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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Richard has been an “active poet” and writer since he was twelve years old, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Never caring much for public or private schools, Richard was basically home schooled, through lively discussions with his father around the family dining table. Richard is an avid reader, of science, history, and literature. Having lived and traveled across the lower forty-eight, Richard chooses never to stray too far from the Rappahannock River or the Chesapeake Bay, nor from his ...
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AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY: Richard has been an “active poet” and writer since he was twelve years old, born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Never caring much for public or private schools, Richard was basically home schooled, through lively discussions with his father around the family dining table. Richard is an avid reader, of science, history, and literature. Having lived and traveled across the lower forty-eight, Richard chooses never to stray too far from the Rappahannock River or the Chesapeake Bay, nor from his wife, two adult children, grandson and extended family.
Crab boats run up and down the river, devoid of purpose if you watch them from shore. Not quite able to figure out what the hell they are doing until armed with binoculars, you see these crusty old and young hard working fools reach down and pull up crab pot after crab pot and then you realize the point of these absurd looking boats. High at the bow and low at the stern, surreal in their frothy plow through the water, as if someone painted their pictures on the lens of the binoculars, I’ve been on one of these boats, long ago when I was young, only for a visit, not to work because that would be unthinkable. That’s real honest-to-god backbreaking work. I was out there, merely to visit, to laugh at them silently for I was better than they, smarter than all those fools because I knew how to avoid such work. I was a fool too, haughty, arrogant and unlike them but very much like the end of the crabbing day when all the many baskets of these little monsters were removed from the boat. I have since become as empty as that boat, as empty as the hot, unclouded July evening, not yet as empty as the universe, not yet as empty as the soul of every god they ever told me about, but simply, clearly and sometimes delightfully full of nothing.
Full of nothing. That is me now. I add up to nothing so I am now uncountable and content.
Also, and I almost forgot, I am a crab now. Or, I was a crab. I’m not sure when I was or if I still am because often I confuse the past with the present, as if mentally-challenged. Sometimes, it’s all very confusing anyway and I am so glad that I am sane and straight about the future. Nothing to it. In the future I am dead. It is very comforting. And scary. Relief and fear. Almost as good as rum and coke.
And keep in mind that the past is the future and the future is the past. That leaves us with the present which is an illusion. That leaves us with nothing, which is okay with me.
Yes, I am a crab but I am not the walrus. When I was young, the Beatles insisted on telling me that we were all the walrus and egg man and so on and so on. I sometimes feel as fat as the walrus. Friends and family tell me I am not fat, merely well proportioned but what do they know.
Posted November 7, 2007
Northspur by Richard Wilson Moss is undoubtedly foremost a piece of poetry guised as prose and self described as a poem of love 'per the author: the ultimate poem and the heart of all poetic creation'. The structure of the book contains recurring themes, beats and stanzas that giveaway this first intention while interspersed with more formal bits of poetry within this semi-autobiographical story to punctuate slight changes in mood and tone. Whereas the first half of the book contains many comical episodes and interesting observations throughout Richard¿s youth the last half shifts focus to more mature musings 'the kind of thoughts most of us turn toward when selfishness has begin to lose it¿s luster and we begin practicalities of raising a family' without losing it¿s playful irreverence for all things authority. On the first read this shift created a feeling of unevenness for me, however after a second reading I was able to pick up on the common themes in both halves and reconcile them, smoothing the transition. The author¿s humor works well in blunting some of the occasional sharp statements he makes about American society, it¿s hypocrisies and the trivial banalities that have helped shape his life 'such as the psychological impression left on him by society¿s strange responses to the cold war: teaching children to hide under their school desks in the event of WWIII'. Thus, the introduction of a major theme of the story: to take life seriously only to the extent needed and not a bit more. In other words to respond with urgency to the basic necessity of paying the rent but not losing ones basic enjoyment of life in the process and ignoring the incessant pursuit of the chimera of American ¿success¿ 'that is: material wealth = happiness, the country¿s GNP = GOD'. Another major theme concerns the confrontation of man¿s spirit with the blunt realities of the world including those of poverty, war and every human misery life has to offer, wrestling for answers, failing and continuing to wrestle. These themes clearly grow from the author¿s knowledge of eastern philosophy with it¿s implications that life contains a constant undercurrent of suffering, as is evident while reading about Richard¿s internal struggles, addictions and weaknesses. Also, in numerous chapters he writes openly about the death he has both witnessed and contemplated, come to terms with and makes fun but not light of. The author has laid bare the bones of his life experiences, consumed them without a honey glaze, and still manages to affirm their sweetness and potentiality of self-instruction. To assuage those readers who think Richard¿s writings are at best pessimistic or reek of nihilism, let me state that this reaction is an old and common misinterpretation of Buddhist/Taoist thought by westerners. This may make the book more difficult to decipher for some readers as they don¿t understand how quite to take it but let me assure you that the story is quite life affirming and not at all a sad exercise in morbidity. Richard¿s use of rich pointed language, poetic language, underscores these intents by using ¿ugly¿ descriptions of life as well as the more orthodox beauties of the world, he purposely confronts the reader with these images of the profane not to shock, titillate or instill a negative reaction but to show life as it is and accepting the wholeness of it. The book embraces all experiences as beneficial and chooses not to gloss over that which most would find ¿ugly¿, by a shifting of perspective then 'perhaps the Zen way?' the underbelly of life as human being is no longer ugly just another part of the whole person. Richard¿s story illustrates these aspects specifically through a self-reflective progression throughout the novel that comes to fruition in the later chapters. He stops at Northspur, finds a glimmer of Nirvana and accepts himself and everyone else for who they are, realizing the futility of trying to stop constant changeWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.