March 20, 2007
Bruce Sterling on Remembering Serenity
Known mostly as an American science fiction author, and best known for his novels and his seminal work on the Mirrorshades anthology, which defined the cyberpunk genre, he is dry and quiet, yet intense and piercing both in inspiration and in reality. He is also slightly cynical until he comes to poetry and then his free-flowing and emotional 'being' comes through without any shades. Transparent. Raw. Funny. Beautiful. Sad. But always flowing.
He rambles with philosophical undertones for the first half: "Wikipedia and Google together. It’s “over for the 80s.” The first world is the global market. The market world (capitalism), free world. The second world is all things governance. And then we have a ‘new third world.” It is not communism, it’s not the state, it’s not governance, the new third world is commons based pure production, and its growing fast. It’s a new world of ‘didn’t you just?’ i.e., didn’t you just Google that, Twitter this, IM me there, etc. The fourth world is disorder, falling off where they’re abandoning roads and the map."
Where are ya going Bruce? Yet he always manages to bring you back to where he wants you. At some point, he also talked about deviant art and folk culture and what they meant to him. "Folk culture is for hicks," he says. The audience laughs.
"We need a new form of media criticism. We may need to abandon music and literature criticism as its known today. We need critical assessment but we need new ways to do this with new realities on the ground. The electronic hick deals with the new shiny products and stuff, i.e., electronic folk culture."
He continues with slight ramble, "Just because its something we haven’t done before, doesn’t mean it has to be good, i.e., blogs. Not every blog is a really good thing. I’d be surprised if blogs are really around in a decade. When people write about, “I saw this, I saw that, etc….” its like watching someone beaten to death with croutons. It’s hard to find a blog that will make you cry or a blog that has the effect of fine art."
He's right. They're there, but they are hard to find. He finishes on a sentimental note. He says its about serenity. Yes, perhaps and also presence and being there in the 'now.' It's remarkable to me how many people hunger for not just time to reflect but the discipline to be in the 'now,' for fear that after knowing how great the 'now' can be, that it will simply slip into yesteryear once more.
He read a bit of Polish playwright and poet Czeslaw Milosz. On serenity (his term not Milosz' -- something he says, "we undervalue.")
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle flowers
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess
I knew no one worth my envy again
Whatever evil I had suffered I forgot
To think I was once the same man did not embarrass me
In my body, I felt no pain
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails
"I wake up in the morning and consciously create my day the way I want it to happen. Sometimes, because my mind is examining all the things that I need to get done, it takes me a little bit to settle down and get to the point where I am actually intentionally creating my day.
If we're consciously designing our destiny.....throwing in the idea that our thoughts can affect our reality or our life, then I live my life, in a sense, all day long, thinking about being a genius, or being unconditional love.....the more that I do this on a regular basis, the more that I know it is possible."
--Dr. Joe Dispenza, D.C. excerpts from "What the #$BLEEP*!! Do We Know!!?"
March 17, 2007
Rives the POET Recites
March 16, 2007
Why Do Critics Defend Their Favorite Artists Despite.....
Prospect Magazine calls attention to those who support all aspects of an artist because of perhaps how they feel about their professional work when there were many aspects of their personal life that were flawed or worse, inappropriate. I agree. In this case, they talk about TS Eliot.
Picasso is without a doubt one of my favorite artists and while his brushstrokes continue to draw me in decade after decade, there are things about his personal behavior that I have never supported. The same applies to so many greats - Oscar Wilde and Henry Miller are other worthy examples.
Asks the article, "Why do critics feel a need to defend the authors they write on, like doting parents deaf to all criticism of their obnoxious children? Eliot's well-earned reputation is established beyond all doubt, and making him out to be as unflawed as the Archangel Gabriel does him no favours.
It is true that the poet was a sourly elitist reactionary who fellow-travelled with some unsavoury political types in the 1930s, and as a Christian knew much of faith and hope but little of charity.
Yet the politics of many distinguished modernist artists were just as squalid, and some—Pound and Junger, for example—were quite a lot worse. There is no need to pretend that all great writers have to be uxorious, liberal-minded, philosemitic heterosexuals. Why does Raine write as though discovering that Eliot was a paedophile would change our view of Four Quartets?"
March 13, 2007
A Hell of a Good Universe is Waiting
...listen, there's a hell of a good universe next door; let's go........e. e. cummings
March 04, 2007
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
I just finished The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which she completed by the age of 23. Called a literary sensation, there are times throughout the novel you realize a young girl is writing and other times when you scratch your head and think - "how is this kind of insight possible with such a background at such an age?"
The setting is a small Southern town, the cosmos universal and eternal. From a 1981 synopsis: The characters are the damned, the voiceless, the rejected. Some fight their loneliness with violence and depravity, some with sex or drink, and some -- like Mick -- with a quiet, intensely personal search for beauty." That about covers it.
There are times in the book where you want to just grab a character, any character and say, "I'm here, I'll listen to you." Since none of them feel heard, they find solace in speaking to a deaf mute, who at times can understand what they say and at other times, its enough that he just listens.
On men -- all men or the men in the book? this is not clear -- she writes, "in some men, it is in them to give everything personal at some time, before it ferments and poisons - throw it to some human being or some human idea. They have to."
I thought of illusion after reading that, and the power of illusion. It is in many cases what keeps things and people going but sometimes, it is what kills them.
There are also female discussions, some of them among teenage girls: Portia who is a colored teenage girl who works for a poor white family, of which 15 year old Mick, the main character, is a daughter. Mick dreams of being a musician, a composer, the Belle from Beauty & The Beast. They speak in their broken-down English, and Portia, who struggles to make sense of the world says to Mick one afternoon:
"You going to traipse all around like you have to find something lost. Your heart going to beat enough to kill you because you don't love and don't have peace. An then some day, you going to bust loose and be ruined. Won't nothing help you then." She has a point - know anyone in your life like that?
Perhaps it was Mick who I related to most. Likely because she was a girl and even if she was a fully grown woman in the book, she'd still be a girl -- full of that innocent wanting, longing and hunger to be something more, always something more. And yet, while this was always present, Mick, like every other character in the book was lonely and struggled to be 'heard.'
A single male character who moves to the town can't seem to find respect from anyone in his life - professionally or personally. He has a one-way philosophical discussion with the deaf mute about 'teaching the nobodies the truth so that they can become somebodies.
He makes more progress with Negro doctor Copeland in the town, who not only struggles to unveil the truth about racism and equality to everyone he knows, but to his own family, who has become estranged to him since his children were babies. His daughter, the same Portia who works for Mick's family, is the only one who can cross the strained line that only love can force someone to cross.
Despite their in ability to communicate, Copeland leaves an important message that resonates again and again. "Do Not Attempt to Stand Alone." Yet, all the characters are alone again and again and remain in their own despair.
It is during one of these hungry dialogues that we start to see the breadth of McCuller's writing: "the fire shadows lapped against the walls. The dark, shadowy waves rose higher and the room took on motion. The room rose and fell and all balance was wrong. In helplessness and terror, he strained his eyes, but he could see nothing except the dark and scarlet waves that roared hungrily over him."
In every great passage she writes, you painfully realize how much each character struggles to find clarity, clarity about pretty much anything AND to be understood. Don't we all want to just be understood and listened to? Even more critical during a time when there was a raging war in Europe, racism in the south was brutal and people were struggling to pay their bills.
There were other reasons I related to Mick and it had to do with her yearning to compose, to create, to amaze and dazzle herself and others with great music. During one of her childhood day dreams, she is far away, "she could play the Beethoven symphony any time she wanted to. It was a queer thing about this music she had heard last autumn. The symphony stayed inside her always and grew little by little. The reason was this: the whole symphony was in her mind.
It had to be. She had heard every note and somewhere in the back of her mind, the whole of the music was still there, just as it had been played. But she could do nothing to bring it all out again. Except wait and be ready for the times when suddenly a new part came to her. Wait for it to grow like leaves grow slowly on the branches of a spring oak tree." I get that Mick. I get that. Any musician would understand. Anyone who thrives on passion, the kind that is nurtured in just the right way, will understand too.
February 16, 2007
Just Do It
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." --Eleanor Roosevelt
January 30, 2007
What Stands in the Way
"Somebody once put it this way. 'What stands in the way is the way.' And you realize that when you no longer interally resist the form that this moment takes." -- Eckhart Tolle
January 29, 2007
Meditations on Beauty
What a fabulous shot? After a quick first gaze, how could I not re-post it? From Evelyn's blog:
"I believe that peace lies within the small and the magnificent. Born in blades of grass, living in golden sunlight, filtering through dusty shadows that whisper of tinkling piano keys. Growing in the quiet that can be found in a world that is never silent, and dying in the abandon that comes after the rain, only to be born again. Search and you will find beauty." - Sonya Kitchell, a musician.
On Real Light
Must we light a candle to see the sun? -- Albert Einstein