Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Cody's Bookstore, San Francisco, is, at this moment, a large, quiet gem. It has been open for much less than a year and obviously many people who bustle around choosing and buying in other bookstores have not yet got the word on what a good bookstore this is, about half a block from Fourth and Market.

It is a bookstore with lots of books, well-organized, with lots of places to sit and read. It has a vast and carefully selected group of books. Cody's is now a 3 store chain with two of the stores in Berkeley. Berkeley is a town with high average education level. Berkeley is a town where everyone thinks they are an expert because many of them are. Putting together book selections for such a town creates good habits in thouroughness, imaginativeness and off-the-beaten-track-ness. Cody's actually does what Border's would like to do but is too busy and too mass.

Right now you can look at this large, interesting, for-sale collection of books in a place and is quiet and (as far as I can tell) never crowded. Learning, breathing, restfulness are easy there now.

Now in the long run, this is not what I would wish for it is a great bookstore and I think it's current level of not-crowdedness will not sustain it over time.

But it's lovely while it lasts.

At the not far away Border's Books, there are many books, many places to sit but if you get swept away into the book you're reading, you're likely to get swept back by the many other people moving about, search reading.

Right now, Cody's SF, even at what would seem like prime shopping times, is more like a meditation hall with interesting stuff to read than a US of A commercial space.

Cody's SF is on Sutter near Market. It is right next to, going up hill, the Virgin Megastore. It is catty-corner from the Apple Store. Its hours include being open at least 9 to 9, seven days though it's open longer on weekends. It is quietly pleasant while this phase lasts. Later, if it lives, it will be pleasant but probably not this quiet.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Note to self:

Remember to make whole new world.


Being moderately different in what I'm doing now. Being better is good, though it's so hard to tell what better is. Being more interesting is good. All these amoebas and fish evolved and mammals emerged and humans stood up just so I could be a standing mammal here now.

Tedious if after all the millions of years that brought me here, I act and react out of habits I've absently picked up locally. How to be my precise DNA carrier here now?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a book called "Always Coming Home."

It includes a poem with this first line: "I don't care if I am possible."

The whole poem is like this:


I don't care if I am possible.

What are the bridges between us?
Wind, the rainbow,
mist, still air.

We must learn to step on the rainbow.
(Even Old Jealousy called it covenant.)

We must learn how to walk the wind.

What links us (O my sister soul)
is the abyss between us.
We must learn from the fog paths.

What parts us (O my brother flesh)
is our kinship of one house.

We must learn to trust thin air.

--Ursula K. Le Guin, from "Always Coming Home."

Friday, January 27, 2006

If I pay a lot of attention to the news, I get sucked into categories that have got to be wrong. If I pay none, I live in my own categories, also limited, too tied to when and where I have been learning and my local mood of the moment.

I need to more ask the world silently what's going on. If I learn to do that, reality will sometimes tell me, in its own categories I can barely understand. But I can grow to fit the real categoried and fit the read world

I read once in the magazine "Shaman's Drum" about a woman who had studied plants in a USA university way. She went to the Amazon to look for healing drugs not yet noticed by USA people.

She was past the level of thinking the best way to find such medicine was to grab plant and do lab work.

She went thinking the best way to find medicines was to act the healers who lived there about healing plants.

The woman she tried to do this with said no, the best way to find out what kind of healing a plant can do is to ask the plant.

So the USA woman spent time with the woman who said "ask the plant" and started to learn to ask the plant.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The silvery light of the cloudy sky makes the asphalt also silver.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Like an army but the other thing.

A large group of people working together for a certain kind of goal. Many different skills used and taught.

Matching clothes--shall the non-army have them?

Call teenagers on the phone and say your fondest ideals--you can help make them real while you learn to do hard, interesting things.

The Gore-Tex Company trained people by having the wander around the company learning what was being done and thinking about what could be done, and then making part of that be there job.

This not-an-army-but-the-other-thing does that too. It will be hard because so many entering will be near teenagers and therefore near geniuses, near loud producers of banalites at the same time.

Cornell West in a lecture in Oakland told about how when integrated, racially integrated groups of students went out to do some project together, on the bus ride out, the all said nothing new. They talked about race and around race in ways they had done before and that many others had done before.

On the bus ride back they talked about what they had just done--intrinsically new to them because they had just done it.

Something in ancient Greek talks about how an army of lovers cannot be defeated, and gay people oft quote that, and I'm always going inside myself, "Does it have to be an army?"

The ancient Greeks were thinking of pairs of guys. The quote is also used with approval in the terrific lesbian novel "Patience and Sarah" by Isabel Miller. Those two women living on early nineteen century New England farms had never heard of lesbian love, didn't know anyone who thought sex in any form was fun and partly about profound bonding, and each of them had never been particularly supported on a deep soul level.

They lived in hard-working farm community where life was easier than it had been in frontier time and far from easy. It was all about work. When they blew up other away in a positive way as one delivered a load of wood to the household of the other, they found a whole new level of support. The sex love heart connection which wasn't happening in their neighborhood among anyone. It was all very functional--"slam, bam, thank you ma'am" without the thank you ma'am part.

So these two are quite surprised by the good feelings they can give each other and the river of deep support that flowed between them. I support you deeply because of the way you are you and how I feel that. Deep support is inevitable.

And when they are in that place, the one who has book learning, Patience, brings in this "army of lovers cannot be defeated" thing.

Does it have to be an army? A group of people, including many lovers, profoundly supporting each other from the luxury of support that arises from their love.

Part of the work of the not-army is to help make society so that there is more support flowing around for what you were born to be which may be something you've never seen in your neighborhood.

An army of lovers cannot be defeated. A not-army-but-the-other-thing can find new kinds of victory to work for, to live in, for more and more people. A world in which people can easily find out who they are because they feel really supported right at the heart and on out to the universe.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If one person were doing this thing--fast walking, looking ahead hard as if that would make it all happen faster, fierce worriedness--maybe we could take her aside and say "breathe" and also "there, there." Lots of people do it at the same time, and we call it going to work in the morning.

No comfort is offered, and not much perspective.
"I guess I've done a bad job of describing it. Everyone I've told about it is totally unexcited."

--man talking to his friends on the bus
A pleasant seismic shift is taking place slowly.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Taking gentleness into the public space subtly. Not going so slow as to be annoying. Not going so slow as to be even noticeable.

Lightening up on the invasion feel. I am here. I don't need to invade here.

Trying a different walking vibe--not trying to cut like a knife through the crowd of people many of whom are trying to cut like a knife through the crowd. To go a little slower and gentler than that, to get good at it, to be openly, almost invisibly different.
Some damsel options:

1. Be in distress. Await rescue.

2. Seek others in distress. Rescue them.

3. Redesign the situation so it produces less distress.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

"He's got a reality distortion field."

--One man walking down the street to another, about a block from the big computer convention

Friday, January 20, 2006

In the morning shine, the plants are chlorophylling the air with stuff I can breathe.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Hitting the great wad of air that surrounds our planet at a sharp angle, the sun light travels through more air at sunrise and sunset than it does in the middle of the day. Things often look special and magical at the first and last light in a way they don't in mid-day light. Details easy to ignore at noon can seem alive and filled with hope of healing for us all at sunrise, sunset.

If it weren't for the right amount of air with the right mixture of gases, the sun would not be our friend We wouldn't be here. The light is more likely to look magic to us when it's spent more time in the magic air that makes our live and details possible.
An important player in every game played on planet Earth is gravity.

Friday, January 13, 2006

In India, near Myore, there is a statue sixty feet tall of a ex-soldier who is repenting of being a soldier.

He's naked--really no possessions. He's meditating. He's not caught in the midst of any motion. He's standing still.

He's been standing still so well and so long that that vines go up around his legs.

He's a Jain saint, Gomataswara.

Robert Payne writes of him, "He had won victories and rejoiced in them, and then quite suddenly, while he was still young, he had realized the vanity of his triumphs and the evil he had done. As an act of penance he had sworn to stand in motionless meditation to the end of his life."

In the statue, he's young, he's good looking, and he has a lot of standing ahead of him.

I don't live in a country that would have a sixty foot statue of a repentant soldier. At least I live in a world with that.

--information, as well as the direct quote from the book "The Splendors of Asia," text by Robert Payne, black and white photos by Dorothy Hales Gary

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"We must have the full effect of San Francisco. Let's walk around in the rain."

--umbrella-less and cotton-clad, getting off the bus

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I almost don't drink. I had about half a glass of alcohol in the last twelve month's and none at all on New Year's Eve, when I went to bed early.

It is the first working day of 2006 and I feel hungover. From this I conclude two things:

1. It's been so long since I've really been hungover I don't remember how bad it feels. I actually feel sort of bad in a way somewhat reminiscent of hungoverness rather than feeling hungover.

2. We live one life. There are hangovers out there. This time period has had many hangovers, and as a member of this pack of mammals, I get to feel a bit of it, too.

The good news perhaps being that if I have thoughts and feelings of quality they can feed back into the pack and help us out.

I am hoping that it's not a majority rule thing, that the mood that the most have the rest will have. That could be either a good thing or a bad thing.

I'm hoping that if someone including me has a quality, needed, missing thought and feeling in the middle of themselves, it might spread because it is high quality and because it is needed. I tend to think of things like that travelling by being put into artwork and actions. Maybe not always I remember since this hangover came to me direct because I'm here and hangovers are around. The dream is that quality can sometimes have the power that quantity is having in this case.
copyright 2006 Anne Herbert All rights reserved
Go ahead.