WWSP's Shadow of th Marigold

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wanna be a Mirror?

One little thing can make your day...yesterday morning, at the Starbuck's counter, ordering my iced latte, lo and behold, a new Dylan "official," Bootleg, classic performances, never officially released, the soundtrack to Martin Scorcese's documentary coming in September.

It's a treasure trove of stuff, alternate takes, rare, one-time performances, songs spanning his most prolific period, 1959 - 1966. For us dedicated Dylanologists it's like finding another Dead Sea Scroll!

A great word I culled from the liner notes from Andrew Loog Oldman (former Rolling Stones Manager) - "the looniverse." There's also this - Marcel Proust: what we call "genius" is (paraphrasing) one who has turned their personality into a sort of MIRROR.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The School of the Free Spirit

I was reading an article about Frank Lloyd Wright and an item caught my eye. Wright and a Japanese collegue worked together on a girl's school in Japan called: The School of the Free Spirit...

Now, I'm not sure what the ciriculum was, not sure if the place lived up to the name, but I thought, it sure beats St. Joseph's, which was the name of the grade school where my budding little spirit was "tenderized."

My Catholic upbringing wasn't exactly Guantanamo Bay, but there was much pain and guilt and suffering and gnashing of teeth; at least allegorically. It became clear that something bad happened a long time ago, and somehow (oh the mystery!) I was responsible too, and someone was keeping track of all sins mortal and venial and one day (gasp!) there would be a Judgement.

Now I don't know if I ever really bought any of it...I do think I've developed a finely-honed conscience (maybe this is Sister Mary Aquanata's shining success!), but the guilt I now sometimes feel, is mainly for things I've done today or yesterday, not some existential guilt for crimes committed thousands of years ago...

Anyway, all of these thoughts emerged as a result of a conversation I had yesterday with a fellow-traveller, another "recovering Catholic," who carries many of the same scars from our experience at psychological/spiritual boot camp...

The School of the Free Spirit...this is the school I'm enrolled in now!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Coffee Alchemy

This morning I mix "Wonder Brew," with "Witches Brew," and of course, I end up with a pot of "Witches Wonder Brew!" Dear Pilgrim, pick your vices judiciously, they will be the death of you...

I've been living with a renewed sense of "boundaries," and "space." What this means for me, is that I spend more time alone, listening and watching. The more you look, the more you listen, the more you see and hear. Oh so simple, oh so insipid! What was that line from Jean Paul Satre? "Hell is other people?" (The added question mark is mine!). I realize I rarely feel lonely when I am alone...

Of course, I'm not really alone anyway. The Lovely Carla, the little birdies are fellow travellers. We've all perfected the art of living well, without encroaching on each other...maybe the counterintuitive trick is to feel lonely in the middle of a crowd...

Listening to Dylan yesterday, another little revelation, a new line I never really registered before: "I have new eyes, everything looks far away."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"I've come to talk to you again..." - P. Simon

"Silence is golden." Nice saying. Sometimes used in a "disciplinary sense," for instance - "better to be seen, not heard." Yesterday, silence was golden...in a healing, enlightening sense...

I retraced steps, walked a path, wheeled the wheels, sat on a bench, soaked in the golden sun, thought of those who have passed before me. There was nothing to say, nothing to do, except to be awake, alive, present...

Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Sky Room

I've been spending a lot of time in the newly dubbed, "Sky Room," which used to be called the "David Lynch Room" (in honor of Twin Peaks), which is really just our back porch, which faces the western sky. It has a table, two chairs, and a warm funkiness, because the floor and walls are made of wood. My chair is situated so that I'm facing two windows which kind of loom above me, so my eyes are directed up and out. Recently, I've spent time, sitting in silence, watching the sky, in it's infinite variations. It's a great place to watch a sunset. An excellent place to observe the darkening sky, to see a planet (is it Mars, Venus?) or a star, make it's presence known. There's an expansiveness that kind of overcomes me sitting out there. There's a peacefullness, plus an incomprehensibleness...It's a way of connecting to what seems like an Infinity...something really big, and silent, and suprising, always changing. It seems like it's always been there and always will be...I sit in silence, the Watchman, and a little bit of sky lights up in my eyes...a little of that infinity lights up inside me too.

Friday, August 26, 2005

"Spirit in the Night" - B. Springsteen

Two nights in a row... The opposum returned last night, (he likes to show up just when sleep overtakes us) seemingly in the same fashion: he fell out of the sky, and landed at our window-sill, then kind of waddled around in the ivy, then disappeared. The Lovely C. tells me this nocturnal, arboreal marsupial of the western hemisphere is trying to give us a message... ok, so a letter, or cell phone call would be fine with me.

I've decided to name him Wittgenstein, in the spirit of, "what we can say, we can say clearly, but we can't speak of the most important things." (Or something like that!). Wiggy (this is his nickname) must be trying to say something really important, because his fat, waddling, seriously profound silence is deafening.

Later in the night, we heard a dog barking, a cat crying, and we trapped a mouse in one of our "live traps." The poor little mouse rattled around in the plastic trap like old Marley's Ghost! Yikes! It was a Marlin Perkins Wild Kingdom Nightmare! All the mundane creatures of the night (The Lovely C. - "the spirit world is close!") came out to haunt & taunt us. So sleep was a little fitful and un-restful. The animals work at an alternate time and purpose.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

When is an Opposum just an Opposum?

This never happened before...last night, in the middle of a deep, dream-less sleep, the Lovely Carla and I were startled awake by a fat little animal trashing around in the ivy outside our bedroom window (we are on the second floor!). The little critter seemingly tumbled out of the sky, and landed at our windowsill. I got up a watched as it slowly, noisily walked the walls of Ivy like Spider Man. I got back in bed, and told the Lovey C. not to worry, it was just an opposum. Her response: "Are you sure?" "Yeah." The Lovely C. again: "This must mean something." Sunny Jimmy: "Yeah, it must mean something." I went back to bed wondering what it must mean...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

"Will they say he's a Wise Man...?" - D. Hopper in "Apocalypse Now"

I've been listening to Dylan almost exclusively since my father died. It's a one-way conversation, which is sometimes how it was when my father was on a roll. He was a man who loved to talk, and I loved to listen to him talk. I've always had "problems with authority," but at the same time, I've always been on the search for a sage, a poet, a wise man...and my father, rarely came across as "the authority," rather, he was almost always a fellow traveller.

Ultimately, I believe that "we" are the authority, that even if there is a "higher power," a "supreme being," that power or being does not have time for us; I imagine an ocean, we are a drop in that ocean, so in that way we are one with a higher power, that power contains us, but our experience is of the "drop," alone, self-contained. Once in awhile we get a glimpse of another realm...

Dylan sings about life, death, disappointment; in many of his songs he has "chip on his shoulder," but more than anything the poetry of being human comes across. I no longer have my father's voice to comfort me, to madden me, to motivate me, to make me laugh...Dylan will have to fill the void...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"To the Mattresses"

I bought two little notebooks yesterday. I'm going back to basics. A pen, a piece of paper, make notations, try to re-imagine the world. I'm kind of in an "Amazing Grace" moment in reverse: I could see, now I'm blind; I was found, but now I'm lost. This is a time of opportunity. Everything has a new "glow," the world is less sunny, more resonant. Nothing is life and death, except life and death. There is no fear worth fearing. I don't know why I'm here - one day, just showed up and one day, I'll slip away. In the meantime...

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Spirit of Abbie

Yesterday we opened the Abbie Fest at 10:00 a.m. with our Dino and Sheila Show. The theater was dark, there were bodies in various poses scattered throughout. We set up and kicked off the show on time. The survivors sought other refuge. We played to one person. He took some great photos. It was excellent; a "spirit," slot dedicated to my father, the fest, Mary-Archie Theater and the Maestro Rich Cotovsky. It was the complete other end of the live theater spectrum (see preivous post).

The Lovely Carla was sharp, exquisite (she truly is a force of nature). I was a little distracted, blew a few lines (who wrote this shit?), but didn't get rattled, I was completely comfortable in the role of Dino, and had a great time. We finished, packed up our stuff, and headed to breakfast. Then it was back to Mary-Archie for a full afternoon of theater.

I love this festival of plays. It really captures the spirit of the Chicago theater community. Cotovsky is one of my heroes. He is a no-nonsense practitioner. A dedicated, soulful man who opens his space for three days, and shares a vision of cooperation and collaboration. The good, bad and the ugly march up to the stage and do their thing. We saw it all: one really vile piece of trash, a couple hilarious pieces, an inane trifle, a few inspiring pieces and one absolutely sublime example of theater magic - "Sea Marks" (Mary-Arhcie's current production).

We left on this high note. The two of us, kind of staggering out into the sunlight, our hearts and heads on fire. Yes, "Abbie lives!" Ain't it the truth!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Jello in a Hurricane

The strangeness continues... the light bulb is out again (in the dark) plus, I just wrote a post about the Abbie Hoffman fest, I got up to get another cup of coffee, come back and it's gone...

So, anyway, here goes again. The Lovely Carla and I played to a packed house at the Mary-Arhcie theater last night. It was a rousing performance at the Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest. It was strange and intimidating, just the two of us, (for the last year we've been part of an incredible group, the Goodbar Cast), playing to a live audience (no net). We were well-rehearsed, but we were both nervous as hell (might as well use it). My hand trembled so badly, the martini glass in my hand shook like a plate of jello in a hurricane.

I opened the show with a personal anti-war rant, dedicated to Abbie Hoffman and to my father. It was odd standing in front of an audience without a mask. Weird, strangely uncomfortable. The audience whooped in support, thunderous applause. A great kick. Then we did the "Dino and Sheila Show," scenes from my play "Dino vs. the Black Swan." I introduced it as a "battle of the sexes." It was silly, obscene. The laugher came frequently, we were not prepared for the laughter!

We do it again this morning...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Lost "Normal"

There's no normal anymore. I've entered a new phase in my life; at least that's how if feels, where everything seems strange, out of kilter. I'm abnormally tired. The full moon looks abnormally big. The storms raging outside my door seem abnormally violent. Everyone I see, looks fragile, tentative, incomplete. Maybe it was always so, am I just more sensitive to it now? The last few days, I have been trying to "right myself," get back to some sense of normalcy, but I'm beginning to suspect it doesn't exist, it's just another dream or illusion that no longer works for me. Is life a process of discarding our dreams? Maybe our brains are these little "dream factories," that keep churning out new visions and storylines, which then come up against the "reality" of the world. Reality is our co-collaborator. It's the harsh, unbending, Assistant Director looking over our shoulder, telling us "the lighting isn't right, the sound is out of synch, and anyway, there's no film in the camera!"

Friday, August 19, 2005

A Gratuitous Use of a Question Mark

Up early today, I couldn't sleep. I'm typing on a new keyboard for my Mac, I could live without the letter, "p," but I wasn't gonna make it without a question mark (???).

This weekend is the "Abbie Hoffman Died for Your Sins Fest." This will be the fifth year for Black Forest. The Lovely Carla and I will be doing the "Dino and Sheila Show," excerpts from my play about a Dean Martin type of guy. It's a brutal "battle of the sexes." Should be entertaining.

I'm also writing a little preamble, which I'm planning on delivering prior to "Dino." It's an obscenity-laced diatribe against BushCo's war in Iraq. Ever since my father's death, I have found a new "fire in the belly." I'm determined to cut out the bullshit of my life. I want to live with honesty, candor and integrity. I want to say what I have to say in a clear and precise way. We'll see how well that goes over!?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Characters

The strangeness continues. Now, the keyboard on my Mac is working, but, there are a few characters that won't register, for instance, the letter after O, and the question mark. So, I'm writing this little ditty, without the full range of characters usually available. Not so hard, but I have made some odd choices because of these missing characters. Since I'm usually asking questions, having no question mark seems like a big flaw. I guess I should go get another keyboard, but, maybe the damn thing will heal itself!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A Universe of Reasons

I have a friend who I worked with at another job, who used to tell me, "Everything happens for a reason." I was never happy with this statement. It seemed a little too pat, implying that there was some master plan, there was a "god figure," looming over us, moving things around like pieces on a chessboard.

I came up with this formulation, which, later was endorsed by the Phenomenologists: "Everything happens," then, if we happen to perceive "what happens," we assign a reason to "what happens," so, in that way, we "reason the world into being," by perceiving what we perceive, and explaining it all to ourselves.

Not very elegant. Wouldn't really sit well on a postcard...

My friend was never happy with my reshaping of the original statement. We have stayed friends despite our fundamental divergence regarding the universe...

Strange things have been happening to me. One day, the light bulb in my office blows out, the next day, it's fine. One day, I'm blogging from my MAC, the next day, the keyboard is dead; I type, no letters appear. I know there's a reason, (some kind of "electrical malfunction?), but I decide to chalk it up to the mystery of the universe. I take a day off from blogging, and I think, here's another routine I can explode!

Now, I'm back, in the light of my room, typing into my laptop. We must be resourceful in a universe of reasons...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Light Bulb

The light bulb in my room blew out. I'm blogging in the dark this morning. Seems very appropriate. Still sort of reeling from events. My little life has been rocked. When someone close to you dies, first you realize you will miss them forever, and then you're reminded that everyone you know and love, (including you) will pass too. The last few days, when I see an old-timer, I think, "they're getting closer." I look in the mirror, I know more years are in front of me than behind me. Every day someone, or many someones step out into an uncertain fate. Little children, old people, victims of accident and circumstance. A plane goes down, a famine strikes, a hurricane, a car crash. We know this, we see it everyday. It's strange and surreal, and it comes with the territory. In a weird way, after the pain, the lonliness, after the initial shock wears off; the fear seems to lift, to disappear. None of us are immortal. It's something we all share. So we are here now..."and what cha gonna do?"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Explode a Routine

Explode a routine. I'm in the process of exploding many aspects of my existence. I guess I'm in a reevaluation mode. What's important? What do I want to manifest? Ever since I received extremely bad news, I have thrown myself into an incredible whirl of activity. I've had no time to think; this has been good, my only life-line. The world works in mysterious ways. Nothing is really what you think it will be. This is a blessing and a curse.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Amazing Grace

"Cliche," has a bad connotation for me. As a writer, I try not to fall back on standard cliches, but I just went back to my dictionary and it just says: "a true expression or idea." So, sometimes we are left with a series of cliches, and we are reminded that although we are unique, we are not alone in our uniqueness, and the experiences and feelings that pass through us, have passed through many others before us. This gives us a knowledge of our shared experiences, which are hard to express, so when we express them, they sound reductive or cliche. Sometimes the truth, rings false. We are crucified by paradox. We need langauge to help us see clearly. We must be careful that the truth does not blind us, that our language does not obscure a world of simple truths.

Friday, August 12, 2005

"Reality has too many heads." - B. Dylan

Did Dylan really say that? I'd have to go back to the cd, "Time Out of Mind," and review the lyrics. I think that's what I heard on the plane from Dublin back to Chicago. I have been living with many heads the last few days. A whirlwind flurry of events. The best and worst all wrapped up in one incomprehensible package. Our trip to Ireland was beautiful and inspiring, our visit at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest was an exhilarating peak experience, and in the midst of it all, I received the news that my father had died. We cut our trip short, my brother and I delivered our eulogies yesterday. The world has changed irrevocably...

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Diamond Sky

This morning I'm blogging from the The Great Southern Hotel in Galway, Ireland. It's a grand old place, with high-speed broadband in the room. We just ordered in, I'm sipping a pretty strong blend of coffee (the coffee has generally been excellent, which has worked in sunny jimmy's favor), and the Lovely Carla is enjoying a breakfast of stewed prunes (not as bad as it sounds), Irish brown bread, and wheat-a-brix cereal (The Lovely C. tells me it's quite good). W'e plan to board the train back to Dublin in a few hours.

Yesterday, we explored the western coast of Connemarra, a stark, untamed, Celtic, lanscape. It seems virtually untouched by the modern world. Miles of hilly greenery, mixed in with large, rocky moonscapes. It is a far-off, distant land, unlike any other I've ever seen. The inhabitants are primarily sheep, a few cows and horses, as well as Irish country folk. They are friendly, hearty people. It rained in sheets all day, which explains how this little isle could be so lush and green. It's a very temperate climate here. The rain was fine and constant. We motored along winding, narrow, roads, (I'm much more comfortable behind the wheel - no white nuckles!), snapped pictures, ran our lines for the show we will do at the Abby Hoffman Fest, and listened to Neil Young and Bob Dylan on the cd player - "to dance beneath the diamond sky, with one hand waving free..."

We arrived in Galway just in time for a very congested, rush-hour, traffic jam, (there are some things that are the same in every city: too much traffic, too much concrete, too many tourists!). It was probably the low point of the trip so far, (although in an Irish traffic jam there are many smiles and waves from the other drivers!) bumper to bumper for miles, not really knowing where we were going, getting lost on the outskirts of town, finally homing in on the rental car place and The Great Southern. Galway is a "lovely" town, but we're here for a brief time only. It's back to Dublin, then tomorrow, Edinburgh! The future awaits!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Second Skin

I'm back at the Adult Video Shop in Clifden for a quick blog. It's raining today, it's a beautiful gentle kind of rain, feeds the vegetation, the plant life, and the soul. It all feels right. I do believe I've returned to my roots, my ancestral home, blood of my blood. This place, this land, this climate, this Celtic paradise, really feels like a second skin. I feel like I belong here, I've never really felt such peace and groundedness anywhere else in the world. Amazing. I do believe I'm on some kind of spiritual, ancestral, quest. Just being here has changed something inside me.

We had a great day yesterday, just kicking around the town, exploring the hill country, driving down the coast. We are eating well, high on the hog, the salmon is fresh from the river, the potatoes fresh from the ground, the Irish brown bread is delicious and nourishing. Everything has a poetic cast. This is the land of the poets, and you can't help but let a little rub off on you too. We're making our way back to Galway this afternoon, then either we stay the night in Galway, or we hop the train to Dublin. Depends on how amibitious we decide to be. Travelling has it's own tempo and purpose. There's always the next thing, the next place, the next little discovery. It's a good way to live. Alive, in the moment, facing forward, rarely looking back...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

"A Lovely Day..."

We are in Clifden, (I'm blogging from the Adult Video Shop) which is a small coastal town in Ireland on the North Atlantic Ocean, in the County of Connemarra. It's a beautiful place; the country, the land, the ocean, the rocks, the trees, the flowers, the little narrow roads, the hills and mountains...

We are staying at the AbbeyGlen Castle which is sort of like an Irish "Faulty Towers," with it's own "Basil," and "Manuel," and contigent of Irish maids. It's kind of silly, the way they go out of their way to try to entertain ("Danny Boy," is sung at the drop of a hat) the tourists, but this is the only false note in an incredibly beautiful place. It's almost impossible to write about it, without sounding (or being) cliche, but everyone who has ever written about this land has not quite captured the ineffable, profoundly beautiful, haunting, magical aspect of this little emerald island. It is truly a gem; a place that changes you just by being here.

Yesterday, we rented a big red, Audi 4 and motored our way from Galway to Clifden. It was a truly harrowing experience navigating these little winding, country roads, with the steering wheel on the right, the gear shift on the left (I'm a lefty so this felt natural) and these very tiny roads where it seemed impossible that two cars could pass each other comfortably without re-arranging a fender or two. We played the Belfast Cowboy on the cd player (he told us: "One Love is everywhere."), the perfect soundtrack for this little excurision. We are here for two days, hiking and eating and hanging out, then it's back to Galway, then Dublin, then onto Edinburgh Scotland.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Land of the Poets

It's a new day in Ireland. We (the Lovely Carla and I) are now in Galway, a two hour train trip from Dublin. We're on our way to the Western coast, which is where we will chill out for a couple of days. Yesterday was a real blur, it was basically a continuation of Sunday; we arrived early in the morning, with basically no sleep, and we stayed up all day trying to acclimate to the time change. This meant jumping forward into the future about six hours.

We walked the streets of Dublin, I'm sure we re-traced many steps made long ago by Mr. Joyce and Mr. Beckett. We feasted on the excellent Irish cuisine, especially the brown bread and seafood. Later in the day, we found ourselves at the Temple Bar in downtown Dublin and tossed down two pints of Guiness. It put me in quite the genial haze. We listened to two old-timers (a guitarist and banjo player) play traditional Irish laments, the patrons knew all the songs and sang along. It was all quite touching and strange, out of time, so to speak.

Ireland seems "closer to the root;" a land of tradition and culture and music and poetry, it's lush and green and sort of sad too. The people are cheerful and friendly, funny and sad, with a certain nobility in their sadness...cultured Europeans with a deep and abiding connection to the land. Very different from our modern urbanites in our golden paradise in the States.

On the street, they are playing music too. Incredible, soul-full music, including one quartet that did exquisite versions of Dylan's "Hurricane,"and Neil Youg's "Southern Man," and "Rocking in the Free World.," They played these tunes like they were traditional homeland music too. One of our cabbies' told me "Dublin loves Dylan," and I'm sure it's true. This is a country that seems to hold singers and poets, and dancers and drinkers in very high esteem.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Global Village Green

A quick post from the Global Cafe in Dublin, Ireland. We made it in one piece. Didn't really sleep on the plane, just dozed through a song or two on my Walkman (somewhere in the middle of the Sigur Ros cd). The musical revelation was Radiohead, I finally listened to "Kid A" with headphones and realized that if you haven't heard their disc through headphones you never really listened to it at all. It is a mind-blowing soundscape that seems to emanate from the center of your head. So, anyway we're here, checked into our hotel and we are trying to stay up until the evening so we can kind of lock into Ireland time. We chased the sun into the east, we are now six hours ahead of Chicago. It's beautiful, green and magical here, just like they all said it would be. There's a very nice European funkiness that just feels right. Dublin seems like a small town. The Lovely Carla and I have already walked quite a few streets, kind of basking in the energy of the place. So, we're here, so strange, time travelling, mind tripping, zoning out on the magic green. Something tells me there's a Guiness Stout in my future.

Blog Archive