Pachinko is a mechanical game that combines the features of slot and pinball machines. The player (passive) controls only the speed with which a bunch of small steel balls are tossed into the machine, some dropping randomly to the bottom and disappearing, some landing in special holes that accumulate value and allow more balls for play. When three pictures appear, you're a winner. It takes a lot of dropped balls and much failure to finally add up to a win.

Pachinko is bright, colorful, random, and noisy--a lot like the creative mind at work. It's a game in which the forces of gravity and chance ride herd over skill and strategy Such is my attitude in undertaking this blog, my first attempt. I hope you'll walk away having had some small pleasure here, and that you will bear with me while I work out the bugaboo of acute self-consciousness at taking my daily writing public (comforted somewhat by the thought that every other person with a web connection also has a blog).

In a time of runaway specificity--the instant and cascading cataloguing of all the parts that make up an elephant, for instance, but completely missing the delightful mystery that is the elephant itself--a little ambiguity is a playground. I'm not talking about accuracy--accuracy is essential in reporting the world from our personal way stations. But we look at things through prisms that make the world unique and surprising. Brain, eye, and temperament, tipped by the day's weather, can turn identical events into separate experiences that are both accurate though, occasionally, in conflict (every divorce lawyer knows this). Some mornings are just cloudy enough to be enjoyable, while others are so brilliant and sharp-shadowed that my mood can hardly live up to the unspoken expectations of the day. The garage is clean, the grass is cut, the bills are paid. Time to sit on the patio with a cigar.

Today is cloudless. The heated, positive ions make the air bright and electric. The sky is wide-eyed. While I've put off starting this thing for months, the day seems to invite it, as does the encouragement of my friend Sara in Weston, Massachusetts, who's the best kind of friend in that she is reassuring and insistent, and her thoughtful emails are always a joy to find in the inbox. My children's pet rabbit is shedding his winter coat and snoozes beneath the rose bushes, occasionally getting up on his haunches to tug down a few leaves for a snack. The stock market is up today (as all things are gauged on the health of the market--which is like turning to a dying relative for revelations about my own good health). For all the minute-by-minute coverage of world events, politics, disaster, gossip, and the economy, for this moment I'm content to drop a few steel balls into the machine and see what happens So here we go, Sara.


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