thing came from. So, from here, they are led right back to Dizgraceland, where they are able to discover more of what you are capable of. We're all proud of it, knowing we have such a talented member in our midsts. Everybody here in Freedom's place has their own unique contribution, that not only makes this place so special, but makes their own blog a place worth checking out. Freedom's place simply provides one more way for others like us to come together."

"Well, fine, " he grumbles, "but I don't have that much time to be coming here, and what am I supposed to say here that I can't say back home? And when am I supposed to do it? Don't we all have to take turns? It's kinda complicated...."

"Well, Tim, that's the beauty of Freedom's place. It's the very essence of the word. You do what you want when you want to do it, and so what if you are the fifth post in a day, or maybe once in a blue moon? The cool thing about freedom is that it frees you FROM things as much as it allows you to participate in them. You know, as many people came to America to get away from expectations as they did to have the right to tend to their own beliefs and desires. We welcome people of all persuasions and inclinations. They can come and go as they please, and if they feel they only have enough energy for their own personal blogs, well, that's OK too. As for what we talk about here, well, the same thing applies. Community means different things to different people. Some can't wait for the next parade; others you couldn't drag to one if you tried.....we all belong in our own special ways; one is no better than the other. Here, whatever topic floats your boat is fine, there is no format requiring you to speak of any one thing."

Then I point something out that till just now I hadn't even noticed before, a brass plague adhered to a granite stone next to the gazebo. It seemed to sum it all up in a way only the author could have said it......

"I Refuse to join any club that would have ME as a member!" Groucho Marx.

"My friend, if even HE can rest here in Freedom's Place without turning over in his grave, I think the rest of us can survive it."

I glance across the street and notice Whitesnake leaning against the wall of pub, and he raises his mug of Guinness in my direction, smiling. Shandi studies the wall in the alley next to him, wondering what she can do to it to make it more than just an alley, and I am happy to see her here even if she has her own doubts.

I turn back to Tim, who now stands tall and looking very much like the Tim that is all grown up, living in Seattle, and doing the things that only a Tim is likely to be doing in the real world. I offer him my hand.

"I apologize if I somehow invaded your space, but I hope you'll find enough purpose in this place not to abandon it totally. Maybe this will be a ghost town one day, but I think it was worth a shot, and I'll always be proud of the idea if not the execution. I guess if I was half as good at anything as I thought I was, I'd be president now, but we all know that ain't gonna happen. I just want to thank you for at least not out and out saying the whole idea was stupid to begin with. And the next beer is on me if you care to come visit karaoke night over there at the pub. If Whitesnake leaves us any, that is."

Tim shakes my hand, not committing to anything, but I think I see a glint of understanding in his eyes as he flings the rubber ball across the park and heads off towards Dizgraceland. I turn and walk across the street to join Whitesnake at the pub. It's another day in Freedom's place, and I cross my fingers, hoping there are many more to come.

12 comments:

whitesnake said...

My thoughts exactly.

Kindness (disarms the difficult) said...

well... if whitesnake was already having a Guinness and you were outside... who was tending bar? (hint hint---i really need the job!!!! please please please lemme be back up bartender... please...)

Shandi said...

I'm still in the alley Michael. But, if you make kindness the backup bartender, I'll come in for a Guiness. She's a great listener.

Footpad said...

Well put!

-- f

THE Michael said...

laughs.....you guys......Kindness, you can tend bar anytime you want to. And Sandi, I am SOOOOO looking forward to walking thru that alley, once you get thru with it.

Hey Foot! A post with YOUR name on it is calling to you in Freedom's Place........

I_Wonder said...

Hey, Michael! I'm going to post on FP this weekend. I'm beginning to get my work schedule under control.

littleone said...

(whispering from the mountain top) The Michael i agree with you.. everyone should post whatever whenever they feel like it.. Freedom's Place will be a quilt of writing .. a tapestry of thoughts.. and one can hunt and peck and find something they enjoy...

for me it is the imagination posts.. the ones that create the personas and the town... shrug.. but then i am currently sitting on a mountain top talking to some guru what do i know??

morningstar

Kindness (disarms the difficult) said...

ok, so... Buffalo is sheriff; Shandi and TimID are our artists in residence; Jane and Gautami are our poet laureates; morningstar owns the Butterfly Shop but is currrently busy making our hearts grow fonder... and I get to tend bar!!!!! Whitesnake sure keeps me busy with his wonderful stories...

So the point of this post is... i nominate THE Michael for mayor! I know you don't want the responsibility but I think you are the man for the job...

We have a bar, the Butterfly shop and now we need a coffeehouse... anyone?

;-)

Miss Bliss said...

I'm just a passerby in these parts, so I feel somewhat apprehensive about commenting and realize this probably won't be well received.

I have been toggling between blogs in this community and have stumbled upon FP as well....I thought it was going to be a sort of political and social meeting house for a topic chosen weekly and was looking forward to reading all the differing views and angles on the world around me. Instead, every time I checked in each post seemed to be an extension of everyone's own blog - one on top of the other. It was difficult to follow what was going on....then I found this blog and thought - aha - the answer will be revealed. Instead I found (if I think I'm reading this post correctly)that if someone somehow doesn't quite understand the charge of the new blog "Freedom's Place" they are similar to a misguided, pouting child? Everyone is always assuring each other that there is always freedom to state a differing opinion or feeling, but it seems to be accompanied by a certain amount of chiding and then the blog, which I thought functioned as a tool for love, life, art and social frenzy, becomes a sword held by a smiling friend?

THE Michael said...

Miss Bliss, welcome to "TTEM", and please allow me to assure you that yes, your comments are well received. I realize the confusion of coming here only to find something that perhaps belonged in Freedom's place, and you are probably right in assuming so, but please note that if you go back a bit, especially before I first got the kernel for the idea of the community blog, I do produce a blog that deals mostly with MY world and my perspective of it. I will try in the future to keep the two separate, as that does make more sense.

As for the "pouting" child you refer to, I can also understand your feelings concerning how I addressed that matter, but I assure you, it was only a good natured response to Tim's feelings about his place in the scheme of another blog. I think, or at least hope, that he did not take it in a negative way, and if he DID take offense in the way I approached the subject, in my off-the-wall fashion, he need only tell me and I will be the first to apologize for it, because I like Tim, I respect Tim, I admire Tim, and I would never wish him to think otherwise. We all have, at one time or another, said things to or about each other that, not knowing each other the way we do, could be construed in a negative fashion. I personally err on the good natured side of comments or post material aimed at me, feeling that if someone really wanted to "Dis" me, the meaning would come over perfectly clear. Hopefully, it will not come to that.

As far as how Freedom's Place is evolving, I have tried not to interfere in the flow or content, because I did state from the beginning there would be no interference until someone did something entirely inappropriate, or someone complained with a valid point. So, although it would be nice for everybody to latch onto one subject at one time and beat it to death before moving on, who am I to dictate when and how that is to occur?

This, for me at least, is an experiment. I have no prior experience in diplomacy or consensus building, thus I might be forgiven for not knowing exactly how to run this train on two rails, but for the sake of possibilities, I am giving it a shot anyway. Like I have said, this whole thing may fall flat on it's face, or, it may grow in participation and sophistication, but that will require more than what I can lend to it myself. The future of Freedom's place is in the hand of it's "residents". If you believe there are better directions this place can take, you can help steer it there yourself by joining us and adding your own influence.

Or not.

That's Freedom.

Thank you for your input, and I welcome any suggestions you might have in the future. And you can even call me clueless if you like, as long as you wink while you're doing it........grin.

THE Michael said...

And Kindness.......

Thanks hun, that was a sweet sentiment, me being appointed Mayer and all, but as you can see, I might not exactly be Mayor material, so you won't see me honking my own horn in that regard. My "suggestions" that placed our friends in the positions mentioned just seemed natural to me and could have been outright rejected by any of them, since none of these were the result of them asking for such recognition or of anyone "electing" them to such offices. As you can see, Buffalo, in his good natured way, "accepted" the position of sheriff "kicking and screaming", but in tongue and cheek good humor, going along with the joke in that fashion as only the Buffalo could. If ever I "pigeonhole" anybody in such a way that weighs on them, I'm sure they will in equally good grace decline and no one here would hold it against them, much less me. So, in final response to your "nomination", I paraphrase.......

"If nominated, I will not run........if elected......well.....I demand a SHRUBBERY!"

Homo Escapeons said...

..and you shall have a shrubbery!
I was wondering when the demands of shepherding an autonomous collective would actually 'sink in'?
This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine...
and is morphing into Bush 41s' 1,000 points of light.
Thanks to THE Mayor.