Saturday, January 30, 2010

how can you sell out

if nobody's willing to buy? i mean, try me.

i've never been good at selling. i always lose money. impatience may be part of it. a trailer salesman once told me, 'if you're willing to wait, you'll get your price.' fat chance. not this kid.

part of it, of course, i hate having stuff. everything wears down: cars, clothes, shoes. at some point it goes in the trash, or it gets sold extra cheap. my last truck went for 700 dollars. damn, the tires were almost worth that. everytime i see it parked at barnes & noble, i want to steal them.

alas, theft and lying against my policy. not because i'm a good guy, but because i've discovered once i start stealing and lying, i can't stop. reality turns into one big cover up. and i can't keep track of everything. admittedly, jail might not be bad. free medical attention, which you might, unfortunately need. after walking around the medina in tangiers years ago, i was informed i might have been raped. luckily, it never occurred to me.

as i was saying, i have all this camera equipment which i probably should sell. yet i can't think of a good reason. and what happens to my pro potential? yes, for the moment nobody's buying, but i'm convinced after i'm dead i'll be a cult object. everything i've touched will turn to gold. call me the 'king midas of memory.'

my salesman grandfather said when he sold bibles as a youth and doubled his money, he was convinced this was the occupation for him. nobody told him his father, an influence in the community, put the muscle on people. he chased that illusion his whole life, an ultimate avid supporter of ronald reagan, one of the greatest con artists who've ever lived. at my grandfather's memorial service people stood up and testified to what a shyster he could be. ostensibly, he had to leave his childhood home in ontario due to shady dealings.

a curse on profit, as much as i would like to make it. money, ugh, how can you touch it? give it to me.

Friday, January 29, 2010

the futility of contests

ach, god, i do hate losing. that's the reason i don't enter most contests, whether it's for a woman or a trip to the moon.

the choices made in most competitions, say those for photos, depend upon criteria i find offensive, like beauty and sentiment. obviously, i prefer the oblique angle, not exactly cynical, but questioning.

so it is with great trepidation i'm entering a fight for high status: the barnack photojournalism award:

of course, it's total nonsense on my part. yet, i'd love to go to arles, france where van gogh painted extraordinary pictures and be feted by the photo world. nothing ventured, nothing gained, i say.

perhaps it's the six-pack of sierra-nevada that gives me the reckless courage. who cares what the reason! here's my request:

they don't always go for top-heavy political emphasis. each theme i've chosen backed up by dozens of photos, so these particular ones don't have to be the final choice. i would like curator evaluations of what might be strongest, given the requirements.

thanks much for your insight.


what do i have to lose except my reputation, which doesn't exist!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

the moment of truth

last nite at the blue room theatre a group of actors read chekhov's three sisters. deja vu, for me. fifty years ago i attended a production of the play at san francisco's actors workshop six times. it's memory has never faded. i didn't know why until last nite.

we read two translations/adaptations, one act of each, the tone quite different. the writing styles radically opposed (the second by david mamet). the first act worked wonderfully, lots of humor, charming characters, not what we normally associate with checkov. the mamet version turgid and depressing, the characters coming across as whiners, a common complaint with the audience for these plays.

afterwards, various participants commented on the spoiled nature of the sisters and brother. how they stewed in their own juice and never got anywhere. this certainly didn't make them seem very appealing. we left with the jury out.

suddenly, i realized what the play about: THE MOMENT OF TRUTH, something we all experience. that time when we have to make our own living. dreams come crashing down, the child no longer a child. the play traces the experience of such people hitting the harsh realities of the world and finally coming to terms with them, accepting them.

let's face it, at some point most of us find a situation and place where we dig in and spend a large portion of our lives. security and comfort more important than grand schemes of performing on broadway or re-inventing the wheel.

at first the youngsters, who've never worked, imagine work will free them. they hallucinate the sweat and toil as a kind of ecstasy. we in the audience can't help smiling. alas, in the course of the play they learn how tyrannous and petty labor can be. in fact for the social-climbing working-class woman who takes over the house, work becomes the only reason for existence. when an aging servant can no longer work, she threatens to throw her in the gutter. as the sign over the entrance to auschwitz says, arbeit macht frei. work makes you free. i think the irony of that is lost on none of us.

checkov hated work, complained all the time in his letters about having to write so much to support a large family. as a boy, he felt like a slave in his father's store and said, 'i had to beat that subservience out of me.' looking at the wall of personal photos in his moscow apartment, i had an epiphany. checkov dressed and appeared to be a dandy. i don't know why that seemed to explain so much, but it did.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

what liberates us

mostly we go in circles. in our thinking A leads to B to C. we've built a personal logic over time, and we're convinced it's right, the only possibility. in this sense most of us conservative, no matter our political persuasion.

as my friend marilyn says, people who consider themselves always right have a lot of energy. they certainly make it hard for the rest of us, the self-doubters, the ones who exist in pale shades of grey. we get trampled, steam-rolled, as these un-doubters rule the roost.

my union friend charlie once told me, you need two people to challenge authority, to strike from different directions. this proves to be a good policy in the practical world. you need an ally, and thus to believe you can always go it alone can defeat you and your cause.

do we all have causes? of course! people who hate to pay any taxes say to hell with everyone else. this is especially true of government workers whose whole lives have been paid for by the public till. the paradoxes never cease to amaze me.

ah, though what i've said brutally true, you can break the hold of the logic gripping your mind like an octopus, the temporary solutions you've adopted over time to survive, which ultimately solidify into doctrines and knee-jerk reactions. therapy's one. that's the counselor's job, to show you the facts of your existence can be computed in different ways, leading to new results and resolutions. alas, the success of even the most powerful applications don't necessarily free you. lobotomy might be an example, or shock-therapy. the correct drug can do wonders, if one exists for the problems you're having.

my preference remains elsewhere: in the world of art. nobody seems to know what art really is! astounding, after all the talk. well, i'll give you the secret: art re-arranges your dna. it cuts deeper than the banter of freud, the facility of jung, the persuasiveness of present-day practitioners of reality therapy. the latter simply says, conforming you'll be happy.

when an artist creates from the deepest self, the result's radical, a feeling of euphoria that can last for at least two days. i've just come from the film broken embraces by the spanish filmmaker pedro almovodar.

i left laughing, in love with the world and happy with myself. outwardly, i suddenly could speak to people and feel free. i wanted to advertise what i'd just seen and encourage everyone to go. why?

this director simply isn't conventional. he accepts what the rest of us consider outrageous (when we have to keep up a face and be socially acceptable), his characters more honest than most of the people you know. enveloped by his world, we absorb a new equation for our emotions. and our judgements of ourselves lift, if only for a few moments.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

when is a cigar not a cigar?

i've never liked my name. a sad fact, but true. my mother gave us names that could not be turned into nicknames (her reasoning). even my sister couldn't stand being called cherry and asked us to call her cheryl.

what's in a name? wouldn't a rose by any other...? i remember hiking alone in the sierras, age 20 or so, thinking, 'ah, let these mountains remain unidentified. after all, the native americans called them something else.' the pristine lakes felt like puddles before time, when lightning flashed and caused the first amoebas.

it shall remain nameless. if only it were possible, but that's quickly disappearing. a couple of articles in wired magazine trace this sad fact. the author first recounted the story of a man who tried to abandon his identity while his wife collected the insurance. he got caught. then the author himself attempted to stay hidden for a month, he too ultimately betrayed.

ah, for the old frontier, where one could vanish, put on six-guns, grow a mustache, and have a new life. or, say, leave lithuania for ellis island. assume an american name, and erase the past, reborn. why don't people do this more often?

as we all know too well, if we walk through a room, the police can pick up traces of our dna. you can find old girlfriends from fifty years ago by tracking them down through the net (i've done it.) despite books like how to disappear and never be caught other books like find anybody, anywhere, anytime belie the premise of the first.

theoretically, you could go to a distant country and begin again. yet, as the poet cavafy wrote, 'destroy your life in one corner of the world and you destroy it everywhere.' other famous sayings like 'wherever you go, there you are' seem to be true. on the other hand, brain-damage can totally change a person, like the brother of a college-friend who skidded on the ice in montana. his IQ dropped from 166 to 72. his family had to adjust to living with a temperamental stranger. and if that can happen...

truly, drugs, madness, brain operations, they could make us someone else, however the fun would be gone cause we wouldn't know who we once were. the magic of changing your name remains in your awareness that you've done so. what good is it to live in tahiti if you can't remember living in cleveland. the world's full of ironies.

samuel clemens changed his name to mark twain, and got away with it. rock hudson (roy harold scherer jr.) was not what he pretended to be in more ways than one. only actors can become someone else without escaping to the desert or erasing their fingerprints. how strange, the most visible become the intangible. replace yourself with an image and maybe you'll be saved from yourself.

i encourage you once again to see the inside story of the munchkins: you'll never dance with the tin woodman again. the actors knocked them dead last nite.

and you might check out the disguises of yours truly at

Thursday, January 21, 2010

on living like a child

you would be amazed how many times artists and writers told to see things like a toddler, freshly, for the first time. there's no doubt this true. look at tolstoy. vision as new as a baby's.

unfortunately, tolstoy also acted like a kid. and there's the flaw. to act like a child when you are an adult: evidence of insanity. a crazy person is a grown being acting like a three year-old.

acting and seeing, a thin line keeps one from being locked up or merely criticized. 'love and madness closely allied', wrote shakespeare. true enough. don't most murders come from physical passion gone wrong?

this whole business much on my mind, as i feel a longing for childhood. not that it was particularly pleasant. i remember lots of mental pain. every disappointment cut like a knife. every feeling of being denied and silenced threw me into a tantrum. if only someone would listen! yet how rarely it seemed to happen. and i can't forget miss clark, the math teacher in grade school who seemed to have a soft spot for me.

childhood, why? making a living, taking care of yourself, decisions, being protected by parents takes away all that. you can throw yourself into the moment, no matter what pleasure or disaster it brings. later we become so careful. and if we don't, we die in a car wreck or end up in jail.

these things on my mind because of the pictures i took last nite, a dress rehearsal of the play 'babylon heights.' first of all, i have to say, judy garland in the wizard of oz my first love. plump, yes, but adventurous. and the babylon play about the munchkins hired to make the movie. we live with four of them, and you'll see how everything in their surroundings huge and difficult:

adults treated like children, outsiders. we experience four of them living in a oversized hotel room. i don't want to give away the plot. needless to say, the experience provides a telling and strong story.

to have a body that doesn't develop, it gets mixed up with those who's brains don't. and to live your whole life with a son or daughter in such a situation...well, that's as difficult as it gets. (it can have high moments, your child always a child and often endearing.)

needless to say, to have escaped childhood without damage seems like an ancestral myth, never to be proved or denied, like the primordial golden age.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the only self-help method that works

i'm one of the original self-help junkies. it's me that made depak chopra and wayne dyer rich and famous, while i stayed a pauper.

yes, i devoured titles like 'when helping others is hurting you.' of course, i'd think of the one book that did change my behavior:

ah, so i was trying to make the world safe for myself by controlling others. and how did this come about? my mother used me as a confidant for her troubles. no wonder i became a rescuer of young women. that never worked, certainly, but i schemed, plotted, and tried, when probably all i really wanted was sex. unfortunately, turning every woman into a sister, the sibling-sex prohibition prevented a culminaton of my desires.

what a damned dilemma! therapists and psychics augmented the books. one told me i was a natural hermit. another, that i'd been too impressed by death when young. the psychics declared i'd had too much responsibility in past lives and in this one i was supposed to have fun. hah! so much for that. all this freedom led me to stewing in my own juice.

not that i regret any of it (except not savoring the moment more). i'm amazed i learned to tie my shoes, open a bank account, hold a job. one has to be grateful to one's parents and teachers, after all. otherwise, look at all those citizens hurrying down a city street. they really don't look like they can cope, but they do.

you've been waiting for the real secret. EMBARRASSMENT. never would have guessed that, would you? only being embarrassed by my actions has made me improve. (this is different from shame, which reduces you to a wet noodle.) no, i mean feeling like i goofed and promising myself not to do it again.

for example, unprepared, i gave a speech, which fell flat. i vowed never to do that again! or being a bad guest, as i was in tokyo, and being made aware of it by my host. i've become a much better dish-washer and contributor to the house-hold. or once i slipped into being the old and bitter critic with a young artist, basically saying, 'oh, i've done all that.' she raked me over the coals. it's definitely a pitfall for the aging. if this happens again, i catch myself. as the tao te ching reminds me, 'everyone is enlighted except me. i alone am dark.'

so, hopefully you will be able to turn blushes into pluses, making vows you actually can keep. for this, you need a conscience. that too may have been given to you by those who were close. another reason to be grateful. and, how did i ever learn to drive a car?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

where angels fear to tread

let's face it, i live like a monk. a room with a view. that's all i seem to need. and the thought of owning a house and tending a yard makes the hair raise up on the back of my neck.

not that i'm exactly happy with this. my mother said i played alone so much as a kid she thought i'd never have anything to do with people. alas, i've enough of the primate in me to like being around people, when it's at my own discretion. maybe this will help some of you understand my behavior.

not that you need to. it's my cross to bear. there it is again. the messiah complex. a therapist (and i've been to half a dozen) once told me, 'your mother and sister trained you very well to be concerned with the well-being of women.'

and it's true. i judge a country by the position of women within it, happy when we invaded afghanistan for this very reason. the taliban little boys who treat their women like slaves. on the other hand, the invasion of iraq destroyed the position of women and threw them back into purda. that i consider to be a crime against humankind.

like all men, i have had trouble with idealizing women, then being bitterly disillusioned. i'd say i haven't completely overcome this tendency. when you keep your distance, desire freedom over sexual comfort, the other remains a mystery. however, i'm a great believer in books. that's part of my monkish nature. libraries give me great comfort and calm me down. and somewhere in them i find the answers i need.

here's the book i ran across at barnes & noble which has helped open my eyes:

i've always believed much of what goes on with us involves chemistry. that our experiences change our chemistry, and vice versa. this book shows the difference in the hormonal tides of men and women. women seem in general more at the mercy of their bodies, living often in a state of discomfort. this means, on the positive side, they take care of themselves better than men. and married men live longer than the unmarried cause their wives make them conscious of things like heart attacks. they get their men to the hospital in time.

i once read the men of the old west had to be domesticated when the women arrived. the women had a tough time. the men were used to whiskey and brothels. eventually, the women succeeded in getting men to carry on the species.

anyway, now i understand a little better why women of all ages pore over 'house & garden', magazines on weddings (they go through stacks), worry about what their bodies presenting to the world. self and body get all mixed up. and of course it's frustrating for them the way men mix up self and mind.

the mystery remains. if it didn't, we'd all go smoke cigars and lounge at the club. i've always loved looking at women. they seem to me nature's greatest work of art. and the temptation to play pygmalion finally seems to have faded. the world's less exciting, if sometimes more depressing.

here are some poems i wrote about the stuggles between love and art:

no, i'm no angel.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

the gods died laughing

at least, that's what i imagine. yes, we're all 'the pawns of comedy', the name of a group performing in town last nite:

and this kind of stand-up an art. it wallows in the gutter, forces the performer to tear at his/her insides, and leap for the clouds, falling back in the mire. more than a high-wire act, it combines agility with a wise stupidity.

of course, i didn't realize all this while watching. at barnes & noble this afternoon i discovered what they were doing:

nothing like a good book to reveal the mysteries. ah, that's why they talked so much about themselves and the ironies of sexual attraction. everybody in the audience begins here, with themselves! only slowly can higher things be introduced, like cultural insights and political scarification. even the clown in shakespeare had to wave his thing-a-ma-jig for the groundlings.

nietzsche, i think, said, 'you can tell what's essential about a person by their laughter.' people do find very different things funny. think of an american reading punch. it's often like a foreign code. and in class and at the theater i'm always breaking into guffaws when everyone else silent. luckily, it doesn't make me embarrassed in the least. in fact, i like demonstrating my superiority.

yes, humor is a sign of intelligence, the ability to make connections, to bypass one's conscious thought and go right to the juglar. baudelaire wrote on 'laughter and cruelty'. and the two never far from each other. death escaped is hilarious, no matter how you did it. but a final demise, can that actually be comic?

of course, it can! but not necessarily. one has to expire with a certain style.

for example, i've just posted pictures of my time in prague:

i chased kafka all over the place, including going into the building where he processed worker's injury claims, flashing a photo right under the guard's indignant nose. (see if you can find it.)

when living in germany and conversant with a modicum of the language, i looked at the first page of kafka's the trial. i perceived a humor i've never gotten from any translation. he uses some kind of germanic conditional phrasing, essentially saying, 'this might be happening, or it might not.' alas, i don't have any pictures from my adaptation of the metamorphosis in which i performed the human turned cockroach.

still, i remember laughing through my tears.

who was it said, 'the world is a tragedy for those who feel, a comedy for those who think'? might be something in that, as long as you don't get the two mixed up.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"courage is the first virtue.

without it we can't practice the others." so said the english writer samuel johnson.

as far as i know, we've two basic fears. the first the fear of falling. and lately i've been increasing my exercises, feeling wobbly in the shower. a 30 minute power walk, a few minutes on a balancing board, and fifteen minutes hopping up and down on a mini-trampoline.

this fear the foundation of childhood. we fall. we stand. we stumble down steps and tumble out of bed. in nightmares we try to fly. and sometimes succeed. what a glorious feeling that is.

our second greatest fear: exile. being thrown out of the tribe means starving to death. without the help of others we can't provide for ourselves. and we'll go to great lengths to avoid being abandoned.

this is the secret of franz kafka's writing. he demonstrates again and again how we lose ourselves accommodating to circumstances. alas, this very act of self-abandonment never saves the protagonist.

what struck me watching television in japan, circa 1986: how group-solidarity instilled in the very young. this kind of social cohesion seemed unimaginable. and scary. we learn that if you identify too much with the captain you'll go down with the ship.

here are some slides from that first trip:

rationality cuts both ways, to free us and to bind us. i've been scanning photographs of guatemala and belize. if you don't learn to make logical connections, you exist in a world of magic. and that world can vanish at any point.

ruins remind us one may fall from a great height, no matter how secure we may feel. alas, 9/11 exactly that kind of event. the greatest erections in the world collapsed in minutes.

i like the simple streets of belize and the island life. how can we live with nature without submitting to the fears its mysteries cause?

weather-beaten boards seem more true to me than castles of stone. perhaps they can ride out the waves when the sea rises.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

heaven wasn't made for us

or how anton checkov stole christmas.

catchy title, no? no?

alas, ben allen, artistic director of the blue room theatre said, 'i love historical dramas. unfortunately, most people today don't even recognize the name of freud.'

yes, we're a dying generation, and that's not all bad. in california last year most of the people under 35 voted against banning gay marriage. i thought, 'there's a reason people die.' you've heard, of course, that if flies didn't die the earth would be under eight feet of them within six months!

anyway, anton checkov, a russian playwright, established modern drama. and his director constantine stanislavsky used the plays to create modern acting. every movie, every tv show, is a result.

yes, yes, why should you care? i know, if it has nothing to do with you, to hell with it. it won't help me get a job. ah, but there you're wrong. it might. why?

the beauty of checkov plays: his characters respond to the weather, to the time of day, the seasons. in other words, the given circumstances. like most of us they are not movers and shakers. we'd rather draw a salary than start a business. true, this means we'll never get rich, but we can sleep at night.

what i'm saying is, all the good characters in checkov go with the flow. they marry the person next door (or not), they drift into this work or that. they're sensitive but not pro-active. and those who have drive turn out to be cads.

not very american, eh? we need a center of energy, a person or persons to make things happen. at the blue room theatre last night for a reading of

at least five people present who make things happen. this is what gives this theater vitality. damn rare, that.

and so, though the checkov characters create a lovely atmosphere (and that's charm of the plays), sensitive to every human and circumstantial shift, they're incredible maddening, letting the given circumstance push them this way and that.

alas, i'm one of those characters, having no idea why or how i've done what i have. here are pictures from jamaica which i scanned this morning as an example. what a strange and inexplicable trip it was.

in two weeks they will be reading checkov's three sisters at the blue room. hopefully, the lovely response to the weather will come through. despite the fact the personae never reach moscow. but i guess i've already said that.
ps. the pic above from checkov's own tiny theater in his moscow apartment.

Monday, January 11, 2010

what's wrong with the news

1. it's all bad. the world falling apart.

2. you can't do anything about it.

3. everything has to be a drama.

4. this leads to it being 90% speculation.

5. and facts boring cause they end the story.

i just watched

not realizing swayze died in september 09. even more poignant: the film directed by and acted with his wife.

the character he plays feels he can make anything happen, simply through will. he eventually learns to conquer through surrender.

oddly, i thought, 'now he's beyond profit and loss.' yes, he's no longer subject to the news, the hope it will get better, the feeling it never will.

today i browsed through

it's embarrassing to realize you know almost nothing of the world's state! that so many countries even exist. no, we're not interested in facts, no, not really. we want passion, death, stolen children, blown up barracks. anything less puts us to sleep. stories rule our existence, and we can't get enough of them.

unfortunately, the end of one means the beginning of another. the media abhors a vacuum. and the news created as fast as it is consumed.

one magazine i find different, though it strikes a rather elitist (rich person's) note:

it investigates what's happening in small business and design around the world, as well as what's developing in tiny, almost invisible regions. it's unique in that it somehow stresses the positive, despite dire reports from countries in africa, etc. there's a sense of people actually creating places for human habitation.

the worst: most news makes us feel being alive means being on the edge of extinction. though i know the swayze report will eventually come to me, i'm hoping tomorrow it will be announced: there is a cure for life! and it's here, not on another planet.

i've posted pictures of pre-carnival venice and greece 1992. it's important to realize you have done something, even as the headlines stated it impossible.

Friday, January 8, 2010

a citizen of the world

for better or worse, that's been one of my lifetime goals. the reason for so much past travel, the excuse for resisting a localized patriotism.

for example, i've sat on my mountain-top and felt the world to be very, very small. there's the milky way, after all. and these clouds, they cover just a bit of the sky and from above seem like little children.

and out at sea, during coast guard active duty, i realized the ocean about the size of an ice-cream cone. at least, that's the way it looked with the horizon bending down abruptly. the sea appears much larger from the shore.

or even in the twenty-nine mile view of lake tahoe from my north shore lookout i watched the earth curve. you don't have to go to the moon to see we're a tiny dot in space.

of course, being a citizen of the planet you may feel at home nowhere on its surface. despite almost thirty years in the same town i'm a stranger, almost invisible. and when i walk out the door, it doesn't necessarily feel bounded and secure. we moved thirty times by the end of my high school career and that alone may make it impossible to feel completely grounded.

i remember one move, leaving hamilton, montana, when i'd turned nine, in the third grade, and we headed to california, mid-winter, in a model A ford. as we drove out of town, the trees seem to die and the streets became strange. each time i've moved the last place loses its manna, its aura. santa cruz, california now as distant as the roman empire.

all that said, a life is more than a sum of its parts. i just scanned and posted pictures of my trip to new zealand in 1987.

and at first they depressed me. a diary tells so much more than pictures. and as you know, when you come back from a journey, the photographs pale beside the actual experience. gradually, however, they supplant it. perhaps my memories of thailand, sri lanka, india, and nepal so vivid because i did not carry a camera. there's only one reason to take pictures, to bring back the faces of people you've met. oh, and you get to see yourself next to the taj mahal. even if this can be created in photoshop, you know you were there.

i love the internet. it's done what we needed: put us in touch with each other. i hope it never becomes controlled by any one authority. that very chaos allows us all to experience the world as a whole.

a sidelight. took pics at the local theater of a new year's review. for some reason they came out looking like a german cabaret. guess i didn't spend five years in europe for nothing (including a berlin basement in the sixties).

Monday, January 4, 2010

any paradigm can be proven true

i know this is a painful fact. we want our vision of reality to be true for everyone. otherwise, we feel alone.

hey, wake up. you are alone!

so it's a matter of constructing (choosing) the world in which you wish to live. this can be the dream world, the religious world, the artistic. or the scientific. if you haven't read heisenberg's autobiography, i heartily recommend it. why shouldn't he believe in the 'uncertainty principle' after everything he'd been through.

the sparticist uprising in munich, the rise of the nazi party, the making of rockets (to avoid making atomic weapons for the hitler). if we knew history, we wouldn't be surprised by the everyday news.

yes, you can prove there is a god, that there is no god, that we vanish without a trace or inhabit a tavern forever after.

the consequence is: you can believe whatever you want, as long as you don't force it on other people (be happy only you live in your universe), and because anything can be proven true, we live in a world of mystery. if you can learn to live without answers, you'll mine a rich life.

and speaking of the mysterious, just watched this documentary on the composer phillip glass:

i find his music mesmerizing. of course, it's not for everyone. his mind somehow inhabits the same space as mine, yet in my own case i'd rather create preparations and climaxes, rather traditional, classical stuff.

okay, new year's resolutions. find a way to physically exercise and learn to love it. secondly, not worry about creating new stuff, but working with the mountain of inspirations i've already had.

sounds easy, doesn't it? alas, we usually have to be scared to death to make a real change.

here are photos from a delightful review, 'everything but the kitchen sink' put together by allison rich.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a question of anonymity

new year's in berkeley full of emotion. guess we have to get out of town to loosen up and face new challenges. afterwards, chico felt like heaven.

it's the trees. the feeling of things being on a manageable scale. also, just the right amount of invisibility. freedom: the balance between being irresponsible and in demand.

my landlord/retired therapist says, 'at least three satisfaction-with-life studies (for parents) say the curve drops lower as kids age, the bottom at their children's puberty.' i'm so bewildered why people have children. i just don't understand it. am i missing the parent gene?

of course, i've always thought evolution expands us in different ways. the unmarried serve as an example of independence. they teach. they take care of orphans, the nuns and priests. the intermediaries.

you see, not everyone born ordinary. often the oddballs go gay or into poetry, into wandering and philosophy rather than parenting. it's as if the whole human gene-pool requires many different characters and abilities. we're we pure and all one, we'd die out in an instant.

so, here we are, one of the crowd yet not too invisible. i remember the boarding-house in new zealand where men seemed to be disappearing without ever existing. how do you make your mark? or is it necessary?

i'm vanishing into my past. how do you hold on? this weekend visited


whether our lives epic or purely personal, they make a contribution, if only to those close to us. as james joyce wrote, 'history is a nightmare from which i am trying to awake."

house-sat for laurie this new year's:

continuity becomes precious.