You may be wondering why I called you all here today to my favorite Mexican restaurant (I sure am). There was a good reason, having something to do with how flimsy reality has got lately and the best place to sort that out is lunch in a really good Mexican restaurant. With whatever you order, I recommend a bottle of Corona cerveza --one of the most cheerful beers in the world. For those conscientiously disinclined, ask for a pilsner glass --you will be brought a different drink from the one in this bottle, that is equally cheerful (because it is Corona cerveza too).
What happens to the Muse's job when all her gods retire among metaphors in English 1-B classes? Gets harder, that's what. Reality suffers. We suffer. Writers suffer --of course you all know that. But I am not a writer. I am a gardener. I reluctantly consent to reality but expecting everybody to approve of it is a bit much. That's why we're going on a field trip after lunch. Now settle down, it's just to the market next door. Orderly line (and remember where the train's parked!).
When we first tried shredded wheat cereal in the 1950s, my brother theorized it was baled straw from some sort of miniaturized field operation. I disagreed, said if it looked like wicker and squeaked under pressure like wicker and...well, I thought it was wicker. Then came woven crackers and I imagined wheat woven on tiny looms by tiny slaves in tiny countries and, if I ever became a writer, I'd write about it --but the Muses never brought any divine impulses to encourage or contradict me, so I avoided the subject (and the whole occupation) because the reality wasn't anything I could always consciously consent to.
As a human being, as a gardener, I consent to the basis of free expression, of true civilization, that is, I consent to compassion --and, if we're done here, another Corona.