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:

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:


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.

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.