Long stories

In the Eastern Sierras is a very salty lake–Mono lake. It is saltier than it used to be. It’s smaller than it used to be.

That’s because Los Angeles, quite some time ago, began sucking away the fresh water that used to flow into Mono. Los Angeles was thirsty, and also needed the water to grow cows and oranges.

Because Mono lake wasn’t getting water to refill itself, the waer level went down. And something incredibly beautiful showed up.


The waters that flow into Mono lake mingle and react in such a way that makes a sort of mineral snowflake. Those mineral snowflakes flow around in the water, and eventually settle or attach themselves to stuff in the lake.

And tufas grow up like ghostly monuments.

This is my metaphor for my thoughts. Some of my thoughts float around in my consciousness, being of some kind of substance that doesn’t fade away. The ideas and insights, or questions, float around looking for a place where they fit. And eventually, they end up making their own place to fit. A place–a tufa–that doesn’t really fit anywhere, but is still a kind of cool something.

I read once something that may not be true. I can’t’ confirm it on a quick perusal of the internet, but I like the story, so I’m going to tell it. Take it for what it’s worth.

Egyptian cotton was pretty much the best cotton around for a super long time. Maybe as long as it took to find america and fill it with cotton plantations.

It was the best because it had the longest fiber. Cotton is useful for being made into thread, and the thread into fabric. But to make the thread, you have to spin the fibers together.

As I was told, the Egyptian cotton was the best because their cotton had the longest fiber. When the fiber was short, the thread would be all fuzzy and thick. But when the fiber was long, it spun all tightly and smooth. You could have super-fine, satiny almost, cotton fabric.

And people didn’t even want to mess with cotton if it wasn’t long fibered. That is, until a particular cotton spinning machine was invented to do the work mechanically. THEN the thread could be twisted tight enough, even when the fibers were stubby.

I’ve been thinking about my stories, and my thoughts. I have a lot of thoughts and stories. YET, I am not posting about them on my blog, or telling other people about them.

Why not?

Like the tufas, I am not sure how to explain what I’m thinking about. I’ve been thinking about certain stuff for a long time. And I’ve arrived at some structured ideas and concepts with all those thoughts.

But to explain them, and to share my mental tufas…well…It’s not that I wouldn’t love to do so…but…that brings me back to the cotton.

But to explain the cotton, let me tell you another story.

When I started at my current job, I realized almost immediately that I was joining a group that talked about themselves a lot. More than any other job I had ever been at.

These people talked a lot about stuff that was not work.

And I couldn’t quite deal with that. “Small Talk” was what I thought. I just can’t quite do that. I rummaged deep into the topics that are appropriate. Sports? the Weather? The news is dangerous, because that delves into politics and that could get too deep really fast.

So basically, I didn’t talk very much. I pretty much avoided my co-workers, because this sort of conversation was too much for me.

But I didn’t quit. And eventually I got sick of trying to keep to a line of “Appropriate.” I wanted to talk about whatever was on my mind. And if they found me weird, so be it.

So, I decided to start telling a story. I got a little way in, and the phone rang. So of course I dropped it.

But after the call was finished, the guys said, “Keep going.”

I started up again where I had left off, and kept on with my story.

The phone rang again.

And they finished and said again, “keep going.”


I realized that most of my life, I had had this experience. I would begin to tell stories and get interrupted before I could finish.

There were only a very few people who could sustain interest through my long trains of thought.

Those are my dear dear friend. You know who you are. I will love and cherish you forever.

But for those who didn’t hear the ends of my story…Maybe it’s because I abandoned my attempts. I maybe have given up telling it too soon.

Remember the cotton? Maybe my threads are long. Maybe my threads are fine and marvelous and desirable, a part of a superior experience.

For sure sure sure my stories and thought-trains are long.

And like the tufas, they are often curiously formed.

For example, this very blog entry is long and curiously formed. But this is the way it came to me, and I am choosing now to share it with you all.