Faux Fu's EP

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Riffs On Demand!

Notes from yesterday's late afternoon song-writing session on the lakefront with with my band-mate. 

Let's call it "Riffs on Demand!" Sometimes, I am put on the spot, and must come up with something new in the moment. Not easy, not hard.  I mean, it's best not to think about it,  and to just let my fingers explore the fret-board of my guitar.

What are the elements for a successful session?

A blanket, two ginger-beers, lots of sunshine, a sweet summer breeze, swaying trees, the sounds of crashing waves.

Sir Paul McCartney takes a "sad song and makes it better." He of course is a master. Our band whitewolfsonicprincess takes a sad song and makes it "livelier." When a stranger running on the path shouts: "Beautiful," it makes us think we might be on the right track!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Genie in a Bottle...

Relationships. How do they work? Why do they work, when the work? Why don't they work, when they don't work? Why does it go from working to not working, or vice versa?

Beats me. 

I have a few long-term relationships: Significant Other, Family, Friends.

Sometimes everything is wonderful, copacetic. Then again, sometimes things can go to hell in an instant. A blip, a wink of an eye, one false move or one hanging participle.

How about the Male/Female thing? The Yin/Yang Dichotomy?  

I think of Jerry Seinfeld's advice about marrige: Always Agree. No matter what. Jerry is sort of Zen about it. Maybe a Zen Master.

How does it work at home?  Here is an example from today's morning conversation in the kitchen (with coffee).

My Companion: Why did you do it?
Me: Your Wish is my Command.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Weed-Pulling Mission...

A bit of prompting from a beautiful soul, and dear relative, led me to a wonderful summer Sunday. I found myself in a rental car, heading West to my Mother's house, with my long-time partner and companion.

We were on a weed-pulling mission. We listened to the radio on the drive there, no CD player, so that meant WRXT on the box in the car. We are long-time listeners to XRT. It was a great r&r station for many years, then management changes made it pretty much unlistenable for a decade or so. But there has been a renaissance, great DJ's, limited annoying commercials, and an excellent varied playlist with many of the classics, lots of Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Kinks, Springsteen, Beatles, Patti Smith, The Strokes, The Grateful Dead, sprinkled with some new music too. Good play loudly & roll-down-the-windows-tunes.

When we got to the house there it was pizza party first! Get the reward before the work? OK. That's a bit extravagant, and luxurious, but it made sense and was totally delicious.

We had a loud and annoying (to everyone, even me) discussion of politics and the fucking damn FILIBUSTER! I am against it, and I made my opinion on the topic loud and clear. Yikes. Even I was annoyed with the  sound and tone of my overbearing voice. But I feel strongly on the topic. The bottom line? The Democrats must kill the filibuster, and they must pass every FUCKING bill they can pass. NOW. No time to waste. The planet is burning, the people are surly and armed, and well, Joe MUST FIX EVERYTHING NOW, or we are LOST!

Then it was on to the weed-pulling. A beautiful garden in the front yard, over-run with spiky weeds. My partner and I donned gloves and plunged into the greenery. The sun was blazing. We sweated like little stuck pigs, but it was fabulous and it felt amazingly satisfying to fill a large container full of pulled from the roots weeds. The garden looked renewed & amazing afterwards. Tending your garden. Soul-work!

We finished the afternoon with a little hootenanny. A guitar, a harmonica, and three voices. It was fun, low-key, rambling and quite enjoyable.  Then we said our goodbyes and it was the long-ride home. More XRT. More classic r&r. We finally got home. Exhausted. Satisfied. A good day. Well done all around. We slept like little babies. And dreamed of flowers and guitars.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Good Work to Get There...

Shooting for Joy, Transcendence, Diamond-Hard Clarity, Beauty, Grace, Good Vibes. I mean, I think it's the "Good Work" to get there. It's the reason to live. And, of course, you must prepare yourself every day to get there. It takes discipline, and a bit of courage, and toughness. And you have to tune out the shit, the noise, the nay-sayers, the vibe-killers, the assholes. And you must not be afraid to conjure up dreams, lots of beautiful, vivid, all-consuming dreams, and you must not be afraid to verbalize them. It helps to find things you LOVE to do. And do them often. And do them to the MAX. And lose yourself. You find yourself by dropping the ego, by riding an energy bigger than yourself. You can get there many, many ways: Drumming, Meditation, Running, Music, Art, Poetry, Dance. I mean, really whatever. You have to do. Experience. And throw yourself into whatever you are doing completely. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Resilience...

Resilience - 1. The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. 2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

Right. Recover. Bounce back. Being elastic & pliable. A bend but don't break attitude. How to do it? 

Physically: I think it helps to move, keep limber, stretch, walk, bike, expend your energy. Remember "energy makes energy." 

Mentally: as Bruce Lee and the Tao Te Ching tells us, "be like water." Be fluid, transparent, give way to solid obstacles, go around, flow.  

Spiritually: connect, open your heart, blue sky mind. Everything is Everything.

Also, good, nutritious food and restful sleep helps. Music, Art, Poetry, Dance. Beyond that, well, there is a Universe to teach us. Yoko Ono - "Open Your Box!"

Friday, June 11, 2021

Take Care Little Holy Ghost...

We lost one of our feathered friends two days ago. We had named her the Holy Ghost. She has been with us about seven years. A little, all-white (with a dot of blue on her back) parakeet. She was an uncommon little bird. Big spirit. Totally tuned-in to everything.

She came from the local Pet Store. We rescued her from a little glass enclosure. She came in a cardboard box. Funny, when we brought her into the bedroom where our little flock hangs out, she was rattling and squawking in that little box like a flaming ball of chaos. That got everyone's attention.

For the longest time we've had a little 4 bird flock. The Holy Ghost was the best of us. The conscience of the flock. She was aloof, moved gracefully, took a bath in her bowl of water nearly every day. None of the other birds bathed as often as the Ghost.

She loved music. She would sing when we played cds, or when we practiced our songs. I'd often play guitar and she'd fire up a whole menu of chirps, trills, squawks, beeps. I'd stop playing and she'd clam up. She'd look at me as if she was thinking: "Don't look at me. I wasn't singing just my head off. Can we please go on to the next song?"

Death came quickly. One morning the Ghost sort of wobbled when I got her to step up on my finger to bring her out for breakfast with the flock. A few hours later she was gone. Our little flock has a major hole in it. The other little birdies seem a bit lost. The Ghost's best buddy, a little "fancy" parakeet named Little Edie has been calling and looking around for her old friend. It's a bit sad, no, really, kind of heart-rending to see.

We buried the Holy Ghost in the garden last night. We covered her up with rich, dark dirt. Sprinkled some flower petals on her grave, and put two little oblong rocks on top. We sang one of our original songs for her, "Dark clouds parting, Moonlight streaming down, the light comes thru the trees...", we rang the Tibetan singing bowl three times, bowed our heads and said goodbye.

Take care little Holy Ghost. You will be greatly missed.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

True Adventures of Faux Fu

This morning, I tell the improbable, but dazzling tale of my mini-Moog, ambient music adventure; my signing an "Exclusive Recording Contract" with a Hip-Hop record label, scoring a nice advance, and then getting dropped all in a year's time! But, you know, it's a cool story with a happy ending! And it's all true.

Now the story can be told. No names. Let’s protect the innocent.

It started with boredom. Late March 2020 in the Heartland. A raging Global Pandemic, and a lockdown. My partner was working on a work-from-home freelance project. I had lots of time on my hands.

I was reading William Gibson’s 1999 novel “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” and this line seemed like a direct message that guided my actions: “… you are less inclined to move counter to the momentum of things.”

Right. That became my artistic credo.

I decided to learn how to play a mini-Moog. I’m a longtime guitar player. I had no clue. Just started fiddling with dials, switches, keys, and tones and textures. I created a bunch of ambient, instrumental tracks. All solo mini-Moog, no beats, no drums, no clix. I decided I had an EP ("Moments x&y" - 5 instrumental tracks), which I then shared with our mailing list.

A small, well-connected Hip-Hop Record Label emailed me to say they loved it and wanted to release it. Ha! That was unexpected. I found a $500 an hour lawyer who gave me a “starving artist” break, and I signed signed a multi-year, multi-album contract, an “exclusive recording contract.” I delivered the tracks, and they paid me the first half of an advance.

I must say all this felt like pulling a rabbit out of hat. The $ came at the perfect time. We were swimming in uncharted waters and we had no idea how we were gonna make it from day to day.

I had some conference calls with the label, they had big plans for my little EP, a vinyl record release, and a worldwide introduction of a new artist named Faux Fu. Together we found a graphic artist to create cover art. He started working up some pretty amazing illustrations.

What’s up with name? I found it on a torn piece of cardboard with a picture of a Buddha on one side and a bar code and text on the other. I was using it as a bookmark. The original text read: FAUX FUR. But the “R” was missing. Faux Fu. Perfect. You know, the momentum of things?

Well about a year later, by February 2021, it all came to a halt. The label changed direction, I was no longer in their plans. No EP release, no multi-year deal, no more $ would be coming my way. We voided the contract. They did let me keep the advance, and then they gave me my tracks back. I was suddenly a free agent once again, so I uploaded my EP to Bandcamp and I was back in business as an “independent” artist.

What was the fuss all about? 

Be sure to check it out for yourself. I must admit, the enthusiasm and interest from the label unleashed a torrent of creativity from me. As of today, I have recorded 41 tracks of instrumental music.

And I recently signed an agreement with a music publisher who thinks my tracks will be attractive to their clients. They have added 17 of my tracks to their catalog. So who knows?! Faux Fu’s vibrations may find life out there in the wider world.

So yes, an adventure, a strange story with a happy ending. I mean, you know, going with the flow & the momentum of things.


Wednesday, June 09, 2021

A Tricky Monkey Times Two...

Memory - "is the faculty of the brain by which data or information is encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action.[1] If past events could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, relationships, or personal identity to develop.[2] Memory loss is usually described as forgetfulness or amnesia.

Right. Memory is a funny thing. Do our brains encode and store everything? Why do we remember some things and not others? Funny, sometimes early memories are so real, alive and vivid. And we forget what we ate for lunch (oh, I remember, PASTA!), yesterday. Are we constantly editing? Deciding what is important and what isn't?

I read somewhere, I forget where, although, now I think of it, it was in a Philip K. Dick novel, that maybe all learning, all "discovering," is just "remembering."  Maybe the Universe is one long vast remembering? I also remember a line that sticks with me from that same novel: "You are the Authority." Funny what you remember, or maybe it's choose to remember?

Weird. Right? What else did he say in the novel? Beats me. I don't remember.

I was talking to a close friend yesterday about our shared childhood. Turns out our "shared" childhoods are quite different. Events that for her were so vivid, powerful and influential made no impression on me whatsoever. 

And you know, it's weird to think that there are experiences that I experienced that are not in my memory bank. Did I live there? Did I do the things I supposedly did? If I don't remember, at all, what does that mean? What does that say about me?

I am a fallible being. My memory plays tricks. I remember what I remember. A Tricky Monkey times Two! How about you?

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Mind-Games...

I know I have thought this, and probably written this down before, most likely used this headline too (hat-tip: John Lennon), but this a.m. it is top of mind, and it seems clearer and clearer to me:

The Human Comedy: It always comes down to people. 

What will people do? Will the Tricky Monkeys do the right thing? How will they act in the heat of the moment, when it really, really counts? How do they come to the decisions they come to? How will they justify the things they do, justify their meager acts of loyalty and betrayal to themselves and to others?

What crazy-ass stories will they tell themselves and the world? How will they justify their lives?

I studied & majored in Psychology in college. Sometimes I think Psychology gets a bad rap. Even by me. Not so much a science as an "art," another avenue for story-telling, conjuring up narratives. Yes, those two bearded old gents, they were kooks, sometimes lauded, sometimes howled at, but those wacky dudes Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung were definitely onto something. Their "talk-therapy" and "dream interpretation" and "collective unconscious"  and "Ego," "Id," and "Super-Ego" are valuable concepts. Maybe now sort of cliche, laughable, but no doubt precious tools too. Better than the "pharmacology," and "drug-therapy," and the medicalization of the mind

History = Psychology
Politics = Psychology
Art = Psychology
Science = Psychology
Morality = Psychology
Religion = Psychology

Yes. What is in our hearts and heads? What experiences formed us, twisted us, led us to the things that we do? Why do we act the way we act? Wanted to sleep with your Mom, and murder your Dad? Is that what you are repressing? And, well, maybe it is good to ask: When is a cigar just a cigar?

Mind-Games.

Monday, June 07, 2021

A Creative Ritual...

The Creative Life. I think of it, at least for my partner and I, as a Priesthood, or maybe even a Monastic Order. If it is a Priesthood, it is like an Esoteric Zen kind with NO DOGMA. The Higher Power we serve is Creativity. Maybe we are the Cult of Maladjusted Creatives. There are no hard and fast rules, except: 

show up
give your all
drop your ego
listen
serve the song, the band, the scene, the play, etc.

Those are the givens. Plus, positive vibes. Bring your heart, your head, your soul. 

We have made $ on some of our creative adventures, but $ are not the motivating, animating thing. No, really it is LOVE. The love of the doing, the love of the being, the love of creating something outside of ourselves. Creating music, theater, poetry. Creating a group energy that transcends.

The doing, the playing, the singing, the acting, even the setting up, the rehearsing, the schlepping can be transforming. It is amazing. Going to the studio, setting up the P.Å. can be a totally consuming ZEN experience. So yes, you can turn the most mundane, routine tasks into a near-religious experience.

A Creative Ritual that feeds the Soul.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

A Voice Whispers: "Simplify."

You hear that little voice, floating in your head, it's a whisper, but it's not whispering in your ear, it tells you: "Simplify."

Your experience tells you life is complicated. People. Nature. Thoughts. Feelings. Desires. Hopes. Dreams. Fears. You are determined not to be simple-minded, but at the same time there is a desire to "let go," to eliminate, to banish, to unload the noise, the hurly-burly the jumble, the disinformation, the bad blood, the poor feelings, the jet-trash and detritus of a full-time existence.

Life may be complicated, but maybe we don't have to be complicated, or to live complicated lives.

The Big questions? 

Let them go. Does it really matter if there is a GOD or NO GOD? Does it really matter what happens when we die? Do we really want Immortality? I mean, fuck, who really cares if there is a Heaven or a Hell? Sheesh. Let it come down.

I mean, you know, don't worry, be happy. Simplify. Live now. Today. In the moment. Moment by moment. I don't believe we are here to figure it all out. We are not here to solve the Universe. We are here to experience it. To live our days fully. It's okay if we don't know everything.

The basics. Remove the clutter. The Universe and everything in it demands your attention. I say: LET IT ALL GO! Give your self a break. Breathe. Clear your mind. Meditate. Step lightly. Lean to the light. See the beauty and grace all around you. Inhale it. Don't judge it, don't try to figure it out. Let it envelop, overwhelm and wash over you. It's OK. Do it.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

The Weird Age...

Maybe it is the wrong framing?

We look at the World, at the Human Carnival raging across the planet, and we ask: "Will it get Better?" 

OR...

We ask: "Will it get Worse?"

Maybe these questions miss the point?  Everything will get Better & Worse, but... really...

The World, the Human Carnival raging across the planet will most assuredly get Weirder, Much, Much Weirder. And the Weirdness will speed up as the Universe expands or contracts or whatever it is doing.

Maybe we need to get our heads around a new paradigm:  The Weird Age, or The Age of the Weird.

Friday, June 04, 2021

Circus-y

We (my companion and I) were out and about most of the day yesterday. Walking, biking, sitting on a bench, sipping kombucha, facing the lake, watching the clouds waft by, watching the waves roll in. A quite agreeable day.

Lots of rambling conversations about music, recording in the studio, art, the creative process, positive energy and good vibrations. Typical hurly-burly, mumbo-jumbo, and rolling & tumbling from our fevered brains.

Then there was this conversation:

Me: It was great seeing the Circus People. They are like us.
My Companion: Except, I think of them as REAL Circus People.
Me: Well, you know, we are pretty Circus-y.
My Companion: That's true.

SCENE

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Nick Cave vs. the French Robots...

I am an optimistic sort. But you know, I can go dark & existential with the best of them. I think everything will work out fine, but then again, I also know everything is liable to go to hell in a blink of an eye. That's just the duality, and reality, of our lives.

I believe in progress and the good. But you know, the "future is unwritten," and there is hope and peril in that reality, nothing is promised, everything can be taken away at any time. There are dark forces at work always. It's always a battle between the dark and the light. It's never-ending. Nothing should be taken for granted.

I've been listening to two records that kind of illustrate the divide. There's Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' "The Boatman's Call" (1997). What is the sound of a soul in deep distress? What kind of lyrics does a man write, what kind of music pours from him when he is torn apart by the vicissitudes & the vanishing of love? Nick Cave goes deep & dark into the wounds of failed love and failed relationships. Funny. It is a beautiful record. A man in deep pain, a lament, an ode to lost love and deep turmoil. There is a hushed, gorgeous beauty. The Bad Seeds are holding back, playing so minimally. Nick is truly suffering, and he uses his suffering to create beauty. Beauty in sadness & loss.

"It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
They can comfort you, some even try
They nurse you when you’re ill of health
They bury you when you go and die

It ain’t that in their hearts they’re bad
They’d stick by you if they could
But that’s just bullshit
People just ain’t no good

People they ain’t no good
People they ain’t no good
People they ain’t no good"
N. Cave (1997)


The other record which I have been spinning often, one I "discovered," during the pandemic, lockdown days, is Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" (2013). It is a bold, overwhelming, gratifying and inspiring sonic manifesto. It too is bounded by loss and sadness, but at the same time there is an amazing optimism, joy and pleasure to be found in the grooves. Surprising that two Robots (with some special guests) could convey such soul and heart. Giorgio Morodor tells the tale of his artistic life, and it's just the most validating, beautiful & insightful monologue about musical creation and artistic freedom. There is a belief in the "sea of possibilities." Remember the future? Daft Punk turns to the stars, the heavens, and sees an opening. And you know, maybe we "get lucky?" Then special guest Paul Williams (!?) sings a duet with the Robots on "Touch" and it's just the most amazing moment of the record:

[Intro: Paul Williams]

"Touch, touch
I remember touch
Touch, touch
I remember touch
Where do I belong?
Touch, I need something more
I remember touch
I need something more in my mind"

[Reprise: Choir]
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're home
Hold on, if love is the answer, you're–

So yeah, we have Nick and the Bad Seeds, and we have those French Robots. And they both speak to me. There is wisdom & beauty in the grooves. Food for the soul.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Next Thing...

The spark, the fire, the twinkle in the eyes, the smile on the lips, the laughter, the mojo. Sometimes you think it's all gone. Maybe too tired, burned out, numb, overloaded, stressed, distracted, disgusted with the world and all the humans in it. There are reasons. Everyone has their reasons.

But then, one day, one morning, one moment you feel fired up once again. Surprising. As Wm. Blake once wrote: "Energy is Eternal Delight." The spark is back. The fire rages. The twinkle, the smile, the laughter, total MOJO, all back in working order.

It's hard to say how it all happens. It just happens. It descends. Like the rain. And there is nothing quite like it. Being alive, engaged, onto the next thing.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Beauty & the Beautiful...

Beauty & the Beautiful...

Surrounds us

and
will take your breath away

make you stop in your tracks
set your head a spinning

sometimes it will come with a smile

or a 
twinkle in the eye

or a graceful gesture or movement

maybe the right chord ringing out
at the right time

or a voice filled with joy
or pain or some other
undefinable, unpinnable-down
emotion

Beauty & the Beautiful

powerful
undeniable

surrounds us every moment
of every day

Monday, May 31, 2021

All We Have...

"All we have is Love, All we ever had is Love."

Death crowding in from all directions...

You know it is undeniable
You can't argue with it
or reason your way out of it

It is part of the human process
part of the Universe
things live & die
transform

energy
entropy
chaos
random chance
fate
destiny

life & death
every moment
balanced on a knife's edge

what to do?
live as best we can

moment to moment

all we have is love
we must cultivate 
and honor that

love

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Feather...

Sunday morning...

a few tears this a.m.
not all because of sadness
although certainly
a few are dedicated to
the sad

but also crying
because I can

it feels good
and seems 
supremely human

my companion
greets me in the 
kitchen 

she points to a
beautiful little
feather laying at my feet
on the floor

"did that come out of you?"

we both know it once
belonged to
little lonely dragon

but I play along

"yes, I sprouted it this morning.
isn't it amazing?"

we both marvel 
at the feather I created

she exclaims:
"yes, it is amazing."

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Shocked and Not Shocked...

I'm not shocked that not everyone in the world agrees with me. I'm not deluded enough to think that I hold any monopoly on truth. I am just feeling my way through a long dark, hallway, just like everyone else. If I review my permanent record, I can see that I've made lots of crazy decisions, stupid mistakes, and wasted lots of my precious time over trivialities thru the days of my life. I've made some good calls too. But you know, it's truly a mixed bag. I'm not the smartest person in world, probably not the dumbest either. I'd put myself somewhere in the great middle of the human herd.

An Earthling, a Human Being, doing my best to live a fulfilling life. 

Still, I am sometimes gobsmacked that some people don't see the world the way I see it. For instance, the vaccine. I cannot fathom why anyone would resist or refuse getting vaccinated against Covid-19. Once we got vaccinated, we were able to breathe a great sigh of relief. We joined the "community of immunity," and it felt wonderful, necessary. Lately we've been able to play music in a room with other vaccinated musicians, we dined out at one of our favorite restaurants and dropped our masks briefly to eat a fabulous Thai dinner. There is a bit of getting back to a fully engaged life once again. How could anyone not see the beauty and common sense in that reality?

How can anyone refuse to see the benefits of a vaccine? Having anti-bodies against a deadly, contagious virus? Seems like the easiest call one can imagine.

We know some hold-outs. Conspiracy-Kooks. Recalcitrant folks. In denial. Funny. Ridiculous. It is shocking. A mind is a terrible thing to waste. I am shocked, and not shocked. Human Beings truly are a Tricky Species...

Friday, May 28, 2021

Visions, Beliefs, Dreams, Nightmares, Realities...

I do believe we live in a world of signs and wonders. Science tells us that the iron in our blood and the carbon in our bones originated in stars, The Hippies told us we were "stardust," and it seems that they were correct. I mean, get your head around that, Pilgrim.

So yes, our visions, beliefs, dreams, nightmares and realities are all mixed up together, like in a damn Waring Blender. We must parse and ponder, and draw conclusions at our own peril. What to believe? How to believe? What do we base our lives upon?

These are fundamental questions. Always with us. And the answers are ever-shifting, morphing, darting out of reach like wriggling little tadpoles. So if I tell you Jerry Garcia, Captain Trips, long dead leader of the The Grateful Dead has been speaking to me lately, do you think I'm freaking Loco?

What is Jerry telling me? He made his presence felt loud and clear, a few weeks ago, when we passed thru the cemetery gates to visit a long-gone fellow traveler. The tombstone at the grave we visited has a quote from a Dead song written in script: "Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell..."

Just before we reached the grave, the song playing on the radio was "Fire on the Mountain," Jerry was singing: "Long distance runner, what you standin' there for? Get up, get out, get out of the door, Your playin' cold music on the barroom floor, Drowned in your laughter and dead to the core, There's a dragon with matches that's loose on the town. Takes a whole pail of water just to cool him down, Fire! Fire on the mountain..."

I know, a coincidence. Right? The Universe works in mysterious ways. You say random luck, I say synchronicity. Like I said, signs and wonders. So lately I have been spinning some of my old Dead records. "Live Dead," "Live in Europe, 1972." Hearing old tunes with new ears. I hear a sparkling clarity. A light, graceful, fluid touch. Improvisation. An open-headed, open-minded-ness. A buoyancy, an urgency.  An aliveness. Sort of magical.

Anyway, no time to waste. Right? Fire on the Mountain.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Shimmering, Flickering Flash...

Yesterday, here in the heartland, there was a shimmering, flickering flash of "endless" summer. No such thing exists, of course. There is no "endless" anything. Everything ends. Summer pops up and then fades quickly around here. It was just a day; glorious, warm, sunny, perfect in every way. 

How does it happen? One day, everything in its right place; no humidity, blue sky, gorgeous blue-green water, overflowing life, flowers, trees, birds, and a flurry of human activity. And what of us? We were totally in tune, keyed into the flow. A lightness, a graceful fluidity ruled the day. We made our appointed rounds easily, with no effort. The day caressed us. It was all so validating. Life. 

It's cool this morning. A different day, a different season. That is how it goes around here, one day to the next can be so different. We carry that lightness and fluidity with us still. We hope can hang onto it, even as we know these moments, these days are like mercury, not something we can hold at all.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Not a Hipster...

Conversation in our kitchen yesterday late morning:

Me (reflecting on the previous post): "I don't think I qualify as a Hipster." 

My Companion (named after a hurricane): "No, Jammer, you are a Wild Dog."

Me: "Woof, Woof!"

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Funny Sentence...

People say the Darnedest Things to Me...

Yesterday afternoon, I was cutting across the backlot behind our apartment building, a big empty jug in hand, heading over to the local micro-brewery to get it re-filled with Kombucha.  That my friend is a very Progressive, Blue Bubble-type activity.

A woman was out walking her little black dog, a Boston Terrier (his name: "Shadow"), she took one look at me and declared:

"You are the Epitome of Summer Cool." 

Yes, it's true, in my neighborhood folks often use words like: epitome.

What do you say to something like that? I smiled and muttered: "Hah!" Not exactly pithy, but it seemed to fit the scene. That is the first time in my life I have been accused of being the epitome of anything!

Monday, May 24, 2021

A Major, Major Influence...

Dylan is 80 years old today. Amazing. My Mom turned me onto Dylan...

"If my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine." - Dylan

Yes. I am a Dylan-Freak. Have been ever since I went to a "folk-mass" as a little, snot-nosed kid, and found out that the song they were singing, "Blowin' in the Wind," wasn't an old folk song passed down over the ages but was written by a wafer-thin kid in 1962. Blew my mind. Then I discovered "Bringing it All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde on Blonde."
"How does it feel?" Freaking amazing! Happy Birthday Bob!

Sunday, May 23, 2021

No Syllabus...

Living. It is a teacher. No syllabus. There is an arc, a moment by moment improvisation, with luck, randomness and mystery embedded in the bones and cells of a life. It's hard to know where it's all going, there are so many of us, so many competing narratives and imperatives. There's conflict and competition and sometimes cooperation too.

Maybe best to just keep our eyes peeled, our heads and hearts open, and let it all come down. There is a flow, a big, rushing flow of life, we are in it, of it, and swimming along with it. We know it will all end sometime, but we don't know what "the end," really means. Everything is energy. Everything is transformation. Everything is everything.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Weird Math?

Some days, I
feel extremely lucky
also sometimes
not so lucky

it depends
on the day

I don't know 
why things work out
when they work out

I don't know 
why things don't work out
when they don't work out

Maybe some kind of 
weird math
or
strange alchemy

I think maybe
it's all about
vibes & chemistry
& barometric pressure
& expectations
& perceptions
& dreams & realities

& random access memories

Friday, May 21, 2021

Yes, Super-Precious...

News of a death
and deaths
near and far

a reminder
do we need 
another 
reminder
that life is 
super-precious

can't hold on
can't hold out
can't stop the
spinning of the 
planet

still need to do
the things we do

empty the dishwasher
brush our teeth
make our appointed rounds

better to
grab a sunbeam
inhale a flower
ride a cloud
hold the lightning
in our hearts

tears streaming
down

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Elevator Going Up!

A conversation on a sidewalk in my neighborhood yesterday afternoon. 

A Nice, Well-Dressed, Worldly, Sophisticated-looking Man, slightly older than I, looking me up and down, from head to toe, like a hungry cat sizing up a little birdie as it's next meal or plaything:

"I used to teach at the Art Institute. You are the kind of person I would often see in the elevator."

Me, lost in the funhouse of my own head, thinking to myself: "The Elevator Man?!"

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Funny Things...

It's funny. 

If you find yourself close to "the street," you are more grounded. Gravity holds. Paying attention to the little things: one step, one step, one step. I find that wearing heavy boots is helpful. Yes, since they are heavy, it takes a bit more effort walking around, but heavy boots give you a solid foundation. Less falling, tripping, twisting ankles. I can testify from "real-world" experience a good pair of boots is a solid investment.

It's funny. 

The lower you are on the totem pole, the closer to the ground, the less shit you have to put up with. I find that I can pretty much "be my own boss." Do what I want to do, and not do what I don't want to do. I work harder physically, in my low-level, low-paid occupation, but I do not have to suffer fools. I can earn an honest buck, and feel good about what I do without having to tolerate the intolerable.

It's funny. 

You have to have a bit of an "ego" to do pretty much anything. But to do anything really, really well, I think it's clear you need to "drop the ego." I think this holds in business, in creative pursuits, in relationships, etc. It's another one of those funny human things. To make a mark, you have to make a move, you must think you can do something, but then, the best of the best of the doing is when you find out it's not about you. You give yourself up to what you are doing.

It's funny.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

A Wave...

She said to me: "Your body is a wave."

I replied: "Hmmm..."

She continued: "The wave is a gentle wave, it flows from side to side. It's inside you; moving depending on how you move."

I had never heard anything like that before, but it sounded true to me, true to my experience. I know my heart beats, and that my blood flows thru my arteries and veins. Sometimes I can feel the beat and the flow, sometimes I can feel and hear the thumping and the flowing. Sometimes I can't hear or feel, I'm listening to, and feeling, other things.

I know when I meditate I can minimize the wave, I can slow down the beat, I can control the flow. Those are times of rest, contemplation, grace and beauty. And then there are times I lose control. I'm like an electrified monkey; jumping around, flopping, slipping, sliding, sloshing around. I lose my bearings. It happens often out in the world, especially when confronted with other human beings.

I may not show it. But you know, as they say, "still waters run deep."

Monday, May 17, 2021

Sunday Communion...

Communion...

Sunday afternoon. Free. I put my super-cool, high-fidelity headphones, pop a CD into my Walkman, sprawl out on the bed, and let the music flow. It's almost a religious experience. Not just "listening to music," I am wrapping myself in the deep vibrations of a recording, submerging myself into another reality, a total sonic landscape. This is not entertainment. It is nourishment. Enlightenment.  Close-listening taken to the extreme. 

My choices seem significant to me. There is a story in the choices.

I started with Nick Cave and Bad Seeds' "Murder Ballads" (1996) Dark stuff. Gothic. I think of Edgar Allan Poe. Nick is a dark balladeer, reveling in the gruesome details of murder, betrayal, bad blood, bad acts, the conflicted human heart. Nick and band are having so much fun.

I fell asleep (how is that possible?), after the 3rd track, Nick's duet with PJ Harvey on "Henry Lee." I didn't wake up until the final song on the album, Dylan's "Death is Not the End:" 

"Oh, the tree of life is growing
Where the spirit never dies
And the bright light of salvation shines
In dark and empty skies"

There is a message there. It comes in loud and clear.

The next CD I put in the walkman was The Flaming Lips' "Embryonic" (2009). Weird. Unique. This records sounds like nothing else. A sprawling double-album, some kind of a stone-cold masterpiece. These Okie Freaks are on a journey of discovery, mining the weirdness for all its worth.

I stayed awake for the whole record. All the lyrics resonate. One of my favorites, "The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine:"   

"What
What does it mean
To dream what you dream
To believe what you've seen?

Why
Why do we feel
To try to find real
Underneath a machine?

What
What does it mean
To dream what you dream
To believe what you've seen?

Why
Why do we feel
To try to find real
Just to meet the machine
To meet the machine" 

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