I need to keep growing.
But I don’t need to keep seeking and seeking.
I need to keep growing.
But I don’t need to keep seeking and seeking.
i began to feel that home was not a place.
home was wherever my love was.
for a brief time, home was a person.
i want to say that the home i have now
is just as good.
SO FUCKING TRUE
Judgment originates in the self.
If the group comes first, the self has final say.
Judgment is less intelligent than fresh observation.
Judgment is dysfuntional tradition.
Judgment is pretention.
Judgment brings justice sometimes. But not peace.
Judgment brings injustice too.
Judgment is natural; it feels like survival.
Judgment feels relevant and righteous.
Side effects could bring a sickening feeling.
When encountering judgment, try to be patient.
Somehow, we already know everything.
In the wiser lessons of history, philosophy.
Science, poetry, psychology.
It’s strange but doubt yourself first, to be great.
Observe the thought first, to think.
Assumptions without inquiry proliferate quickly.
A false foundation that frees no truth.
To want confirmation, in reflection: caution.
Trouble brews in demands to be echoed.
It’s strange, but doubt convention.
It’s not always flattering.
We choose the opposing action.
Truth beyond self, beyond judgment is too tiring.
Hard-won ideologies hardened our hearts.
Experience offers a speck of “understanding.”
But experience too is misleading.
A wise idea says, do not reject the self, to please.
But perhaps the wiser: remember
Self is not so distant
Others have judged you too.
Others judge you.
You are no better than a half-baked idea.
Let us not forget. Go now
Beyond self, beyond power of one, to relate.
Look back perhaps to tradition, on this point.
Beware passive consumption of a person.
Relationship is not an expectation.
Or even a passion. That’s all yours.
Passion is all yours.
September 2, 2019
I want someone
May 13, 2020
AFTER THE SHOCK
Long, meditative, simple, slow, mesmerizing scenes. This windy cell phone clip was just a spur-of-the-moment snapshot from real life, but I’ve always admired the often-dreamy or poignant motif when used in actual movies. I’d love to see even more movies daring to decelerate. To conduct more subtle representations. Daring to prioritize the art of the film over and above other considerations. Daring to embrace less lucrative choices.
Daring, just by their existence, to subvert ACTION.
Lingering, sustained scenes that extend a moment out in time and space. Like a poem can do – maybe that’s what’s so appealing. Asking for attention to be held. Attention held on a moment. A moment easily overlooked, easily taken for granted, a moment to be experienced more intensively.
Scenes to yield into. To take a kind of refuge in. Akin to stretching muscles after a long sleep. Or scenes to be challenged by, too.
This is not elitist. This is about the quiet things.
Quiet things need time, space, and attention to be let in. To be let in. Because they are not attention seeking. Versus the rather violent presence of that which does grab our attention, demand it, steal it, and in a way, corrupt it…
April 3, 2020
The hawk. Something about all this reminded me of it from months ago, and I dug it up again. And I’d like to post the video. But WordPress doesn’t allow for posting it in the format I want. As I intermittently avoid the issue amidst the other chaos, then venture to search again for a workaround, I keep thinking about it, writing about it. I am lingering on this a bit longer than I’d like, but maybe that is just the point. To linger. To slow down.
I do not work in the movie industry, I am just someone with a camera and a perspective, who happens to also make money with cameras, who happened to have only a cell phone on hand on the day I encountered the bird.
“It’s a bit LONG,” someone said. Yeah.
But I like that.
April 16, 2020
Rain. Blue-grey-violet light filling the room. It’s late, 10:45 am. Waking to dreams of the one I’d loved the most until finally many years later I didn’t – not that same way, pointing at a studio apartment for rent in the paper. A large hexagon shaped space with beige floors in the photo, possibly carpet but nice, facing the street through bay windows. I wanted to live there instead of him, could I – but hadn’t I already? The thought makes me feel a bit sick. Something bad happened there? Can’t remember. Many years ago, yesterday. Being alone, wine, my computer, music, emails and IM, that’s it. Scribbling in my journal in red and purple ink in bed, at my green desk covered in scraps of paper, notes, purple orchids and pots, flipping through thousands of photographs taken traveling and academic papers, lost in a foreign history of my own. Plants, tall stacks of drafts, paintings beautiful amidst abstract misery and desperation. Had I really lived there? Or just imagined it? The memory makes me ill. Did I just make it up, the feeling? The place?
Now staring into asphalt and a partly cloudy sky, intermittent city trees, standing in the street, waiting. Forever. Where is my friend? We’re going to eat some sort of special bread from the bakery, a sweet bread or something? As the sun falls hours later she finally shows, separating from a group of people I don’t recognize, surprised when I bring it up as if she’d never really intended to go.
Another fuzzy event I can’t recall, another one putting me off for some unidentifiable reason too. So out of character for her, I don’t understand. There was no one to be with.
Sitting outside on the sidewalk uncertain of what to do now. Nobody around. The air is fresh and bright. There must have been a porch there, or some stairs, then a book appears in my hand. I open its nearly eight by ten cover and skim. 50 or so pages, with illustrations. Joy. It was about joy. This was written by a friend, a pianist, he’d given this to me. No longer conscious of the street, completely absorbed in its lyrical writing and sparse, minimalistic line drawings lightly watercolored until an elation grows and spreads too immensely to look down any longer, too much to process any more information mentally. I close it to feel its weight in my hands instead and look up lifting up into the air like years before, planes floating off a runway above shapes shrinking and tightening viewed through tiny windows. So happy. Magical. Then I’m here. Rain. Blue-grey light filling the room. It’s late, 10:45 am. Curtains. Oakland in the window. My room. No one’s around.
Were all of those people trades for someone I really want to be with today? Not sure I care what it means but it resonates for a few minutes.
Shaking off these dreams I get up to go out to the cafe. The significance doesn’t feel so important, but I’m pretty sure I know why I’m remembering them so readily. Vacation – no work for two weeks. Whenever there’s more space, when more time is sensed and freedom and days ahead open, the volume of dreams I remember increases and changes: popcorn strings of memories like momentary portals into a higher consciousness about these experiences, mixed with creative currents more otherworldly and imaginative, like being inside of a hidden universe that rarely reveals, suppressed by routine realities. Routines both necessary and destructive. I used to take them too seriously. And now I just don’t believe that I have to anymore. Everything in my spirit won’t even let me anymore; it’s over. My own way of seeing and being wakes up and takes priority and the space just has to be made for it, or it’s like I’ll just die.
This is the thing that may not make sense from the outside but it’s been said before many times over that a certain type of artist – perhaps so-called “real” artists – create because they have to. We have to. Maybe this is not true of all artists but in my own experience the choice has been to create, or to suffer a progressive downward spiral into an internal hell, self-imprisoned. I’m fine to coast for a while but finally these become my two options and for others who are like me I wouldn’t doubt them to feel just as lost and miserable without creating. Not that creating functions as a universal remedy for bad feelings – that would be silly. For me though feeling bad and not creating would be an even worse if not dangerous condition than feeling bad and creating. I didn’t desire this aspect of an artist’s life to be true of myself and I thought the idea sounded corny and overdramatic when I read about it in Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet,” at nineteen. Coincidentally it was the only idea from the book I never forgot: write if you must write, if your need for writing is as though your life depended upon it. I was too young then to understand these words more comprehensively, but cross the age of 30 when the focus of your generation suddenly becomes status and success and power and out of nowhere you feel like a complete loser. Your dreams of being an artist or writer become even more naive and irresponsible and idealistic than when you were nineteen. They’re beyond merely objectionable now, if not borderline reprehensible in a way they weren’t before. Those benign impractical fantasies of young adulthood suddenly become things you could actually harm yourself with.
Was it Henry Miller who pointed out something like anyone can be an artist — until the age of 35? This is not the same thing as declaring an intention to go into teaching or law or nursing or politics or business. Creative ambitions might be treated as a curiosity or a bit of fun at best, but taken less and less seriously as time progresses. It’s especially challenging for those choosing to abandon their former career path, to pursue art no longer as a hobby but as a primary occupation. Are you published? No. Do you have a professional website? No. Business card? No. Portfolio? Not in any organized fashion, not yet. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet the unsatisfactory answer to every question. Some start early, going ahead despite the odds to establish a position for themselves in the creative arts, publicly – others like me punish themselves for years first instead. Just for inevitably being who you are despite every attempt to be something else, yet not quite understanding why you just can’t fit in to the occupations or places you’ve wandered into for safety and security. By the time you finally come out of it to recognize what the trouble really is and you’ve already spent your money on degrees in other fields for other careers, who will indulge your grandiose aspirations now at this point? But if you find that this is something you have to do – and you know this to be true of yourself because of the consequences you’ve experienced in avoiding this truth for your entire life, then the choice is clear. Whether or not you’re any good at what you create at this point, whether or not you have everything you need for success in place, it ceases to matter. You’ve worked your way to the top in places you didn’t even want to be, simply by showing up and working hard. If you have to start at the bottom all over again, it will be worth it. And how long will it take, exactly, to get to somewhere in the middle, if you even dare to imagine you could? This ceases to matter also. You’re tired of pretending, of lying. You don’t think about the people who would criticize you as much anymore, or the what ifs, or the opportunities you’ve turned down or run away from in the past. You think about what you need to do to make it happen.
I don’t feel sorry for myself or for those in my shoes. I feel for those who are like me but still unable to create for whatever reason. I know these people are out there so when somebody says they’re an artist, I tend to believe them no matter their current occupation or lifestyle or hobbies.
Two weeks of taking pictures and assembling them, drawing, writing, cups of tea and coffee, sleeping, planning, going to the gym, seeing friends. I pour cream into my coffee as I only do in cafes – anywhere else, it’s black. It’s noisy in here, there’s nowhere to sit comfortably. Each conversation this morning is too loud and too much as I move from table to table seeking a place where I can think. Think and write. I’ve been desperately needing solace from these crowds. Yet appreciate an unexpected sense of relief in this scene too, full of friends telling stories rather than singles with their devices. I settle in near the speakers, faint music, not overbearing mainstream sounds like they often play but sounds with real feeling, though not especially edgy. I realize I’ve forgotten to put in earrings this morning, which I’ve been wearing since I was three months old. It feels oddly troubling.
My mind and body are glowing, not in a physical sense. Something else. I remember all the other times like this. I remember the soft sunshine and the libraries and the roses in the window and the moped and the kissing and the airports and the poems scribbled out for fun with no concern for editing and the smells of cattle in foreign places and the miles and miles of road and ancient redwoods and the river. I remember the intense dreams. Stories of living life as art.
You’re free today. You have two weeks. Sit down. It’s been a while since I’ve written, instead relishing the easy relief from words I enjoy so much in working with images. Writing is so exposing, really so scary. It doesn’t matter. Text messages pop up, you ignore them for now.
Go write. I’m dying to write now. It doesn’t matter how it turns out, doesn’t matter if it’s good writing or bad, doesn’t matter if it’s real art.
This was taken from scraps. Cutouts produced incidentally while creating other black and white paper designs, extras tossed aside in the moment: the true first negative space of those projects, their waste, their remainder. Sifted through the pile of odd shapes belonging nowhere, randomly assorted without purpose. Four pieces chosen quickly, without thinking and no plan, without altering them further in any way, and within minutes assembled together and pasted up this leaning figure. Looks like a lot of things to me but speaks like an example.
Urging to make significant or even delicious more of those elements in us and in the world so easy to reject, to cast out, to trample on, or to simply pass by. Art and poetry are not luxuries but necessities for this reason. To allow the unattended or just what looks like refuse to be seen and voiced and appreciated rather than tossed a token now and again, hardly a crumb. The expendable, impractical, unnecessary – yours and mine too. With poetry especially we have a marginalized form expressing the marginalized in apt communion. To celebrate mystery, quiet amidst the noisy, or to place the unwanted or left behind because are we not all neglected or forgotten in some way and do we not all feel this. To serve the imperfect, the difficult, the unsavory or troublesome, even the scary at times. Our beauty does not exclude these flaws in a culture pretending to disown their existence.
What nobody would detect or consider without looking very, very, closely – art changing our minds about what’s beautiful and worthy, what we’re capable of discerning. Not just a world in which we consume choice fragments of one another relentlessly and treat ourselves so, but a hunger for the whole range and process of a more private experience admired, an intelligence beyond the conspicuous so that every day just a little bit, even just a little to be able to show up and not be afraid to look further. Since it’s the not looking – hiding – that’s more dangerous.
— And since culture’s infinitely richer than it could possibly be credited in any given moment — momentarily magnificent or bewildered or painfully plain. So are we.
Let me whisper. Let me bring these words to you, let them turn yellow then purple like light diffusing through polluted air. In a sound of voice I long to hear and embrace floats near me. Connect these words in us through this space, not by chains of past offenses identity crises and grievances. Let them feel comforting and welcomed, not as wounds, feel like birds at dawn singing through cold air or a bell tower carillon drop notes over chaotic streets on the way home from work in the evening. Let these words mean nothing, let them be nothing, let them exist for no indisputable purpose or explicit reason, yet not be treated as meaningless. Let them not be crowded out with opinions, nor create such crowds. What makes such opinions more meaningful?
What if I have no history anymore. What if I claim nothing. These words have tongue in them, lips, lungs, I want for them to not be pushed to sting. Let me kiss with them. Let me exist with you as if there were nobody else before us, and nobody to jump down our throats after. I have slept with these words when hungry, when lonely, now let these words take company. Let these words be a place to land, not just a springboard to and from troubles, not as an opiate either but a place to be fearlessly awake together. Let these words be a world that’s not too smart for romance. Enough views crowd us one after another, it’s blinding. If we come from nowhere beyond this moment, if only by sound we could touch these screens delicate as paper, what if.
Your voice alone is wonderful to me. Carillon notes blending and separating over rivers inside sending little messages barely heard, grow more resonant. I long to hear beauty instead of these arguments. Then these words will not chase you down, will not hunt you. For truly I long for you and for no opinion. I long to hear words exist less for the purpose of proofs, divisions, violence, information. Thus let their intelligence here stake no claim. Let these words be unimportant yet significant. Be available and abundant. Let them be valuable.