Thursday, April 29, 2010

You could figure out a whole better way to do it. Not figure, maybe. You could weave a whole better way to do it, putting thin bits together that people before you didn't know went together, and making a new, useful, warming way to be. You seem like a natural for that.
I go back and forth between worrying too much about negative things that might happen and feeling smug. When I feel smug, I feel that, if the situation is good and there doesn't seem to be anything to worry about, I'm responsible for the situation being good. Hurrah for me.

I'd like to spend more time being present with the present, whatever it may be.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sherlock Holmes. Homes. Making the city a place we can live in by making it make sense. Of course, Holmes has another quality that might help in making a city homey--no emotions. A character in the novel "The Buddha of Suburbia" by Harif Kureshi says he left India partly to leave seeing horrible things on the street that he couldn't do anything about.

The Holmes stories don't talk about that much--deprivation. Just crime.

The same character in "The Buddha of Suburbia" says a problem with living in London is his neighbor won't talk to him because he's Indian. He finds a way to solve that by entering contact from another angle. He becomes a spiritual teacher. His neighbor doesn't talk to him, but people like his neighbor are eager to talk to him.

When Harif Kureshi was around the set of the making of the movie of his screenplay "Sammy and Rosy Get Laid (While London Burns)" he wouldn't talk to the actors.

When the author of the play "Learning to Drive" was around for a San Francisco production of her play, she told a reporter for the Chronicle that when she was around rehearsals, she went out to lunch with everyone involved in the play. Not to explain things to them, but to give them the flavor of who she was.

When I was little, I said something that gave my mother the impression that I thought little people were inside the TV set and we were watching them. She explained to me broadcasting. But I more or less understood broadcasting, as much as I ever would, and I knew the TV had glass and wires inside itself.

I just believed in the wires and the airwaves at the same time as I thought there was little people in the back.

I'm still kind of like that. If I really like a novel or movie, I don't fully believe the people are made up.

"Sammy and Rosy Get Laid" was like that for me. I totally believed, and totally believe now in the reality of every character, except one.

Holmes. Homes. L is for logic. L is for love. Holmes seems beyond love, but really likes a lot noticing the truth of what happened, and knowing many different kinds of facts to be able to do that.

Truth holds a city together, because no matter what we think, here we all are. Love holds the city together, or something like that, the connecting.

I didn't believe in the reality of the character Rosie. I totally felt all the other characters were living real lives and I got to be there--and in the midst of them was this actress acting--so odd, an actress acting in mid-reality.

Rosie was Sammy girlfriend. Sammy was the character much like the author of the screenplay, Hanif Kureshi. The woman who had been his girlfriend who was much like Rosie was right on the set, watching the actress play Rosie. Kureshi wouldn't talk to the actors. The relationship between Kureshi and his ex-girlfriend hadn't reached a comfortable place at all. Kureshi and his ex were watching the actress playing Rosie, and naturally she acted.

Somehow everyone else was being.

The beginning of "Sammy and Rosie" is scary in a not-movie way. The scariness is not contained in the movie, in movie scariness. It seems like something that might happen in my life.

In a leafy, pleasant residential neighborhood like ones I've been in, liked, been bored by, the police are sneakily advancing like an army. Hiding behind bushes, going forward.

They enter a house and go up stairs, open a door and shoot. Just before they shoot we see a mid-fifties woman, round, large, cooking, standing by the stove holding a skillet. Then she falls as she is shot more than once.

So that's that. The movie doesn't say anything about that then, but we join Sammy and Rosie and their friends and Sammy's father. Interesting people, good to be with. Sammy and Rosy feel like they've seen better times, but at the start it feels like they will work their way back to spending more time knowing why they like each other.

People talk, plan when to meet again. Some of that friendly planning chat happens in the midst of people running around and fires of piled stuff burning. London burning, in fact, as per the movie title in response to the woman at the stove in the leafy neighborhood getting killed.

We learn slowly that the police were after a twenty something man relative of the fifty something woman they killed.

They thought they had it figured out when they went into her home, and killed her and made the city feel much less like a place where one might have a safe home.

Sammy and Rosy and friends take rage about that and about the set-up it is part of for granted and procede with living. Sammy and Rosie having fun and not fun, Sammy and his father having well-practiced fights that don't seem to go anywhere.

Then there's their friend who walks around being truly free. He goes where he wants for whatever reason he wants, and every step feels like he's alive for it and free.

An amazing guy who I continue to be blown away by, who seems on the verge of knowing. . .well, for example, what one appropriately does in a world where people get killed dead without logic or love. He is one of the people standing and planning his regular life in the midst of the fires. The whole way he walks is like, "Yeah, fires, but come one, what do we want to do really? What do I want to do really?"

Every moment he seems open to all possible actions--and all possible actions are clearly, for him, not dominating by violence. He meets an elegant, old, upper class lady and goes to here country place--not huge, but very nice, high class, different from the burning part of the city. He walks around outside as she has gone inside for something, and picks up a garden party type hat and puts it on and grins at her as she looks out the window.

Not threatening. Just, he can do anything. He's free.

We eventually find that the older woman killed at the beginning by the police looking for a young man is the woman who raised him. We might guess then that he is sort of high detached on grief. Partly. But he is really looking for something else, not signing on for--you care about her, you're rioting, I'll join in and thank you very much.

He cares about her and about finding a whole other way. And I believe in his reality, the reality of his search, of taking every step as new.

Harif Kareshi says when he starts he knows who the group of people is but he doesn't know who is important. Any of them might be. This is by screen time a fairly small part that has stayed with me as a step toward another word. How to step like that?

I was maybe lucky that I didn't know the actor, Roland Gift, a rock star from Fine Young Cannibals, who found something big to do with that rock star prescence.

And what will we do to make new?

In "The Mists of Avalon," the King Arthur legends are retold with a woman often portrayed as bad portrayed as good and the main character. Britain has had an egalitarian society, women with both spiritual and political power, and that way of living is going away partly because people don't believe it any more.

The old way is presented as quite real and a good way humans might live, and a good way women might matter.

Any way you retell the Arthur legends, they are sad. "The Mists of Avalon" is really a different take, and still sad. I got inspired by it, because it made the going away of a way of living where women and nature didn't get beat up all the time--it made that going away so real, that I felt the coming back could be real. That the coming back of non-vicious ways based in this planet in a different forms never seen before could be.

Maybe by someone escaping the powerful, natural trap of vengance and rage, and wondering,wondering with a whole moving body, how the next step could be a step toward different, how one person could take steps toward different and better--this step, that step, then another.
Seeing is one of the ways of seeing. There are others.
What is too good to talk about?

What is too awful to talk about?

What is too small to talk about?
Learn to live at the pace of peace.
I'm creating an ugly pearl.

I build layers of self-righteousness around some tiny good thing I've done or some miniscule bad thing I haven't done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I like the new mural on Market, downtown. I kept thinking it wasn't done, and I liked it in process. But now I realize maybe it is done, and I like it.

Boards on a storefront that's been closed a long time. Or maybe boards on several storefronts. They've been painted, the boards, to make a grey background, sometimes, and a white background, sometimes.

Animals are painted on the white, in detail, in color--kangaroo rat, great horned owl, red-shouldered hawk, grey fox, mule deer. Not seen much in downtown San Francisco, though raptors do sometimes soar.

Buildings are sketched on the white near the animals, not in detail, in broad black lines.

The animals and buildings are not in scale with each other. The animals are about the same size as the buildings, which makes the animals look big and the buildings look smaller.

The buildings sketched are like many of the buildings right around there--straightforward, functional 1940's and 1950's buildins, older buildins with froo-froo in stone or molded cement.

The building the mural is on has, along its top edge, scroll-like decorations. Each one is the same. They are like a skinny scroll going up and down and with one end unscrolling in one direction and the other end scrolling in the other. Scroll, scroll all along the top of the building.

One of those scrolls is painted, sketched at each end of the mural, big. As big as some of the buildings, some of the animals.

The red tailed hawk seems to soar above it all, above what it there now and what was, maybe, there once, soars above the present and the possible.

I think that's what it's like, partly, with you and your office building. You do your job, as your bosses understand your job, well, and you also soar above, looking down with clear, long vision. Raptors do that and look for yummy rodents.

You soar above and look for places where healing can happen, with some fast, smart, subtle help. You see such a place, and whoosh!

People's live become less sketchy, more three-D. They become more the whole animal-soul they were meant to be. In the midst of the humdrum and the squabble of routine someone is different and better off, more accurately themselves.

That must happen a lot in many places, with the whoosh of many different people wise love, or we the people of the planet would be in even more agony than we are now.

At the top of part of the mural are sketchy connecting wtih each other white lines on grey that might be spider-webs, might be gems. Whatever they are, it feels like they are rolling along, together to someplace good. What's valuable?

--The mural on the south side of Market, between Fifth and Sixth, closer to Fifth, and has no visible street number. The artists are Leanne C. Miller & Helen Bayly. the mural is called "Find Yourself in Natural History."
Learning about gradually. Gradually learning about gradually.
Beauty, intricacy.

You can make things that are beautiful and intricate. You can understand things that are beautiful and intricate. You are a being that is beautiful and intricate.
The streets and the alleys are both true. Both have agony and joy in unsummarizable detail.
Round, with colors that surprise and heal.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yes, yes. Bless, bless.
We're not smart enough to be this smart. Let us pray.
--"A lot of people stay in their own two block area and never go out."

--Sidewalk talk, man to woman, in the Tenderloin
The seasons are caused by a pomegranate seed or twenty-three degrees. Maybe both.

Monday, April 19, 2010

They were never afraid, and then they died of heart attacks.
Light, playful, little is one valid way for mammal to be.
"There's nothing wrong with being playful and showering people with confidence, as far as I'm concerned."

--Sidewalk talk, one woman to another

Sunday, April 18, 2010

--"He kind of looks like Freddy."

--"He looks like Freddy looked before Freddy became all work."

--Sidewalk talk, one man to another

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We gently celebrate Incremental Improvement Day.

For small changes for the better that we are not sure will last.

For improvements so tiny we haven't noticed them yet.

We sing softly; we dance lightly. We eat good old-fashioned Incremental Improvement Day food, which is a little better than we remembered.

Am I ID'ed to myself as being exactly as flawed as I am right now for always? On Incremental Improvement Day, I can let that go a little.
Love and coffee create a sense of well-being both deep and shallow. Good morning.
The healed part of your heart knows which way to go.
Inner agony, outer perkiness. USA--we're number one. Which is one reason we export agony. We won't look in and greet it locally. We smile and tell far away people cheerily, "We're here to help."
Your pain and your theories about your pain.
If I'm dehydrated and feel pessimistic, a drink of water could change my philosophy.

Same process can happen with music--not enough produces odd growliness; some changes the atmosphere, inside self and out.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A key to the kingdom for me would be, "Talk less." For some others, it would be "Talk more."
Relaxed and thinking from a place safe and pleasant--my brain on hugs.
The new arises like a new volcano. The new arises like a new blade of grass.
A be still bee, where neighbors get together and are quiet.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I heard this man from Denmark on the bus say "okay" in the midst of a bunch of Danish--clearly "okay" and said something like "eh-kay." Hearing that made me want a sampler called "A world of okays in an okay world."
The task I'm doing now would probably go more smoothly if I thought about how best to do it. But if I thought about how best to do it that would create a pause in my freneticnesss, and I don't want a pause in my freneticness because I don't want to think.

Thinking about this task I'm doing might be okay or even good, but once I pause and think, many other things I don't want to think about might flood in, so I'll just keep moving and making mistakes, which can be usefully distracting
West seems a strong direction here because almost right away, going west from here, there's a big change of form that goes on for long. I could walk east for thousands of miles for some cause or no cause, but west, I can't walk very far that way for any cause at all. The rolling surf says things can be really different, and says it again and again.
Even if we're in a really bad mood, there needs to be due process. Especially if we're in a really bad mood, there needs to be due process.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Any war is an inefficient way of getting the results it gets.

But we can't think of anything better again, and we're excited and upset again, and here we go again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I can be dense at times, such as when I haven't gotten enough sleep or when I'm being fiercely clever in the wrong direction.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Elizabeth Gaskell writing about dinner parties where people are entertaining and clever and scintillating: "These dinners were delightful; but even here Margaret's dissatisfaction found her out. Every talent, every feeling, every acquirement; nay, even every tendency toward virtue, was used up as materials for fireworks; the hidden, sacred fire, exhausted itself in sparkle and crackle."

--Elizabeth Gaskell in her novel "North and South," Chapter 48, "Ne'er to be Found Again."

The crowd at the dinner party and the crowd at the bar cannot, as a crowd, say, "Go deeper with that."
Various things happen and don't happen, and water says, "We can work with that."

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This can't have been the original intention, but I think all patriotic songs could use some words that the patriotic song "Dixie" has. "Look away, look away." To get that rah-rah patriotic feeling about a country, it helps to look away from many things.

Frederick Braudel, and others, have said large scale capitalism and large scale slavery came in at the same time, and that is no coincidence. Braudel says for large scale capitalism to work, there has to be on the planet a large group of people working as slaves, or close to slavery.

The middle people for whom large scale capitalism works well are, by this theory, floating atop people with no choice working for nothing, or people with very little choice working for little. The mid-capitalism experience feels better if one finds ways to look away from that.
Traveling on one wing, maple seeds seek the future.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The man running the trolley car I was in was talking about another trolley car operator who, according to the schedule, was supposed to be behind my guy's trolley, but who at the beginning of the shift went out ahead of him.

If they had been driving diesel busses, getting in the right order would have been the quick work of passing. But since they were on trolley tracks, the error went on and on. My guy said disdainfully of the other trolley operator, "He's got that rubber tire mentality."
Jackson Pollack's paintings were painted in a time and place where it often seemed that the job of being human was to walk along a straight line that already existed and that other people had walked on.

There was more than one straight line one might choose to walk on, but not many more than one.

Maybe you are trying to find your straight line when actually you are about curving, wiggling streams of many different colors and about drops that are nothing like a perfect circle and exude beauty.

Jackson Pollack didn't micromanage paint. "Lighten up" can mean let more of the colors in that white light can break into, if asked. Finding your lines, your squiggles, your life might include inventing a new skill and getting good at it, as Jackson Pollack was good at flinging paint.

Fling and be flung and find the life in your life.
It is fortunate that the kind of clothes you like best are also the kind of clothes God likes best, and that when you change your mind, so does God.

Monday, April 05, 2010

There was a screech of brakes, then nothing--no crunch, no thunk.

Then, a car door slamming, and two men yelling at each other.

A car-pedestrian close call had resulted in no contact, no injuries.

The guys involved were not working out a song of thanksgiving for the bad thing not happening. They were mad at each other and getting madder by the word to an extent that was scary. Were they going to get injury out of this, after all?

They were on a quiet side street, so they could go on and on.

Coming up hill toward their noisiness on the busier street that the side street went off was walking a woman who started singing. Quietly, no words.

It sounded like a cross between a high lonely folk song from the Appalachian Mountains and whale cries. Land and sea.

I felt the air molecules relax.

The men were so preoccupied and the song so quiet that I didn't know, watching from the uphill side of the busier street as she approached from the down hill side, if the men heard her.

It felt to me like a real change happened in the area around the yelling and including the yelling that increased the odds that what had started as a loud conversion would end as a loud conversation with nobody hurt. That is, in fact, what happened and didn't happen.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

It's a cattle head that got turned upside down during the long journey. It's a triangle lifted up by two slanting supports. Maybe the triangle is a little house and the supports are holding it above a lake--great views. It's a capital A, and I like it.
There are potatoes around the neighborhodd today--brown, raw, oddly frequent. Three potatoes beside a public trash can. Five potatoes in the middle of the sidewalk in the next block. One potato on a bus-wait bench in the block after that. On and on.

Because this strewing of potatoes happened on the first Sunday after the first Monday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, the potatoes look like large, lumpy Easter eggs that haven't been colored yet.

Friday, April 02, 2010

If I know something, and I'm reasonably sure it's true, but it isn't deeply connected to my hopes and my idea of who I am, I may find myself thinking about this reasonably sure thing without expecting to be thinking about it. It may just pop up. I may tweak what I think about it, or occasionally, change what I think about it a lot.

If I deeply know something down to my heart and what I assume to be the basis of my life, I tend to put it in the no-think zone. So even if it's basically pretty sound, this deeply known thing gets dated, stays the way it was when I started knowing it.

If the deeply known something is basically unsound, and I never think about it, no matter how intelligently I think about stuff I care less about, I am stupic at the core.