Saturday, December 26, 2009

enlightenment, the red herring

you can chase it as much as you want, but the moment of glory comes and goes. the brilliant sunset transforms into night, and you have to accept the milky way. the unifying sun divides into a thousand thousand stars. your choices become harder, given the potentials. the poet william everson says americans driven crazy by the endless possibilities.

once i compared studies of zen and therapy. they led to the same conclusion. once you've accepted your own authority, you've a freedom you haven't known before. you bowed at the zen master's (the therapist's feet) until you say, 'fuck you, i'm seeing things for myself and going my own way.'

of course, this can lead to terrible misadventures and mistakes. so be it. the flute teacher made the disciple play the same tune over and over again, until he really got disgusted. so he escaped into the world, accumulated a fortune and lost it, found love and destroyed it, decayed in his body. when he returned to the village and played the tune the master had taught him, people said, 'we have never heard anything so beautiful,' and they wept.

let's face if, enlightenment comes and goes.

suddenly, i'm bored with photography. i can't bear this particular relationship to the world, being the fly on the wall. yet i recognize it has been a way to ecstasy: 'everyone is enlightened but me.'

i look back and think, 'i've been so lucky, never to stay in one state so long.'

i've always loved utopias, fairs and festivals. leaving them, a great shock. do we only grow through loss?

Friday, December 25, 2009

think for yourself

now, i have to admit it. in general i avoid social gatherings. i used to get a fist-like tightness in the stomach. that has disappeared (much like the fear and visions i had in the early days at the lookout: crazy people throwing rocks through the windows). now i merely regret afterwards all the stupid things i said!

yes, i can be very competitive and forceful. yes, i try to fight it. no luck. and so, at the xmas dinner in the co-housing common-house, i shot off my mouth.

today the conversation turned to heidegger (nazi or not?), the holocaust, civil war in sri lanka, the philosophies of josiah royce and wittgenstein. everything someone else said made me think of something. alas, all-too-often i was eager to say it and cut in.

this reminds me. i took a night class in dramatic literature when i lived in oxford uk. most of the people in class were americans from the air force base. since drama my passion and study, i knew a lot and did an enormous amount of talking. suddenly, i realized i wasn't learning anything. i fell pretty much silent. and you know what, eventually almost every point i would have made would be made by someone else.

well, there it is, i've defeated myself! and perhaps that's the answer. a friend wrote that i seemed tortured. at first i thought, 'that's ridiculous. i'm enjoying all this. i believe in the present.' but of course, i'm always arguing with myself. joyce cary said, 'to be a fiction writer you must express the opposite of what you believe as strongly as what you do.' or as i once so famously said to myself, 'put your drama into your work and not into your life.'

the number one point is you must have a passion about your project, idea, whatever it is you believe other people need. ach, no wonder i've never been a good salesman for myself. i want you to be like you and not me. what a dilemma. maybe all these blogs mean 'whatever this guy's done, it's the last thing i want to do.' and yet...i thought i was setting an example.

anyway, reading the jobs book, i've been asking myself, 'what's your messianic mission?' and all i can say is what i was saying at dinner, 'think for yourself.' with the proviso you must study the history of everything. 'nothing can come from nothing,' said king lear.

the psychologist c.g. jung said, 'everything important in culture created by the individual.' i couldn't put it any better.

just posted scanned bali slides: yes, live your own life, not the one other people want you to.

boy, that pint of celebration ale from sierra nevada brewery makes me feel like a genius. could everything i've said here be wrong?


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

thank god for film (video)

cause it erases time. (a friend, sandy pepper, once said, 'time is what makes us human.')

does the future exist? that is the most important question you can ask. if you say no, you're a process person. if you say yes, you are able to sacrifice much to reach goals. absolutely two different ways of living.

personally, i'm a process person. when i was in college, i remember saying, 'the future does not exist.' hell, there it was, the curse of a life. it meant i would never really be able to plan anything. i envisioned myself as a clown tumbling through the universe. damn, i still do.

ah, if only i could have been a new yorker, working my way through an mba, setting myself up in paris as the head of american express, letting the dollars roll in, living in the fourth arrondissement

suffering succotash, not to be. i had to roam around bali, the pictures here: wandering in and out of night-time dances, climbing volcanoes in the early hours. the imperative: life has to be an adventure.

well, here it is, the verge of old age. very little in the bank. don't drive a new car. renting a room (which actually feels very luxurious and which i love), not concerned for a plot in the cemetary, ashes scattered in the woods enough.

on the other hand, the process person needs those who live with goals. they've helped me enormously. and i recommend if you're an old hippie who can't stand setting up a retirement fund, that you team-up with those who can.

the two need each other. the present-obsessed person supplies the needed energy for the one who would live to save for a comfortable old-age. and the latter supplies a certain continuity for the future-challenged.

we don't live to be alone, and fool ourselves if we think we are.

new photos searching for shamanism: and

Sunday, December 20, 2009

sound in mind and body

video, what's that? i was raised on radio. we weren't invaded by a television set til i was fourteen. and that was too late. at seventeen i decided you either watched television or did something else in your life. so i've seen very little of it.

i can't stand the hype. it's not the ads, rather the over-the-top energy everyone displays. tough on the nerves. and i always hated the fact it killed conversations. sure, you can share a football game or a talk show, however usually everybody sinks into a blank stare and silence.

no, i'm not from another planet, but sometimes i feel i am. and though i'm passionate about movies, video art seems wasted on me. i like the still photograph, the unmoving painting, the sculpture which, unlike human beings, invites me to walk around it and caress it with my eyes.

so, it is a bit of a personal revolution to have a miniature hd camcorder myself. up to this point i've used it in snippets. and that's led to some unexpected perceptions. here's a bit from fall at mt. hough lookout, amidst a storm:

what strikes me is the quiet, despite the rain and wind. and here is one taken on the train pulling into oakland, ca:

the scene feels much harsher, not just visually. taken out of context the mechanical sounds scrape the brain. and here's one waiting for a play, reservoir dolls, to begin:

obviously you have to be in the mood for companionship. the audience adds to that push which turns stage performers into miniature gods. (never fall in love with one until you've known them offstage!)

putting these pieces of an autumn life together impresses me with how much not only scenes but their audio affect me. to leap from one to the other is energizing, as long as one state or another does not go on too long. variety is the health of life, not just the spice.

here are the final photos from chico dance theater 2009. a real pleasure for me and i think everyone involved.

i've also posted video nippets from the class. now this is where video gets useful!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

your dreams at night your other life

isn't it terrible to waste your time sleeping? well, here's the key to not doing so.

regard those dreams as a parallel existence. the wise say we're dreaming all day anyway. we rarely wake up. and when we do, it's such a shock we go right back to sleep, inhabiting the past and future, never the present.

yes, these thoughts proved by last night, when i once again wandered my magic city which goes by the name of 'new york.' no, it bears no resemblence to the real city. rather it's a combination of new dehli (which certainly can't be real, it contains such contradictions), tokyo, wellington, munich. obviously, if you cross all those cities with each other, you end up with - xanadu.

i tossed and turned. revolutions. the communard of 1871 paris. plenty of foolishness and dead bodies. in the end i escaped (after being a temporary revolutionary) in a laundry basket. am i really a conservative? the thought disturbed me so much i woke up!

yes, don't try to interpret your dreams. they don't mean anything, except they're the diary of a life you live alongside this one. it's your chance to multiply experience. to feel less bounded and controlled.

chang tzu dreamed of being a butterfly. then he woke up. or did he? was he chang tzu, who dreamed of flying? or was he a butterfly, dreaming the gravity-bound philosopher?

like every dancer, i sometimes feel airborne. only to land on bad feet! yet, perhaps i've only dreamt i've come to earth. why bother? who's to say that second beer not the real truth, the feeling of being blessed?

more chico dance theater pics at

Friday, December 11, 2009

age cannot wither you

the fact is you will never, never grow old. not in your own mind. we each have an ideal age, and that's what we will always be.

mine probably 25/26 when i traveled, met a lot of women for sexual adventures, explored the world, thought i would be significant in history, and suffered.

yes, i did have some pretty miserable moments. i tend to idealize people, overrate their accomplishments (a counselor eventually told me: 'do not fall in love with someone's potential'), and this particularly leads to disillusionment in love.

of course, we must idealize the other in order to get involved. and the species depends on illusion for it's propagation! the other must see us as a king or queen before we squeeze the toothpaste.

alas, for the past 28 years i've seen the real person almost instantly. even actresses, who appear adorable onstage, turn into complex personalities as soon as they exit. (and i used to fall in love with thespians a lot.) dramatic characters are just that, meant to fire up our imaginations.

yet i must be a degas at heart (as sue pate has so aptly pointed out). i see the informal moments, when women yawn or scratch. the real person leaps to the fore. and all my anima dreams shatter.

still, i would like to find the sugar-plum fairy under my tree at xmas. the delight of the soul-mate, we can never give it up.

cdt photos:

alas, i always love living in utopias: fairs, circuses, festivals. how can the shock of the return not be profound?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

the present is a foreign country

well, shut my mouth. usually, i don't like talking so much! but a friend said, 'your blogs depressing. i feel so old.' that is not my purpose. as long as y0u do not seek the approval of other people, you will be free.

of course, you may be considered obnoxious, unsocialized, a child. that can't be helped. to live in the present is to be aware of the moment. for example, the sound of traffic . i keep realizing as i sit here in my chico room, the white noise i hear really what i woud hear in paris or new york city. it's the quality. and when i really listen, i'm transported.

the secret of life is no great secret. all you have to do is be aware. the moment's where you can truly meet the one you love, the extraordinary adventure. we travel to foreign lands in order to be completely here, and that's why a journey to india or belize so spectacular. as in an auto-accident time suddenly slows down. the shock puts us in a moment that becomes eternity.

this is why actors act and dancers dance. past and future disappear. crime and savagery have the same source. a very temporary action can decide our life, despite our best intentions. and maybe we will spend the rest of our life in an italian jail. luck follows us or deserts us.

if we practice gratefulness, perhaps we can experience what we, as an individual, are all about. tragedy is no different from ecstasy. each brings us back to our essence.

yes, it is transitory. and we must grab the moment as it flies.

don't miss chico dance theatre. you have three more performances.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

politics, the great sadness

what a shame it is, the fact of life. everything in which you will be involved for your working life will include the push and shove of politics.

i know it hurts. you will be promoted, demoted, lose your job, gain prestige according you how you play the game.

i wish i could let you off the hook. to say that virtue and the best of intentions rewarded. alas, it is not so. every job, every enterprise, means you must gain allies, demote your opponents.

how odd it is, some love the politcal endeavor, which means gaining allies and mentors, those above who will protect you, further your interests. and your ability will determine your success in social life, if you want to be a nice person, to hold your place, then everything will depend on your connections. who likes you, who doesn't. as a friend once said, you don't lose your job through incompetance, but through a personality conflict.

social animals, good gravy, we are that. freud, late in life, believed our primal urge the desire to belong to a small group. exile means death. and this is our limitation.

if we can go to the bars, love sports, then we will be beloved. and if we cannot, hiding in books and intellectual endeavors, no one will protect us when we need aid. politics is a fact of life, in the office, on the diamond, in the home. being primates, we must find influence within the group, in order to further our cause, whether it be personal or social.

and depending on this ability, we will rise or fall in the social order. we will find people to support our causes, or not. what a difficult fact of human life.

i've posted more rehearsal photos of the chico dance theater:

the program is being gutted. where is the afficionado who understands life is a dance? without it we will all wither. even when we think we're standing still, we do a small dance. doing it well is the difference between life and death.