Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End Notes: 2013

What matters is the state you put yourself in.

If you're made of clay, don't go out in the rain.

To survive each other we have to have rules.

I can make the world larger simply by being ignorant.

Can you choose the wrong path deliberately?

Strange how a scar can be stronger than the skin.

To be heard the stick must be broken.

The Devil likes bargains.

The Big Bang made Nothing messy.

What if the Big Bang blew apart the Big Thing?

I had fun trying to fill up the Void.

The Abyss didn't like me looking into it.

Don't drive a car if you're afraid to step on the gas.

Just when I got used to being nothing, something happened.

Since our thoughts have so much power, we want someone else to handle them.

Am I the only one in the audience laughing?

I wove the cloak of invisibility, and it didn't keep me warm.

Whenever I didn't act on impulse, I felt I'd failed myself.

Who knows what you will be next?

Okay, you can join my other ghosts.

           some quotes from the poet Octavio Paz:                       http://www.pbase.com/wwp/paz

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

living with my limitations

hmm, hard not making this a sob-story. as someone wiser than i said, "If you argue for your limitations, you will have them." on the other hand, as my friend randy said, "People find there own level." or in my words, we live in a free-fall society. maybe it's merely the fact we have choices? or as Chekhov said, "We do what we can." o god, in a politically correct age that sounds like a cop-out. so let this be mine.

SALESMANSHIP: i'm terrible at selling anything. i always lose money on a camera, a car, a book. what is this reluctance to bargain? is the dollar dirty? or is it i simply don't care? to my own credit, as long as i have enough to live in luxury, as i do, better than any king in history before 1900. unfortunately, i'm never able to present myself as better than i am, and usually worse. in a world of self-promotion, i'm dismal.

AUTHORITY: i'm very reluctant to assume it. a psychic told me, "You had too much responsibility in past lives, in this one you get to play." my question is, with this kind of freedom, why doesn't it promote my happiness more? i do know playfulness is the key to a good life. why can't i practice what i preach? 

SOLITUDE: when i was young, my mother said, "You played so much alone, I never thought you'd have anything to do with people." she was certainly surprised when she came to town and found i had friends! alas, it's true, i float in and out of sociable circles: lookout parties, classes at school, theater. definitely a yo-yo when it comes to this. working alone on a mountain-top both a privilege and a pain. yes, floating at my own level: in the sky!

DEPRESSION: admittedly, prozac has helped a lot. my lack of patience has interfered all along the way, especially in romances, unable to partner for long. these days, i don't often have the urge to throw myself under a bus or jump off a bridge. still, some days the inner tension tempts me to get rid of it in a disastrous way, especially with alcohol. i do forgive myself and say, this too will pass. that's the trouble with being depressed. it seems like it will go on forever.

LUCK: i believe too much in it, and both praise and blame affect my self-image too much. and it's driven me to try and save people, to forgive when i shouldn't, avoid confrontation. maybe that's where this love of day-dreaming? when i was a kid, my father always said, "We're waiting for our ship to come in." and in the meantime we were always in debt. and of course i've avoided debt like the plague. not easy to buy a house with that attitude. 

RESTLESSNESS: now it's true, 40 countries later i don't have the old-age regret of not having traveled enough. and i have been at the same lookout for 30 years and in this town for 33. part of that has got to be inertia. these days i delight in the pleasure of not going. an evening of surfing the world brings me a lot of satisfaction. true, i simply cannot read books like crime and punishment, or joseph and his brothers, not the way i used to. and just two days ago i found an old guy (probably no older than i) sitting at a cafe table absorbed in a paperback  novel. gee, i wish i could do that. no, i'm taking everything in bite-sized bits, trying to get the kernel without spending too much time on the shell.

EXERCISE: i keep damning myself for not getting enough of it and the ten extra pounds i carry. i did realize i wanted to be able to survive a famine. must have come from depression parents. yes, yes, yes, let me blame them. no, no, no, that way devastation and fate lie. i try to walk an hour a day. i've added an app to my phone, recording my steps. definitely humbling. and i can't make myself lift weights. ah, that should come as no surprise, looking at all the stuff above. 

okay, that doesn't include everything. enough for now. yes, been taking pictures. here are some from a theater performance this weekend: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/zone enjoyed it.

and this past week, took photos of class projects in pre-columbian and colonial art history:  http://www.pbase.com/wwp/matt6 and http://www.pbase.com/wwp/matt5

and here's some food for thought: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/37-things-youll-regret-when-youre-old

Monday, December 16, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our lives are completely a figment of our imagination.

Everything is as we imagine it. 

What would it be if it had no name?

I am an altered state of consciousness. 

Memories aren't remembered, they're reconstructed.

A memory is a piece of altered architecture. 

Gradually the overloaded mind forgets things in order to allow new entries.

If you remember too much, it interferes with living.

The photograph becomes the memory.

The photograph is not the life.

Don't look at the photographs until you've forgotten the trip.

We eventually become our photographs. 

Pity the person who lives in a world of symbols. 

How can mind be a noun? 

Madness repeats itself in a way the imagination never can.

Time equals structure.

You'd better do it for yourself. Nobody else wants it.

I have to want to make the journey before I'll try to reach the goal.

Everything a social construct to hold up the way we live.

He had to invent a problem for his solution.

The world won't be the same when I leave it.

He only looked for what he had forgotten.

Don't lose faith in the myth of yourself.

I've done this before, but not in the same way.

The past just ended. 

Worry about being witty, not profound. 

Yes, he said, I'm inventing tomorrow.

I skipped a few steps so I couldn't go backward.

Leave the past alone or it will take revenge. 

The last time I understood my world I got bored.

If you have to choose between chaos and order, remember: order has fewer options. 

Be careful which reality you choose.

Enlightenment (nirvana): everything has a meaning, even if you don't know what that meaning is.

Meaning is a feeling, not a thought.

This the appeal of drugs - coffee, alcohol, magic mushrooms, lsd - they put you in a state of meaning. 

I can't imagine a world without me. 

relevant photos: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/nostalgia

Thursday, November 28, 2013

it ain't always easy to be thankful

okay, i know that condemns me to the hell of the ungrateful. but, think about it, cut me some slack. spending a life in the 'land of opportunity' is not as easy as you may think. i constantly think: i could have more, do more, be more. life becomes an attempt to escape the chain-gang. lord knows, i've tried. the tension makes driving over a cliff a rather appealing catastrophe. 

take today, for example, thanksgiving day, which i spent on my own. i didn't have to. i could have had dinner at the local jesus center with the other bottom-feeders. alas, when it came down to it, i had n0 desire to. perhaps because i woke up from a dream feeling fear, like i'd done something wrong and be caught. the stories in outer space always reflect the oedipus conflict. i'm attracted to a beautiful young woman, usually a brunette, like my mother, and she leads me on, though she has a boyfriend, husband, partner, and eventually i'm left out.

hmm, i don't think i'll go into that. gradually the fear abated and i felt listless, unmotivated. i told myself, "you know you are a manic-depressive, wait and you'll be happy." ah, and i've realized you can only be thankful when you're happy, or after surviving a terrific trauma, a near-death experience, the survival of yourself, or someone you love. and gratitude is like love, you can't command it.  today i will enjoy whatever happens. believe it or not, i've been able to do this for a whole waking day, and the next day i feel like hell. 

that said, i had a lovely day, the weather twenty degrees warmer than new york or paris, and i'm very happy about that. i worked on printing photos, drank tea and hot chocolate, walked uptown for a cup of coffee. two places were open and i loved the fact i live a small city where such things happen. the exercise did me a world of good. ah, the taco truck on the corner open. i ate a delicious california borrito. finishing just in time to drive to the movies.

what did i see? Gravity starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. a space project six miles up goes awry. a satellite blows up and debris takes down their craft. they float through space, looking for the russian space station, it too damaged. and so it went until sandra bullock crawls out of the water and grasps a fistful of dirt lovingly. hmm, maybe that plan for being a doctor on a spaceship in my next lifetime not such a good idea. yes, i love trees and a beautiful bamboo will tingle my spine. 

feeling slightly more happy to be on earth, i walked out of the theater and wanted to hug a stone. on the way home i passed the indian valley health center, which i joined recently. great folks, i'm glad they're taking care of me. and now i'm home, ecstatic i can remember how to type and spell check takes care of all my faults. will my mood survive the night? of course not. everything seems to depend on the wind whether i can fly higher than a kite or dig my own grave. so be it. i just hope i can hold onto that space-suit. 

      worked on some drawings:  http://www.pbase.com/wwp/redux

Thursday, November 14, 2013

"One lives in hope of becoming a memory." (Antonio Porchia)

He existed only in his imagination.

               She often thought him into existence.

  "The personal is political" invites the government into the bedroom. 

                              Most secrets tell us too much.

When a sperm meets an egg, what do they say?

              He followed the map and thus never caught up with it.

You are the illusion you are looking at.

                           It takes two to make a mistake.

     You can't always tell if the sun's going down, or coming up.

Don't worry about the impossible until you've done it.

                    I could have been anything, but I'm not. 

             Leap before you look.

If you can tell where your body is, you can't tell where your mind is. If the mind, not the body.

                 Don't reform your life. It's all you have.

         Words create better pictures than words do.

                              To become a child again all you have to do is look.

If you want to know the man, find the child.

                                             After he married he began to look human.

            Everything that ever happened is a product of my imagination.

The only thing I could understand were the comments in the margins.

                        They talk about growing up, but actually we slump.

     I wish I could be where I am.

                                   If you see a stranger in the mirror, you've got a problem.

              Only those who deceive themselves live well.

If he'd have lived as he wished, he'd have been miserable.

                         He came late in the breeding cycle.

            Being a success takes too much time.

    Once you realize you don't really want what you long for, you're free. 

           seems mostly made-up to me:  http://www.pbase.com/wwp/album


Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Do you have a table of contents for your life?"

no, should i? it's not over yet, i hope. maybe soon? okay, i'll think about it. jesus, what am i in for now? every autobiography a pack of lies, making sense of the insensible. and what's interesting, after all, about a guy who spent forty years writing and traveling, and now doing art work? i have talked up a few love affairs, tried to make myself poetically larger than life: "i am the caboose blindly following history."

"Quit making excuses. You know quite well what to say?"

oh, i do, do I? you should be in my position under the heat-lamp, suffering all these staring eyes! damn it, damn it. okay, here's chapter one: DECISIONS I MADE EARLY. i know it's not very catchy. we can change it later. okay, decision #1: writer or artist? age thirteen. a writer needs only a pencil and a piece of paper, and an artist needs to be able to draw. besides, look at all the books i've read, starting with three a day the summer after third grade.

And decision #2?

never to have kids, buy a house, or get in debt. my family did all these things, my mother writing me she couldn't buy a candy bar and lamenting at the end of her life she'd never had a new car. quite a statement for an 84 year-old. yes, that drive across country, waiting for my father dodging bombs in korea, the ford woody used a quart of oil every hundred miles. you can read the whole story here. http://www.pbase.com/wwp/indiana

I've read it, everything you've ever written, and seen every picture you've ever made.

ah, then i can quit. i do want to mention that at 17 i decided i either watch television or have a life. i chose the latter, and with a few exceptions, have stuck with it for 56 years. true, i seem to have a knack for catching the good stuff. in my mother's living room i watched the kids get shot at kent state. i did have a tiny tv temporarily at the lookout and i happened to turn it on when o.j. simpson cruising down the highway with a hundred police cars behind. 

9/11, the assassination of JFK, the Vietnam War?

granted, i did miss a lot. and it saved me a lot of fretting. the news mostly the attempt to read a crystal ball. the relief lookout, jack leahy, called said to turn on the tube. i watched the two planes hit and the towers fall. once, and that was it. the radio gave me much more a feeling for it, people screaming in the streets. remember, i was raised on radio and words create better pictures than pictures do. 


ah, another radio event. in the upper room of the presidio little theater, i typed slowly a copy of the matchmaker, the publisher wouldn't send it. later i found out it was being made into hello, dolly. the theater director called me from downstairs: KENNEDY'S BEEN SHOT. i ran down the steps and we listened to the first report - after ten minutes they said he was dead and some waltz music came on. very odd, don't you think? we cancelled the show.

And Vietnam?

look, it was the first and last war completely televised. i'd look in a store window and there would be g.i. carried off the field, his shattered arm hanging over the side of a stretcher. no one now can realize how open the reporting was, how disturbing the images. i talked with a helicopter pilot who hadn't been scared until he got shot through the foot. and with a corpsman who'd just returned and had to keep going to the men's room and throwing up as he told me what it was like to hear gunfire all the time.

Hmm, just as we thought. You tried to avoid living in your own time, yet couldn't do it, though you didn't father children, purchase a home, or get a credit card. 

so i'm innocent?

i stumbled on a large group of people dancing thriller in the square with thousands around the world at the same time. i still don't know what it was 
supposed to mean.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

thoughts at the end of fire season

Epitaph: still looking.

            He didn't want a career, he wanted a life.

   How can you find yourself if you aren't lost?

                             The opposite of every truth is another truth.

She was a pop tart. 

         I hope I've written enough in favor of what I don't believe.

                          Can you remember what remembering was like?

I don't mind repeating what I've never heard.

            One wave makes an ocean.

                         After it fell, the stone didn't love the ground so much.

   He liked the fact he'd created God in his own image.

                                        Too much remembering leaves out a lot.

           If your language is new, you'll have to teach it.

                             Basically, I'm not into drawing attention to myself, except when I'm absent.

                                Don't be distracted by 'reasons.'

             She's more fun than money.

                                          He wanted something new, but could only think in terms of the old.

                                 Only a plagiarist knows a good thing when he sees it.

      If only space weren't so crowded.

                 He was a solution looking for a problem.

                               By mixing categories he came up with a grey area.

  Being patient and being passive aren't the same thing.

            He'd better lose, or he'll be a different man tomorrow!

summer singles 2013: 

Friday, October 18, 2013

how did i become a couch-potato?

i swear to heaven i didn't plan it, and i'm embarassed by it, even as i pack up to move again. yes, we did move thirty times by the time i was out of high school. and ending my 50th lookout season  means i've moved a hundred times, just on that account. i'm sure i've moved at least two hundred times, if not more. so what's the beef?

my last real trip: amsterdam and paris, spring, 2001. then 911. and soon after my travel partner berta gardner died. http://www.pbase.com/wwp/berta  also i stopped writing and took up the outrageously expensive task of photography. ah, all that precious and useless equipment rotting in my storage space! as they say, after the show's over all you've got is the pictures.

and now i picture myself fat and old, sipping a cold beer and watching old movies on television. no, it's not that bad, yet. i have been watching films of people who accomplished something in the world. for example, just finished one on edward curtis, the famed photographer of american indians. of course, he's criticized for staging scenes, yet outside his twenty volumes of portraits he took a lot of street-type, informal, and delightfully natural photos i'd never seen before tonight.

and i watched THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART, about the russian collector who set up a museum of state-repressed art during the soviet period. wheeling and dealing with personal contacts to collect 44,000 pieces of art, which he put in a building out the sands of Uzbekistan. hopefully this film will allow them to be preserved somewhere, when locusts come. a very heartening story.

okay, let's see, i've kept travelling on my couch. THE STORY OF WALLY, a painting by egon schiele stolen by a nazi and how the family finally received it's due, fifty years later. lots of scenes in old vienna. alas, it tarnished my view of the town where i'd had good experiences in the past. and i shuddered through HAND HELD, the story of a photographer who discovers children in thousands of steel cribs, after the fall of the Romanian dictator, deprived of every bit of loving care. the photographer's drawn into setting up a foundation to help and twenty years later we see healthy kids in a local olympic games.

now, have i justified myself? these stories took me all over the world. and all summer i kept debating: should i go on the road again? have i really become a creepy stay-at-home? i have to answer yes. when it came right down to it, i realized one night i wanted to sit at a desk, write, read, fool around with photos on the computer, and generally preserve my concentration. immediately, i began searching for a new place and thankfully found a cottage right in the middle of a student ghetto. i've changed my life without leaving town. yes, very embarrassing, but let me quote franz kafka:  

           You do not need to leave your room.Remain sitting at your table
         and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary.
         The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no 
         choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

posted single shots from the summer: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/singles

Hand Held: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008H345VC/ref=wtls_list_pr_15/ref=avod_wl_watch_now

Portrait of Wally: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032DGB5K/ref=wtls_list_pr_4/ref=avod_wl_watch_now

The Desert of Forbidden Art: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0032DGB5K/ref=wtls_list_pr_4/ref=avod_wl_watch_now

Coming to Light: the Edward S. Curtis Story: http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Light-Edward-Curtis-Story/dp/B00A6KTO8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1382163002&sr=1-1&keywords=edward+curtis


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

altruism versus the common good

well, here i am again, wondering how i can save the world before i shuffle off it. my friend jim feels it's a hopeless cause. digging our own graves, imitating the dinosaurs, ultimately unable to deal with the very climate changes we've caused.

in the immense what am i to do? i think, if i can make someone's life better, that's enough. i send money to my sister, expose people to museums, ancient artifacts, faces in the clouds. ultimately, i feel it all depends on imagination. is that what i'm best at?

of course, i'd like to be woody allen. last night i watched his latest 'jasmine' and i came home disappointed. i wanted the heroine to be saved, changed, uplifted. alas, she ends up on a park bench in san francisco, talking to herself, mulling over everything that's gone wrong: her husband's affairs and suicide.

the best scene in the movie probably where she's telling her two young boys what cracked her up. they sit wild-eyed with amazement. here the older generation certainly passing along a lesson, even as she says, 'remember, wealth brings responsibility', insisting they devoted a lot of the money they stole to charity.

and this morning i have to admit, there's a moral to the story. she insists all the way through she didn't know about her husband's double-dealings. actually, she looked the other way, for in the end in fit of jealousy, she turns him into the FBI. when she finds her estranged son, he says 'i know all about that phone call.' ultimately, that call caused his father's death by hanging.

earlier she tells her sister and friends, 'hanging doesn't choke you, it snaps your neck.' kate blanchett reiterates this statement two or three times, making it grim to contemplate. here, without question, is a haunted women who basically deserves what she gets.

what has this to do with me? i keep thinking, 'i should help orphans.' yes, my sister was an orphan so i'm helping one, but is that enough? i keep thinking of the wonderful photographer Tina Modotti who gave up her art to abscond to russia from mexico in order to promote a cause. it led to her sad ending, and her photographs have done more than all the speeches and washing dishes.

here i am in the middle of change, about to come down off the mountain like zarathustra. what am i to do now? he eventually ran back up that slope as quick as he could. nietzsche or woody allen or changing diapers. it's a tough choice.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

"Let's plan for the divorce first, then we can do the wedding."

Sex is only interesting when it gets you in trouble.

                             Religion is something humans added to leaven suffering. 

Whenever I feel evil, I smile without doing anything.

         The days passed through my hands like lemmings headed for the sea.

                       The most dangerous thing you can do is get out of bed.

  We live by measuring. If we can't measure it, it doesn't exist.

                                  I waited for her to seduce me.

Nothing's more uncomfortable than being tested for sleep.

            He made her think of all the things she knew she'd never have.

If I started counting my losses, I'd feel like a rich man.

                             What am I to do with myself, now that you've changed me?

             Traveling in memory has the advantage of no flies.

  I can't leave until I find myself.

               He stumbled across himself in a conversation and didn't know what to say.

                                   He wanted to give away everything, but he had nothing.

      The higher he rose, the harder he found it to fly.

                                         The distance he put between them seemed to draw them closer. 

                          He forgot why he was suffering, but the suffering itself remained.

            The nightmare of knowing it all.

                                  He felt his silence full of notes he couldn't hear.

   I'm not sure we should try to go beyond survival.

                                                   Truth won't get you into heaven.

            She tried to make a mistake. At least that would be a start.

                         Nature seems continuous to us, yet she leaps.

  The only way to slow down time is to travel or commit a crime.

                                 "Only enthusiasm can defeat death." (Cioran) 

               Don't be afraid to bend your knees.

How many more things have become criminal since I was a child? 

   ah, art is my way out: http://www.pbase.com/wwp/crocker




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Investigation into the Vanity of Storks

Storks have a habit of delivering to the wrong address.

Storks are great gamblers, often staking their packages.

Beware of bored storks.

Never trust a stork. 

The stork refused to take the package back. 

A stork can make or break your day.

Storks have a lousy sense of direction (but a great sense of humor). Every stork born a practical joker. 

After the duel, the surviving stork didn't know what to do with the extra package. 

Never cross swords with a stork.

Stork Delivery System: "We always make mistakes."

Don't take a stork in training.

The new stork recruits had barrels of fun with the robot babies. 

There is a stork in your future.

A stork flying backwards is a bad sign.

If storks didn't pretend to be preachers. I'd trust them more.

Fear the stab of a card-playing stork.

The absorbing story of the stork caught reading porn.

When a stork gets stuck, what can a chimney-sweeper do?

Has there ever been a singing stork?

When in the mood, storks are great entertainers.

Why did they call it The Stork Club?

Storks can certainly look like stuffed shirts.

Stork: the only bird you can imagine wearing a tuxedo.

Storks have the ability to take a terrible revenge.

If the Ancient Mariner had shot a stork and not an albatross, he'd have come undone much quicker. 

To quiet our fears we pretend storks bring good-luck. 

Storks like to keep their feet warm.

Do wise people build fake chimneys for storks?

in opposition to the air, i've gone under the sea: