Journal Entry: Healing The Broken (9.8.98)

Thoughts from a Walk-about in Central Gardens.

My heart’s desire seems to lie in the direction of taking the broken and helping to make it whole again.  I noticed repeatedly my impulses toward broken and discarded things by the roadside were to say, “What could I do with that?  What might I do to make it whole or functional again?”

I saw a vase with a gaping hole in its side and a broken lip on one side.  Again, my first impulse was to imagine how it might be restored.  Finally, I put the vase down and started back towards “work” again.  I was feeling dizzy now and overheated, and my brain really needed a rest.

Then I saw one page of a novel on somebody’s driveway so I picked it up and carried it with me.  The novel was by someone named Sharon Green.  It’s probably just a  cheap novel, but I added it to my afternoon’s toolkit.

Then the thought came to me: my calling lies here.  Always when I see a thing discarded, my first impulse is to pick it up, dust it off, and try to imagine how it could be useful.

Then the suggestion came: perhaps you should try a ministry of sorts.  It’s no wonder the adviser/counselor role has always made sense.

Of course, the other side of this is that I sometimes have difficulty with follow-through.  This is the area in which I need to focus.  To feed your artist’s ego, follow through on their ideas.

If creativity is really only 1% inspiration, but 99% perspiration, the young artist grows into their discipline by cultivating follow-through.  Without the discipline to see a project through to its natural conclusion,  art may become a hobby.  “Hobby” is just fine as a dalliance but with a smidgen of talent and a lot of effort, it can become something more lasting, with real value.

There is value to bringing home a piece of forgotten parchment or painter’s canvas, but to throw it in the corner and let it gather dust just adds clutter to life, not value.  Getting over one’s own fear of success and allowing oneself to take a creative risk — these are two of the keys to an artistic recovery, to freeing one’s inner artist.

Stop talking and start doing.  That is another key.

Get over the need to make situations better.  Realize that you can’t change some people or even influence some situations, and you will take back your own power and have the strength for the “good fight”.  In my case, perhaps I should listen, empathize and make suggestions when requested.   cannot change their reality or make their situation all better.  I can sympathize and offer emotional support without trying to provide physical or financial support.

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24 February 1996, Saturday

beautiful hands

caress

banjo strings

such a sweet instrument

 the “devil’s choice”?

so young…

I am

so

young

(am I too obvious?)

stealing covert glances at his hidden folds

smooth, soft fingers

tap-tap of cigarette

softness of the palm against my stubbly face

silent music

An (Almost) perfect morning

Today is a fine example of what I might call an (almost) perfect morning.  I began the day with 45 minutes of yoga — a basic warm up section and then a more aggressive Suryanamascar (Sun Salutation) sequence.  My form is dreadful (so a work in progress, I suppose) but as it has been probably five years since I have made yoga a regular morning event, I am really trying  to build a habit, so I can then break the process down and hone in on each pose trying for perfect form.

So 45 minutes of yoga, followed by a high antioxidant, green smoothie with vegan protein to restore my energy, so that I can spend some quality time on my front porch, sans glasses, sipping  my (mostly decaf) coffee, soaking up vitamin D from indirect sunlight, and reading the New York Times.

Coffee in one hand, smoothie in the other, I am on my front porch now ready to greet the day.

Except for one thing.

There’s no paper today.

The first ripple in an otherwise placid morning.

Don’t know why I’m still surprised, though.  I’ve had to call them every day since last Thursday about delivery problems.  We have had to go through this whole process about once every six months since we started subscribing.

We picked up the New York Times about a year ago last spring, I think, after dropping Memphis’s sorry excuse for a paper, the Commercial Appeal.  I wanted to drop the Appeal after they redesigned it to look even more like an Unholy union of USA Today and the Smyrna Neighbor, a small town paper near where I grew up.  Not long after, the Appeal gave me all the reason I needed to reconsider my support.  The C.A.  ran two or three straight weeks of full-page, anti-gay, anonymously written ads, after the second or third week of which they printed a letter from the editor apologizing for agreeing to run the ad, while at the same time saying essentially “we only have to run the ad in question for one more week, and then we  promise we won’t do it again.”  Until the next time.

Back to the New York Times, though.

Our edition is printed in Nashville and trucked to Memphis in time for early morning delivery.  Unfortunately, they have to rely on the same local network of delivery people who every other paper does.  As a result, the Times comes every morning like clockwork until one morning it just stops.  Or it is there to greet me every morning until one day it comes wrapped up with the C.A.  Or some times they both come but in separate bags.  One memorable day (last Friday, I think) we got the C.A. and the New York Times together in one bag and USA Today in a separate bag.

If you were wondering, no, we don’t subscribe to USA Today either.

So coming around to this cycle of Memphis dysfunction, starting last week it was C.A. + NYT Tuesday through Thursday, then C.A.+ NYT+USA Today on Friday, nothing on Saturday, nothing on Sunday morning, but some time Sunday afternoon, the NYT was there, and nothing at all thus far this week, Monday through Wednesday.

Every time I come out to find…nothing, I hear a line from a movie play in my head.  It’s Donnie Darko talking to Roberta Sparrow, “No mail today. Maybe tomorrow.”

After the fourth time I call to get credit and report no paper (probably tomorrow), the NYT will escalate the complaint to a local distribution manager, who most likely will resolve the problem eventually, and then we will have perfect delivery for six months or so before the cycle will start again.

But I digress.

Back to my (almost) perfect morning.

Smoothie.  Dark coffee.  Hair done.  Breakfast with Chris, featuring the first fruits of the summer from our yard.  A small bowl of blueberries, a tiny but very sweet peach, and a small Gala apple.

Perfect balance of sweet tastes to welcome a fine day.

[12 June 1998 ~11:32 am] In Flight

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport — no idea of the time.

This airport is huge — and not nearly as well laid out as Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport.  So many people sprinting here and there, and none of them seemingly have the time to direct a lost-looking guy from Memphis.

Lots of beautiful men here.  All sorts of Collegiate boys in stylish shorts or tight pants and T-shirts.  Like this cute one across the hall from me.

Heavy black work jeans that have never seen hard work;

Blue short sleeve casual shirt with vertical white stripes, not much thicker than a pin.

That one’s got side burns, and slick dark hair brushing against his full, boyish face.

His belt

Is

Thick

And Squared (With a simple, metal buckle)

I think I’ve just seen a ghost from my school years!  An unshaven boy with sandy-blonde hair and a pointed beard just shuffled by with sparkling, red-framed sunglasses pushing his wavy shoulder-length  hair behind his ears.

His face is probably too young, and a bit too sharp, but he carries with him a faint ghost of A W, fair-haired wanderer memorialized in poetry of our youth.

Now three o’clock, Denver time.

White billowy clouds, like so much smoke, hanging in the air.

For some reason, my mind wanders to S L.  I wonder what became of him.  I still look for him when I go out, but he’s another who chooses not to speak to me too often.  I guess we treated each other poorly.

There is hope, though.

I ran into C B in the store the other day, and he seemed glad to see me.  Time heals old heart-wounds, I guess.

He’s as dashing as ever, though, chiselled and sinuous and sexy and rugged, all at the same time.  He pulls back his T-shirt, exposing a thicker gauge ring through his right nipple.

Somehow I recalled his chest differently — perhaps I never really saw it, perhaps it morphed with the passing years.

Time blurs fantasy with memory to create more interesting realities.

I told him that I’d always thought about getting some piercings but that I’d not yet done it.

He told me that his girl had gotten a bit of an infection in one of hers, and he was buying tea tree oil to get rid of the infection.

We said nothing of our past, together or separately, and then he left, after saying how good it was to see me.

4:55 pm

On the ground in Denver.  The airfield features the most picturesque farmland I’ve seen since Goa.

The outlying runways felt wholly rural, as if Grandma’s horses might be grazing at the runway’s edge.

Now I see mountains in the distance, shimmering even through the haze.

Reminds me of Katmandu that last afternoon,

Eating over-priced food,

Having spent my last rupees on a pittance,

Rewarded only by a view that was second to none, a wall of glass framing snow-capped mountains that began just beyond the runway and extended infinitely towards the horizon and beyond, shimmering in the crisp, blustery air.

Through the wall of glass by my table I could see the brutal Himalayan sun beating down on the tarmac.  Beyond the sea of concrete, there were the mountains, snow-capped, silver and cut like glass.

Kickstarter & I (Part 1: BIG JOY!)

Why do I like Kickstarter?  It’s a way to show support for small projects that might otherwise fall through the cracks, connect with my communities in an impactful and personal way, and support something outside of my self.  Supporting projects on Kickstarter allows me to  help make the dreams of others a reality, as well as helping me establish a history of support for others’ projects if at some point I should need support for a project of my own.  For as little as a dollar and up to the sky’s the limit, I can contribute to projects that make  me feel good, or make life better, or further causes I believe in.  For most campaigns there are small rewards and inducements for each level of giving.  Project backers also have the option to pay with their Amazon.com account, rather than giving credit card info.  

Thus far, I have supported six unique projects and am currently supporting a seventh project that has grown out of one of the original six.  The current project helps to pay for theatrical distribution of a film documentary of the poet/filmmaker, James Broughton.  I also supported the filmmakers’ original Kickstarter project to make the film, which is entitled BIG JOY: The Adventures of James Broughton.

James Broughton was a queer San Francisco/West Coast poet and experimental filmmaker, who published 23 books of poetry and also made 23 films over his lifetime.  According to The Independent (in the U.K.), “James Broughton for decades occupied a special place comparable to that of Jean Cocteau, Buster Keaton, Erik Satie and Edith Sitwell.”   He is, I believe, the originator of the phrases, “when in doubt, twirl” as well as, “follow your own weird.”  Thematically, he is compared to the ecstatic poetic arc also occupied by William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Allen Ginsberg, among others.

The film, which has played at South By Southwest, Tribeca Film Festival, and Outfest among other festivals and screenings, has six days remaining in its current Kickstarter campaign, and with only six days remaining, the filmmakers are about a third of the way towards funding theatrical distribution for the film.  In case you might want to know more about the film (or perhaps you or you know someone might be interested in supporting it), here’s a new trailer for the film to whet your appetite, 

 

A Glimpse [22 May 1998, Friday, 11:40 am]

Looking  at Lynn,

hunched over her register,

her body crooked into an awkward position,

though she still smiled.

I had  a flash,

call it intuition, call it what you will:

“So you are now — so you shall be again.”

This was Lynn, post-dated fifty years,

still smiling but with an ever more pronounced stoop in her shoulders.

I felt a cold chill,

as though I’d seen the surface

of my mortality.

Untitled [22 May 1998, Friday, ~9:15 am]

Thinking of you

Allowing time to pass

Writing a letter

I think of you fondly.