Sunday, November 14, 2010

praise for the makers

is there a gene for reading? i must have gotten one particular habit from my grandfather. after he died my mother found stacks of uplifting quotes. and he read religious passages every morning. (i go for zen and haiku.)

for the past couple of years i've read a mini-chapter from richard carlsen's don't sweat the small stuff - as well as the same from osho's everyday. of course, it doesn't do just to peruse. i always keep in mind what ramana maharshi said, 'put one thing in practice.' sure 'nuff, that can change everything.

lately, i've tried one of carlsen's techniques: when you wake up, take time to think of someone to whom you are grateful. alas, that's pretty tough to do with people you know well, family and friends. our feelings about these almost always tremendously mixed.

so the other day, i looked about the room as i rose from night-time haze. ah, my eye fell on the classical guitar i bought years ago in berkeley. handcrafted in germany in 1967, it aroused an intense thankfulness for the maker. then i realized i had the same feeling about the guys who built my lookout in 1988. yes, it has to do with delicate wood creations that resonate with fingers or the wind.

that was a surprising start in gratitude. and i realized my whole life i've enjoyed making things: plays, poems, photos, drawings. this morning i extended gratefulness to people who'd made everything i use: soap, computer, shower, and so on. pretty soon it reaches astronomical numbers. rather overwhelming, i dare say. thousands of people have created the world in which i live.

for example, i returned to my favorite antique barn a couple days ago and took more pictures: (previous shoot: )

what a wonderful world of memories i never had!

and here's a local hamburger joint full of oddities like a museum:

and last evening, i uploaded the first of three parts to a movie i wrote and acted in 1973:

though fame and fortune never came from these objects, i'm glad to have made them. the painter francis bacon said it's like leaving a snail's trail across the canvas.