Tuesday, November 12, 2002


What a great and flawed novel is “The Once and Future King,” written more than 60 years ago by T.H. White.

On Sunday, at the Open Doors benefit at Adair’s in Dallas, I heard music from Davin James, Macon Greyson, Jay Johnson, Tommy Alverson, Bodie Powell, Terry Rasor, Scott Fant, and Kim Edward. I talked with so many people that I became hoarse.

I played shuffleboard with a five-year-old girl who made up her own rules, acting as a sort of goalie to repel my shots. I forgot high-school-junior Leah Boulter’s name as I introduced her to some new acquaintances as a wonderfully talented young singer, and felt compelled to apologize twice. I hope she will share some of her writing with me, as her mother wants her to do. I flirted, briefly and gently and meaninglessly, with a woman 20 years younger than me.
Late in the evening, a quiet, dark-haired, very pretty woman, her back turned to me, carefully unbuttoned her denim shirt and slowly danced for the men and women at a nearby table, turning almost toward me once so that I saw her bare, vulnerable breasts.

Later, I came home to finish White’s sweeping, philosophical novel of King Arthur and Lancelot and Guenever. The novel, boiled to its simplest, examines the quest for right and wrong in an imperfect world. White writes about magic and many adventures; about the flight of the wild geese; about the seventh sense that helps us make our way through compromise, fear, stultification, hypocrisy, and other traps; about madness; and about the wind.

In the final chapter, facing a horrible battle, Arthur calls out in the night for his page to take a message to the bishop. He talks with the young, bright-eyed page, who claims to be good at understanding. Finally, Arthur entrusts the page, whose name is Tom, with a lifelong task: to protect the candle’s light in the wind.

To protect the candle’s light in the wind: that sounds like a good lifelong task for all of us.

Sunday, November 10, 2002


a warm laugh erupts
on a cold, cold winter night
like a candle's light