Saturday, June 28, 2008

I'm just barely smart enough to know that all categories are dumb.

Or that the categories I'm likely to think in are dated at best.

I'm just barely smart enough to know that this is the time where good work can be done in dumping categories.

Whether I can do that work is another question. Maybe I can just try to not get in the way of that work being done.

I think about thinking without categories and I scurry toward thinking in new, improved categories. Categories comfortable for me.

I just barely know that that is wrong.
* Organizing. When there was a strong US left, strongly influenced by the Communist Party, organizing had a strong meaning.

I learned this from "The Romance of American Communism" a wonderful book by Vivian Gornick. It is divided into three sections about people's relationship with the party--falling in love, living the life (being married), and getting divorced.

Gornick talks about her childhood, where poor workers would sit around the kitchen table talking about big ideas and their lives and thinking that was a standard thing to do, think big and deep about their lives.

They were, in those conversations, organizing themselves.

When people got thrown out of the party and their whole lives, some continued to organize themselves.
* Shakespeare and Shaw are two excellent playwrights who wrote in English.

Something that helped Shakespeare as a playwright is that he worked as an actor. He knew what worked.

Something that didn't help Shaw as a playwright is that he worked writing political pamphlets. Some speeches in Shaw read like political pamphlets. Very well-written political pamphlets, but not something any actual human would say and way too long.

These pamphlety speeches are of course much shorter than a real political pamphlet, but in context, that can seem much longer.

An actor, exposed, body, heart and soul on the stage knows that acting is working with the limited ability of the human body to sit still and to listen to one thing.

Someone reading a political pamphlet might pick it up and put it down and pick it up later. Someone reading a political pamphlet might compare Shaw's pamphlets to other political pamphlets and note that they are much better written than the usual pamphlet, which they are.

But they are longer and more beating on a point than what human attention located in human body can easily absorb.

Shakespeare had been out there, in his own plays and other plays, and felt when the minds of the audience wandered because their bodies were tired. Or their bodies, if not overall tired, were tired of this one thing.

Shakespeare is good at changing the subject being acted about, or the tone of the events, fast, just when you least expect it. His actor's body and smart mind kept their attention before it started to change.

Any human group activity is cooperation between bodies. Wisdom about keeping those bodies content will make many more things possible.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

* At the level of big, spiral nebulae.

At the level of little, spiral DNA.

Plans are often planned in a straight line, so the spiral of large and of life has to push its way in. Relax, maybe, into the spiral that makes you.
* Sometimes stupid seems like it would be a pleasant change. Sometimes stupid seems restful.

But spend too much time taking a break inside stupid, and you forget that stupid is stupid.
* Russian religious icons seem very still compared to much Western European religious art.

In an Italian Madonna and Child, the child might by reaching toward the mother, and it might feel like the motion would continue in the next moment. A painting of a moment in the middle of a Bible story implies motion right before and right after the painting.

Mother and Child and saints in the Russian icons seem to be exactly as they are and not moving to another position.

James H. Billington points out that in the setting it was created for, the icon was always lit by flickering candles. It was made to be part of prayer.

So the flickering light, the flickering of human concentration--that's the movement, directed toward something that's still, there.

--learning from "The Spirit of Russian Art," an essay by James H. Billington in "The Horizon Book of the Arts of Russian" edited by Thomas Froncek.
* It is like being able to hear music that I can barely hear. I know it's different than what I can easily understand. If I go toward the music, I'll be going toward my own ignorance. I will be going closer to beauty.
* "Do not go gentle into that good night," wrote Dylan Thomas, who died at 41 of alcoholism. Do not go stupid into that good night.
* "Do not go gentle into that good night," wrote Dylan Thomas, who died at 41 of alcoholism. Do not go stupid into that good night.
* A slight, kind nudge toward sanity.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poetry on the radio.

"The Hummingbird Fire." One of the many wildfires burning around here in this hot, dry time. They are all named after something nearby, in this case Hummingbird Road near Watsonville.

I will all beings well, and all structures, especially residences. I want also to save the phrase.

"The Hummingbird Fire." What else does that mean?

"Debris reported in the roadway, but we don't yet know which lane." What else does that mean?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

* The city's percussion section is large, but it doesn't usually play together consciously.

The restaurant space on the corner was being remodeled, on its way to being a new restaurant. Someone inside was nailing nails with a complex and musical rhythm.

A man was walking by on the sidewalk who was carrying a set of bongo drums. He kept walking and picked up the nailing rhythm on his drums and elaborated on it.

The nailer elaborated back as the bongo player walked on and played on. Therefore, there is a God.
* The God of joining in.
* Thank you? That's not it, too automatic. Learning to live the accurate sentiment under that is a good adventure. To let the sentiment live me?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Man of Marble" is a terrific movie, except for the ending. About two very different characters driven to be good and do good in very different ways.

The movie it driven; it moves with the urgency its characters live in.

Until the end, which is low-energy, flat, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I loved "Man of Marble" when I saw it and was confused by the ending--more confused by the energetic flatness than the lack of coherence. I was like a little kid looking around not understanding what happened. The characters were the same, I guessed, they were the same actors after all, but, huh? What was going on? What wasn't going on?

The world changed. I found out that the director's intended ending had been censored. When I heard that, I instantly raelized how naive I was to not have known that whan I saw the movie. The director told me, plain as plain, by removing his skill and his heart from the ending he was forced to make.

The director of the movie was a director trying to make good and good movies in Connumist Poland. So was one of his characters.

She, the inside the movie director, was driven to make a movie about a worker's hero from the fifties, an actual human who was praised and make into numerous statues, a man of marble.

Such statues and propaganca was long out of fashion when she started to do research for her movie. She had to go to a warehouse to see a stored statue. She wondered what this supposed paragon of fifties Communist Poland actually like.

Good-hearted and idealistic is what he was like. And naive. She is good-hearted and idealistic, though she wouldn't admit, probably not even to herself, but her she is, doing not the most popular thing, looking under old government propaganda when the only source of money for her
Is it okay with the ancestors for you to be content and comfortable? If it's not, can you sing til it is?
Some restrictions apply, but which ones? The day before yesterday we tried X, and it didn't work.

Reality has reconfigured itself since then. Walking through more love and air has changed us also.

We try again.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gradually learning the value of being gradual.
* Strange because so ordinary. Strange because of the lack of manufactured drama.
* It's almost flag day. Fabric is kind because it's flexible.
* This land used to be the sea. I used to be me.

I'm still me. I'm different.

You're here.
* You can make things that are beautiful and inticate. You can understand things that are beautiful and intricate. You are a thing that is beautiful and intricate.
* I'm feeling impatient and acting harshly, and it isn't getting me what I want so I'm feeling more impatient and acting more harshly. Breathing?
* Put on a cape. Became a better ape. Learn to live at the pace of peace.
*Process food, process air, be water is what my body is up to. Also thinking.
* Listen for the t, unsounded and right there.
* It's right there.
* Time is how God works.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

When small, fat cherubs were common in expensive European art, small, skinny people were common in Europe. The knowledge that these hungry people are as individual and important as i am can be a demanding angel, not particularly cute.
* "I do not appreciate any underground activity. Millions cannot go underground. Millions need not."


Elitism goes well with laziness. Including everyone in is more work. and people and leaders learn more, including how to switch places.
Our ideals mean everything; our atrocities mean nothing. Our enemies ideals mean nothing; their atrocities mean everything.