notes from the grind
hi guys. exciting news: my new address is up and (mostly) working. blog coming soon (?), along with some better features. i'm learning, it's getting there, be patient! if you have any suggestions (as always) please let me know.
holy frolicking some king folds a pen into his pocket to commit control convict every thing rockking solid
No, seriously. This weekend alone I went to a five-artist exhibit at Mina Dresden, a poetry series at Canessa gallery, and saw Mozart's Abduction at the Opera House! But more has happened than just some artsy-fartsy parade of expression. Wait, no. This march is stupendous! Vast! How it keeps getting bigger, going forward, defeating horizons everywhere. Towns, homes, everything can be explained. But there are articles to write and others to right, and things to make up, and miscellaneous ad infinitum et ceterus. amenicus! (not americus.)
I published an article about Noel Coward's play Brief Encounter in TangoDiva and also at Allvoices. It was an amazing experience: Wednesday night was the opening of the hundredth year at the American Conservatory Theater. The play, put on by a very talented troupe from Cornwall called Kneehigh Theatre, featured a clever mixture of film, theater, and live music to create a very intimate experience. It was a lot of fun and if you can catch the show I highly suggest it. Calendar (Here's lookin at you SF, NY!)——
Oh, I took a nap Friday afternoon so was up when the sun rose and was fortunate to catch the following on film. It proves everything, and leaves nothing to be desired. If you ask me, what you are seeing or what you could be seeing to the right is a brilliant literally brilliant prototype for what a fantastic paragraph should do. To be opened up, gradually and even seemingly without notice, or with impression so sated and over-sated as to be incapable of detecting all the minutiae as they happen, but to only be impressed by them, until the moment comes when you reach a new landmark reflection and your eyes are opened and you say YES, or perhaps you just say to yourself yes that is pretty and I should have seen it coming, but really I knew it was coming and that's the thing it's always just coming and you find yourself thinking when does this paragraph end, it will never end, but unlike this paragraph you think well this is beautiful and it will never end, and I'm glad it won't, as long as I sit here and keep an eye on things.
Just don't turn away, you little leprechauns! Bask in the glory!
Consume the diamond lightwaves and harness the sun. Crystallize! You won't regret it.
I went and saw Nicholas Schnidle speak at the Marine Museum on Geary on Tuesday. His first decision after finishing school and becoming a freelance journalist? Pakistan for two years. Dustin hung out with the Taliban but in a good way. He was booted from the country twice and likely won't go back. I'm trying to get caught up and post some thoughts on his experience, because it was pretty radical, but I haven't found the time yet!
Oh, I also hung out with high school chumster Bo Bohannon and his beloved Kumiko. Yes! Pizza pie at the Peace Pagoda! Plus the special privilege of having an old friend translate a new old friend's dazzling prosery into another language, live and in full color.
Scanning pictures to see what has happened...
I've been properly meanderin' and am starting to amass quite a collection of graffiti pics.
Check this one out:
I'm going to leave you with a few things to think about.
From Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.
Also, this happened today:
8:26 PM SaRah: how many times/day does it hit you: i'm Doing This!?
8:27 PM me: ha it doesn't really. i still have no money and feel like until i can afford to live wherever i want to by my own godd4mned SELF i aint doin sh!t!
and that's the truth, sista!
8:28 PM alright, maybe not anywhere i want!
8:29 PMSaRah: :)
S I L L Y M E! i forgot to mention my articles on ...Abduction | Canessa | Mina Dresden
Two big pieces of news:
1 | I have been invited to be Literary Culture Correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner!
2 | I have maxed out my capacity at this site and will be making a switch to evankarp.com!
the confluence of these two events has me extremely nervous.
i'm working on the new site but it's going to take me some time. bear with me!
in the meanwhile continue to check here for news. i just won't be changing the picture and quote every day until i get my bearings back. wish me luck!
The days are just packed.
A lot has happened in the last few days and i have filled cameras, notebooks, and envelopes with documentation.
Let me explain.
I had been wanting to check out the San Francisco International Festival of Short Films, or SF Shorts, since it began on Thursday night, but hadn't had the chance. So Friday I was determined to catch a screening come hell or high water. I worked throughout the day to make this feasible, and Ben and I took Kimbo for an outing in Alta Vista park as part of the 'Friday is here' preliminaries. The park was full of families spinning on playground funneries, playing catch with their dogs and loved ones, jubilating, smiling and making noise, and all whilewith spectacular views of the East and West of the city. We did some tree climbing and relaxed to the extreme until it was time to embark for the Red Vic Movie House on (1727) Haight Street, where the festival was taking place. Ben took the dog home and I began what was to be a most supreme walk. I took lots of notes and will share some with you now.
I got on Divisadero and stayed that course until Haight Street—so walked down two very colorful, very different streets. Love for the city had me stopping to read the verse on treetrunks with my fingers, dodging flowers trying to grasp me, smiling at car windows, pedestrians, people in parks and beauty salons. I walked by a big window and met eyes with two beautiful stylists and their canvasses. Each smiled back in turn. When I got to Hayes St I stopped to appreciate how the Bean Bag Cafe and Nopa, a higher-end lounge and restaurant, are directly across from Popeye's chicken and two doors down from Guaziema Club—"Ethiopian Cuisine Original Taste"—a Budget Cleaners next to Zirya 6 (another classy eatery), a Palm Reader and a sole quadplex sandwiched between a hardware store and a piano/art bar at the other end of the block (adjacent to Fell St). A bit further down I reached a block comprised of another Cleaners, GamesCafe, Yoga, Collectibles, the Metro Hotel (refurbished to a nouveau neon class), Comix Experience and a neighborhood Market—that was just one side of the block. There were pedestrians all along Divis, most of whom were not heading home. People were sitting on stoops, some drinking, some just obviously beginning what is probably an amazing weekend ritual. Smiling, smiling at everyone.
When I got to the Red Vic I had a bit of time to burn, but I bought two tickets and waited outside with a cup of coffee. I knew Ben would be late, so I settled in to the wall. Pretty soon a couple named Theo and Katina approached me and tried to offer me a free ticket. No dice, you guys—already paid. But we began talking and it turns out Theo Rigby has a film in the set right before the 7:30 (which was the one I was waiting for), called Close to Home. The film follows the father and daughter of Brian Marquez, who was murdered in San Francisco in 2005, as they attempt to overcome their grief and begin a new life without him. Shot on the Day of the Dead, this film is very touching and concise without being sappy or in any way dramatized. In fact, the way Theo is able to convey perspective and feeling without making any comment, really, is incredible. There is one scene in which the father is taping a 'Missing' sign along with a picture of Brian on a store window, and we see his face as he does this—it is just overwhelming. If you have a chance, check it out: it was every bit as good as (if not better than) any of the films I saw Friday.
Theo and Katina are very sweet people and gave me some tips on places to go for independent films: ATA (Mission), The Roxy, and The Castro. I've known about the last two but still haven't cashed opportunity. I told them we're moving to Oakland at the end of the month and they suggested some places in the East Bay, too: Aurora and La Pena. Hopefully I'll see them around!
Finally Ben got there, but he redeemed himself with popcorn (I was worried we wouldn't get seats—it was packed). There were six different 'film mixes' to the festival, each with a theme spanning between 72 and 76 minutes. We caught mix #3: Imbedded: a mixed-genre program of ambitions and fortitude.
The first film of the mix was entitled Prayers for Peace, by Dustin Grella, and was an SF premiere. This is an 8 minute stop-motion animation drawn entirely on a chalkboard (!!!) and is the author's confrontation with the memory of his younger brother, who was killed after 3 months of service in Iraq. First of all, the process by which Dustin made this film is incredible. For those of you who know about The Game, understand that the artist worked on this film for 17 months, and has been working with the chalk/chalkboard medium for over 4 years now (Dustin had another film in the same festival two years ago). I can't speak for that film nor for his development within the medium, as this was my first encounter with Dustin or his work, but he is very skilled and at home there. Even knowing, it was hard to believe that the whole film was done in chalk. Enough about that! But it was really that impressive. I wanted to film the whole short, but it did not seem appropriate to hold my camera light out above the crowd, especially since we sat in the front. The film ends with an audio clip from Dustin's brother containing some of his last moments, in which he says, so sincerely: "This is a big mission. I'm just glad to be a part of it, I guess." There are machine guns going off in the very close distance and his brother also says, before the last quote: "I was hoping to hear more bombs. It's quieted down now. It's crazy out here, and kind of exciting." I did film part of Dustin's response—there was a QA after, with three of the films' makers—and I have posted that video here.
The next film we saw was called Team Taliban, by Benjamin Kegan, Robert Sickels, and Adeel Alam. Team Talibam is the chronicle of a young American Muslim who wrestles for the thrill of attention—a very nice, likable lad—but who did not earn respect or support from the wrestling community because he has no personality, and although he is a great wrestler, is, without an angle, just another guy. SO he is convinced to assume a persona: a "bad muslim," as he says, and this of course means a member of the Taliban. The wrestler becomes a sensation: some people genuinely hate him and think his act is inappropriate, and others understand and only pretend to hate him (these support the show and the industry). The most powerful moment of this film was when he speaks of a post-show moment in which he was walking through the parking lot to his car. A 6 yr old boy jumps down from a post with his fists drawn, and the wrestler could see a pure, absolute hatred in the child's eyes. "I pretty much realized I had probably ingrained it in that kids head to hate Muslims forever."
Film #3 was an Austrian short called Change, a 2 minute animation of a man on a couch. This was the North American premiere of Change, in which two little birds fly out of the TV screen an overweight man is watching. He clutches a hamburger in his left hand and a soda - with a straw - in his right. He looks at the birds, hovering to each side of him, and has a eureka! moment: he switched the items in his hand. The audience clapped and hollered at this, but I thought it was awful. Really? Really, you guys? That was awesome?
The Veiled Commodity was next, a film by Dickson Chow and Vinh Chung. This is a concise history of slavery that is punctuated by a cry to end the modern trafficking and victimization of people around the world. Some of the animation in this film was unlike anything I've ever seen—very compelling—and one of the artists was part of the QA. I thought personally that this film over-stretched itself by beginning with the history of slavery; it seemed more like a push to end victimization, and the history of slavery itself—in 6 minute film—I thought was a little preposterous. Still, it was compelling and made a clear point.
Gaining Ground, by Marc Brummund, filmed in Germany and making its SF premiere this weekend as well, is a tale about an illegal immigrant couple who struggle with the decision of enrolling their 6 yr old child in school (at the risk of being caught and turned in). I thought this film was strong, but maybe a little too long (20 minutes). Brummund certainly gets us to the heart of the matter, and to his credit I think he does so faster than he seems to think. Tension at the prospect of the couple getting caught is drawn out by the child's longing to be with other children—at one point he wanders into a nearby school and his father grabs the child and the two run down the hallway and off the property—but the resolution is brought about when a less-than-respectable landlord proposes to marry the man's girlfriend so the child can go to school, and the father then risks everything by explaining to the principal their situation and enrolling the boy anyway. I think this could have made a great feature length, or perhaps shorter, film.
Next was JSY, which stands for Just Say Yes. It hails from Portugal and made its world premiere this weekend here in San Francisco. Summary: "Mix Obama's 'Yes We Can' with the Reagan administration's 'Just Say No' and you get ... a modern-day call to arms on the world and the environment." It was clever and fun—only 2 minutes long.
Last was an evocative film following a couple of Jamaican sprinters and documents the country's rise to Olympic prominence. A 22 minute film, Fast As She Can, by Kiran Goldman and Molly Snyder-Fink, was an emotional and well-shot documentary. There was a wealth of great interview footage (mostly from one of the mothers of the athletes) and the two were able to mesh the personal struggle of these sprinters with the national ambition for respect—this was no Cool Runnings. As one of the audience members remarked (Goldman and Snyder-Fink were part of the QA as well) this film could easily be followed up by a progress report on the sprinters, who are even now competing and training for upcoming Olympic games. I was a big fan of Fast As She Can, but in the end I voted for Prayers for Peace. The artistry of its creation was too impressive to deny.
One final note on the festival: each show was only $10, and this was a great way to start my Friday night. Lasting only 72 minutes (not including the QA), we were out of there before 10PM and with the benefit of being inundated with so many disparate sensations, expressions, and conceptions. I had the most pleasant walk home, even though the air was saturated with mist and brisk wind.
So the weekend's going fine, you say. Correct! But another very significant thing happened this weekend! The beginning of the Green Smoothie Revolution! Working for North Atlantic Books, I have recently come across one of their newer releases of that precise name, written by raw food expert Victoria Boutenko. I was able to grab an older version of the draft to the book and bring it home with recipes for vegetable- and fruit-based smoothies. I've wanted to go way more raw (who doesn't?!) for a while now, and decided on Friday morning that I was going to try my first smoothie. I bought a mango and threw the whole thing (minus seed, of course) into the blender with a cup of kale and a cup of water—delicious! Energizing nutrition, that's about all I was drinking! MMMMMM! Ben was able to get behind this, too, and soon our fridge was packed with the following fruits and vegetables (I had to list them, so intoxicating and exciting it was:)
Last night we made the best beverage I've ever had—alcoholic, caffeinated, or other: 1/3 cup blackberries, 1 cup parsley, and 4 kiwis. Pictures do not do the consistency or freshness of this beverage justice—but the beverage did my body justice the likes of which are hard to believe. It was like condensing the earth's flavors into pulpy bits of health. We drank it and went on a walk to LaFayette park, where we raged with goodness (!). Converts! Converts! You can check out Victoria Boutenko's book, Green Smoothie Revolution, here.
Last and not certainly least for the weekend was attendance at my first writing/music salon at Sherril Jaffe's house. I did not know what to expect, but the idea was born during my first shabbat dinner at the house (a bit less than 2 months ago). I would say there were nearly 20 people there of all ages—from 2 years old to 91 years old—dinner was served, wine flowed, and everyone (I mean everyone) at some point performed. There was piano, clarinet, guitar, accordion playing, films screened on 8mm with guitar and song accompaniment, exerts from amazing books both published and as yet unfinished, and dancing! I read my latest story, Cold Standard, too, and it went over better than I hoped it would. As Ben remarked, people were turning the pages right with me the whole time—an excellent sign!
But the highlight of the night came at the end of the last performance. Sherril and her daughter Malka, along with step-cous' Olivia, did a dance number, and after grooving for a few minutes invited the rest of us to dance. WE DID! We all danced for three or four full songs with balloons being tossed in the air. I looked up and realized everyone in the room was dancing, smiling, rejoicing to the fullest extent. That house is magic, magic! Everyone said so, felt it, shared it with everyone else. We were all invited not just to attend but to bring out better selves, something we all want often to do. Cold Eye, Warm Heart, to the grandparents who danced with us and had another honeymoon, to the kids who performed with pride and gusto. "We should all do this again" — so often this is heard there. Every day should be a celebration! Every day should be a birthday! Every day is, for someone somewhere. The more people we pull together, the more we have to celebrate. We each spent last night in a room full of surprisingly talented people, each time the next person performed we all were more and more amazed. "I can't believe how many talented people are here" — this was said sincerely throughout the night. After dancing we mingled and dwindled until the stars became sleepy and needed recharging. We went out separate ways. Ben and I walked home with a Stout between us, dreaming and gushing victorious.
If you keep talking you’ll develop personality. I promise. I used to be a silent shy insignificant dreamer. Guess what? I’m still a dreamer.
I have a dream that
everyone is speaking at all times. Everyone can tune in to their heart’s
desire, because that’s where all voices come from. All hearts are
transmitters, not just receptors. Don’t you notice a correlation between how
much you feel and how much you talk?
You want to taaaaallllk. But you want to have something to say, too, and you don’t because your heart’s turned down, shut off, ignored. And then you're sad because you're quiet all the time and you silence yourself even more. This might not apply to you, but it does to a lot of people. You've got to admit. You’ve got to let it flow. You’ve got to become someone. You’ve got to be more than you are. You’ve got to let it go.
Don’t start conversations. Connect.
I have a dream that all hearts are transmitting into the air and I can feel it when I breathe. I breathe deeply. Air goes straight to my heart!
How can skies be clean before hearts?
Only in the good old days. Good news! Surprise—
these days are pretty kickin too.
It isn’t so bad
to be the ones who reconnect after a long silence.
Nature has been missing us, dying for our presence.
We've turned away and it's been too long.
It isn’t enough to sustain; that’s only negative presence neutralized.
What it takes is painting the world with your feelings. Being good for the world.
That used to be a natural thing but it isn’t now. It isn’t so bad.
I will be unnaturally good!
I wanted to be a seer and my dream came true and I’ve forgotten what it means.
I think I need to be alone.
Do you know where I could catch a glimpse of life?
I actually meant to say light, but I meant something else - whether you call it higher or bigger or more intense. Something to shake it up a little, me, the world, the way I see things. I don’t go out of my routine enough. I have so many exciting things on my shelves and in my mind but I don’t look at them usually and I don’t go for walks. I focus on getting the job done, and I have friends but they’re all doing the same thing I’m doing.
I guess what I’m asking you is would you slow down and open up with me somehow, be more authentic, be more in love and more open, open, in everything open? I want to be more open now than I am or ever have been.
Me too. Be my favorite book.
Be my favorite author.
Provide me with the things I need.
Be my parents. Be my author.
I really just want more light more than anything else.
I don’t want another significant person. I don’t want to focus on any one thing but the light.
We each get a chance
It’s about stepping up when you have it and being as authentic and resounding as you can be knowing you are the one who people are listening to now and there could be a reason for that if you make one.
I have a dream where everyone says now is the time for me and I can be that person, and if there’s no one around for me right now I will practice and learn how to be amazing which is to say learn how to be myself and I will do it and do it and do it until I know what I’m doing and I know what I am; beyond that I will keep doing it and keep doing it and keep doing it, and one day I will be that person because I will have stretched out my moment and I will not stop when I have it because I have already done it for no one and I’ve done so all my life and this isn’t just for some nameless group of individuals who will mostly never meet each other, readers from random demographics. This is for me, endearing nameless, and it isn’t selfish. Who cares if I speak or don’t speak if there aren’t other people involved -- I don’t have to talk to let it out. I can eat and fight and make love too. This is a choice. And it’s in part because of you.
I‘ll try not to forget that if you keep listening.
I have a dream that humanity is enlightened. All coffers and eyes are open, hands only empty right after they’ve given.
I have a dream that art is no longer necessary, that we can amuse ourselves and be healthy by impulse.
I have a dream in
which the value of human life is not contingent upon even our noble
aspirations. I have a dream that for better or for worse we come together as a
unified thing called humanity and all decide to believe in the capacity of our own
intelligent minds, and to use them the best we can.
I dream that everyone tries to be less lazy, all of their lives, so that each generation becomes stronger.
I have a dream and it’s a good one—that everyone is open to the ever-present conversation that is the mixing of our hearts, for this is so, and that no man or woman gives any other man or woman reason to turn their bodies and their hearts away in doubt that this is so.
We have the power to turn people’s hearts on and off, and the more we choose OPEN the more others will choose OPEN and inspire others to OPEN. I dream that everyone wants to be a hero not to be the hero but because everyone wants humanity saved.
That’s why the world followed US in the first place. Same as gravitating around the ones everyone can tell can see and whose history precedes them.
Destiny is what happens when you fulfill your history.
To be the future you must transcribe the heart perfectly.
Let’s do this, patiently, with attention to detail.
We’ll know we have it when we all agree whole-heartedly.
When all voices unite to form 100% pure sound
We are the heart
and anyone who has ever loved knows the heart can do anything.
A collective voice throbs like red-healthy heartbeat
and bursts from passion.
i finished my new story last night. it feels goooood and you can read it now because i've put it up already. it's called cold standard.
CHECK THIS OUT | i was guest blogger for north atlantic books yesterday!
i worked as a publicity intern for the first time (instead of editorial). since i've already served the usual time for an intern and they're letting me stay on i'm just going to start learning the other side, which is good because that's what i'm doing for rob. plus, the more you know ...
i started reading lindy hough's poetry yesterday and like it like it.
went to rickshaw shack to see grass widow open for the vivian girls but i was too tired to actually go in and couldn't really justify the $14. bummer, because i know it was a good night for them. i can't wait until i have enough money to do the simple things. i should be at the film festival at the red vic right now but i'm just so poor and so in need of doing other things i can't really justify it. one day.
welcome. this is where the person you are disappears.
i know you haven't, but no, don't worry about it. yes. it's quite alright.
today is the day you've been waiting for and i am proud to say i've collected all your favorite moments and organized them in this text for you. well, i had to do something while i was waiting. no, it's fine. i was happy to do it. all of your favorite moments organized by person. of course most of them occur when you're by yourself. i broke those down chronologically (the others, within their sets, are also chronological). You'll see.
Get comfortable. The show is about to begin. The popcorn is fresh and organic. There is no butter, but if you close your eyes you will remember what's important and "good" will taste good again. i know. Don't you think text looks better when there are no capitals? I don't know if you notice such things, or think about them, but compare this paragraph with the one above. Is this easier to read? Maybe I shouldn't start so many sentences with the letter "i." That letter is so hard to tell if it's capitalized. Grammar is over-emphasized. Not here.
You have to know the rules to break them, but if you know the rules can you? Not so easy. My friend CR last night said Henry
I was thinking the other day—and I don't remember what made me think of this—but I scribbled: Dostoevsky did not just write what he saw. He embellished. Dreamed. Added a little flourish. Kirilov. Stavrogin. Some of his characters are so thoroughly Russian that it's easy to think he based them on people he knew. While his own notes at times confirm this, it is usually for less important characters. Most of the others give life to an idea that was floating in the air at the time - and only in limited places. Namely: his head, Nietzsche's head, Whitman's head, etc. Of course there are other people walking around wondering at things, looking a bit long at something or someone and not knowing why, wondering why they do the things they do and why the way they do them, what they mean, what they might mean. Some people do this.
Walking to BART today with Ben to go to Oakland we passed an SF Chronicle with a miserable headline about Obama's speech last night - something like: "Obama still has a big fight ahead." That's not news. It's just not, sorry, and I don't want to read your article. Didn't. But it made me remark: "Nobody here has a damn clue what's going on, what's at stake, what's of value. There are very few people, even in this vibrant 49 square miles (I just realized, during this sentence, why the team is named that), who know what's going on. Few who even truly
I care, fine. But what do I do about it? I try to write - is that enough? Is this - CAN it be enough? Maybe when I feel down (and this happens regularly, for seemingly no reason, even when I'm eating well—which is virtually all the time now) it's because I'm not bringing enough wood to the fire, not putting enough guts down or making my voice lough enough. I believe in something greater than me - I just think I need to work with other people to make that real. And therefore to sit alone in a room all night every night by myself and try to do something that has value and can be used by other people is a great way to spend time, but only to the degree that I need to become developed and confident and wise enough to work with others, to go back into the world and mix my ideas and my passion with other ideas and other passions, to add flame to flame and see what we can't show other people. Listen, yawl. Only a few people in the history of the world have ever uttered what was in their deepest heart, and even the ones who did did not always, and the ones who came close ... well, god damn.
It can be done. You can do way more than you'll ever think you can. I feel better for writing all this. Thanks for caring.
the national: i'm getting tired / i'm forgetting why (apartment story)
yesterday and today i've been down. i think it's because i've had most of this week off and although i have a lot of things on my plate nothing is urgent right now. plus i finished my story, and that always makes me feel empty after the initial 'yes! i'm done and it's the best thing i've ever written!' rush. that happens almost every time, actually. but this time, seriously. kidding. kidding again! ah ha! read it
routine and dream
bodies and pillows
oooh, la la la la la
we all need to take so much for granted
that's why living on the streets is hard
the only thing to take for granted is life
and we still sleep in piss and ask for help
the birthdays of people we love will pass and we will rejoice
but we rarely celebrate other people genuinely
and i want to give something pure to everyone
and i don't understand how our nation can think
not everyone is worth the same amount of money
the same people who are pro-life are not pro-health care
and the same people who want to help are writing fiction
and the time for love is now (as always) extend your hand
fill your pockets with balloons and do not protect your feelings
this is the amount of space you get to dream
* got my first shout-out on The Huffington Post! (for helping with the article, although i am a music lover!).
* met Harry Denton, host extraordinaire to the Starlight Lounge, whilst helping Teresa and a film crew from LA record interviews. Harry hosts a weekly Sunday brunch everyone's been talking about called Sunday's a Drag—that's right, drag show for brunch! I will most certainly be attending this upcoming Sunday and will write a feature about it, so look out!
* found a place to live! (1828 28th St #18, oakland. i am not joking!)
* watched some of the repairs to the bay bridge.
* went to a surprise potluck birthday party.
* met Rob Brezsny, finally, and was in no way disappointed.
There is another giant in my life, people, another teacher. How happy i am!
casualties of the week
* i lost my pocket notebook.
* Keep Burning was rejected by ZYZZYVA. next time, Howard!
All in all, terrific! way to go!
Oh one last thing:
* i applied to become an examiner! it could be a dream come true, and as part of my application i pitched a couple of ideas that i would really like to do. naturally i want to have a good on-the-record interview with Lenore, and as soon as we get some more work done I'm sure that's inevitable. of course i want to turn it into a book deal, sell out, become famous and snooty, and move to the suburbs so i can lounge by my pool and drink freshly squeezed grapefruit juice all day ... but that's all pretty far off. interview first ... i also want to do a profile of each literary magazine in the city (and, really, the whole bay area) and compile a guidebook for those interested in getting all of that information at once. i would love to set up a union, of sorts, where (poor but actually really-healthy-where-it-matters) citizens like us can subscribe to multiple zines at a discounted price. seems like it could do wonders for the scene ...
* But mostly (i know, i said one but meant at least two more things) i have been working on my new short story, which i hope to finish—at least in some readable form—by the time Saturday rolls around. Sherril is hosting a salon—hopefully our first of many. there will be reading and the playing of instruments (i'm so excited!). there will be so many talented, genuine people there doing fun, creative things. from the living room to the world!
Today was an emotionally packed surprise. I awoke early, thinking I had to be at Teresa's for work - as usual, and as agreed. But she emailed early to say I didn't have to go in today. So it's hardly 8 and I'm ready to go. Fiction! I worked for hours on my new story - more info on that soon - and about 2:30 I decided it was high time Ben and I played bocce. We did and he won, the bastard, but we both made many excellent shots (and I made two in particular screamers that could have made my day as it was, even tho one of them did not even win). Oh, well. It was a great outing - we both played well and felt good about it.
I resumed my reading of Rob Brezsny's Pronoia - a book I highly recommend. From his definition of pronoia:
Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia.
It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly.
It's a mode of training your senses and intellect so you're able to perceive the fact that
life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.
And another quote, a sort of code: "The whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings."
In particular Pronoia reminds me of The Gay Science. I am going to paraphrase because I've been quoting Nietzsche so long and living by his words or at least trying to that I've earned that right, damnit, and also because this is a blog and I have a lot to say right now. I'll fill it in later, and if you'd like, you can post the quote in the comment section if you beat me to it: "Every day without dancing is a day wasted," and "Learn to dance on your head." It is the spirit of creation and prankishness, but of creation more than anything and above all, that drives Nietzsche's aphorisms and his voice. Also, a quote that has appeared on this site before: "...often, in an effort to recover from myself, as it were to induce a temporary self-forgetting, I have sought shelter in this or that - in some piece of admiration or enmity or scientificality or frivolity or stupidity; and why, where I could not find what I needed, I had artificially to enforce, falsify and invent a suitable action for myself (and what else have poets ever done? and to what end does art exist in the world at all?)." And this one: "Gratitude pours forth continually, as if the unexpected had just happened." Mr. Brezsny says this: expect it! "Train your senses" to expect it. You have every reason to be grateful. Sappy? Fun, and what I believe. Pick up the book. I'm sure there's a copy in your local library, but if not, Rob is releasing an updated copy very soon from North Atlantic Books, and I will be helping him market it (seems that I already am, doesn't it? But I'm not getting paid yet. I haven't even met him in person yet. This is honest, sincere endorsement. I compared the book to The Gay Science, for the love of philosophy!).
After reading enough Pronoia to stop - he asked: "Are you or are you not one of those smart artists who's brave enough to explore the frontiers of beauty and truth?" and that was enough to chew on for the rest of the day - I went to a screening of a dozen or so short films at The Red Vic Movie House to see one of Hannah Lew's films, Stoplight. Some of those films were so emotional I was exhausted halfway through. Not even kidding. I then had a very deep conversation with Malka Lew before returning here and being compelled, compelled to speak! But to say what? e v e r y t h i n g !
How can I not be disappointed?
I do not need to let it all out at once. That's the urge I get and I'm sure you get it too: you get so overwhelmed until you think you can't possibly hold everything in, and the force seems so strong you literally have to do away with it all at once, right now or you will burst. But that's not how it is. You need to learn to channel that energy and respect it by not allowing yourself to get sidetracked, to focus on expressing yourself as clearly and persistently as possible. Have you had your scream? Do you feel like you've cleansed yourself thoroughly? Finish, and make yourself proud: do your soul justice and express it.
If you talk and talk and talk and don't say anything or don't feel clean then get up and do some jumping jacks until you're back in your PE class wearing clothes you couldn't believe you were wearing even then and smiling about it, seeing everyone else in their ridiculous human getups and how uncomfortable they were too and how you could all have fun together despite that.
Or think about all the times you found yourself listening to someone else's problems with tears in your eyes and you didn't give a damn if they saw you, literally, you made a point of sticking your tongue out to taste them and liked it, loved it - salt water never tastes so pure than when it comes from your own eyes.
Or think about your brother. Just think about his whole life. Do this. Don't just fucking think about it, and don't get so worked up that you start cursing like I just did. Cursing is a poor man's way of screaming, and it's easy to express yourself by raising your voice - anyone can do this. Try instead to flesh your thoughts out and let the words catch up with your emotions. To scream or to curse is to try and get it all out at once. Use that same urgency to speak clearly, and as accurately as you can depict that frustration, sadness, despair, hatred, love, kindness. Do not stop speaking until you are satisfied with your sentences, until they start expressing the feelings you have that are biting at you and trying to come out in a scream. Keep going until you've said what that scream never would and you will understand why you should turn your volume down and speak like Ben Stern, if you're strong enough, in a monotone that is expressed only in measured and calm meter. I don't mean that. His voice is a shtick. I'll be the last one to tell you to throw emotions to the floor and politely wipe your feet on them. No. But you should express yourself with words even though it may hurt you and cause you discomfort. Just be patient with yourself and confident. You don't need to say it this very second. We are all waiting for you to say what you must. Say it right. If you say what you need to you will be clean forever, free, and never lost.
Now is the point when I look back to see what I've written. On a normal night that is true, but I have Big Emotion right now.
I feel tonight I could speak forever and never say what is inside me. There is a ball of hurt and of joy. I am in love and fear. I don't have time to read the words that have guided me here, Thus Spoke Zarathustra doesn't get read this year? No time to check the map? What's wrong with me? All these years and I have not finished a book yet - what's wrong with me? All this time and I've been writing but I haven't actually been speaking? Don't know what story is, how to define heart, what I believe in, how, why, FIRE! FIRE! go the neurons. There is so much I am utterly blind to and I know this and will write it until I die. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH. Fire! Fire! goes my soul. Fire, it whispers, every solitary day of my life.
How is it that I can cry and cry about anything and smile and smile about everything and just spin and spin until I crash to the ground and get back up again and do it whole-heartedly every single time?
This right here is called catharsis.
What tradition am I trying to maintain, develop, honor? What truths do I believe in? What do I even believe about myself?
How far I've come from the innocent pure-hearted boy with shiny eyes and oh, my self would be so ashamed if I ever let him look at me. If I lived by my beliefs I would already be dead. I would have helped anyone who asked, selflessly, naive and grateful.
Do not spend so much time trying to learn how to speak. SPEAK! Your sentences will form themselves.
"Don't share your secrets. Learn how to use them." I wrote that within the last few days and it doesn't seem right now. "Secrets" defined, in order to make this statement sound: idiosyncrasies. Oh, I remember: I try to share what I learn about expression. This is wrong, unless you can do it very clearly. I don't think I can. What I meant was I think it's best to figure out how to develop your own craft and then make it beautiful so you attract other people into expression - or at least appreciation for it - rather than foregoing your own expression to illustrate the paths you've taken. You aren't going to get so far if you're always drawing maps - even if they're only for yourself. Do not take note, note-takers! Copy this into your soul.
What you can accept and understand while in your human body is a chance I think you will never get again. What do you think?
Who is it that said: ~Everything I have experienced suggests that life does not ever end, that life as we know it is only part of something more vast, colorful, and infinitely fluid~
I will leave you, for now, with another quote from Nietzsche, from the Preface for the Second Edition to the Gay Science:
...a spirit who has patiently resisted a terrible, long pressure—patiently, severely, coldly, without submitting,
but also without hope—and who is now all at once attacked by hope, the hope for health, and the intoxication of convalescence.
Is it any wonder that in the process
much that is unreasonable and foolish comes to light, much playful tenderness that is lavished even on problems
that have a prickly hide and are not made to be caressed and enticed? This whole book is nothing but a bit of merry-
making after long privation and powerlessness, the rejoicing of strength that is returning, of a reawakened
faith in a tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, of a sudden sense and anticipation of the future, of impending adventures,
of seas that are open again, of goals that are permitted again, believed again.
Now for Tomorrow.
Stop struggling with this and realize it.
You repeat ad infinitum.
Do you feel stuck?
Now for tomorrow.
You don't need to and it isn't getting you anywhere.
The next time peace fills your heart (and it does this on its own, so you don't need coffee or weed or beer for this)
do not look back
just go with it
slow and happy
and listen to what the heart says.
It says (all hearts operate under the same code):
Now for Tomorrow.
Stop struggling with this and realize it.
I know I can't express this with words, ink, or typeface,
but my heart is speaking to you right now,
and to everyone you know.
I bleed and so do you.
Hi guys. Yesterday was day 2 of Outside Lands, and I saw TV on the Radio and Mars Volta for the first time! Check out my Allvoices article for more fodder, including videos (highly recommended) and pictures. I also saw Portugal. The Man and took away a couple of vids of them too - very impressive.
The festival was a lot of fun yesterday. It felt like the real, bona fide event that it is. We sold our tickets to today's activities so we could buy some groceries for the week. Beers inside were $6 or $7 a pop, so we bought a sixer of Red Tail Ales - brewed right up the coast in Mendocino - for $6.99 and got back to the grindstone. I love stay-at-home Sundays anyway, just about more than anything else in the world (save a comfortable, intimate Shabbat).
On my way back from the market I decided to get some more loose tea, as my supplies are running low, and wandered into Aroma Tea Shop on Polk St (1806, to be exact). I had it in mind to buy 2-4oz. of a single tea and leave. They had other ideas. The lovely girl behind the counter offered me a sample of one of their aged teas, and her co-worker - as she replaced the store-front samples - offered me two more, then launched into a 10 minute lesson on the origin of all teas, the differences between them, and why this is important. He even showed me pictures of the land in China where he personally collects their leaves. Did you know that essentially all teas come from the same plant? How are there so many different teas then? The processes of drying and oxidizing are crucial in the development of a tea leaf used for drinking.
When you steep the leaves, what you are drinking, basically, are the oils produced by the plant. This seems obvious but is not something I really thought about before. Because of this, the drying method determines to a large degree what type of tea you should expect. Is it dried in the sun? In an oven? In a cool, dark room? Check out wiki.
After buying 2oz. each of Russian Black and a special in-home blend (Aroma Tea makes their own flavored teas by expertly mixing the leaves with oil, herbs, and spices - trust me, he let me smell a dozen or more), I started off for home. Because I had stopped at two grocers, I was carrying the second's goods in-hand: OJ and veggie-dog buns. A homeless woman whom I have seen before (I know because she keeps her two fat cats ribboned-up in a baby stroller) asked me for a drink of OJ. "No," I said. "Sorry. Oh, if you have a cup I could pour some in." I looked down and she did have a cup, but there was change in it. "It's dirty," she said. "I don't want to get sick." She made a pucker with her lips and I looked around to see if there were any other obvious cups about. Nope. "I'm sorry," I said. If you had a cup I'd be glad to give you some." That was true. I was sorry I couldn't. Several other bums across the street watched this intently, I realized, walking across the street toward them. I wonder what they were thinking.
On my way to shop and on my way back both I realized I was happy, smiling deep down and not singing, really, except the lyrics: "Lonely little love dog that / no one knows the name of" (TV on the Radio). I am in no rush now for anything. I want to slow things down. I love life here, want it to continue. I want roots to grow. On the way back I heard the lyric: "Something slow has / started in me as / shameless as an ocean / mirrored in devotion" (same song: Love Dog) and it seems perfect for me now. Humbled by the disappearance of my bike (I'm going to say from now on that my bike left me) I am bent on refocusing, and on my walk to the store today, after my decision to sell today's ticket for groceries, a feeling of recognition and affirmation began to turn the wind around me into that of yesteryear. I remembered who I was five years ago in Charlotte, walking across the street to Harris Teeter; I remembered who I was even before that, sitting in my parent's chaise with the same shirt on I'm wearing now... I don't know, I just felt autonomous, complete, and though certainly not perfect or satisfied or in love with any -one or -thing particular, I felt fucking right. You know? I hope to get some good work done tonight. Soon after my homemade pizza dough's ready for baking and consumption!
Love you, all