Saturday, February 28, 2015

But it was easy to forget.  Every day you roused yourself as you could, fumbled in the kitchen, but to write, you had to look past the ego, you had to work through it, around it, over it.  You had to let the inner light of mind speak out through the thick layers always sedimental, some layers hardened, such that the act felt sad and painful.  Often you had to rise over the mood rendered unto you by what you'd gotten into the night before in escape of the loneness.

I am a poor servant, incapable, you would protest at the attempt, unworthy.  But if it's not you, who else?  Okay, I'll try.  But it was hard to get past the ego, which too made its protests, not wanting you to forget that which pained you and how you felt.  Ask the universe for help.  Light some incense.  Sip your tea.  Look at what you'd written down before in the attempt to see and let the light shine out.  Old circumstances fall on you, like broken plaster.  Yes, the time there was peace walking with her, but you didn't nail down the date to see Jungle Book, shame on you.  One thing enough to stop you.

What if I quit my job.  Got away from the wine, away from the ego, away from the circular trap.  Where could I go to more purely serve?  Without this fakery in the very middle of it.  Simple nourishment would do, this is made clear by the loaves and the fishes.  Wine is reserved, it seems, for special occasions.

But was he not a man of sorrow...  The misunderstanding always there, to teach over to those who have eyes and ears.  They don't quite get it, but I will keep at it.  They will backslide, but I will pull them back.  It is hard work, because it makes no sense.  So self-reflexive that either you get the logic or you don't.  Take this cup of suffering away.

But the writer will write.  What else can he do?  He's done a lot of training for it, put in his time, his life, his effort, his sacrifices.  He's led a strange enough life to make it happen, that which he deemed was inside of him, in need of coming out.  A thing he hoped would lead him to understand that great final mystery of just what it meant to commune and keep steady company with a woman, the thing that often made him want to weep, that colored his every day with shrouding darkness, trudging underneath, putting the professional habit on over it.  It wasn't just the sex part, high and tantric, a long communing, but it would extend into him, into his spirit, deep.

That's what he had hidden from, unable to face himself, unable to face the things he really had to say and teach.  And the same thing had probably too made him a bit odd.  His view of marriage was different from the norm.  It did not involve any kind of dominance or smoothness or outer capability, conspicuous skill, nor, of course, any material security of the kind constantly referred to by any mind.  House, stability, job, credential, degree, career...  This hurt his own mind as much as it would have anyone else's.  No wonder he napped so often, keeping the whole thing up in the air.    No wonder he sought an answer.

Tough to get by on your smile.  Tough to get by on being beautiful and revelatory.  Hide it.  No, don't hide it.  The thing dogs me.  But the dog is sweet, dedicated, selfless, yes, selfless.

It is no easy task.  So much of the conscious mind is protective, egotistical, reading off a list of what should be done in any day.

Pray.  Behold the man.  Look at him.

All you had was writing.  Beyond that only the mundanity of chores.

Then, having made the hard effort, having tried to break through, even as you went about little chores and ate breakfast, things would improve.

Then to get over the fear, on a daily basis, of people, of needing and wanting things, the basics of life, the additional things like having a friend solder a loose wire on the jack of an old electric guitar.  The fear of being moral, flawed, transparent, the fear of admitting the need for friendship and approval and love from other beings.  Things difficult for a stubborn Capricorn.

Should I go out of the house?  On the road?  What would that entail?

That was it.  The fear, natural to a writer, of his thoughts overrun.  Until he'd written, was ready to go down into the arena.  Thus was it better to write then to not write, because if you did not write, then you would not know when you were ready to face people.  Rising above the shyness all the greats, from inward bent, possess.  Above the fear of his own stupidity and awkwardness toward practical things.  Above the fears that came after deeply inhabiting the inner mind and the emotional parts of himself than having to pull away, for reference.

Friday, February 27, 2015

But one had forgotten, in the account, how the Disciples are quibbling about who is the greatest of them, which one.  Then he stoops to do the dirty necessary job of cleaning feet that have walked through city street, which will be close to the low table of the Passover meal, a task of the lowest servant.

There is something universal about going to the city.  There is rejection, there is torment.  He is not a conventional guy.  Everyone in the city is basically trying to compete.  One-upmanship.  How quickly people change, as if the urban location forced them to show, as much to themselves, 'who I am, look at me.'  I'm a great stock broker;  I can afford to live here and in style.  Farmers aren't so much like that.

How quickly did they forget.  He looks over at them.  They seem to have forgotten the lessons of the road, the fresh vision.  Was it too mind-blowing for them.

Looking back now, you could just say, 'it wasn't meant to be.'  There was too much work to do.  All of it of an unknown nature, the science of it, the discovery taking a mortally long time.  He had to harness the genie of humility, had begun to practice it even then.  The rejection, well, it was just something that happened.  No one meant it to happen, it just did happen.  There was no way to revoke it, somehow, who knows why.  Maybe too much baggage, no way to wipe the slate clean, after all the disappointments back and forth between them, him and her.  She had her perspective, which, yes, was that of the city, and he had his, which, yes, was that of the country side and smaller towns and open spaces.  She had city society as a great teacher, of style and variety and sophistication, and he had his deep scholarly father teaching him the higher meaning of life, the essence of nature.  Her time was measured in appointments, movie times, cultural events, things to do, and his time was of seasons, of slowly but surely dawning revelations that came as they came.  Just one of those things.

Yes, the rejection hurt.  It hurt worse that it was all perfectly his own fault, time after time.  It was included along with the torments he would find when he came to the city himself.  It went along with sitting in a ninth floor office surrounded by shelves with files on them, unhappy people, computers, constantly ringing phones, stale coffee, little to break the monotony, the bus ride to the night shift.  Which he endured, until he moved on, working at night, which was a different kind of torment, particularly as the years marched on, but at least spiritually alive.

A job which allowed him to pursue the stranger aspects of higher consciousness.  Stone that the builders rejected.  No wonder he'd had difficulty in school the last year or two.  He had already begun the strange journey, already heard the biddings of the desert places, the communing with the spiritual world.  That kind of a thing would never have fitted in with contemporary scholarship and its nitpicking and drawing lots.  Yes, you could look like a pretty big idiot when you came back from that (and all its solitary wanderings) into the society of a crowd of young smart confident people who were headed out to take their own city life;  where would you fit in?  How about nowhere.

But the physician must cure himself, and so he needs to make a diagnosis, to understand, at least conjecturally, what the apparent problem is all about.  And so, he consults one of the oldest medical journals known the race, which is, you know, called scripture, or the Torah, or the Old Testament, or the New, or as the Bible, but still it's really a book rich in diagnoses.  Cancer was secondary;  the issues of health were spiritual.  He consults, and looks for a pattern, hmmm, much like we do today on the internet, and maybe finds something speaking to his condition.  There are other journals, and they are good too sometimes.  They all point in the same direction.  How could they not?

It would have been the last thing he would have wanted to do, screwing it up with her.  But it seemed to be unpreventable, given who people were, he supposed.  He could only hope that one day, after it all got figured out, that there might be some form of reconciliation or redemption, or agreement, or some sort of communication of lasting earthly friendship.  But who knows?   It's up to God to see if such things are to happen or not.  Truly.

And one can only keep up his practice, as strange and almost psychedelic in its own little spiritual way as it is.  But in the meantime, yes, he had discovered the Cross and its sufferings, the torment at the hands of the authorities, before passed on to the soldier crew for additional roughing up, as if they were trying to dissuade a man from being insane as he cannot help being, an oddball, the one who wanted to turn over all forms of conventional wisdom except that which had been forgotten about.  Belonging as they do, of course they are going to rough up the geeky outsider, as much to show that they themselves still belong as much as anything, which is why they laugh, taking it all as a big joke.

That wouldn't have happened out on the road.  The road allows people to open up, to bring forward their problems and their illnesses, to receive and take in words of wisdom.  The road is not the city, and the city not the road, that's how it is.  Towns are places of learning, each with their own little center, positive, eager to teach and learn, different from the ossified pecking order of the city's temple.

But it was always hard, crossing that Hamlet line of inaction, to take that step.  Here, Ophelia, take my hand, I won't play crazy any more.  So hard to act in this world.  You can only act by being you, who you really are, in the end.  I'm sorry, but this is who I am.  I come to a strange world I know nothing about, dropped in every two thousand years or so, having to figure it out all over again.  This strange thing, consciousness, the light in our heads, what to do with it.  Be gentle.

No one has any confidence here, she told him, that first night, when they walked back to campus, the only time they made out, regrettably, very much so.  Is that it?  That question would turn and be turned in his mind, for years.  What is confidence?  Wasn't quite fair, but you see what she meant, reflecting on an instant or two where you should have just taken charge and put her up against the garage door there.  Oh, you hate me, huh.  But I guess I'm not like that, so much, though, I could well have just as easily, but that means going shoulda woulda coulda in the mind, which is not the best practice.

Confidence...  what would that look like?  Of course, his example.  Whoever he was.  Translate the Cross into doing yoga, inner breath, chakras, having actual humility as a daily practice.  Continue to suffer the mind's creativity.  The strange profession.  The unconventional thoughts of time and space, of self.

It all may have seemed strange, even to him.  What is this hallucination I am living in?

Light a stick of incense, take the socks out of the dryer, take a shower, do some dishes, now that you've written out some of the weird that happens to honest people.

But of course we torment ourselves through the instrument of our minds.  This is why we like to occupy ourselves with work, why we place ourselves around other human beings.  Writers are amongst the few who put themselves through such torments on a daily basis, somehow thinking it's good for them, and it's a good thing that God invented yoga and that society can endorse things like mediation, having read the numbers of how many people actually don't feel so mentally great enough hours of the day to warrant attention.  How sad one can feel sometimes, a mute voice, plea-ing for something, not knowing exactly what, maybe for something just to simply go away.  Get thee behind me, Satan.  Leaveth me alone.

Creativity is overrated.  The night takes over the Son of Man sometimes, holds him in the depths of the earth, and he must rise to the light.  His own light.  No matter how fucked up he feels.  It will pass.

Such a darn fool...  how could I figure out anything anyway?  Let alone Jesus.

Yes, true, but when you've turned a corner you sort of realize it.  Understanding finally the relationship between man and woman, truly a thing with spiritual purposes, a high seance of yoga energies, every meeting provoking the spirit to rise higher.  That's why that woman breaks the bank and brings him spikenard and pours it lovingly over his hair and then tends to his basic lower chakra parts, his feet.  It's going to be worth it, the communion.  It's like everything else, the kaleidoscope of reality leading on to see the spiritual realities in everything, so that you know the ground on which people walk, thus able to clearly see them, their behavior.

Who else would write of Jesus but the son of a botany professor who misses his talks with his old man.  And at fifty, as much of the world has realized, you are not dead, so why not go on with life, find that one particular adept woman you're meant to bound with in the incarnated world.  Continue on with your quiet meditations in the safety of your own apartment.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

There he is, washing the feet of eleven of the Disciples in the ikon, mine from St. Isaac of Syria Skete of Boscobel, Wisconsin.  The faces of the men are obedient, respectful, attentive, and also puzzled, in a tender way, as if caught in the act of learning something.  And there he is, towel in hands, such that you don't see them, holding one of the men's right foot there above the basin.  The look on his face is one of calm and focus, no distracting him, doing what he does, leaning slightly forward to do his work, almost in the way one leads forward to shake a finger at someone, no no, naughty naughty, this is rather the way, I knew you had it in you.  There, good boy.

It's an act that seems to go without saying.  Oh, yes, yup, Jesus did that.  Come to quick terms with it.  'Humility.  Good example, of how to be in the world.'

But it is an ikon of a man doing his work, so much so that it is a quintessential moment, and the rest of his sayings are almost like a commentary one provides along with the essential.  Such that we still are required to step back and ask, but what is he doing...  The simple act.  Mysterious.  Not here raising the dead and curing lepers and the blind, no, not here lecturing from the top of a hill, not here walking on water or calming the waters, but the central track on the album, by which we would not get if we didn't listen to the particular one.

It really is one of the great mysteries, like the legend of Jonah and the Leviathan, the mystery of his plea of guilt, of his taking, of his survival and return, quite a thing to happen to a guy walking down the street, could you duplicate it for an interested television audience?  ('Well, it would probably take a while;  you need a certain amount of preparation...' the spiritually informed might say.)

One way to do it is to, as they say, put on another's shoes and be him for a day or two or three;  what's it like.  It's an act, a mindset, we have to, in our own way, inhabit from within.  We have to go and pick it up in our own hands and in our own habits, to fall into it, to walk in its paths, to mull it over, to phase in and out of it, to leave and return on a daily basis.  Not literal feet washing, a kind of attending.

Along with observation.  What is happening here?  Who now is what?  What does this say about a key figure in humanity who truly represents all of us, who is being completely unselfish in an unselfish way, as if to double down, as if to show us.  And the silent statement rings monumentally, of course:  this is who we are.

And so are the Disciples kind of wide eyed.  Some you can see know that they are presently learning from the master, and there's a kind of 'oh, I get it now, what I had not before, as I did not have as much faith as I should have, but on the good side of it, here I am, getting it now.'  And Jesus is, the only one, wearing his halo aura thing, the cross of his powers vertical and horizontal in red lines on the gold circle around his head as Jesus angles forward, his sandaled feet firmly on the ground, wearing a deep red robe.

How to inhabit the mystery, the Disciples are now asking themselves.  There's a look of starting out, as two look at each other in the bottom corner as they unlace their sandals, preparing their feet as if to look down on them and truly see.

(Twain slyly captures some of this with Huck's white washing the fence, perhaps.  How are we to do that cool fun thing which really is cool?)

Like all his lessons, it's one given freely.  He's doing it because he's being a man and it's the right thing to do.  It has a great purpose, a great power, a transforming power.  It's a radical statement, one with scientific certainty.

How would you do it?  How would you pick up the essential element of the task?  It would be disguised, behind a daily task, perhaps behind a job done steadily, even the one by which you earned your own living.  It might be not clearly seen, obscured behind certain clouds, a mystery cloaked within, below the everyday.  The atom of truth within a daily perhaps slightly frivolous human need.  Each of us a disciple, however we participate, server or served, but perhaps closer when we ourselves are serving.

One might venture:  this is how we see him, in the garden, risen, returned, in the shimmering white of a teaching that we will come to personally and intimately understand; we get the teaching;  and then, yes, he, like us, can be at peace.  "Oh, I get it now!  I wasn't so far off after all, with my vague wish to serve humanity that needed not find any particular professional form."

It is within the nature of any story that we are allowed, and even given, to amplify, to let the full import come out of the simplicity of it.  That is within the roots of any words, a deeper understanding willing to rise up toward us out of its blue.  An effort worth making, perhaps the truest kind of work we ever do...

What is time itself, viewed through such an act...

There I am, tending bar.  "What are you working on these days?  Are you writing another novel?"  I look at them, their friendly gesture.  "Oh, I don't know..."

Perhaps he was someone who was simply smart enough and wise enough to not let anything interfere with his inner humanity.  That's how he can say 'no to Satan' on every level.  Threading the needle, not one way to either side, persevering.  He knew who he was.  Patient.  Not becoming anything in particular, anything that wasn't who he truly and simply was and is.

Strangely enough it is precisely that people want to become something, that they want to go and solve particular problems that causes such a worldly mess.  If they were not intent on any particular profession they would drift into being a natural person reverent of nature, with good spiritual senses.  But people are ambitious, and want to make something tangible out of their talents, and so they take up professions, thinking that by being, say, private equity fund managers, taking care of their duties in their own small corner of the world, even as important and as practical as that might seem, they are helping solve the world's problems when in fact they are making things worse, letting the whole system, unawakened, march to its catastrophes and taking the rest of humanity and the planet with them.  It seemed like a good investment at the time, and indeed, people made money out of it and I got my percentage of it, and so did the lawyer, and then they went to pray in church and it was all good, so it seemed.  The great fallacy of becoming...

The problem with becoming a lawyer is that you become a lawyer.  One has seen it a million times.  The problem with watching television is that you become a consumer of thought rather than having any on your own.  The problem with shopping is that you become a shopper.

It's as much the person who changes a mindset, who expands the thought patterns of another, who saves the Arctic regions icecaps as the scientist.  Indirect links, Beatles songs...

The professions jump out of the pages of the Gospel.  The fishermen seem the most innocuous, excellent fodder.  Then there are the more ambitious ones, the tax collector, the scribes, the Pharisees, on up.  If you were so bold enough to believe in just keeping things simple and faithful, then you wouldn't have the urge to go make a profitable career out of yourself becoming a thing of man's society.  Then you would stand a better chance of walking the path.

And it occurs to the mind, that the more universal a circumstance from life is taken to be, almost as if it removing from current contexts and putting it into something more eternal, the better the circumstance is understood.  A small town from which one comes from is any small town.  The college on the hill of brick and mortar is any beautiful and spiritual a place of learning, truly a temple.    Any road somewhere can potentially vibrate atomically as the road to Emmaus.  Any good friend and companion can in some way be, very subtly perhaps, be a disciple or a teacher.  All the relationships of life can be boiled down, as it were, or be taken to fit in to a significant sort of a picture.  The problem, or the task, is to let the meaning happen as it does, to not meddle, to not divert from the path.

Imagine, the unseen nature of his hands, covered, both of them, by the towel as he polishes a newly cleaned foot.  His hands are obscure.

Tired and sore, particularly from the last night of the week, I got home, had a glass of wine, cleared the sink of dirty dishes.  Sleep was sore and fitful, a nap was in order in the afternoon after breakfast of a beef patty and rice reheated in a toaster over, and then a bath in epsom salts in the tub, and still feeling weak and bleary.  The soreness had been washed away, the skin felt better, but the tired dullness remained.

A Barman's Guide to the Gospels.

To Jesus, watching television would have been indecipherable.  And distracting.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

And then after the tedious jazz night alone and the night of the wine tasting, again alone, not looked forward to, working out fine, the mind is working again with ideas, and the stuff of the past is smaller potatoes, some equilibrium restoring itself.  Fretting over an article, not hearing any feedback on it, the creative mind, invested in creativity, grew anxious, at the whim and mercy of the currents.

The outer mind does not always consciously know the secrets of the inner mind.  The left hand doesn't know what the right is doing.  The inner mind is the guide, but the outer mind has to take its logic on faith and accept.  It is the task of the writer, the poet, the philosopher, to make contact with that inner mind.  The Buddhists call it subtle mind.  Indeed, it is very subtle.  Who knows why, immediately, and clearly, we do the things we do, or even the general logic.  And I suppose those of us who have taken up illogical things, like writing, impractical things in the eyes of the logic of the current wisdom of man, are more prone to faith, toward attempts to figure out or listen to the subtle sensitive inner mind which speaks in its own way in its own time with its own sense of what is crucial, more prone to believing in and accepting.  Some of us have simply postulated on good faith the presence of such an inner light of wisdom and somehow grown use to walking and talking in its ways, as much as one can, even given the apparent irrelevance.

The ethnobotanist Terence McKenna presents a theory of a time of earlier humanity fed on the abundance of pre-drought Africa.  The human brain made its incredible growth spurt, increasing in size and capability and range.  People lived cooperatively, sharing, having grown out of the lower primate habits of dominant males and breeding rights.   The human creature was stimulated, imaginative, and had success breeding.

And then came the great drying-up of resources.  Having grown up, now the creature's social structures reverted to those of the primate, and so with violence, fights for male dominance, strife, the seizing of property by the strong, the differentiation of mine from yours, my children from yours.

One can imagine the interesting qualities of the period of coinciding with the incredible flourishing of the human mind.  Light on ego, humanity discovered the usefulness of plants, realized the riches of nature.  There were instances, habits of mind expansion.   And some form of peace reigned, one can think, optimistically.  A time of wonder, a time of development for the rich expanding human brain and the consciousness reaching out of the growing skull and improving senses, an awareness of having a mind.  Language.  Thoughts shared.  And in this communal community, there was sexual activity, new levels of pleasure, stimulation, and skill, and the affair was cooperative, not dictated by the big thug alpha male, as the female really was the creature that had to be pleased.

Vestiges of such a thing remain, at least in our minds, which yes, can harbor fairy tales but also a good and decent sense of self-awareness and even right and wrong.

And when we are allowed to see beyond the present situation, one in which aggression is the rule, selfish exploitation of the common resources of the planet, profit, power, hegemony, exploitation of resources, we can see the presence and the beauty of the earlier mindset.

I suppose there could be some mild general statement added to The Commandments and to their treatment, which would be to do what you do professionally, and everything else you do, for spiritual reasons, indeed treating the entire world and all objects animate and seemingly inanimate as neighbors, respecting God the Father, whatever you want to call it, that is in everything down the molecule, which, after all do what they do with no one telling them.

Then I am able to resolve my matters of conscience.  I'm behaving as spiritually appropriate as I can. I never bought into the whole dominant property-owning male thing.  My brain, expanding, never has worked that way, but rather an observer, wishing to be more sensitive (and often failing at it) rather than less, which does speak of the process by which we receive education.

Am I the one impractical, living a fairy tale, given how one must protect the self and the stuff the self has accumulated?  Maybe.    Or perhaps has the inner mind told me to be patient, and respectful, to do what women tell you to do (in their own way), to respect the offerings and phenomenon of the planet as best, and perhaps as passively and peacefully, as one can.

Perhaps what the reaction the back and forth between the inner and the outer, in subtle and the evident, represents is an attempt to come to terms.  As a sometimes sensitive male you have an understanding toward that beautiful legacy period of humanity of creativity, communal matriarchal accepting society.  By instinct you approached a woman's wishes passively, and really, in all things, you were just trying to please her, to make her happy, to jump through whatever hoop she told you to.  You hoped not to be rejected, but such a thing wasn't in your own hands.   You were trying to obey her girlfriends' strictures.   And to realize such was an epiphany in itself, the solving of a haunting mystery, the final high understanding of a man's deep spiritual need to be passive and humble before a woman.  Which might say something about a woman's ultimate spiritual need, to discover the man is on her side, doing her bidding, helping her with her greatest endeavors, and wearing a dignified disguise which she alone can see through.

But in life, people are human and mistakes are made;  confusions happen.   In bowing to her, you failed, because you took one moment of rejection a little too seriously.   You can't blame her for acting so, as she too has to contend with a world ruled by aggression, by imposed might, by dominant males who intend to amass wealth for the sake of wealth and comfort, easily able to justify themselves in the dog eat dog world they perpetuate to the misery of all.

That is the sad thing, perhaps.  You were just trying to be honest.  Naturally, as the being has been fruitfully doing for a long time, to good results, you embraced the good passivity, the kind of thing spoken of in The Sermon on the Mount.  You approached the female of the species with great sensitivity, though it went largely unseen, and unfortunately it's those few times that being young and jittery you weren't gentle enough, clouded by feelings and hormones coursing through the blood and brain.  What little you could do, well, you tried.  Your timing was quite often an absolute disaster, but as you treat woman you treat the world, open to the possibilities, to the richness of its plants, its nature, its offerings, its teachings of wisdom and all its healthy resources, at one with nature as best as you can be.  And to be so is to open the eyes, which is why we have to take such things so seriously.  To really see, to not hide your light under a basket...

That's the wild thing, that you continue, despite it all, to purify that within you, to pursue and execute it, and in the gentlest way possible, the deepest way possible.  The words of the Sermon on the Mount are those of the greatest lover.

Unfortunately, you were forgotten about.  That's how it goes.  And knowing the good in yourself in amidst the evil of the world, you move on, best you can.

Sensitivity, I would imagine, is the source of many failures, many instances of prolonging adolescence, many prolonged periods at learning and taking the lumps of life.  And in the end, it's not only the source of great strength, and wisdom, but ultimately some success when all is said and done.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The day after talking with the therapist and ending the day covering a few bases with a neighbor, writing is strange again.  The talk drained out, something one wanted to keep, the logic of the world getting in the way of contact.

But I have still have my sins to explore.  The guilt of having put to death a distant ancestor, a little mouse, on a glue board underneath the cooler, the small parcel of horror of having made an irretrievable mistake.  What possessed me at the end of that night to build a Maginot Line as the silliness of a glass of wine added to hunger, there at the end of a week, took hold?  Killing a creature is no joke.  One I'd caught earlier I brought outside and poured hand soap over it, to unstick itself and escape.  The boss would be happy, but in the end it's just a mouse, cleaning up the bread crumbs from below the low tables.  They get in, what can you do...  Viewed one way, they are company after all have left.

I wake and think of a college reunion weekend when my father came to visit.  Unbeknownst to me, the young woman I was mad over put a James Dean poster at my door, that parent's weekend, but hurt from her hanging up on me I didn't pick up on it in time, the golden opportunity.  What was I thinking?  Bothered by a tit for tat, almost thirty years later, you fool.  How could you have been so blind?  You had a lobster doll from the previous weekend's trip to Maine with your Dad, but the stubborn goat came out, while the Red Sox lost the World Series.  There should have been a meeting of parents, but I'd messed that up, distracted by a meeting with a thesis advisor.  What was it?  Why such feelings then, the bravado of self-medication...

The wine betrays us the next day.  We were creative in the night, finishing an article, hopefully, for a wine column, but the fancy now has its wear off time, aided by green tea.

They come in loudly, while I'm waiting on two ladies, taking their order, talking about wines.  The trio is playing quietly in the corner, but here at the bar is the reunion.  Business guys.  Double volume.  Bald show of establishing primate dominance.  A coat is thrown over one of the seven bar stools.  Ape-like greetings.  I return to the bar.  "Good to see you, too," the leader says sarcastically, staring at me directly, as I cannot hide a portion of my irritation at the current generation.

Comfortable now, the male, feeling he has established his dominancy, then makes show of some benevolence.  I've seen it once, and a million times.  The jokes are endured, one after another, the excitement one diffuses, the wine is ordered, the praise made of it, and some kind of peace comes again.  Entrepreneurs, shaping the world...  Intense, manners in need of wrangling... calming.

A woman comes in, wanting a Viognier, late, the night over, the band packing it in after their supper.  I pour her what we have by the glass, but no she wants a bottle.  Open it for her.  Boss, after greeting her, smiles and departs.  "I had one bottle at home already," she admits, then, "oh, did I say that?"  There are two gentleman who've come to the last sip of digestif, ready to go, paid up, but she commands me to bring forth two glasses to share.  They demure, but she insists.

Only at the very end of the night, as I try to reassess the Argentine Malbec, do I get into the wine, alone, listening to movie themes on Pandora, after removing the poor mouse that befouled itself as it succumbed.  I read through the piece I've submitted.

And then today, before work, I ponder my sins against my father, his hard work, his status, his greatness, not sharing him, his beauty, his garden of wisdom, with the beauty of another, another family, who'd also come, by miracle, to Amherst.  Like watching permutations of a Shakespeare play, playing out again and again, what was I thinking, why did I waste everyone's time, taint past, present, future, great disappointment....

This is what you bear while waking up, starting the day out, over green tea, the shower awaits, last night's dishes washed, sausages cooked, but not eaten yet, before yoga.

Creativity is not so great.  You disappointed the lady of your life, the Princess, being a schmuck for time eternal.

Creativity swings back and forth.

My lady therapist, before I go off exploring the heights of adept consciousness wonders about my base.   "It could all fall down like a house of cards."  Ouch.  But I feel based.  I know it takes the root chakra's energy to raise the consciousness...

I should not drink wine alone, maybe what it comes down to, even in this world of ill-mannered guests who demand too much, don't know how to behave in public.  Ah, but it is work, obviously, and it is good to have work to do in the world.  And I suppose at the end of the night, the worker needs a little medicine himself.

Drunken downer lady pours out the last of her wine.  I help the bass player load his equipment, down the stairs, out into the cold.  I return, attend to the last paperwork of the night.  I hear her talk.  How long have we known each other...  Oh, those margaritas you used to make...  They were strong.  That's the only DWI I've gotten, but I won't tell you...   She stands in the bar mouth with her coat on.  Give me a kiss.   Time to go home, I say.

I restock, bringing bottles up for tonight's wine tasting, the restaurant empty.  Replenish tonic and soda water.  A few hand towels for bar rags, a few lemons and limes.  Roll my bike from the basement up to the front door, gather helmet, mask, hat, coats.

I read through the piece I've written, a wine column growing, the subject how to pick wines for a wedding.  Feeling I'll never be going to one that is mine own.

Quick, do some yoga.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

In some ways it is unfortunate that the writer cannot share an ongoing creative thought process in ways other than writing.  One cannot go to his neighbor and divulge or explain much about the constant halfway point he is in.  He is a journalist covering his own writing process.  What comes out of it will be posted as it is reported, in the story that ends when it ends.

Of course the writer views the process as intimate.  A source confiding in him.  A one on one relationship that cannot be opened to third parties.  The context is best worked out within the privacy of secretive exchange of question and answer, posit and record.

The writer must decide what is private, what can be shared with the outside world, how to share that, realizing that the best way is, like making good wine, to let the process speak naturally, unfiltered, old school.

This is, I suppose, why writers can enjoy the company of cats.  The cat speaks a language of its own, with which it may even engage you, in a way that never interferes.

Tantric Buddha Jesus does a shoulder stand and then a plow and feels the energy coursing from highest to the lowest chakra, clear pineal fluid in evidence, preparing for the intimate bodily almost erotic quality of his symbol, his powers, rising on the cross, then risen.  The practice was not something that made the Gospels.  The man always had a private vision of himself as a prophet, as a saint, able to find little nuggets of wisdom in just about everything.  The metaphor redolent in common every day things, like tea.  The deep gentle understanding, the peace arising out of everything as it is into the world, touching us as we touch it, reminding us of the dusty atomic structure that something akin to our own minds has wrought into being with perfect wisdom down to, yes, the finest structure of the feather of a bird's wing, which the bird of course carries around with appropriate pride and appreciation for its usefulness it does not ever question.

He would have cleaned his own house first, scrupulously, don't you think, balancing his chakras, realizing his foundations...  Did he require much of a social life outside of teaching?

Were the authorities subliminally jealous of Jesus for his skills of knowing immediately the appropriateness of everything?   Powers they wish they had, wanting the secret.  Were they bad people, or just cranky and ignorant and misinformed, provincial as certain stripes of incoherent politics are praised over the good and the logical out in the hinterlands, which then the urban powers must defer to.  Jesus versus Boehner and his Tea Party base, Jesus in some way too gentle to, even he, understand the foolishness of expecting society to function without taxes to build roads and hospitals and schools and places for the sick, that is things for us, things we need ourselves to function.  Maybe he expected better out of the Pharisees, for kowtowing to such an ignorant constituency rather than educating and ruling, for being little more than proud obstructionists.   Render unto the Tea Party the things of the Tea Party, a joke you could make...  Render unto the Koch Brothers...

Would minds not be in some way jealous of a writer firing on all of his cylinders, be they one or two or four or eight, as befits him?  Or rather try to learn something, absorb a lesson, whatever it is, realizing that a writer does carry with him many lessons indeed, a teacher, a person not hiding his light, generous to all, even the landowner regarded by some as simply wicked and a hard man to deal with, thus burying the talent rather than investing it, for God is within all things, if that's the way to interpret this mystifying proverb on the nature of the kingdom come.

Should any writer than fear the light of day, of what will be made of him and his work, and rather prefer to keep private, trusting those who trust in the same terms he does...

Thus did the whale fascinate Melville, a brother of the deep oceans, rising to breath and frolic, largely silent but for his words sounded into the depths for other whales to return.  What Melville was working on was appropriately long, to match the deeper wavelength, resonant, resounding, coming back at you with pleasant echoes for the rest of your life at sea.

Shakespeare puts a little of Jesus in everyone, and thus the small moment can expand into a lesson on humanity, even if it's the clown or the gravedigger, for they too have a voice.  This he learned through following his own process, going beyond the wooden cut-out sketch, each inhabited by their own light, their own way to salvation whether they follow it or not.  No snob was he.  He loved the poor and the people in his pit.   "Pity that (noble folks) should (come to bad ends) more than their even-Christian."  He pitied the rich and powerful, and they made great subject matter for him.  All in good humor, lest it get to real to swallow, 'oh, shit, that's me, isn't it.'  People in the pit would have shouted out, 'yeah!'  He got it.  Noble bard.

Having gathered, whoever he was, his powers in the beheading storm of the new faith versus the old, he honored writing, and he saw the redemptive quality in all his characters.  Which is largely, his theme.  Perhaps, too, he would have known what deals with the devil consisted of.

What is writing, my friend?  I don't know, writing is writing.  It comes.

Who are you?  Who do they say I am, what do they say I am?

Writing is like yoga.  The more you, the better you get, the farther your reach, the more you enjoy it.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

To Jesus the higher consciousness was a regular everyday thing.  An accessible thing.  His training was, if not exactly, much like the writer's, sitting down at a certain time and applying himself to words.  Seeking in his own mind the way he saw things, much in the same way he'd learned from both his parents to respect one's own impressions and deeper sense about other people.  For other people, if you study them, and judge them not, are bare and naked, transparent in many ways, despite their acts of hiding, their psyches and their souls and their psychologies and their inhabiting demons--whatever you want call them--basically evident, present to the powers of vision.  Each person, a slight shade different, a particular peculiar mix, each unique, so that reading them indeed could take up lifetimes of study.  And to be found amongst them a few people who were, or who could be coaxed into being naturally calm, which was the goal.

So could Jesus be able to cure their different problems, with hardly a word, a simple phrase, but one which, the way he put it, the way he spoke, the way he looked at them, the way he bore himself, by the clarity of his iconic face and acts, a gesture of the hand, was no longer passive, but an active cure.  Something the world always lacks, because the world is cowardly, as I would know.

Enough to get through a shift of people, possessed with shards and particular and sometimes legions of evil spirits of all stripes of selfishness, cockiness, pride, cleverness.  Enough to get through a night of that without making any visible or noticeable effort to correct them and cleanse and cast out.  Just by enduring you were doing a good amount toward it.

But to be perfectly honest, of course, you were a participant in the same as they.  You had, were subject to, the same kind of vanities, the same selfish wishes, the same hungers and thirsts, the same anxieties, the same wish for safety, security, to save your own ass and, to crudely put it, get a piece of another.  You didn't want lesions springing out on your skin or suffer the fate of Job.  You too wished to numb down the awkwardness of being on the right path, the path that might not make much immediate sense in terms of the wisdom of the world, toward the wisdom of God.  You too wished to take the challenge of trying to fit in with the logic of worldly wisdom, and desired not to be foolish.

You find you didn't quite belong so well.

So there needed to be an inkling, then a measure, then a cup of change.  You had to put away the habit of stupefying yourself, the habits of yes-men...  You had to, in short, be you.  You serving as your basic support system, of course with the good support of the spirits of your family and good friends.  After all, humanity is good, a good rather than a bad influence.  And sometimes it conspires and gathers as a particular flock in order to, by some collective wisdom and collective mind, teach you things, teaching by example, in a good way.  Maybe one learns best by mirroring them, as one can, through one by one exchanges, to feel them out, as they say.

There is Jesus and people of less consciousness have gathered around him.  Crows would get him better and be wiser and have knowledge of the earth and the ways of God, on equal terms, really, but here's this confused flock of humanity about him, but at least now with opened eyes and ear.  How to interpret all the human cawing?

I guess that's sort of when you put books behind you.  I mean, you never do.  The higher mind might direct you to pick up a poem, or have a thought about how Hemingway was an ecological thinker before it was barely thought of, or pick up on a cold night Corinthians.   Which says it's okay to be doing the same labors you were doing when you came to see the light.  Which holds that it is okay to accept what powers you do have toward good things, be they teacherly, prophetic, interpretive, curative, what have you.

And how long would it take to write something good, something you wanted to express?  Time almost vanished.  You'd look up at the clock and an hour had gone by, but that was almost immaterial, little to do with you, having found an envelope of some sort, away from time.  The voice had come, and you felt pleased about what you were writing and all the connections forming before your mind.  The voice was aided, yes, by another, say the slight irreverence of Saramago, and in other ways it had deeper sources, as natural born writers come upon in their wanderings, like Melville going down to the waters.  Drummers had played drums, all sorts of them, and now you were the drummer, smoothly enough, despite your worries of having little rhythm.

In the act of writing, peace had come about you.  Like you were Emerson out in Nature.  How could you not feel simultaneously shy and open about it, gentle, available, as if you'd sat down and a beautiful woman had sat down right next to you with an open ear and atomic proximity such that you'd already started to blend with her in a virginal way that who knows might lead to other things, though of course you would always be practical about such things, right?

And then the thought would return to you, distractingly, 'oh, but what are you going to do with yourself today?'  Well, I skipped the wine last night, for the first time in a long time, that seems a good start.  Nor was I gluttonous.  A kale salad with pumpkin seeds in lemon and olive oil.  Later, one lamb sausage with a bowl of five day old brown rice.  Falling asleep on the couch after finishing Corinthians I, very cold outside.  There had been a run of weeks requiring covering an extra shift, long Saturday nights even, and the snow had allowed a rare night off earlier, so finally a chance to be alone and think, letting the wheels spin in the sanctity of home, finally being able to reflect, to catch up.  Initially, boredom, a sense of not knowing what to do, but this corrected itself.

Really, how often does one have the chance, to do it, to be it, to be the real you, vessel of the higher.  You learn to grab it where you can, when you can.  Distractions aside.  The example shows that you can.  For if Jesus could do it in that hard time when people got crucified, if Herod didn't get you first...  He managed to thread the needle.  Maybe that's why he is such a legend, such a success, the epic times he lived in, and perfectly placed at crossroads, crossroads of time, peoples, geography, ideas, empires, religions...  Rising from obscurity, so it seems.

For our times we'd have a savior, a thinker to go with them as he went with his.  He'd be an infinitesimally small character unnoticed on the sea of ones and zeros, unattached to anything.  Obscure, he would take his fellow beings somewhere, somewhere they could heal and ponder the fate of the planet in private, not having to worry, a safe haven matched to their faith, the faith that somethings can be done about changing the attitude of the human being to make for a personal ecological ethos to arise, in stark contrast to nations, like China, and multi-national profit minded corporate entities to destroy the environment feeding an artificially created need sold to human sheep who are just trying to get by in the world.  Or just more importantly, to change the consciousness away from that illusion of self that causes much selfishness, toward...  what?

He would personally have a small sphere of influence, physically, temporally.  He'd be trying to get by just like the rest of us.  No panel would he sit on.  No faculty rank.  Just him, son of man, lower case.  He'd be fully human.  To solve skin problems or mechanical issues, he'd go to the Google machine search engine, like anyone else.  Then, after googling 'dry flaky redness eyebrows,' he'd be off like anyone else to the RiteAid to peruse the labels of dandruff shampoo, wary of sodium laureth sulfate.

Oh, sure, he'd have a good background for it, scholarly parents of a particular sort, steeped in, I don't know, thoughtfully considered systems of spiritual and religious thinking, and basically just being allowed to get it as a seven year old, no stumbling block put in his way, to understand that maybe indeed this is their world, the spirit world, that they were here first and we just come to it, as he explained tearfully to his father as he prepared to back out the old Volvo station wagon up the pebbly drive to drive down to the town to pick up the Sunday New York Times, and how he remembered seeing a deep sort of pleased sense radiating quietly from his papa.  Such that they would always be able to have conversations of a theosophical sort, about the spiritual man who keeps getting reincarnated, the same guy showing up every so many years, Moses, Buddha, Jesus... same guy.  He'd know the basics of what Zen is, or what a Noble Truth might be, familiar with vaguer things like Tree of Life imagery.

No, it wouldn't be a book, like the kind you find on a best-seller list next to Dan Brown, or even a book in the book store, bound by two covers front and back, such a person would write.  It would be like a mild sort of revelation, that disciple type people would be drawn to and draw satisfaction and pleasure from, so that they would assemble their own sort of oral gospel in their own minds, and strangely, already finding it--at least the outline--mainly there already, just in need of awakening or support, encouragement.

They would know simply, by being able to look out the back window of an apartment and seeing birds rise across a snowy sky, allowed to notice such a phenomenon on its own terms, with greater presence, distraction removed.  Feeling that sense of 'oh, this is us,' more than before, whereas before such things were more separate and leave the birds to worry about their own and I'll worry about my own.  Connection.  Diffusion.  Peace.  Clarity of mind.  Closer to the haiku and the proverb and the poem.  They would feel it in themselves, and accomplished it themselves.  Like the continual discovery of sexuality and its sensations, only they can do it for themselves.

Just a vague sense, perhaps, like one gets from a good country song.  "Hmm.  Guy's onto something..."  Like we get from Dostoevsky.  And the rest, of the understanding, at a deeper more intuitive level.

Worrying will not increase or add on a day to life.  We can apply ourselves to that which can apply ourselves.  A good teacher leads us towards the things we can apply our minds too.

Sure, maybe sometimes there's the prodigal aspect to it, of, say, smoking weed and listening to Pink Floyd, but by and large, we're good at what we engaged by.  A worthy sign.  Are we all going to become chemical engineers to live in suburban houses, absolutely nothing against such people who might be so?   Certain things make certain minds tick, and Jesus is the perfect example.

Were we to enter into the higher consciousness we would see beyond, and we would be at peace with things.  We would become relaxed and calm, in need of little.

Is there perhaps something of that tendency in the Prodigal Son, a consciousness high enough to be at peace with going down the familiar path to ruin, seeking earthy pleasures.  When he's worn himself out, no money left, nowhere else to go.  But he is worthy of being welcomed, because with an instinct towards the higher vision he saw that even the prodigal path would be part of a great overall lesson.  He gets more credit than his brother, because his brother, staying home, has not made the same effort to expand and raise the spiritual level of his mind through explorations in the world and life experience.  Maybe such prodigal failings are just the thing to ignite the fires of redemption...

I wrote and I wrote.  Stabs at things.  Attempts to corral thoughts, relationships...  And I was lost.  Adrift.  A good exercise in finding a voice, sure, but not amounting to anything in particular, not more than a notebook.  Really just a sign of a necessary work habit, not unrelated to a pile of sawdust, part of a frame.  What would synthesize it all, what would bring it together?  When, over what, would the work really begin?  I wondered.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Higher consciousness.

This is what Jesus is after.  A vision of the human being as more than a unit of production, occasionally allowed a little wine by the authorities to feed and numb some pains.

Of course his vision is regarded as a threat.  He's taking everyone along with him toward that higher consciousness.  Of course the authorities, who've reached a status quo to maintain, let's not rouse any rebels, everything's fine, they are going to jump all over him, immediately.

And the quality of a higher consciousness is such that simply it sees the higher, sees the great spiritual potential, the awesome spiritual capabilities, the peaceful enlightenment....

Hard-hearted.  Calcified.  Blind.  Seeking a sign.  Why would you need a sign?  It's all right there in front of you, within you, standing here before you...

And some people get it.  The kind of people who are sick, poor, miserable, outcastes, mourning the way things are going now.  (I remember America before the Conservative Reagan backlash, tossing the mentally ill out into the streets, cutting partnership programs of state and private cooperation, nothing free about education, meaning there's money to be made, everywhere.  Yes, Reagan was all for gutting the jewel of the California free university system...  His spawn live on.)

And people are not inherently selfish.  How could they be?  They are higher beings, in tune with nature.  If they act not in accordance with their truer nature, of course things will go afoul.

The Buddha is the vehicle, the ferryman to get you across to the other side, the boat of philosophy and tenets to be abandoned once across.  Higher consciousness, the mind opening to the vastness of space and time, once you've got there, you don't need Buddha anymore, just gratitude for an old friend of humanity...

If you had attained higher consciousness, yes, the old laws would be alive and perfectly obvious.  Your morality would be perfectly awakened.  You'd see appropriateness perfectly.  Not having to ape any manners...

But to them, who only see money, the way to make it, the way to use it, in everything, the ultimate purpose, what is Jesus doing?  Really quite a lot of nothing, if anything, giving stuff away, and that stuff is undefinable!   Can we stick advertisements on his white robe?   Oh, look, it's Jesus with ads for tires and car insurance on his back, waving and smiling to the crowds, as he holds a little girl who previously was not breathing but who is now smiling sweetly too.  Look at the crowds;  great placement!

But,  Jesus, doing a lot of nothing.  If anything getting in the way of the way we do things around here, a good market for animal sacrifices down at the temple, he almost messed that up royally enough, and then the taxation bureau and the regulatory commissioner would be out of work.

Jesus' point being that such things don't help you achieve much in the way of real enlightenment.

What is enlightenment, though?  Who is it intended for?

Well, it's for the people who are smart enough to realize the situation they are in, really a necessary balm for all the anxiety of life, the extra anxiety the powers that be put into the system trying to hypnotize the masses, another facet of human nature, to make other people anxious, unfortunately, a tool-ish show of strength beyond animal childishness.  Quickly does mankind go off into the Satanic in these contests of strength and aggression.

It's for people like me, people susceptible to existential crisis, people who are feeling a deep anxiety.  And the deep anxiety itself is informing you.  The old way doesn't work, of going to work, getting through a shift earning a few measly dollars that will never see your body into old age, drinking wine to forget the basic ills.

I'm very sore.  That's where Jesus is coming from.  This informs his gentleness.  His kind touch, his easy sense of humor and just words, the path he takes in life, healing and preaching to other people.

Did some national endowment fund him to speak in a breathy voice, each line charged to the maximum with sound byte emotion as old photographs played on the screen?  A TV show that would then still be a the voice of the basic corporate consumer attitude, okay, it's still good to go out and buy stuff...  Nothing ever too crazy.

There were the houses that let him in.  The only act of philanthropy that comes to mind is the guy who lends him his own tomb.  Though, I don't know, perhaps there was some sort of cooperative sponsorship that goes unsaid behind the loaves and the fishes appearance.  The local tourism board.  Maybe it was like a fireman's field day chicken barbecue, a good time people needed given cruel kings and empires and hopeless rebellions.  Saturday Night Live.  Put it on air, then let's see what happens, an experiment in live TV.  The Olympics.  Sponsorship will come.

But all Jesus says is take nothing with you and go to the houses that let you in.  (Let us not blaspheme the miracles of loaves and fishes he pulls off through his higher vision and consciousness.)  That's the only way you can really do your work, not having to worry about all the other stuff, just the worker getting paid for the real valuable work that he's doing.

The mind still hurts, doesn't seem to know what it's doing.  There was respite yesterday coming home from the grocery store, talking to mom on the phone and finding a miraculous draught of robins in a holly tree picking the red berries, and I stood there being natural and they were like chickens around you in a barnyard except they flew like hummingbirds, hovering, doing acrobatics and cooperative motions, plucking the berries.  One bent forward and reached around underneath with perfect aim to get a berry.  Right up until when I pulled my phone out carefully to take a picture they all flew off, disappearing, except for a last handful of stragglers up above Florida Avenue in a weary looking oak tree, where there had been many many.   These are not dumb animals.  Are they like the Amish, not liking their pictures taken?

I went home after that, put the groceries away, moved the load of whites to the dryer and took a nap.

But I've never found any real satisfying answer in the things of this world, except love of course.  I'm just the sorry person who admits that state of affairs.  Buying stuff and beach vacations doesn't going to do it, for the most part, not so much fun.  Though I do very much like the Martin D-28 I bought myself a couple years ago.  It is nice to see the stars standing on a beach at night looking up, humanity's lights and junk and consumerist houses behind you out of sight for a brief moment...

If I'd been a family man, I don't know, I might have tired of the competition and the attempt to blind one's self from the pain we must face to be better, to be truly helpful to our fellows and all the creatures...  Not been able to be the kind of teacher I knew I had to be...

Well, I gather it's nice to be able to understand your own motivations.  And maybe the very problem, when your standing in front of the mirror wondering what your worldly image is telling, saying against or in terms of a backdrop of magazine pictures of the happy life floating around in your mind,  the very problem is consciousness, being born into it, a sort of adept, in a humble human non-magical fly-around-in-the-sky able-to-drop-in-on-various-centuries kind of a way (which can only be a metaphor of higher consciousness, a vision, naturally psychedelic.)  That's the problem, the gift of higher consciousness, and that is found within, in your own self.  And maybe that's the meaning of Corinthians 13, an understanding that takes some of a long time.  Now I am face to face, truly seeing that there is such a thing as a higher consciousness, a miraculous thing, a thing that enables one to look back on life and be okay with things.

That's the remarkable thing, the thing that makes you feel better.  And this you can't consume.  You can't just go on up to that place in the Berkshires and shell out a couple thousand.  Whatever you are going to achieve you're going to find within.  And it comes free, and you must give it away free, end of story.  Kripalu, I mean, not that there's anything wrong with such explorations...

I'm from Amherst.  I was born there, the Holyoke Range rising above my childhood bed from the front window, singing its seasons.  I left, I went to school there.  How could I not be some form of enlightened, and that is the deeper meaning of education behind it all, why the farmers went through all the trouble, to build a campus by which you could look through a prism, as Emily Dickinson did, into Nature, transcendent.  Yeah, how could I not be.  Not my fault.  Just my karma.  What am I doing in Washington, D.C., I wonder...

Now of course it's obvious, it goes without saying, Jesus would never accept a position of power, the Satanic temptation, but he does accept the authority of the high consciousness of his father, who of course begets him in a moment of highest tantric consciousness, the only thing that can allow the true seed to pass on.  Then the son's growing life is simply a matter of realizing who he really is.  Yes, note how Satanic men can become for worldly domination, intimidation...  That's what current history shows, any day of the week.

That's what makes it a great myth, but it's also true, the great discovery of finding within that you are indeed cut of the cloth of high Jesus consciousness...  Of course the careerist religious authorities, who have put their own time in, studying the law, over and over, and doing their own difficult tasks which have their place indeed, of course they're going to be a bit taken aback by this newcomer who springs with authority, a natural wordsmith, a compelling speaker, quick with his wit.  A son realizing his father...

Worldly versions of that too, there are, like Kennedy, the patriarch, and his sons...  Lincoln, without a supportive father, a self-made man, he's doing something along the same lines, developing the great wisdom within along with his legal and professional pursuits.  Mankind is a mix, a kaleidoscope of an inner reality...  Where did William Blake get the authority to make high art, despite being poor?  Where did Daniel Day Lewis get the authority to play Lincoln?  Or any writer to write something striving to be good?  Within...

All it takes is a little support, a little push in the right direction, a day off from the usual toils...

Change is organic;  it comes from within.

The finest things much be approached gently, circumspectly.... This is to make as certain as it can be that the venture undertaken is not one of domination, power, a bid for the rulership of a fiefdom, cleric of a cult...  The prophets one should accept, and indeed have great respect for.  Just be wary of their worldly interpreters, especially when they amass influence and power and start commanding their subjects around to do to add to their power.

I take a walk around the block, to get the last of the day's sun as it passes behind Embassy Row.  Robins are digging around in the bank, rooting for insect as I come back up my street.

Higher consciousness, the stuff of Transcendentalists, a problem to the world, is the only solution.  Higher consciousness, the stumbling block to the status quo, but the natural healthy rights of humanity, and indeed the only solution to all the world's troubles, climate, wars, poverty, by simply changing the attitude, the arrow of causation's direction.  We are not to consume, stuff our faces, use the world and all its things for personal wealth and advancement.  The world is to teach us.  The world is to show us higher consciousness, that we might learn, and then start to live in peace with the way things are.

Adulterous generation, exactly.  Believing life is a matter of consumption, take what you can, use...  Rape the forest if no one stops you;  sell her to the highest bidder, and then move on the next one...

I guess it would be hard, in some ways, for him to be around people.  People with all their demons and depressions, their lack of faith toward the single pursuit of high consciousness, tripping over themselves...  Passers by, he would have felt their issues in a blink of an eye.  A sensitivity he picked up from his mother as well as his father.  (His mother would be a bit more blunt about it:  'he's a creep,' she would say, and he would humor the angles.)  It was a good exercise for him to do yoga in his own privacy, meditating, restoring the energy flow.  Calming, centering, so that you knew again that which was good practice apart from that which was a scheme, an egotistical act based on an illusion, a passing fancy in which greed or gluttony or intemperance showed itself.  This happened, no different from anyone else, just that he had his practice, and had somehow always been sensitive, able to contact the higher realm, without so much being aware of it, as it came naturally to him, and seemed rather like a part of his awkwardness around other people, such that indeed he wished to drink to bring himself toward the level he knew as well as anyone else if not better, a lower one.

The drink seemed to protect him, disguise him, ease his way through the streets of life.  It gave him an act, one that had evolved toward the better over the years, just as his mood had slowly improved and steadied itself, after the confusion... 

But now as he wrote more, thought more, practiced more, it was become increasingly clearer and self-evident, what sort he was.  The salted kind.  With some chance of savor still.  Did he still have time?  The scholar's son, a better translation than the standard 'carpenter's.'  Obviously something scholarly there, even as a boy.  Even then, authority, ease, comfort.  A knowledge of levels of consciousness.  From the root to the crown.

Shyness too came naturally, as it's not a world one necessarily wants to stand out in.  Rather adopt the lingo, the assumptions, the habits...  Always a good listener.

It was indeed a creative endeavor, every day, being his own version of that which he did not wish to admit.  You could be a great guy, sure, the kindest, the wisest, up there in the percentages anyway, but that didn't necessarily make you fit in or even be a good boyfriend.  Maybe a good therapy patient.  Maybe a good reader of books.  But every day, every hour, really took creative effort, work, and of course, naturally, it could be very tiring.  Until you began to realize and admit, or see simply...

The creativity was always there, if you sat down, quietly, or let the wheels spin while you tidied up a corner of the house or dusted, laundry still spinning in the dryer down in the basement, and more or less accepting now a quiet Friday night at home with flannel Dickies on, a light growth of beard, the humidifier working again, the Facebook password issue solved finally.  How the left hand doesn't know what the right is up to.

Of course it took a lot of creativity to go to work, fairy tales full of it, but then he liked restaurant people, Henri, the French guy who would soon be set to retire...

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Got through jazz night.

Everyone comes in at once, around seven.  There's a group--of the kind that will want separate checks--convening at the bar, meaning the poor bastard waiter, who has not been encouraged supportively by the team, is going to be  bogged down like a surrounded army back in the wine room.  I'm trying to shed my persona of wine therapist.   A lady has called my name already several times as I attend to triaged duties, and observes that I am in a bad mood, which really doesn't help.  People have sat themselves, entitled, pleased with the show of their own vanity;  table reservations are juggled.

Got through it.  Really needed a good dose of Beaujolais on the rocks with soda in a tumbler, I mean, just to deal with the last bunch of people, Salvadoran restaurant owners, who leave their table in the back to sit at the bar, and who thankfully just want beer.  Wish I spoke Spanish.  Attending to the night, I am drained.  For Lent I promise myself to cut out that last bunch of drinkers provoking me into the sauce, but I must compromise here on the night of Ash Wednesday.  Limit the self-damage, get home on the bike on a pretty cold night.

And today I wake not at a bad hour, feeling more energetic.  Return to my humble artist notebook.  Dostoevsky sat and listened to people and wrote out loads of dialog to get their patterns, drawing faces and sketches in the margins.   Schoolboys.  The general public viewed from a park bench.  Women.  Men.

I have to clean up, edit, a few things of what I've written, just to better get what I'm trying to say.  I'm listening to the way I talk, the way I talk to myself, the way I talk in my own head.

And the worries always return, why the job I have...  It wasn't a choice.  I mean, the self-righteous people love to say that, 'the choices you made,' pointing a finger at you, telling you how much opportunity you have wasted...  reasonably worried about you sometimes, sure...

The pain returns when I start a new entry.  What was I thinking about, when I got up?

Oh.  Yes, back to Jesus, as every reader has tired of hearing about, maybe, no, not really do, would I think that...

Treasures.  "For where you treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Luke 12, Matthew 6.

Sad, why am I sad?  Because I feel like what I do is of little worth?  Tired of printing out a check at the end of a transaction, the party paying, putting a tip on the dotted line...  There's something missed.   I am regarded as compensated.  What more can you ask for?  It's work.  Just like everybody else...  That's how the system works.

And then I sit down and write, yes, in my own fashion, to my own satisfaction, spiritual and otherwise, a calling, an avocation.  It feels, as I stare at the screen of my MacBook Pro laptop (this is written in silver letters on the black edge below what I am typing out, like I am staring out of a deeply befuddled darkness, one I must inhabit, looking out of, for a necessary clarity.  Will the next thought make things a bit clearer, I don't know...

Next paragraph.

No, that didn't go anywhere.

When I became a man, I put away childish things.  I looked through a mirror darkly...  Then face to face...

In real time you cannot really know what you are writing.  You take a stab at it.  One thing might lead to another.  My feet hurt.  I've done my job.  I feel ready to move on, and yet, there is ministering to it, but, I don't know...

Writing is scary.  Life is scary.  How will things ever work out?  What are my sins of laziness and distraction and childishness?   How to atone?

I took too much wine, to get the mind and body through the valley of death, through the heart of the world, to ease the pain and the lack of a listener at the end of the night, the end of the week.  Too many hats to wear up at the bar of Dying Gaul.  I managed to do a little yoga when I got home;  maybe that's the way out of this unhappy state...

I need to change the way I see.

Treasures looked at reflexively, as to the effect they take upon the heart, yes, that is a clear thought for a cold day.  Look to the heart.  Look to your core values.  What do you care about, when work calls and drags you in to the arena?  What a sad thing, being dragged so, what a tiresome thing...  A place of sin...

Jesus loves sinners, of course, they are the sick people, exactly the ones he needs to cure.  But they obviously get to him.  His anger is directed at the scribes, the Pharisees, the religious authorities, but something has built up his ire.  It sounds like the people who have gathered in his barroom he is getting tired of.  Something that runs deep, that causes him pain, that leads him to speak not just of individuals or walks of life, but a generation...  The salt of the earth, people, have lost much of their defining qualities.

'I'm tired of you and all your egos.  All your self-protective little stances, the smug careerist things that make me sick.  Your self-promotion, your tiresome self-centered way of seeing things.  Blindness, everywhere.  Consumerist.  Pawns of an empire's economy.  Receivers of catalogs in the mail.

'I knew eventually it would get to me, in a way I could no longer stand.  Not that I am at all happy over it.

A few good people here and there, or a little part here and there within the good ones.   Tolerable.  Welcome.

The satisfied diners...  Wanting an experience...   Eat good decent food that agrees with your system, drink good wine with it, if you have to.   Food that's not been manipulated with additives, that has as decent a morality to it as possible.   And  remember always the spiritual context that broadly encompass the little details, the deeper purpose of a human gathering.  The details, those with 'high standards,' do I really care?  I'm tired of you and your selfishness.   'This pinot noir tastes funny.'  It's not corked.  It's perfectly fine.  A lady from the table jams the glass up at me, like I've brought them something poisonous.  Is the mushroom fricassee buttery, she asks me, as if it is my trial.  Venomous people, who wave, subtly, the threat of the bad review.

Grown tired of it, seeing through it, what awaits for me?  The monastery?  The desert?  The high place?  Homelessness?  Ridicule as a false prophet with too many heady claims?

Go take a walk.  Get it out of your system.  You'll get to the grocery store and feel better about yourself.  You're tired.  Two nights are demanding enough.  Cruel even.  Take up the cross, yes, one knows about that.

Foul generation which seeketh a sign...

Nitpicking customers.

This is one of Dostoevsky's lost characters, an idiot, a middle-aged student who is not in school.  Out of the lost pages of a lost notebook, one that is merely a background, an iceberg's underpinning.

Where does indignity come from?  From whence sprung the natural authority?  Through what steady acts of goodness and toleration?

Go and catch a falling star...  find what wind serves to advance an honest mind.  (Donne)

What we are in search of is higher consciousness.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

But I think, Doctor H., that this Sturgill Simpson songwriter musician guy has reminded me of something, like the psychology of an artist, the mode of you enter into to be able to make art.  He may have achieved some of his perspective through interesting means of a psychedelic nature, but he's obviously a natural at it, so good for him.  He's a solid guy.  '...all changed the way I see...  the myth that we all call space and time...'

What Jesus is talking about, to take up your cross, and lose thyself, in order to gain life, maybe that's essentially the same thing...  You get there however you can.  That's the context I'd like to see things in.

Not the 'let us all be professionals with higher degrees, wisest of the wise, cleverest of the clever' mode of this town, which I do not seem to have much ambition.  (Maybe I'm just tired after my shifts, too tired to read, dumbed down by popular habits, whatever... )  But the 'taking up the cross' as I have to, or am rather left to, define for myself...  as something having to do with art and higher thought, a better reading of people, that's what I think I'm better at.  That sort of mode, which really takes effort to sustain...  Taking up the cross, why not, if it works for you, seeing it that way.  Not for some earthly treasure of, wow, like a number one seller, but a real book, a real account, something worth reading because of its deeper bearing on the struggles a human being goes through...

That's where you can lose the courage, to get lost, to get distracted, and not properly read people's souls, the things that bug them, lead them astray, the artificial things like wealth, or prominent righteousness 'free of sins.'  Work, you get distracted.  You get pulled in too many directions.  You can't really focus on how much a guy's drinking, 'cause you're running around putting out fires, trying to serve dinner...

That's all you can do, is be pure to yourself, to not cheat yourself into believing some mainstream conventional view...   That's the best thing for your health.  You're not writing The Bartender's Guide to Dating, but something a lot deeper, and not built around a business model package sort of a thing, 'hey, I got this great idea, and it will have bullet points...'

I mean, you really have to see people in the kind of context you find in a great work of literature like The Brothers Karamazov, or The Idiot.  I do find Dostoevsky one of those points of contact between the spiritual world and the world of literature.  It's almost like he's conducting a science experiment...  The sinful old man, Dmitri the willful one, Ivan the intellectual sceptic.  Seen through the prism of the intuitive Alyosha the monk practicing under the elder mystic Zossima.  Mysticism must be a good kind of drug, and it's passed on to Alyosha as the old monk is lying in state, the dream of the wedding at Cana...

Which I once babbled on about in a misguided toast, embarrassingly enough at my brother's wedding, as it kind of was not in perfect tune with official Washington and fine weddings.  Yeah, that old Fyodor was a remarkable guy, with something that is within the realm of a good sense of humor but which is also a deep deep perspective, coming from his own lion's den.  It could all slip over into a cartoon sort of thing, like the sinner gambler drinker, the femme fatale, the skeptic, the precocious schoolboy, but he doesn't let that happen.  You keep reading...

How do you support those things, the good things you find resonating within?  You've got to be true to yourself.  That's the preaching.  That's what you have to tell the heathens.   The way to life.  Not just comfort.  The way to an artistic life pondering more than just the stuff that seeps into our day through all the cracks.  Not the stuff our minds worry over being selfish, but the deeper stuff you can't explain...  And for me the only way to grasp for such stuff is to sit down and write.  At least that facilitates it.  It's a process, one I can lose faith in from time to time if I'm not doing it.

You take up your cross and look at life nakedly, take its blows, reflect, write...  And then, I hope, all the real things open up, and you're good.

Of course, you have to make a living.  Who knows which one is a better one, musician or bartender... Musician, or lost writing flailing about, hoping to be, like, Dostoevsky in his maturity...

Not writing my thoughts down, I lose myself, I get lost, I...  I don't support myself and I fall in with the pack doing their thing which is different from my thing.

And you know as well I as I do, if you don't find support, you get depressed and then you start down that road replaying the past and wondering why all this not great stuff has happened to you when really all of it is only in your mind, exclusively, where else would it be.  Fuck it, people don't like you, don't get you, don't try to understand you, well, you move on down the line.

And I find this Sturgill Simpson guy tremendously supportive.  Turtles All The Way Down.

{I felt like singing it there in the office there in the great Tower of Babel office building, but refrained.  Nice lady, she gets it, doesn't turn on the overhead fluorescent light tubes...}

Yeah, I've been laughed at for my pursuits, my pretending to be Dostoevsky, or you know, the kind of necessary life of sin you need to sample if you're going to come out an artist.  I got real lost and confused at a certain point in my life, and it's taken me, still taking me, a long time to get it remotely together, I guess....

And this town can be so selfish, you know, I remember this guy who owns a few bars and restaurants came in back when I worked at Austin Grill, treated me like I wasn't even there, head barman, been there fifteen years and the guy sees right through me.  Then he drove off in his fancy Land Rover.  I wouldn't want to hang out in his restaurants anyway...

Here the fuck I am, in broad day light, I've heard it all, seen it all, waited on everyone from the low on up to the mighty, all with a lot of real generosity toward everyone, and I'm not a total slouch when it comes to being able to talk about things, books, movies, art, and to this fat cat important guy, big success, I'm a lackey.  Okay, buddy.  You go do your thing and I'll go do mine.

That's this town for you.

I guess it's like trying to chase something you're never going to catch.  Counterproductive...  We all think we'd like, for purposes of self-protection and social belonging and status, to be high and mighty, but once you put on those lenses, well, there's a tendency, at least, to see things wrongly and be disrespectful of humanity...   In the way a humble artist cannot be...  It's weird, but it's like a law almost, and only the most circumspect of men and women can get around that...  Like Lincoln, who had a background, who even was a tavern keeper for a short stint, long enough in some lost town... Once you measure something you've changed its value...  I look at them like, 'you've never jerked off?  well, maybe it'd be good for you...  You've never been lost, felt discouraged, poor, lazy?  Well, maybe that's missing out on the larger amount of human experience...'

I guess in the end you are your own lost sheep, the one of one hundred, your own shepherd, your own prodigal son, your own source of paternal love and wisdom.  Stories dramatize, the old ones, what goes on in the psyche, and Abraham's story of having to pledge a sacrifice of his son has the same ring to it as Jesus' words to take up the cross, prepared for sacrifice.  You find yourself, you save the best loved part of you, I guess through making art, through being kind to people along the way, to follow your sense of the illusions of space and time.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Anyone who has been in therapy knows it's torture.  There's the weird place you start, discombobulated, fresh from walking down the street, worried where you left your ATM bank card, in a pocket, at a Karamazov bistrot tavern with your friends, fellow sinners, goddamn, hope they don't steal my accumulated wealth of $6000...  And you're supposed to talk to a professional, who therefore by definition is to some extent faithless and blind, like, out of the box, like a race horse, or a great dog risen from a fireplace library stand with pipe smoking master to go trot  your deepest thoughts out, when really all you want to do is pee and if, god willing, the bowels want to work, drop a nice warm shit out into the cold and snowy world, then to be wrapped up by the drying airs of the atmosphere and rendered into the same harmless dirt we came from and to which we shall return.

Ain't that a mouthful.  And your therapist, being a professional, does not have, like you a runny nose, an unshaven face, hair sticking up from being pulled out of a winter hat...

So what do you talk about, having discovered on the way your bank card is not in your wallet, and no checkbook, so you dig into wallet, what the f., into your courier bag which has, admittedly, been handy, scrape up, $25, you know, for the copay...

Okay, ten, nine, eight, seven six, the poor woman is waiting for you to say something meaningful, or just to start, and, first of all, you are distracted.  Why, because the night before was the night after Valentine's Day, but incorporate with President's Day, day off for most people, and, you know, like the date night for those who didn't want to do it on the actual day....

So I start, greyhound I am, with Sturgill Simpson, I think, a wise move on my part, because, goddamn, the guy brings meaning to me like no other.  I'd seen his NPR piece and 'learnt' about him, but, I'd forgotten... shit I deal with makes it happen.

Drink of wine... "Marijuana, LSD, Psilocybin, DMT, but love's the only thing that's ever saved my life..."  Well, I'm not going to go into the lyrics, so my approach is talking about this guy and how his family was coal miners in Eastern Kentucky, and, like, their one day off was a Saturday night....   This guy is legit.  He hit a wall.  He met a woman who cared and saved him and told him fuck you don't suck at it, you're going to drive you or me crazy so why not write some songs...

By this point, early, I could tell my therapist was fatigued with me.  And reasonably, taking a yoga teacher training course...

So okay, I'm grasping for things to say...  And she's looking at me because it's her job to study my strange illness, to ask pointed question, but, I guess, the fish has to go swim its rounds before coming back to the boat or whatever makes sense.

(Walter Brennan would have been good as Lincoln, by the way.)

Random stuff I talk about.  I'm grasping at straws.  I'm distracted by lost bank card, she's got enough on her mind, so it goes...

Should I explore a bit with mushrooms?  I've never done psychedelics.  Pot, sure.  Maybe wrecked my ambition.

"Well, if anything, marijuana, I wouldn't worry about it.  Neuroplasticity..."

But, I've said it often, you know, music is music, and 'people just put in boxes,' as Shane MacGowan says.  It's all related.  Blues, soul, Irish music, skiffle, bluegrass, Elvis rock'n'roll, cajun, conjunta, jazz, hard country, soft country, new country, Lyle Lovett, Hendrix, a song is a song.  A Clash song can be played country.

And that's where I'm getting to my point.  Great literature.  It's all played on a simple stringed instrument that someone made at home, doesn't need to be a Stradivarius, just needs to be good, like a Martin is pure of tone and you're singing like you want to sing.

This speaks of the finest literature that is.  And it might be almost obvious, basic, simple.  It might seem crude almost, like a puppet show.  But, here are the greats.  What do they talk about?  They are, you know, willing to be so stupid and obvious and basic and straight.  Like Dostoevsky.  The Brothers Karamazov.  He's opening up the pages of the Gospels.  He's pulling out new stories, new embellishments, and they can be quite complex, but the story is basically the same, the healings, the sufferings, the sicknesses, the pride, the honor, the relationship between man and woman, father and son, it's all there, in both.  The big questions about the world, about sin, daring to take on the meaning of life if there is one.

And that's country music.  That's blues.  That's classical music.  That's molecular Newtonian Einstein physics and chemistry.  That's what rock n roll is, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Mahler, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong...  Hank Williams.

And that's why separate, you know, the wheat from the chaff, from worthy readings and the rest.  There is, ultimately, the literature, the great stuff, which really speaks of the problems we have, the morality we need, the faith we must keep...

But it's simple basic stuff to write a book, and Dostoevsky shows us this, in his own convoluted way. There are characters, basically human, sinful, a mix of things, in need of the Gospels.

This is, however, embarrassing things to bring up in front of your therapist, like what it might mean to 'take up the Cross,' like what it might mean to act upon faith, no longer quibbling.  She lets me talk, silently, then asks how I'm doing as far as relationships go.

And the next day, after being allowed to stay home with my sore feet due to the snow storm, but still having kept odd hours, I wonder about faith and what it means to have, to implement such a thing, and I feel embarrassed, as perhaps Jonah must have before getting serious.  I soak my feet in a tub with epsom salts and let my mind not worry too much about the coming shift, how to get there, what I'm doing with my life personally and professionally in the bright light of day.

Tending bar has always made me a bit nervous, the pre-game at least, and that's why I always set myself up pretty well.  But there's the voice in the back of your mind wondering about your professional development, your future, where you're going to end up, things which getting through a night shift does not solve.  For the time being, I make my pot of green tea, cook burgers simply under the broiler and prepare to shower and otherwise get ready.

Wine.... in the good book it is either good, new or old, and by implication, not so good.  To go on about it longer, in the eyes of the eternal is, as Robert Parker would know, is like going on about stereo equipment.  Yes, sure, there are finer points, but this is not helping my sign of Jonah spiritual crisis as I get ready to face, as I've faced for twenty five years, a shift behind a bar.  Okay, sure, what's to worry about?  You're in control, of some things anyway.  You are doing some form of priestly good, listening to people talk, hearing them out.  But...  much of it you see is misbehavior...  And this leaves one with a  nagging conscience.  Which serves me right...

In mild desperation to be calmer I do a plow, a shoulder stand, a headstand, to get the chi back up toward the top.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Well, okay, at the end of the week, you know, trying to keep myself happy, and I suppose suffering through that gap between wanting not to be selfish but still being attached to the world I thought about the expression, 'take up the cross.'  I mean, obviously it had its import back in the day...  But there's a  Buddhist element to it, and in context yes it follows the statement that one must lose himself...  Wouldn't that be great.  We'd not have to worry about all the stuff we're supposed to worry about...

And that's the thing about artists.  They see what is plainly before you.  Like, say Giotto;  here's a three dimensional person portrayed, with shadow and form, as it might look on a flat surface.  It's something staring you in the face, and it is a point relating to psychology, anxiety, worries...  And Jesus is demystifying something for us here.  And he says it himself, don't let people, i.e. legal minds and hypocrite technocrats get in your way.

What does it mean?  We're not quite sure.  How seriously, to what extent?  From the time when the Romans put people on the stake, stavros, the Greek word for it, to our time...  I wondered if there might be a better translation of the word, cross, but it does seem like what he was talking about.  Maybe he did mean something essentially Buddhist, though a bit dramatic.  Lose the self...  Don't get distracted by all the stuff...

But you have the message to teach.  There's the sign of Jonah, who was told to preach to the Ninevites, who did not, trying to run away from his duty going on a ship, who then gets swallowed by the whale, who prays, and then released on dry land to go preach what he was supposed to to the heathens of how to repent.  Interesting that Melville uses it as a theme in his maturity.  Go and preach the gospel;  that's taking up the cross, losing thy self, to redeem a foul, wicked adulterous generation.

And maybe that's how I kind of feel about a night of tending bar.  I should be preaching to them, but I'm neglecting my duty, letting them carry on, you know...  Maybe that's why I'm depressed.  I listen to all their life stuff with great kindness with type O blood passed down so many generations, and I know they are sick, but I have not preached as they require, and perhaps rather have I added to their sins.

Neuro plasticity, yes, the mind is always being flooded with one thing or another... The thing is to be less distracted, to grow up, to become moral, truly moral, not just letting any old thing happen or doing whatever you want...

But Jonah is a launch for Melville.  The journey amongst the heathens and the nations of the world....  represented by King Ahab's three harpooners.  I suppose it ends with Job, I mean, that's what he calls himself, right?, in the beginning, saved, floating on Queequeg's coffin with the Pequod sinks and the whale, the wrath of God dragging Ahab away into the deep.  We don't get from Melville the preaching except that here's what happens when you don't repent.  Maybe that he wrote such a beautiful deeply literary book was his own effort to be 'Biblical,' to be just, to be deeper than whatever was comparable to the crap on television and mass culture, the willingness to forget the old moral laws...

That's the frustrating thing, I suppose.  How to preach, what to preach, what laws to obey, how to obey them, where and how to see the difference between what is good and right and proper and that which is not, as we try to live like normal human beings.  Jesus is the classic example, duh, as he, I dunno, kind of acts normal.  Meaning he's not stuck in rigid tradition, hard-hearted, set, so self-proud as to become hypocritical....

The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, I guess.

But where I went to school, you know, people can be... not the most humble of folks.  And I know the people who sort of saved me life, if you will, are people like my buddy Dan.  Helpful people.  Not snobs.  I ain't ashamed of the restaurant business.  It throws me off, maybe, sometimes.  I wonder if college didn't in some way ruin a fair amount of my creativity, because there's something that squelches creativity, that makes you want to make money, be ambitious, not a hillbilly rebel who's comfortable with himself.  Taken me a long time...  to not be... thinking I was wrong for everything... that I was trying to fit in where I didn't belong, learned to be comfortable with myself.