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Monday, May 31, 2004

Holiday. Memorial Day. 'Storms cloud are raging all around my door...'

Well into Merton's 'Seven Storey Mountain.' This idea of a quiet grace. A struggle to be pure in heart and action. Big ideas vs. the small insights. Can grace hold a candle to the big breeze, the windy opinion?

Must be humble, in the face of the mystery. Must not give in to the easy answer, the general gloom.

Watched Chaplin's 'A King in New York,' last night. Brilliant, funny, odd. Chaplin, 67, so nimble, so graceful. He satirizes the McCarthy witch hunts and so perfectly captures the crass commercialism of America Unbound.

Chaplin the sentimental anarchist. Chaplin: Bertold Brecht's prime example and model. Dancer, musician, silly, human, classy beyond class. King Shadow. No longer the little Tramp. A King without a Kingdom.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Never know what's just around the corner. Woke up this morning, brewed up a pot of coffee, turned on the radio and listened to a Vietnam Vet describe his experiences in a foreign land. 20 years of nightmares, led him to become a writer.

He became a Buddhist, and Buddhism taught him that instead of 'getting over' his experience, his wounding, he had become something new. He embraced his wound; and by embracing, he became a writer, a poet.

Later, he and his wife adopted a Vietnamese child. Nightmares of a napalmed girl never went away, but by writing about her, by exploring her death in his imagination, by giving the girl wings and then taking them away, he had incorporated her into himself.

Light and shadow, war and peace; the dichotomy, this is man.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Up before the crack of dawn. No sun yet. Brimming with energy. Think I'm on the cusp of a new adventure. Not sure what lies ahead, that's part of the kick.

The human brain, (remember this is one brain, thinking about BRAINS) is an amazing, resiliant thing. All my plays have been about the brain unbound. My process is to follow the thought, let it roll out as it wishes. There is some kind of coherance, even if it's not always apparent.

Lately, in some kind of 'state of grace.' It's not a big thing. No trumpets, no angels, just a sweet kind of peace. A rebellious, unruly, rock and roll peace?

Convinced there is an unfolding. No turning back. Wisdom in the cracks, the spaces between words, between thoughts.

Jumping at shadows too. Not in fear, but in exuberance.

Friday, May 28, 2004

My public blog spot has gone missing. Still posting anyway...

I have this compulsion to write. Not complete unless I'm constructing sentences, paragraphs.

Living with two little birds. They are strange creatures. Delicate, ornery. I am always in a flurry, trying to make them content. They seem to be easily bored.

They love peas. Nothing like a cockatiel in a 'pea frenzy.' Green remnants stuck to their beaks. When they are unhappy, little squawks chirps and squeels. I'm always moving them, placing them in different rooms, on a door, in a windowsill.

Sometimes they get adventurous, waddle around the apartment. They look comical as they go. They are 'kings' of the roost. Also, they are jumpy, anxious, always anticipating a predator around the corner.

Little slices of energy, ready to take flight at the hint of a shadow. Shadows are everywhere.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Seven Deadly Sins. What are they? Must google to find out. I know Lust and Envy are in there. Thinking of working them into a new play.

I have got to keep moving forward. No alternative.

Reading Thomas Merton's "Seven Storey Mountain." Excellent writer. Just started, but some early scenes are rendered beautifully. Little towns in France come alive.

I have some kind of 'faith' but it has nothing to do with the bread and wine. Except as maybe some kind of dietary guideline.

I am back to Bertold Brecht's 'optimistic realist.' No dogma, no rules, except looking to see clearly with an emphasis on the transcendant light behind everything.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Blank page, blank mind. In the east, the goal is to erase the ego, in the west is it to magnify it?

Imperfection is our escape hatch to transformation. Instead of guilt for one's sins, maybe it is gratification one should feel?

To find humility in the grotesqueries of the self. If one can catalogue their flaws, look at them clearly, maybe they can lead to not perfection but a happy, ennobling humanity.

I'm ready to roll the dice, and let the dice reveal a new way out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The only sun is coming from inside. This Chicago spring is dark, cloudy, gloomy. Oh, it seems to be a comment on world events. The media snapshot, a limited view, is nothing but a litany of broken dreams, broken bodies.

Must not turn away, must take it all in, must see, without letting events diminish the light. There is a war of light and shadow. Convinced that the 'truth' is a dance between the two and that the truth will set us free.

I am swimming against the stream. Like a big, goofy, salmon, trying to get to the sacred place: to spawn. Once I get there, I can let go, or no, maybe I should let go now, see where the stream takes me, trust the moment, surrender to the now. What's on the other side? Could it be....China?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Another gloomy morning. Alive with possibility. Finished a rough draft of 'the dream play.' New ideas swirling in my head. Coffee is good. Alone this week. 'The Hermit' looking to be guided by the 'inner light.'

Yesterday's 'pychic' session was quite good. Opened new space inside. A reminder that clarity is within reach. Let go of a lot of 'dark energy.' World events have been relentless in their negativity. Reaffirm that this is not my energy.

To know, is one thing, to feel, is another, to embody, is the trick. Brimming with optimism. I am comfortable as the 'seeker,' also, 'the ruler,' as long as the kingdom is self contained.

Instead of needing, wanting grasping --- looking, touching, feeling. The image I see is a fat, sassy bumblebee, flying over a bed of roses. Alight on one, then another. Each is beautiful fragrant. Sameness/difference. All one.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Sunday. Looking for a little enlightenment this morning. Cloudy, dark; guess the light has to come from inside. Heading to a meditation event today. Never know what to expect. Looking to reconnect, recharge.

I feel a little 'resistance' about going to the event today: this is probably resistance/fear of change. Unsure of the movement inside. What suprises do I have in store for myself now?

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Storm clouds raging this morning. Fat rain drops battering the window. Lush ivy green on the wall of the building opposite me.

Yesterday had a breakthrough writing my play, 'the dream play.' Close to the finish. Sometimes the inspiration comes from slogging through the muck.

It's another mad concoction, not really sure what it is, but ultimately I think it's about imagination unbound. Some of it is 'in the moment' stream of consciousness. Some of it is tightly constructed. It's all jumbled up. Makes it intriguing to me.

Wonder how other 'minds' will find it.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Slow on the draw today. The world is spinning, I'm just trying to catch up. I've parked the 'ragged figure' on the periphery, as in 'Wise Blood,' and moved to a kosmic evolution. Instead of going back to a 2,000 year old dogma, I'm looking to take the best of many traditions, mix them up and create something new.

No doubt there is the 'good.' Must be humble, compassionate. Realize the mystical nature of reality. So simple, so obvious, it's almost invisible.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

I throw in my lot with the cosmic evolutionists. There's some kind of circular enfoldment, a forward movement, a 'no turning back' empowerment.

This 'churn and burn' of existence, this look of chaos, madness, suffering are manifestations of change. There is hope in the change, the melding of old materials, new combinations creates the new, the unexpected, the miraculous? We live in the forge, the cauldron, of a universal alchemy.

So I guess I'm saying, I changed up my chemical mix and I'm feeling lighter, more in the moment. Downed a bottle of fermented grape last night and watched a basketball game. I opened a new door. Is it really that simple? Transformation comes from inside and works outward. From dumps to sunny in a blink of an eye.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Things are funny, not laugh out loud funny, just slightly off, skewed, sort of strange: all in all, kind of funny.

Must carry on. I've been living clean, on the straight edge, but feeling brittle, creaky, low energy.

Everything you can imagine, can and will happen, both the good and bad. This means 'miracles' are not out of the question, plus, the worst of the worst will be realized.

It will all be realized. This I realize.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Lessons in the 'real.' A mad dance between perceiver and perceived. Can I change what I perceive? Can I see more of the real? Can I see beyond my 'senses five?'

A world of imperfection is a world of possibility. I am a student of a strange alchemy. Must persist in this line of inquiry. Must study O'Connor's 'grotesque.' There is magic in the space between the cup and the lip.

Monday, May 17, 2004

There's something about filling a blank page, kind of like skipping a stone across a pond, kicking a can down the street, whistling in the dark.

I've been floating the last few days. Letting go, not holding on.

I have found myself in this dialogue with the world. The world has a lot to say: torture, pain, madness, polarization; plus giddy, delirious action.

I have been quiet: sitting back, taking it in, trying to find a kernal, a silent place.

The sound and the silence in a perfectly mad dance. The Las Vegas Show of the Mind.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sunny. Recharged. Razor edge clarity. All events help define who we are, who we are not, who we want to be. It is important to understand 'the self,' to constantly test one's understanding against the 'cruel radiance' of the day.

This is the necessary work. I have gladly taken up the pilgrimage: to be clear, to seek the true.

This is serious business. The most important business in a life.

Not sure where this pilgrimage will take me. I accept the mystery.

Listening to the 'saddest music of the world,' it is a sad, beauty which drives me to the light.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Good, long sleep. A little creaky this morning.

This idea of what a life is (Braugtigan's 'revenge of the lawn'): born into an on-going story; so much has gone before, a blade of grass tries to understand what it is, it finally becomes aware that it is a part of the lawn, the lawn was there before the blade sprouted, will be there after the blade succumbs.

Joins late in the game, leaves the premises early.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Head is spinning with the crazy swirl of events in places distant and near. Are major paradigm shifts coming?

A wired world brings overload. How to find peace. Swallow, incorporate, everything? 'The other' is confronting us all. The fear is everywhere. Fear of who we are, who we are not. There's a strange madness a'foot in the world. Here, from my little portal, I see an insatiable 'needing, wanting, grasping' like a black cloud, hovering over everyone (me too). Greed and envy seem to be pervasive. What if everything we know is wrong? How hard is it to change a mind?

I don't want to disappear into false mystery, but it seems like mystery is a mad wisdom. If I accept the limits of my own intelligence, will that lead to a simple, uncomplicated grace? How about a complicated grace? What do I embrace? Mystery, love, beauty. What do I endure? Pain, suffering, evil. What is a life? To embrace, to endure?

There is the world, then, what I think of it, also, what I feel about it. Three things which all need to be reconciled, or maybe not. I need to mark the outlines of each. Is there truth somewhere between the lines?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

This space: one letter, one word at a time. I tap out a couple of words, trying to find out what is on my mind.

Today I will make a long trek across the city to talk about 'homeland security' to policemen from 6 or 7 municipalities. I find this somewhat puzzling, amusing, that it is 'I' in this circumstance.

I have no insight, no standing. I'm feeling my way through again.

I think I know where I've come from (although, I've forgotten so much), but not sure where I'm going. Lately those with opinions, those with 'answers' make me wary.

If I could remember everything I've seen, everything I've experienced, it's possible I could transform myself, make sense of who I am. I look at myself in the mirror, and I see I am transformed. I don't know who I am, but I think I'd like to find out.

This looking out/looking in is some kind of circular hell.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Wake with a new malady. It feels like a grizzly bear is sitting on my chest. Take a deep breath, and something pushes back, telling me, 'you're only getting so much air, understand?'

This body of mine always has a suprise for me, kind of like a box of Cracker Jack.

And then there's 'the hump.' It's still there. A small growth, fatty tissue? My friend, on my left shoulder, like Don Juan's secret companion. I should name the it, christen it, I think I'll call it...Henry.

Me and Henry, we're just sitting on the Group W bench, minding our business. Chewing gum. Our favorite? Juicy Fruit. Me and Henry against the world, which by the way seems to be spinning off its axis. Another outrage, more shock, more horror in the Arab desert.

The world looks to be teetering, ready to fall into the abyss of chaos, has it always been so?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Fog this morning. Burned off late afternoon. Still have this dream in my head:

Running a mountain path, another runner alongside me. A divergence in the path as we run. I take the lower path, my 'double' takes the higher. We run parallel to each other. There are rocks, branches; this is a rugged, mountain path with two forks.

As the runner, above and to the left of me, runs, rocks tumble from his path. One rock, then another. I look up, dodging each as they fall. The last rock, a large rock, much larger than the others, comes straight at me.

It is big, bigger than any sun. Large, dense, brown, totally mute, heavy; just like in the cartoon, Wiley Coyote, the rock comes at me full on. I can't dodge it, the rock and my head converge, I become ROCK.

I awake later and say, 'I had this dream, I died. You think it's a good omen?'

Monday, May 10, 2004

The sleep of the dead has revived me. 8 hours of mindless darkness. I wake with a ghost of shadow in my head. Brew a pot of coffee, each cup lightens the hangover of shadow.

A work day: time is not my own. The trick is to make it mine, even when in the orbit of others. My job is to talk, to dream, to chase 'the deal'. I am the one with 'faith.' I am to bring the others with me, without looking like a mad prophet.

I put on the valence, the shirt, the suit, of a new man. This valence is my cloak and my protection. It is me and not me. There is a spark, a light, a kernal of integrity, that no one can touch. I hold it like a little bird. It is quiet, breathing softly, eyes like little black pearls, waiting (expecting) to fly.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

A new day. Sunday, the day of rest. My head is spinning with ideas this morning. Working on my play, ideas for a new play.

Reading a book called 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own.' I realize I have been working towards this time, this place. Once you recognize that life is simply a journey, a journey that has been undertaken countless times, over countless years, that you are one in a sea of many, working through an individual, particular path, unlike any other, a unique energy, in a world of energy; everything reflects back with meaning.

All stories reflect one story. Nothing is absurd, nothing is pointless. All is grace, all is good, even the 'not good' becomes necessary, essential.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Wake up beat. Using coffee to revive. No longer have Mishima's 'morning face.' Dark clouds again.

Hangover from this on-going Iraqi prisoner scandal. It so happens, I am writing a play with scenes from Camp X-Ray. My character, Rashid, is a prisoner, in limbo, shadow of another man, 'The Dreamer,' strange, hermit-like, Howard Hughesish.

I believe I have been picking up something from the margins. Now the cruelty, the hypocrisy, is out in the open. 'Cruel radiance' of the truth. It's hard to look at the truth of the 'human.' No one is spared the crucifixtion of the skeleton rack. Pinned between angel/beast. Can't turn away. Must look and learn. Must see.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Morning: dark, cloudy, thundering. Makes me want to sink into my skin. Coffee has given me the jitters. Time seems to be slowly expanding. I have been getting up earlier and earlier. Morning time is some kind of free zone. Tapping the keyboard in the dark, like some blind pilgrim. I am feeling my way to some new room. Everything seems strange, unknown, but familiar too.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A quick visit. A strange germ has taken over. My body tired, creaky, weak. I am alive in my head. Hiding in this space. Something is converging, coming back to me.

This short sickness is a lesson. More Jimmy Dumps today than Sunny Jimmy, but Sunny Jimmy too. Strangely invigorating. I think I have a secret, one that I've had all along, but I've been running around it, not looking at it, not admitting that it's there.

Guess what? It is there. Yes it is.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

I am writing in the shadow of a midwestern metropolis. It's spring. I look out my portal and see green on the vine. I am fortified with strong coffee. I have opened up a private spot, I am feeling very 'hermit-like.' Last night, I watched Bresson's 'Diary of a Country Priest.' The last line of the movie is my new mantra: 'all is grace.'

The news wires are a-swirl with reports of 'abuse' in the prisons in Iraq, now run by U.S. troops. What do men become when they fight terror with terror?

I have just finished reading Martin Amis' book about Stalin and his war of terror against the Russian people, "Koba the Dread." The saddest story --- he finally died (after 20 million) --- he was loved, he was celebrated.

The echoes are maddening. Living in the belly of the beast, wondering if the beast will consume us all.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

I declare this a free space to unload. It will be a little oasis. A place of clarity. Jimmy Dumps/Sunny Jimmy -- it is a dichotomy, a polarity. The truth, the now, the real... is somewhere in between. This space is the 'in between' place.

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