Some Thoughts on Dancing With the Devil

or The Devil’s Due

Back in 1989 I was mesmerized by the question, “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” That question helped conjure a couple images for me when I read The Crucible a few years later. The first image is of young women dancing in a forest under a pale moon and it was innocent enough. The second image is one of a makeshift courtroom that accuses and condemns these young women of witchcraft, guilty or not

“Jack-Lanterns”

There are obvious appeals to dancing with the Devil (upper or lower case) but few consider the Devil’s due. Choices are made, words are spoken, and acts are carried out but consequences are often not considered. We think of the of allure of the pale moonlight but not of the condemnation of the court that follows. We live in a time long since Salem but has much changed? If you choose to dance, innocent or not, be prepared to find yourself in accused of witchcraft (or something of the sort), guilty or not.

-K-

Give the Devil His Due: The Mix Tape

A Side

  1. “The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie”–Colter Wall
  2. “The Devil’s Right Hand”–Bob Seger
  3. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”–The Charlie Daniels Band
  4. “The Devil Takes Crae of His Own”–Band of Skulls
  5. “Friend of the Devil”–Ramblin’ Jack Eliot
  6. “Speak of the Devil”–Chris Isaak
  7. “Seven Devils”–Florence and the Machine
  8. “Sympathy for the Devil”–The Rolling Stones
“Dock Jukebox”

B Side

  1. “Born By the Devil”–Lightnin’ Hopkins
  2. “Me and the Devil Blues”–Eric Clapton
  3. “The Devil Had a Hold of Me”–Gillian Welch
  4. “Me and the Devil”–Gill Scott-Heron
  5. “Preaching Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)”–Robert Johnson
  6. “The Devil’s Gonna Lie”–Otis Taylor
  7. “Devil’s Got to Burn”–James Blood Ulmer
  8. “Keep the Devil Down”–North Mississippi Allstars

-K-

Thoughts of Sam and Bruce (if you know, you know).

Authors on Working

Several Cents Worth of Common Sense

  • “The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.” -Arthur Miller-
  • “You should not confuse your career with your life.” -Dave Barry-
  • “Do not whine…Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.” -Joan Didion-
“Notice”

  • “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson-
  • “Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking.” -Patrick Kennedy Toole-
  • “If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you are a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.” -Kurt Vonnegut-
  • “In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not subversive.” -Bill Waterson-

-K-

Some More Thoughts on Warning Signs

or Knowing When to Stop

It’s hovering around 100 degrees out here in the Midwest, and I’m drinking my second cup of coffee while tapping away at a couple thoughts. It was my Pops who told me hot coffee on a hot day helps regulate the body temperature. I never asked where he picked up that bit of wisdom. Did he learn it growing up in Harlan County, while serving in the Army, or maybe while working as a chemical operator? With his passing the origin of that piece of advice is lost much like the origin of his advice about knowing when to stop.

“Stop Sign”

Pops warned me that there wouldn’t always be clearly posted stop signs throughout life. Sometimes I would have to use my best judgement, to realize that many individuals and institutions do not have my best interests in mind. He told me knowing when to stop, when not to follow, or when to go my own way wouldn’t be an easy skill to master but was one worth learning. Pops’ advice wasn’t unique. Most of us have been taught something similar at some time. But many of us (myself included) need to develop this skill now more than ever. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that warning signs abound and we often ignore them for one reason or another. Maybe we’ve become a little too complacent. Maybe we need to work a little harder at keeping an eye and ear out for those not so clearly posted stop signs.

-K-

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