Friday, October 19, 2012

is personality really destiny?

                                                                kanga makes a discovery

the thought makes me shiver in my boots. could predestination be behind all my supposedly rational decisions? okay, tomorrow i leave the mountains for the flatland. i don't feel like moses or zarathustra, carrying wisdom to the masses. in fact, quite the opposite: like a scarecrow being put in the barn after a wild summer scaring crows. here goes my usefullness, and my stuffed, straw body, full of insects and dry seeds, doesn't help me much to face the darkening days. one must have a mind of winter, says the snowman of wallace stevens. 

is it better to burn or to freeze? the question doesn't help. i just hope the mice stay away from me! i'll be living in a box. i promise to exercise more. i'll walk downtown through the park, ramble to the bookstore cafe, jump up and down assiduously on my trampoline. if i have to, i'll take a journey, perhaps to tierra del fuego, or mars. travel is the best exercise. when else do i carrying a pack ten hours a day, climb up inside church towers or wander museums? 

could i do something dramatically different? get married? adopt a kid? buy a house? those thoughts feel like an early grave. sentimentally, i'd love to adopt, gain a sense of purpose like my sister did. yet i know i don't even want to have a dog demanding my attention. as my mother said, "when you were little, you played so much alone, i didn't think you'd have anything to do with people." and that's before i remember anything!

                                                             personality conflict

i've tried, god knows i have. look at all those theater adventures, pursued around the world. the production photos i've taken, the classes i continue to sit though for fun. and love affairs. now those seem impossible. it's one thing to have a young body and look, the women attracted to you, another to leer at them like an old man. yes, yes, a scarecrow i've become. however, that is power.   if i can't inspire love, i can inspire terror! and maybe my first love, judy garland, will come along as Dorothy and carry me off to oz. maybe that's why i devoured all the oz books? 

they say you can't escape from yourself. rather than a self  i'm coming to believe we're born with a personality, which we expand and fill out during a lifetime. every parent knows the baby born with distinct characteristics. perhaps the very idea of a self  is an illusion? something to keep us warm on a dark night, something buried deep in our unconscious. now there's predestination, for you. the poet boris pasternak said, "human beings invented psychology so they'd think they know what's going on."

hmm, maybe that's why hypnotists and psychics seem to be in the know. oscar wilde said, 'truth is in the appearance.' and these kinds of counselors can read me like a book. the twitches in my nose, the trembling of my hands, the mottled look of my eyeballs, they give me away completely to those who can truly see. is this a consolation? no. no wonder i hide my body on a mountain or a tiny city room. i'm terrorized by it being discovered i'm an impostor, a scarecrow in human clothing. 

we're all connected's so odd. i feel the drawings i make give me completely away. luckily, people want photographs, not reality. you can delve into the depths of the surface by following the path of the androids:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

love is something you give, not something you get

to my deep embarrassment i've been reviewing what i've written about love. my moods vary considerably, as can be seen in the woodcut self-portraits i've just posted. lately, if i can't say something positive, i don't try to cough up any words. goethe, for example, never wrote poetry in the wintertime. smart guy! unless i wanted to vent my spleen, which, alas, i've done more than once. 

grabbing a page at random from a collection of aphorisms called love and minor matters, i find such statements as these:

63. Love reminds us of life seen through a sickness. 

76. Ambition is more reliable than love. 

101. We need relief from love if love is to survive. 

well, these don't sound too awful, especially the last one. let's face it, love can use us up, unless we find the right formula. ah, to call it a "formula" sounds worse than anything i've said  before!

except my statements on marriage. here i've definitely transgressed. 

17. Marriage has nothing to do with love, but with raising children.

18. People expect from marriage what they can only get from community.

19. Divorce has the virtue of putting more adults in a child's life. 

the question of children makes this subject most interesting for me, love between parent and child seen as the ideal model. if children don't get it, the saying goes, they don't learn to give it. trouble is, i've known at least two women who've thrown their babies against the wall. my therapist friend karma has counseled kids whose progenitors killed each other in front of them. can parenthood always be separated from selfishness? folks love to brag about their offspring. my favorite bumper-sticker: my child the most responsive to drug-rehabilitation. 

however, i'm ignoring the title of this little peregrination. or maybe not. i do have a more positive, if still realistic view, in Aphrodite Speaks. 



about love is


empties us of


we once thought


i invite you to search through these sins against the goddess. perhaps i've cursed myself most of all:

aprhrodite speaks:

love and minor matters:

self-portrait woodcuts:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

on falling on my head

or, how to get your life to flash before your eyes without dying. yes, twice this summer. earlier i described bouncing down the steps of the back deck and banging my head three times against an oak tree. three weeks later, my visor blew off as i measured the fire tower wind. stepping down into the bushes, i grabbed a branch and began to lower myself. i twisted sideways and knocked my head on a piece of old asphalt. i let the visor lie. 

this brought back stepping through a hole in the new church deck, age six, and landing head-first on the steps below. and even earlier, at age one, i slipped off a slide in the park, unconscious for half an hour. the doctor said not to worry. i wonder if this wasn't my shamanic initiation? do the three times i broke my nose figure into the equation? whatever it is, when a friend asked his 85 year-old aunt how to live a long life, she said, DON'T FALL. 

considering i've been getting shaky on my pins, i've had the urge to round up the past and press it for answers. for example, i watched a twelve hour lecture on hitler's rise. as a teenager playing in 1950's stuttgart rubble, only girls interested me. history i didn't even notice. ignorance has great value when you want to simply indulge the senses. ausschwitz and goebbels documentaries and i felt i'd heard enough. no wonder the fascination with world war II. so many dramas and mysteries, all of humanity insane. 

and i'm reviewing the history of literature, having studied it in college, most of it forgotten in my own reading of thousands of books. since i wrote an unfinished play about nietzsche while living in a berlin basement, i'm in the middle of 24 lectures describing his life and ideas.  and i just downloaded a course on modern british drama, a second on chaucer, and a third on the romantic poets. this the tip of the iceberg. add: the art of reading, masterpieces of short fiction, the english novel, 

yes, i do feel like socrates waiting to die. when asked, 'why are you learning to play that tune on the flute. you can't take it with you? he said, 'at least i will have made myself dance at the last." certainly, all this review doesn't mean anything. yet these subjects bring flashes of the past. in london i sat under the tree before the keats' house where he wrote ode to a nightingale and i wandered into the room by the roman spanish steps where he died. i did a lot of literary visitations: dostoyevsky's apartment in petersberg, stringberg's flat in stockholm, kazanzaki's grave on crete. 

jung said, 'have your adventures and hit the books later.' i firmly believe this and put it into practice. i even wrote a poem, if i can find it. blast, i can't. here's another early poem, probably more appropriate (click on it):

here are pics taken while searching the city of my deliverance: 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

why should i grow up?

i don't see the advantages. maturity means subservience. say i get a real job (awful thought), a clerk in a large organization, private or public, it doesn't matter. as a newcomer i see a thousand ways of improving how the company does business. i make a suggestion. the manager smiles and says, 'good thinking. keep it up.' wow, a green light to creativity. i take him at his word. nothing happens about my first suggestion. this doesn't deter me. i make another. this time someone up higher in the food-chain hears about it. my supervisor gets criticized because of the short-coming i've seen. suddenly, i'm a pariah, a whistle-blower. 

think back to the third grade. i had more freedom. the teacher applauded my imagination, my drawings hung at the county fair and awarded a blue ribbon. the irony? i couldn't wait to get into the wider world and show them who i was. alas, this applause couldn't last. high-school began clamping down. okay, i didn't care, sex mattered more to me, whispers and kisses in the dark, than expressing myself in public. i became the class clown, undercutting the teachers whenever i could, the trips to the principal's office routine. he told me i'd never succeed. i said i'd rather live under bridges.

and yet, and yet, i could see those who attended college received higher paychecks, and the longer they stayed in bondage to the institution, the more they'd be rewarded. so i did and was, or so i thought. wow, my friends say, 'you've got a job?' when i told them the pay, they insisted i buy them a drink. at that very moment i should have seen the handwriting on the wall. being a alpha male of the university kind would be very costly. maybe i should live on that bench in the park?

no, i desired comfort, a wife in bed for sex on demand, kids who would prove my potency. this meant i must be employed. and the result? i corralled my instincts, accepted 'don't step on the grass'. eventually, i watched the bums going by the window of the fancy restaurant where i dined. and terrible, subversive thoughts overwhelmed me. they don't have phone-bills, or to pay for insurance policies, no time spent cutting the grass or listening to complaints from the other half. i observed them closely. a bum meets a bum and they greet each other like old friends. each has a healthy-looking dog on a string. my god, they can afford pets. 

needless to say, this got me thinking they should grow up, get a job, and at the same time i felt the clean napkins on the table worth less than their tattered backpacks. they'd light up cigars and cigarettes, and i'd think they support very expensive habits, how do they do it? i realize they live like children who loved their messy rooms and the world of self-invention. did i miss something, i think, as i dutifully pay the check and leave a 15% tip? 

no wonder i'm attracted to festivals and fairs: