Cynthia's Anilogue - Winter, 2002greenspun.com : LUSENET : The Garden : One Thread
June 14, 2002
Here's the third thread of these first Anilogues, beginning with the winter of 2002. As the weeks turn into months, a picture of me emerges that may help me seem more complete as a person.
Certainly my weaknesses appear, along with the boundaries of this world I've drawn for myself that hems me in, keeps out Love (except in bright, brief flashes of Other that dance in and out now and then), and yet simultaneously begins to crack, and shows a promise of breaking down and away.
John writes sometimes, but not often, and it becomes more clear to me that the purpose of our exchange is being guided by something deeper that serves our natures beyond what we can grasp or come to terms with.
But that clarity is still a product of the reasoning mind, and that mind is *not* in control of what I feel. Since I remain committed to feeling, without the constant fetter of self-limiting reason (at least in this very private, very personal world that I'm sharing here with you), clarity is not always paramount.
That's ok. It's said that life really crawled out of the mud, anyway. Ooze is more here, more now. It describes more accurately the state of me in most of these moments today. If there's clarity, it's less the result of a clean and clear pattern I've thoroughly accessed, and more like the temporal flash of a flat bit of mica, submerged in the mire and catching, so briefly, the story of my piece of the sun. : : : : : : : : : : : : :
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
2002 January 1
So This is San Francisco
Just landed. I want to catch the swirl of it while it's still fresh in my hair, and the road still hums in my arms.
It was a quick spin down, with a run straight into North Beach and Calzone's on Columbus where Shine works; then it's over to Cafe Trieste for a glass of wine to opera. Ferlinghetti's there and he winks at me while his eyes circle round and don't quite [shyly] land when I smile, and I think he's just another soft-listening fellow with an almost-freed grin, but I don't know it's him until after he's gone, when Fanny Renoir whispers sotto voce to Will Dodger who's pleasant and has joined us to laugh and toss hip wit about, that she's "just booked Ferlenghetti" for something - perhaps January, perhaps February, how can someone book someone for a month? - while she gathers up her brown paper bag stuffed full of books and disappears out into the rainy damp.
Ah, so this is San Francisco.
And then it's a drive here, and there, and no left turns are easy anywhere so I pretend I'm from India and just drive where I can, assuming that Karma is guiding everything and that no one will be hit who wasn't supposed to be, and sooner or later - after Chinese food that must be from a test kitchen for Asian bio-warfaire - we land at the Great American Music Hall to hear Kimock and lordy, I do miss Bobby Vega's sound - but it's low key and mellow and for some reason I'm hard to move this evening, and so the warp flows eventually to Shine's little apartment on Page by the Park and we all pile in a tiny San Franciso bedroom [goodness, my studio is now huge and there's plenty of room for a table saw] and disappear into sleep.
Morning ups me early to get coffee at her roommate Barak's coffee house around the corner, the Rockin' Java, packed at 10 with a line of men out the door, and there's an internet connection so I plug you one last note, and then it's off to find sun and a tree to lean on, for the vibe is pretty thick and I need something with a cambium layer and photosynthesis to tide me over, until walking along Haight begins, and eating, and running into bits and pieces of Ray's old history - his North Beach childhood, his mother-stories, and his Vision in this year he calls Ought Two - interspersed with human after human who recognizes him and gives him a warm hello.
The day careens toward evening, and it's curious to watch how the Universe sites us in the show, with passes not at the appointed place in the Will Call box, and our collective opening to the looseness of the Cosmic Weave until entree comes and I'm situated for the evening in the primo spot in the house with the Blessed Oregon Crew, place to stash coat, great chair, open space to dance, including a rolling elevated stage that I can play and dance upon til the last minute when Billy and Bobby and Micky come to our little secret spot dressed up as Warlocks and roll out onto the main stage for the big Reunion Set, and I feel guilty at the expanse of room I have to myself in this little cloistered box seat so I use it to the fullest and enjoy the music and throw some stardust your way, wherever you are. I felt you all around me, and so I know that you're not far.
I spend most of the evening with a new friend who did the Cheese stage last night and is doing this stage tonight, and we compare a bit of Cheese (whom he very much likes) with his experiences of this original-gang show here now, and I talk about the dopplering I see of artists, sharp, bright, blue-edged new when they come on and then fuzzing and blurring into red-shifted less individuated ambience as their collective refrain becomes something that came from a long distance and also - though resoundingly - recedes. He's tripping mightily, and I'm not so sure I'm the best person to meet when you're tripping, and so I just keep him in orange juice and water and hold his hand.
It's soon 4 am, and I'm on the road, headed North. The roads are clear. Dawn doesn't take too long. I've just pulled in..
: :: : : : : ::
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
2002 January 4
In Search of Capacitance
It's early am. I'm not sleeping well tonight, and there's an underbelly to this edge that has me wondering if I've found one of those cul de sacs of hidden motive that has gone unexplored - til now.
A fellow came back into my life yesterday who has been problematic in the past. Dennis is his name. "Danesh", as he's known in Kathmandu. "Trouble". It's a serious and legitimate moniker.
He's an American quasi-ex-patriate who divides his time between here and there. Noble work - runs a foundation that installs solar electrical systems at remote Buddhist monasteries in the mountains south of Everest; good inventor, smart the way I like 'em, generous in a full (but self-serving way); big, strong and handsome; great overall male specimen from an American military family, and both aware and proud of it...
He began to court me in the aftermath of my break-up with my first boyfriend after my divorce - another "John" who talked me out of the mountains I'd fled to post-divorce (another story - holed up north of an Indian Reservation deep in the mountains of Humboldt County, I almost made the break from Eugene and this whole life, but John convinced me to come back to Lane County, live with him, finish with the store, work his farm, yada yada...then when I came back home, he changed his mind. Simple as that.)
Dennis was waiting in the wings.
He's the kind of guy who likes those he sees as powerful women - and then, he's also the kind of guy who likes to find their soft spots, and then he likes to push there. Hard.
Dennis and I went to Nepal and India together. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, only in part because it was so emotionally horrible. I certainly did confront demons - in order for something to be deeply horrible, you have to be opened up to it.
The rawness of the experience - for he's an experienced trekker, and so I was trekking - no guides, (we had porters, thank goodness, but the terrain was light, really), or any of the other landmarks of familiarity that tourists often have - opened me even more fully to the interpersonal dynamic that came out in the intimacy between us.
He's rugged, and he speaks the language well, so my experience is even more acutely one of being an 'outsider alone', since there are no other English speakers, coping and keeping up, with minimal comforts. We spent time back in the mountains, visiting various solar installations, doing repairs, etc and the human tapestry I encountered amazed me.
Whether it was meeting Thapkay Lama - who says I reminded him of a woman from an old American Movie - a Buddhist monk who nursed me out of a bout of dysentery and found me one morning at his door, rags in hand, asking for a broom and a bucket of water because I had awakened with a voice in my head intoning "Clean the Gompa (temple)", which I did with the help of a 3 year and 6 year old temple helper crew - a Green Tara temple that hadn't been cleaned in years, and Thapkay was thrilled, certain I was a Green Tara goddess; or whether it was meeting the schoolmaster and his wife at the Hilary School, where we talked of canning and education, apple pie and the internet, or so many others...
I was fascinated by these people (I feel a very deep bond with the Sherpa Nepali), and Dennis was completely obsessed with making certain that I didn't trust myself enough to talk to them. He managed this by criticizing whatever I did or said, since he has a long list of things I need to do in order to become a better person, and he consistently insisted that I be quiet until I learned all of the right things to say, and how to say them, and when.
I hadn't experienced this sort of man-woman power trip in a very long time - not since mother and I were the victims of my step-father's violent streak - and that trip into this foreign place, coupled with his charisma, good looks, and great facility at sweet-talking, kept me off-center and played me like a violin.
Our mountain time culminated in a frightening display where he threatened to hit me in order to bring me "into line", whatever that was, and I picked up my bags and left. Of course, one can't go too far when there isn't a plane for 10 days, and one doesn't speak the language, and the town is only 250 feet long...
In the end, it was a good thing. I'd brought money (against Den's advice); I felt terribly abandoned and betrayed, but after a couple of days I was able to get my bearings and meet lots of people and re-center myself in a "good time" til the plane came around again. Den came back down out of the mountains to catch the plane and we had a working reconciliation. He knew I wasn't a total push-over, and so some boundaries were present, but the dysfunction was far from being repaired.
I still had almost 2 months of trip left with him, and so our pattern of him exploding, and then me evaluating whether or not to give in or withdraw, based on the external circumstances, began to take shape. I started to see similarities in my mother's situation before me - drawn to her husband, tied to him, and discovering after the fact that he was heavily landmined.
Dennis is like an exotic landmined jungle. You wander through lush unexpected places and understandings, but you never know when you're going to step on a mine and have some unarmored part of you blow up.
I managed to stick out the trip with him, and I'm glad I did, for I continued to make lasting connections with people and places that I hold to this day. I knew that I could have gone it alone, but somehow I was compelled to hang in with it. I think this was just about the most dysfunctional relationship I've ever experienced, and it was actually teaching me a lot. I definitely do a lot of things in the world because of what I assume I'll learn.
Den and I officially came apart months later, back in Eugene, after he finally became fully violent with me, and hit me (he's 6'3, 200# - I'm what, 5'1; 100#?). Even then, I didn't flee but tried to understand. What is it with us women? It was a scenario fully out of the textbook for battered women; he's angry for making me hit him; then he's sad about hitting me; then he promises not to do it again but he can't look me in the eye and say it.
I sleep with him - no sex - that night. There's an odd tenderness in the aftermath of violent explosion that's almost intoxicating, and I can see how men and women could get into a very combative cycle. In fact, I can see how the raw intensity of the feeling may be the most reality that they can find in one another, because the love that corresponds to violence at this level of intensity is a very powerful love, and I don't find hardly anyone who can even briefly be the wick for the sort of lamp that real love can light. Violence is the easier of the two, it sometimes seems.
I make distance. Or try to. But I'm pulled back into the relationship, and it sputters for awhile as I struggle with whether or not to make violent behavior the line in the sand that I won't cross. I'm amazed with myself that it's even a question, but I realize that people can make mistakes, and try to make room for that possibility.
And besides, Den's not a bad person. He has great and underappreciated qualities, and I've always been a sucker for the underdog genius. He just has this little glitch in his operating system that means you have to re-boot much too often, and your hard drive is always getting corrupted, and you lose data. And energy. And sleep. Good for learning, but unsustainable.
My emotional retreat caused him to pursue me and, since I loved him - for I did - it was not a cut-and-dried ending for us til I was obviously involved with someone else. The "someone else" was my kind, sweet, gentle-souled Douglas - thank the gods for that bittersweet refuge of eventual disillusionment that was, for awhile, all I needed in the world.
I never knew that people could be so radically different (I still hadn't fully faced all my own Beings Within), with deeply hidden sides that can be painful to encounter. I hadn't experienced the kind of denial that passes as an impoverished forgiveness - the capacity to walk around one day as if the violence from the previous day had never happened - since I was a young girl. I think it was good to experience this as an adult, and to have the big me take it in and put it into a more grown-up and empowered context.
But what happened today makes me question my capacity for that. Den's just come back to town, and he's just got wind of my singularity (news travels fast in a town like this), and he's back in pursuit. Sigh
I feel like I should be able to draw boundaries that work for me, opening me to what I want to be opened to, and clearly demarcating where I don't wish to go. It bothers me that I'm not as strong as I want to be in these soft spots - I'm glad I'm not, because I don't want to be walled off from the world, but it sure can be a formula for disaster.
I don't like this set of contradictions that wells up in me - and yet, wasn't it just last week that I was extolling the self-educational virtues of contradiction? I think, however, the point I was making was that I preferred to be the embodiment of all sides of the contradiction, rather than engage in open warfare with another.
I suppose I gain a semblance of control at the expense of realism in my somewhat artificial internal oppositions - and perhaps that makes me more susceptible to the visceral impact of opposition that I don't control, when it comes along and can make it into my field.
In effect, I'm a sitting duck for someone who really wants to connect. (Woe is me if they're into power tripping the connection, like Den is. He doesn't have to be, but he's got a bad habit of it).
I hold myself loose and receptive as a matter of course, to the extent that this life I now have allows for such a thing, and I can tell I'm building up quite a charge, given my lack of satisfying emotional and physical connection for some time now. I've been feeling quite wonderful, lately - happy, strong, vital, attributed in part to my heartfelt, if minimal, contact with you - and I guess that has a scent to it - pheromones or something.
I wish I wasn't so damned hungry for touch. I feel like I wouldn't be so vulnerable if I didn't need to love and be loved so deeply... : : : :: : : :: : : : : : : : : : : :
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
2002 January 16
On the lines between us all, drawn and not so very
It's Tuesday evening.
I've just come from the restaurant downstairs where, during happy hour, I asked for a "girlie drink" (because I'm a bit out of touch with what they are and the tiki decor inspired me), got something pink, and proceeded to open my copy of Mary Daly's "Quintessence...a Radical Elemental Feminist Manifesto"... It does seem to be one of those contradictory lifetimes.
This afternoon, I cross the street on the corner of where I now live, and bump into one of our city councilors. I'd been planning on turning him onto Brin's "Transparent Society" (since I've been into some of those ideas lately) so it's convenient to run into him.
We talk a bit about the idea of this sort of public transparency since he's been fully apprised of the challenges I'd experienced over the last few years - he shared them with me.
We've had plenty of thorny complicated tangles around the issues of security, access and freedom, especially around very legitimate concerns like "who does constitute the press?" (relevant to who is allowed to tape and record and who is not; who is given access and permission to film inside some sort of Police Line, often granted to the press, and who is not?), "who should be allowed to speak at a public meeting and for how long?"; "when should meetings between public officials and private citizens by appropriately taped, recorded and broadcast?"; "who should get those records, and when, and at what cost?"...etc.
These are relevant issues, whether at the level of the nation-state (the current gutting of the FOI Act, for example, or the withholding of Reagan's and Bush's presidential papers), or our local City, especially with respect to planning decisions that affect the quality of life for thousands, yet are made by a handful of families with tied industrial and mercantile interests. The fractal analogue of it continues selfward, even to the level of my day to day business life - my conduct with the fellows who wish to buy my store - or my relationship with myself, or with someone special, like you.
What is appropriate to share? To comment upon? To voice a desire for? To insist upon a right to know? What is helpful to reveal and what should be saved, kept private - held or borne alone? What do I reserve the right to keep as "mine", my practice-place where I get to try out the weird and mysterious ways of my human vehicle without being subject to the Heisenbergian influence of others' judgement and observation?
Always I check for mis-steps, accidental mis-use of the Other (yet I'm not so sure I'd want others to be perusing my every move for a mistep) while I also try to proceed without so much caution as to kill my desire to Deeply Connect, no matter what boundaries are transgressed, and perhaps at all costs...(So far - and always - I have discovered those mis-steps too far after the fact to correct them. My hope is that that has changed) But, back on the corner and aware of the import of this - for it really is extremely interesting - the councilor and I chat a bit, and then who should come up but the editor of that paper I was bemoaning just a couple of days ago, right smack into the middle of a conversation on transparency and privacy. That was rich. Studs Terkel's "Main Street". We didn't get to go far - it was too cold - but the irony wasn't lost on me.
I don't know what is to be done here in our community about what we do and don't know or say about one another. I don't know what should be done with the information at truly mass levels - levels within which I completely lose all sense of individuality, and am simply one of the many whose collective momentum of choice shapes the direction we trend in, though not necessarily what I want.
And yet I can think about what I would do as a person, as one individual with another. It's what I believe I am practicing today, not always very adeptly, and that is, in part, an awkward but sincere respect that still leaves room for me to express my own desires for connection, or communication - responsibly and diversely - and my right (or another's) to choose to be left alone.
An agreement - an information system - with these principles would always give all parties the choice of opting out in the transaction of data: its recording, its dissemination, its retention. It would allow for reasons for action - motive - beyond what can be fully understood or explained. It would supply the benefit of the doubt as long as it could afford the investment. It would recognize that trust - the benefit of the doubt - is just about the most efficient and wisest investment that can ever be made. As would a good friend.
I've been toying with a mechanism in my story that touches on this.
In my tale (of which you haven't yet been apprised of the plot, and won't be here, because it's too long, and I want to tell you over long drawn-out foot rubs that let me ramble on and on...) I have a fellow who has a conflict with a woman who conscripts him into public service. He, thinking to outmaneuver her, invokes what's called "Sovereignty", a legally recognized state that treats him as a sovereign entity, exercising the rights of a sovereign nation-state of One.
This is in accord with a law enacted in earlier years, and allows registered individuals to be accorded the rights of a visiting dignitary with treaty relations with the government. When you invoke Sovereignty with a civil servant, that individual's conduct is now under rigid scrutiny. Cameras and recorders move into all interactions. Help information for legal advice is available constantly, and a variety of legal facilitators enter into all contact. Interesting models are the relations between indigenous Indian Tribes and the US Government, or the status of micro-nations.
Sovereignty's invoked when someone feels threatened, or thinks they have monetary recourse because a fiscally punishable injustice is taking place, and they want to ensure the interchange is recorded and admissible as untampered evidence.
Ironically, Sovereignty may just be about maximum transparency. It's not about being isolated and protected so much as being equally exposed. It really is the condition I think Brin suggests where the visibility is two way. I'm not saying this works - I'm just saying it's 4 million pages of legal text closer to a quantifiable parity in transaction than where we're at now (and quantifiably closer isn't necessarily better).
Most people in the society I posit live in some state of constant but self-limited Transparency. I don't posit a terminally dysfunctional society, either. But this particular story device has Sovereignty invoked precisely to explore the extreme of such an enforced transparent experience.
The fellow that invokes Sovereignty pays for it socially, for the group of people he's conscripted into (much like a band of Hoedad treeplanters, pranksters, scientists, musicians and wise grandmothers) experience his Sovereignty as a burden of added paperwork, forms, filming, restricted behavior and contractual documentation that they normally don't engage in with one another. It leads to some conditions that move the drama of the story along. I haven't fleshed out all of it, but I get the sense that options for degrees of transparency will (as now) be available.
I'll draw some of the more ready-to-hand inevitabilities - those with money can buy privacy; there will be an encryption race; competition will focus on revealing or protecting personal data; protected guild memberships will secure the right to "wear digital clothes" while others will be forced to move naked through the information world; etc.
A couple of presumptions I make are 1) that those who trust - and trust may look like allowing a person the maximum amount of shielding or revealing - curiously experience the most practical autonomy (Sovereigns have the most theoretical autonomy) and 2) underneath whatever ritual of ego observance we craft for one another, the world of the planet and its unfolding life richness goes on, and on.
I try to do this by supporting the dialectic of personal space (i.e., characters interacting in a novel, within invented cultural constructs like law and ego) with a lush and evocative natural world - the bulk of the story - that ever feeds upon itself in order to grow, diversify, and find survival in complexity, and simplicity in death.
Well, I didn't know where *that* one was going. Interesting...
It's now 9:30. I hung out with the Mage Christine last night and got my fill of more modal thoughts. I was thinking that you'd really enjoy this woman. What an amazing thinker she is! I hope you have an opportunity to meet her someday, and hang with her. Her husband just laughs at the distances we travel together. I get the gift of articulating edge ideas around her, somewhat like those I do with you. I can't tell you how much I value this opportunity, for it's a rare soul who draws it out.
At one point we were talking about the future as she sensed it - a genderless time, since she's just moving into the last stages of menopause - a place of singleton cronehood, where sexuality is too distant because the world is now skin deep with her odd changing eyesight and her husband is different than expected. I feel her future and its veils brush me. I try it on.
I don't feel genderless, but I do feel alone. I'm not complaining, but now and then (as I've said) a hug and a kiss could go a long way. She says that's just the way some people spend their lives - in longing. I don't know if she's speaking for herself, or speaking to something she sees in me. It's not the sort of thing I feel like contemplating too deeply tonight - my life doesn't bear up under close examination as anything other than that right now.
Luckily I'm well supplied with fantasies about the future - one or two with your eyes in them - and they counteract the solitary cast of my moody moment. The thing that I like about tomorrow is that it comes.
I've had several triggers pulled this past week, and a mini-rant is popping out here, unbidden, surprising, but here nonetheless. Forgive me if it seems like small potatoes in your world (you do seem to have signed up for it, though I imagine your life looks much different from this end than it did from 30 years down history's barrel), but I never get truly used to this sort of thing.
Three days ago, I come into work with a message to call the editor of a very popular local paper, "The Comic News", about something their local gossip columnist is getting ready to print about me.
Experience with a smallish town's idea of publicity over the last 12 years has not been something I've particularly enjoyed, so I get a bit of a sinking feeling.
Now, I suppose some folks would say that any publicity is good publicity but 1) I'm publicity averse (shy, though most folks don't recognize it), 2) ever since I was a tiny girl, people have - for some very obscure reason - enjoyed talking about me, 3) I hate being misunderstood and almost always am, and 4) it's all just none of their damned business, darn it. Besides, I'm not yet in a personal position to profit in any way from that publicity adage, so I can do without the brewhaha.
Unfortunately, none of those things have ever seemed to matter a whit to anyone but myself, and perhaps those around me who suffer the consequences of rumor and innuendo when it results in financial attacks to my business and affects their income or investment, or those personal friends who absorb the crunch of my hurt feelings (less often today, and not the hurt feelings - just the projection onto, or expression of, the unexpressed feelings to my friends because now it seems better to deal with it inside, and spare others, excepting yerself, the moan of it all.) Luckily some years back the main newspaper, the Register Guard, enacted a moratorium on writing about our 'hood and me. It's a too long story, but thank god I stopped being a regular topic for the thousands, and simply have to put up with a small - but close - minority that likes to chew up its own .
So, the Comic News - about the only rag in town, (other than various McAnarchist zines, radio shows, and community tv rants, who once loved to hate me as their favorite local representative of the globalizing corporate oligopoly slowly grabbing the turf of the world, one natural food store at a time) - that sees fit to write about me with any regularity (and I don't know what *that* says about either their target market, or me as a target) has found a newsworthy item in my new choice of a downtown living space.
This is news?
This is comic?
I haven't read the Comic News' column yet, but I hear there's some announcement about me moving "in from the country" (I've been here a year and a half), and moving into the urban core for sustainability purposes.
Criminy! Sustainability and resource use is relevant, but merely the maybe-gravy of my action and hardly the intent. Just because I know how to make lemonade now and then doesn't mean I'm chasing down lemons, and I certainly did *not* want to abandon country life for this. And I definitely do not want to start getting looked at again as some sort of poster-kid for what to do...
I actually think the Comic News probably intends well, thinking I'm some sort of perceived role-model for god knows what - maybe I'm just the poor-sot exemplar regularly hoisted on my own contradictions whose discomfort and visible hypocrisy can make everyone else feel less uncomfortable about their own.
The News' editor (a bright man and a would-be friend) is a very good sort who is always working to get us to think and adjust our actions to be a bit less in concert with the more destructive keys of life and I know he means no harm, but being someone who promotes satire doesn't exactly trend him toward treating others gently. And darn it all if I'm not periodically in his sights.
But I didn't move to town in order to do the "right thing." I moved back from the country in part because Douglas wasn't about to move in with me where I was, and primarily because a bunch of McAnarchy jerks attacked me and my business and nearly destroyed what I've put my life into here in town and I had to be here constantly to defend it. I was broke and near bankruptcy; when I appealed for help, this same paper/column was the one that printed a customer's complaint that I was out of line when I said "use us or lose us", on the grounds that my pain should be private.
What I really don't understand is the assertion that - like one business style that loves to socialize costs and privatize profits - modern individuals (and especially small businesses) should socialize profits/gain and privatize costs/pain. I suppose individuals are the needed component of the aforementioned business strategy - we're the ideal place to dump socialized costs.
If they can get us to privatize the absorption of their externalized costs - make us think the business downturn is our fault, and that if we'd just been better business people we'd still be making it today - by creating this class of folk who are resented (business people) and within a stone's throw of the angry hoi-polloi (little business people) then they've mastered the dirty little shaming trick, and played our own individualism card against us. Duh-vide and conquer.
And really, I can't imagine what rocks could be slung over this innocuous little blurb about me, because it's such an innocent thing and shouldn't matter to anyone, but the fact that it's even written about will probably be cannon fodder for someone, somewhere. It often has been in the past.
There are only a handful of people who truly hate me, but boy, they truly hate me - and they like to carry signs, and put up flyers, and write articles, and talk on the radio, and letters-to-the-editor in the name of defending The People, and illuminating the Best Way For Everyone to change the world.
My ideas don't always sit well with them. In fact, just yesterday I was trying to imagine what my best service to humanity could be, and I figured that perhaps loving and influencing an influential member of the board of Dow Chemical to shift to organic agriculture would do more than a million true words to the converted.
The publicity thing has actually been pretty low-key for the past year or so. I've stayed out of the spotlight as much as possible, trying to spare my business all possible repercussions from anything I might say or do, since my staff suffers mightily when I'm attacked.
This has meant (frustratingly!) no overt civic activity for a couple of years, as well. To hear some tell it, I almost destroyed the Lane County Neighborhood Watch 3 years ago, just by signing up and getting elected...for some odd reason I frightened the right-wing militia half out of its remnant wits - the sheriff actually had to come out in public support of the hippie lady against the long-time rural stalwarts (aligned because of history and rhetoric, instead of affinity, because I'm more like them than they could imagine) and it was all hugely surreal.
All this has probably spurred my devil-may-care martini waving. It's sort of hard to get mileage out of dissing me if all I do is ask for another olive and break into song. Maybe this is a defense...at any rate, I'm enjoying this show-time armor much more than rattling the sabres of rhetoric with willfully ignorant unreasonables who have no respect for others. Of course, I don't even mutter in public about this anymore - hence my whiney-girl quiet rag here. Maybe when the Barn sells I'll be able to pull the duct tape off my mouth.
But that's what I meant months ago when I wrote about going into singing because I was so tired of being put into a box that seemed to give people permission to take pot-shots at my lifestyle if it didn't conform to what they wanted to see in a high-priestess of righteous food. I'm a natural sinner. As my heroine Jessica Rabbit says "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
...Which brings me to some of the energy in this writing today (and sorry about the whine of it - I hope it's not too over-the-top, but it is how I'm feeling today, though the venting helps considerably)
As I postulate a future some 40 years off, I find myself trying to describe the landscape of a world that has developed some mechanisms to respond to the well-worn tension of privacy vs. transparency in the post-internet age. I was led to a Brin article or two, as well as some of his thoughts about you.
I dated Brin very briefly, many years ago. I think I was a little too "too" for him. Unfortunately, he became distant and explained it with something about "honor" that I didn't understand and was too young to pursue, though appearing at a convention in LA with a couple of Vegas Showgirl buddies (did you get that photo of Gene Roddenberry and I?) in feathers and not much else probably guaranteed that I was a total embarassment to him, so the distance was certainly understandable. He's a conservative sort. I'm just a conservative wannabe. I'm sure it was a wise move on his part.
I'm not up to speed with the full spectrum of the differences between you two, one that David seems to suggest is present when he mentions distinctions between his "Transparent Society" essay and some of your writings, and I'm looking forward to talking with you about that between neck rubs. Knowing both of you a bit, I actually feel you're quite similar at some inner core layer, so I'm smelling an opportunity here to illustrate the resolution of a principle in my story by way of a metaphor that can ameliorate these apparent opposites, whatever they are.
Back on the home front of what's personal, I'm struck by this tension between transparency and privacy, and I'm left wondering today why I and others are expected to bear some sort of extra burden of scrutiny simply because a handful of individuals project expectations onto us for behaviors or norm-setting (and lordy, I do fall into it, too...) and then have the freedom - and societal permission - to judge and even alter our lives at their whim.
I explain it to myself with the growing understanding that some of us end up carrying the projections of others - that some of us have the sorts of personae that bear these projections, and let people see whatever they need to see to work out their stuff - and that we don't get to choose whether or not we want to do this, nor how.
I tell myself that, in trying to live openly and transparently and honestly, while maintaining an increasing, and not decreasing, personal sovereignty *and* describing the territory as I go along, that I have to accept the consequences of being seen as the consequence of seeing, and the consequences of being described as the affect of describing. I think the only way to hold all of that is to continually practice love. And it takes practice.
I look at my psyche, and see a few calluses over parts of me that I wish were softer. Sometimes these calluses cover my eyes, and I think that I see less sensitively than I otherwise might because I'm tired of being hurt by what I see. That makes a great case for moving toward a world of less pain, doesn't it?
And then Nick walks in, and my little spin seems so petty as to be almost useless.
The woman whose daughter he was helping to care for died Tuesday. He described a touching scene, wherein his work that day consisted of being with Asia, the daughter, through a complex set of ritual tasks that her local community (for she was Muslim) had to accomplish to handle the body before sundown properly.
Since he was present early in the household that day, that still left him with the task of straightening her body out of its rigor mortis in the morning hours, for she'd died in her sleep, curled tightly in bed, and we both teared up as he told me of the sobering task of facing and unbinding her physical coil of death.
He looks so good now. I think it's been a very powerful time for him. I am so very glad he came... : : : : : : : :: : : : : : : : : ::
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
2002, January 26
Swan Dives, Tethers and Strange Attractors
You got me thinking...
The other night, you said you knew of several women who were all preparing to make swan dives in their lives right now. The context of our conversation touched upon the Life you couldn't walk away from, and so I started to look at that, and asked myself if I was truly walking away, or just shifting the burden from shoulder to shoulder.
At this point, it seems like a fantasy to think that I'm swan diving just yet. I feel more like I'm still scaling the mountain face, up that peak above the clear aqua pool that I want to take me in someday. I do like the image of a swan dive. I like the idea of arms spread wide, heart first, grounded feet trailing behind like the rudder behind wings, rather than an anchor that firmly meets ground.
But there is truly an element of "leap" here in my life right now - you've sensed that correctly - as well as that visionary strange attractor that I toss up ahead to pull me onward, and the leap is in my day to day, and it's in the choice I'm repeatedly making to be happy and strong, as a product of choice rather than happenstance or plotted outcome.
I haven't been this emotionally self-reliant in years. I know that I have a long way to go, for I especially miss the comfort of a man in my life - probably as much as the grass misses dew. But some years are dry years - and some years bring rain. I'm trying to both learn from the drought, and to drink from my own deep well spring in the meantime.
You can't, of course, know what it's been like to be me. You talk of feeling conscripted to a legacy of sadness and pain, via women and death, and I know that it must make the joys in your life even sweeter to hold. Gratitude is one of the best compensations for deep pain.
I think I feel a kinship to you in this now and then - less now than then. I felt for a very long time that I wouldn't ever be a party to happiness, and that for some odd reason I was broken inside by virtue of my misaligned upbringing, somehow condemned to an outcast's solitary looking-in on the world.
In this last couple of years, I think I've finally penetrated to the point of choosing, wherein I realize in what ways I've opted for this particular (sometimes morose and loss-centered) description of reality, perhaps because it has a tinge of knowingness about it that masquerades as prescience, and implies I have a grasp of how things will unfold, creating an illusion of knowledge where there's little else of substance - or at least familiar substance.
This feeling of inevitable sadness flies in the face of the unbridled optimism I also experience constantly throughout my days, and it has been in the reconciliation of these two things - the optimism and the sadness - that I've found a lot of growth and understanding. And, as I grow nearer to a transition point that feels more of my choosing, the optimism seems to stand a bit taller, and become more apparent as the option to select, and I'm glad for that.
I'm not quite ready for the great swan dive into the unknown, however.
I'm trying to hold the future loosely enough to have the co-creative facilities of the Other - spirit, god, weighted chance, imagination, the Beloved, will - engaged so that the dance up ahead is option-filled with experiences that transcend some of my own self-limitation.
But I did lay a groundwork that will probably stay connected to me and I expect that, once I get through the bulk of the next 5 months' work to put the store in a place that runs without me, giving these young men the best chance of succeeding that I can, and then have a little recovery time, the ties that really bind will become more apparent.
I suspect that my Conservancy's plants - the city's garden and the mother collection upriver - will come to re-occupy a position of some prominence. I'll probably start fund-raising for it by summer/fall and, once the grant-cycles get underway, working on its development over the next few years could be interesting. The plants always lead me to wonderful people. They led me to Joel and Dennis, and I think they have more rendezvous in mind.
And so yes, you're right. I am closer to walking on from here - swan diving - than I have been for years, and it feels right to seek out the wave of the time and see what beach I surf in upon.
In fact, that's what I like so very much about this time right now. It has that edge of inevitability that makes faith's gamble so much of a sure thing that I'd be a fool not to bet on the perfect unfolding of it all, and just spread my wings and dive.
The moon's in Taurus, and almost full. Mercury's gone retrograde for the month, and things started now will have to be re-aligned. It's a good time to review and reframe.
I think I've discovered a part of me that doesn't flow too well in the virtual. At least, not in the narrow way it's proscribed for me at present, with little of substance to touch and hold. I've found it by feeling an ache that's been growing again, and watching that ache, a dissonance that I feel near my heart, and only turn off - no, down - with my head. I've become very aware of aches that are turned off with my head. I try to feel them instead.
It's a "Root Day", according to Rudolf Steiner's astrobiological influences, a good day for getting to the roots of things. Taurean vibes support my capacity to be truthful with myself because it's practical, even if it hurts. So, I've a small amount of time to root around in this ache, and I need to.
There's a useful Buddhist practice that involves looking at those internal things that I put the word "my" in front of - "my pain", "my feelings", "my thoughts", "my heart" - not to analyze them, of course, but just to look at them. I think you know this one.
The objects of pain, feeling, thought, and heart become just that - objects - when I create the "my" chamber in "my" experience of them. Removing my sense of self, I can be left with the experiences that those words name - pain, feeling, thought, heart - yet there's no solace there this morning, and that may be a good thing, in that it's a truthful thing, and a real thing, but I'm looking for solace, and there's no solace there.
Do you ever feel arms around you, in the darkness - especially your heart's darkness - and retreat into the holding and the comfort of those arms, while at the same time knowing that those arms aren't and, in that knowing, feel the pain of the loss and void of those arms, concurrent with their nurture and care?
And do you hang onto that feeling of being held, even when its material absence is so visibly paramount, because you'd rather have an aetheric holding - a subtle connection to ineffable love - even while knowing that your temporal self is without a true companion, because you're devoted to what's true and you'd rather have the bittersweet of an intermittent connection with the Manifest Divine than no connection at all?
I just got in from rehearsal a little while ago. I hadn't sung with John since the summer and his playing has really opened up with me. We used to play quite a bit together, and so it was a lot of fun for him to pull out my book and just move through the tunes, just like a warm knife through butter.
John and I are sharing our fascination as we watch our brains change (former computer geek and business person that we are) and morph into music. We're both finding certain things we used to do with numbers and ideas fade in importance and facility, while patterns relevant to music - intervalic, rhythmic, nextness - become increasingly obvious.
That's translating into a lot of rapport, and that's nice. We're playing a small gig this Saturday and we've decided to get fully ripped prior. I'm not normally one for this sort of thing, but I really like John's playing and we trust each other that there are no wrong notes, so combining those elements with a performance's juice should make for interesting music.
I look around my apartment - this little space so different from the country life with its woodstove and canning jars and the warm oven with baking smells. This space is filled with cables and equipment and the stumbles of a work in progress. The bed is something that catches my exhausted body like an afterthought. The kitchen is for just passing through. I like the reminders about life's transient goals, and I'm grateful for the emotional agility to pass from phase to phase without holding too much residual regret or sense of failure.
This cleared slate has made it possible to go quickly down the music road without too much hindrance from the "ought tos" that have hounded me in the past. Work flows into rehearsal; that flows into writing, which moves into music - something I'll do for a few minutes longer after I close this note to you - and then that will slipstream me some feet further across the room into bed.
It's a rather odd cloister I inhabit right now - a temple to the temporal - and I seem to be finally able to worship the now more fully than I ever have.
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
2002 - Feb 8.
It's Trance and House and Bump.
It's one a.m. and I'm in for the night, but it was a wild wonderful cruise, striding about in the aftermath of the gale that pulled down trees and powerlines and darkened the lights on thousands of homes throughout the city this afternoon and left so many stranded in the quiet of a fundamental interruption in routine - but not the young dancers who know how to heed the Call.
I just came from Magical Thursday at the W.O.W. Hall - the once-venerable meeting tavern of the Woodmen of the World, now turned community dance floor - and, tonight, a trance floor mixed by Charlotte and a couple of other fine fellows who kept the dieveryhards moving for hours.
Andrew and PD, who mixed at the dance that was held last friday in the art gallery across the street from where I live, were there - beautiful young men who are what? 14? 18? Gaia Tribe members who glow and flow - and we talked and will talk later, a lot, when we can talk more, and I can get at the structure of the tunes that they're mixing, for they speak to me.
My friend Jake Felsenstein - 91 and celebrating with all of us - is having a book signing next month for a new book he's bringing out, and he's asked me to sing a song of my choosing with a harpist and some others for his event. He writes about the heart and last Sunday, the heart's day, I found myself writing a tune for us in the Aeolian mode - the heart's mode - and it was rich with rhythms I didn't understand but felt in this music that Andrew and PD are doing, and so we'll talk, and I'll see if they want to mix a tune with me, this middle-aged jazz singer who's stepping out on the bridge to visit their vibrant world, and sing how there's one being that flows through us all, one self that loves through us all, one heart that lives through us all.
One kiss through two pair of lips One touch through two pair of hands One heart that speaks through us both One love that leads us to land One dream that pulls us beyond One way that opens to all One life that lives through us both One spell we weave when it calls One world we seed with our love One dance we dance in this hall One road we each come to know One heart that loves through us all One dream One mind One song
It's a very good life. I miss The Touch. It's too brief when it comes - so sweet, so cherished. I hold its sensation as a promise, a troth, and let it color my night as it will. Somewhat melancholy in its solitude, but so very real. I'm grateful for the friends who know how to hold me, and help me to feel. I'm so glad that I can still truly feel.
Bootstraps and Retrogrades
It's an interesting idea, really - that one about planets moving through the sky having some correlation to our lives on the ground, with the meaning of the movement defined by our own personal and collective takes on individual motion and the human condition.
When the planet moves forward across the sky, unobstructed through the flat two-dimensional plane that the dome of heaven is reduced to by this idea, and it meets no galaxies or other planets to impede or affect its progress, the most common interpretation is of forward momentum, unchallenged by external forces - clear sailing all the way.
The vectors of such meetings are watched, analyzed and interpreted through filters of archetypal human relationship. The Mayans, Egyptians, Druids, and other Ancients devoted huge amounts of societal energy to this work of noticing and documenting interaction. I love listening to what they thought of it all, and there were some suprising agreements between the systems that are mostly about being human, and not much else.
Planets, like humans, approaching one another enhance one another's qualities - by making them more visible, if nothing else. Degrees of *apparent* closeness are considered relevant, just like in our daily lives, and the resonance of the connection increases and decreases through a mathematical progression of established (and disputed) angles of influence that, in turn, become the basis for describing complex dynamics of the ongoing interaction.
What the planets and star clusters are actually doing in the larger physical space may have nothing to do with what is seen. Planets may appear to be coming into "alignment", into proximity, but may actually be farther apart than before. In some circles, that sort of "obvious" discontinuity is enough to get you dismissed from the Reality Club, but if you can hang with the true solipsistic relativism of it all you can tune into the Tea Leaf Channel and pull in some thoughts that might be of use.
Retrograde planets are a good example. The Retrograde describes a period of apparent backward motion, where the path of the planet literally looks backward in the sky. Mercury does this three times a year. It isn't moving backward - it simply appears to be, due to its own trajectory and the position of yourself, the observer, and the other things you're comparing its relative motion to - much as anything else that looks "backwards" to another. How one uses the meaning of "backwards" is certainly contingent upon the personal attitudes one has cultivated.
Common language today, in Bob Lehrer Business Speak, has an emphasis on "forwardness" that is noticeable, and reframing apparent backward-motion into forward momentum is now a professional calling, with profit attached if you do it well. Likewise is that Watts' approach in the "Wisdom of Uncertainty", or Basho's understanding of forward progress through wine.
But my thinking here is more on my own (of course) take on the retrograde slippage implied by Mercury, and the task-list that these retrogrades can serve to generate.
This particular retrograde, landing just as Winter begins to fold up its main work of the year, reminds me that it's time for me to finish up work that was planned for this type of time. The retrograde is an ideal moment to look behind, and study one's tracks in the snow, to see how your path is unfolding, and whether or not the overall course is aligned with a larger desired direction.
It's an excellent time to finish up taxes, paper work, and administrivia that impacts the next forward step. For me, of course, it's time to recommit to the plans I shared with you in the Fall, that work of changing life gears that has me shedding so much in material and gaining so much in essence.
I realize that I've lost a bit of momentum myself in the last couple of months. I really wasn't aware of just how tired I was, and moving into this little space has pared my life activity down to a pace that's allowed for some recuperation.
That's been done but, unfortunately, I'm more at that spot of catching a catnap between long work shifts around a project's completion, and the alarm clock's just rung (Mercury, Retrograde) so I have to get out of bed and get back to it.
Mercury's reverse is a perfectly timed project-space. It lasts about three weeks - just right for a sustained push that has a clear end in sight - and it lays out well for that. Since there's no need for initialization of anything, meaningful work begins immediately. Open the file cabinet and dive in. Make the follow-up calls. Put stagnant things back in motion if they need closure. Dig around in the backwaters of your mental and spiritual piling systems and clean up a little.
The other thing I like about Mercury R is that it's not a time to fully finish things. Closure is not completely reached - agreements made will have to be re-negotiated - but bringing the agreements closer to completion is exactly what the energy is good for. Rummaging around in the detritus of the neglected generally brings to light something overlooked that is relevant to the best agreements, so even the prospect of re-negotiation (a backwards step in some minds) is reframed into forward progress.
The retrograde ends on February 8th, just the perfect amount of time to lay out a course of determined action for the next two weeks and get some good stuff done. The next one comes in May, and I'll use it to do the last big steps before passing the day-to-day baton of conducting the store's score at the end of June.
And so I'm grateful once again for the gift of this odd human trait for seeing what we want to see in the stars and other moving things, and how we let them become symbols for the less tangible entities of process in our lives.
I'm grateful for the arts of Metaphor and Analogue that let me fashion bootstraps from my imagination that both tie my shoes for walking onward, and tether my life to the motion of stars.
: : :
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002
...I've been praying down rain - that rain of love that soaks me through and through and lets me be connected to Another through both skin and mind, through kiss and hug and hands - that sort of prayer that doesn't ask but only feels the change already there. Those prayers are always answered. Always.
An old acquaintance takes me dancing these past few days, surrounding me with laughing youngsters and a sweet familiar charm, and the brightness of them all, but especially he, wakes up my pining heart. Another high surprise from spirit graces me, and I'm so very blessed to be touched so easily.
Last night's musical trek was superb.
My mother's here to visit for the week, along with my favorite aunt, and they came to the club with my new dancing friend, Walter, after an over-dinner discovery surprised us all as we realized our folks are from the same area of Appalachia, and that we're perhaps just a holler and a few surnames away from being some kind of family.
The music was good. Actually, it was great. We found some groove that was opened wide for all of us, my mother said, by the depth of love we had in that room. On the strength of that love, and the trust that seems to grow with each night of good songs, Hamilton, John and I went to places we've rarely gone before.
We hit tones, we found spaces, we tracked sound's color so keenly that it was sometimes hard work just to stay in the sweet spot and not startle myself off the peak of it all. It was one of those nights where the last song was the best, and that handful of loving ones were left, and the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop next to one of those crystal notes...
But better, by far, was the presence of my friend in the room while I sang, for I've never had a heart-mate near me when I've sung in the past. None of my fellows has liked my music, and so that One that I sing to has always been in my mind, and held inside, but never with two eyes across the room, and a smile through all the poignant phrases.
Walt and we have known each other in town as business peers for years, but hadn't found shared ground until these last few days, first through dancing, and then when something in that revelation of a family Commons sparked a binding recognition for me from which there's no return.
Like you and I, from here on out, no matter what, we'll always have at least that kinship of acknowledgement between two souls who know and strive to share the incontrovertible fact that We Are One, and who love the work as Two, exploring all the facets that this Being One entails.
And when two who know this truth of One can find the time and space to see each other... --(...as you and I have not been able to quite yet, but only just to brush past close and maybe not again, or maybe yes, but who's to cipher out or force the plans of Fate, or even need to say?...)--
...and when this Two-of-Us finds courage that can say and think these things, and move and will them into Being when we want them to Become, then I feel that an energy grows and good things are more easily done. It makes me happy to have good things more easily done.
One kiss. One touch. One love.
I'd joked with you once about kissing everyone you knew while thinking of me. You replied that such a thing would demean the currency. I hope you see my path around the devaluation. It's true that it's a challenge, because you have to fully see and hold the One you're kissing, too (and when you err, there's healing to be done, and when you succeed, it's forever...) - but when you kiss beyond the One you touch, and reach into the larger One where so much more of all of Us resides - well, I think that's where the real spring flows from, and I know it's how I keep so many loves alive.
So, it's nice to be out of quarantine. It may be brief - who's to know? Who needs to? My mother says to live these days and weeks as Forever, For-now is short, and must be done with your All, or not; we know that living as though there were more, some where, and more important, some where else, is what demeans the currency - the currency of Attention, the currency of time that we trade with one another to build a world we all wish to share.
And it's good to feel the rain. I hope you're being held. It's good to be held. I touch you through Others. I send you prayers.
: : : : : :
-- Anonymous, June 14, 2002