Archive | March, 2012

People are Stages

31 Mar

Everybody is a stage. I don’t mean everybody is in a stage (though everybody is that too), but everybody is like a theater stage with all the lights and the red curtain, and an audience–the whole shebang. So there’s the part that everybody sees, the actual show, and there’s the backstage where there’s people running the lights and setting up scenery and giving actors lines and things like that.

The danger is when we compare our insides, our backstage, with the shows that everybody else puts on. I’m not saying that people are pretending to be things they’re not, but people show only certain things. That’s the tricky part of the backstage, some of the things there cannot even fit on the stage, there’s no place for them there, there’s not even words for those things back there.

For everybody, the backstage is messy. There’s a whole bunch of different opinions and questions, and they can’t even get the view to properly see what’s going on onstage like the audience can. They’re working in the dark, running wires, carrying bits of costumes, bustling, pushing, moving.

So the next time you see someone and think, my goodness–they have it together, think of it more like a show that’s well performed. Their image may be together, but nobody knows what’s going on backstage but them, and sometimes not even that.


30 Mar

One of the oddest ideas in the corporate world is professionalism. Being a professional there can mean any number of things. It can mean being less emotional, being nicer, dressing modestly, being more formal, and there’s a dozen more. Usually it means “do what I think you should do.”

Not that I think the requests are bad, but for some reason the being a professional talk in the office is roughly equivalent to talking to a teenager about sex. There’s a bunch of embarrassment, fidgeting, and weird names for ordinary things. For instance, in the real world, if some worker dressed a little too provocatively (not me) someone might say, could you cover yourself up–you really leave the wrong impression. But in an office the conversation goes to professional attire and creating the right image and a bunch of gobbledygook that probably leaves the overly skin showing person a little bewildered really. Honestly, they probably thought that what they were wearing met the right standards. (Keep in mind, said person might really be wearing some horrible stuff, but this sort of talk won’t explain it to them if they don’t see the light already.)

It’s one of my least favorite words in an office. Lately I had one such discussion (NOT Over clothing) and the word popped up and internally I thought EEEK THE P-WORD! It’s strange what words hold power in certain places, because if someone ever says a person is not professional, well that’s just corporatese for THEY SUCK.


28 Mar

Ah yes, procrastination–goodness knows how much of life is waiting for something else to happen (probably most of it.) What do I do to procrastinate?

1. Wander the internet going from thing to thing. Once I’m going from thing to thing I am inherently not interested in (funny dog faces, dancing clowns, whatever) I KNOW I’m in the middle of a good procrastination jag.

2. Pacing, particularly when I’m worried I tend to wander around doing little half-thought of actions that I forget what I was doing by the end of them.

3. Facebook. GOD that’s a big time waster. Will it really hurt anything if I don’t poke people back?

4. Listen to music. Less of a problem for me now as for teenager me. I could just sit and imagine to music for HOURS!

5. Fidget. I get up. I sit down. I move things around on my desk to this imagined space where everything is just right, as if there was a magic constellation I am trying to make out of my pads of paper and pencils and whatnot on my desk, and once it is in that EXACT RIGHT POSITION, it will glow with the power of 10,000 suns and I will get to work.


27 Mar

Lets see let’s see let’s see.  This is just a freewrite to see what pops out, what’s going on in the old noggin.

Quite a dull day really, worked like an automated clock and had about the same amount of memories of one, moving from thing to thing.  

Sometimes I have this weird mental space where I’m like a dog pacing back and forth trying to go in two directions at once.

Telephone booths–saw the first one in a long time.  Whoever thought they’d be endangered?  Also, useful for getting out of the rain.

Soreness.  Want to be traveling.  Want to be—oh in that grass-is-greener somewhere else, which is really nowhere else.  I can see the gleam in old me’s eyes saying back at me now, now that was the good times.

Beautiful blue sky.  Fascinated by clouds.  How they can move and not move at the same time.  Like what I think suspended animation SHOULD mean rather than what it DOES mean.

Rules rules rules–everybody with their rules.   I think rules are the lowest form of thinking.  I think they stop things from growing.  Necessary sometimes, but crude.


A lovely perfectly ordinary day.

26 Mar

Oh the last day of an extra long weekend.  Drinking a mocha and just enjoying the suddenly moderate March who has seemed to make up his mind to leave as a lamb this time around.  These lovely patio days that seem to be created for light reading, white wine, and eggs benedict.  I could make a career out of light reading, white wine, and eggs benedict.

It’s also a day for spring cleaning, and this spring I’ve noticed more dust than ever hiding in all the usual places.  I’ve brought out my broom (which itself probably could use a good cleaning after today) and have swept away while having all the windows open to air the place out.  That’s the thing with cleaning–it’s a lovely thing to do on a day like today (especially after the white wine) finding each and every spiderweb in every corner and bringing everything to a delightful lemon scented sheen.



5 things

25 Mar

1. Watching the droplets on K’s windshield one night on my way home joining and falling apart turning to trickles and breaking away as it poured outside. The apartment doors were little squares, each the same, windows covered with blinds, lines and squares and lines.

2. “Down in the deepest kingdom of the sea, where there is no light, there lives a type of creature with no brain, no eyes and no mouth. It does nothing but live and put forth petals of perfect crimson where none are there to see. It is nothing except a tiny yes in the night. And yet… it has enemies that bear it a vicious, unbending malice, who wish not only for its tiny life to be over but also that it had never existed.” Terry Pratchett

3. I saw a Rothko exposition today in the art museum. What was interesting was his slow transformation from figurative drawing to floating squares of paint on top of each other. Honestly, you could see every step on the way. Maybe these squares are people to him, in the purest form–these blue and purple and red splotches. Who’s to say?

4. Songs that have been stuck in my head: You’ll never get away from Me Gypsy, The theme from Charade (Mancini), This Boy (Beatles), Edge of Seventeen (Stevie Nicks) but it’s just the White Winged dove bit over and over, Remedy (Little Boots) but just the line dancing is a remedy remedy.

5. How worlds are made in art, how they grow their own power and gravity, and have more influence, sometimes, than the real world.

A dream and my cat

24 Mar

As I am watching my cat gazing out our apartment window, I can’t help but think of the dream I had last night. Those two things don’t connect directly, but as this is about a dream, I suspect no two things will.

Last night I dreamed that I don’t have to worry about anything right now because future-me will take care of it. That future me is working frantically making just the right home (in both time and space) and all I had to do right now is be.

Such an odd dream–striving is such a part of my make-up, and when I’m not striving I’m striving to strive. It’s what all the movies are about–some person reaching for their dreams, but maybe it doesn’t work that way. I’ve never seen anybody in real life that had a life like that after all.

(My cat is looking very eagerly at the birds outside, fortunately separated by a window.)

Non-striving has always been the hardest concept for me to swallow. Not that I’m a type-A, gotta win, scream on his cellphone sort of guy (and thank heaven I’m not!) but it just seems like planning’s needed, and effort, and work, and non-striving feels a little close to giving up. I always hated it when people gave up. It reminds me of people who don’t leave their houses, that only watch television, that talk about nothing and think about nothing and are basically ticking off the days til death.

But non striving can be more like a bird-in-a-cage. Try to get a bird out of a cage and you might have some trouble. Leave the door open and sooner or later the bird will leave, as free and easy as an exhalation.

Ok universe, I’m leaving the door open.

Thoughts and Feelings Don’t Matter all that much (except when they do)

23 Mar

Feelings and thoughts are only doorways in ourselves: they are not the self. Think of this, the “I” in us makes feelings and thoughts, manufactures them to an astonishing degree–just as we create physical sensations.

I don’t think of this as a mystical idea, more like a reframing device. Whenever thoughts and feelings become distractions (and they are distractions) it’s a good thing to remember. I’m not saying it’s possible, or even desirable to go through life with no feelings or thoughts, that would be the spiritual equivalent to leprosy. There’s a reason why zombies are a horror movie trope. However, I think they are tools for our use, not meant to push us back and forth like tides.

We can’t be without feelings anyway. The self is very antsy–never is still, even our dreams are trickled down thoughts and emotions made into masques. However, with mindfulness, we can have these feelings and thoughts be murmuring in the distance if need be. They don’t have to always be attended to. They have considerable strength of their own and move according to their own laws. What we can do is watch. After all, each feeling and thought is a minor miracle–a million synapses firing in a certain way, an extremely exact cocktail of chemicals constantly moving in one direction or other.

But behind these things is the golden room of our true selves, the parts that sees beauty and art and knows love and mercy. The magnificent selves that always live in this glorified section, just waiting–eagerly–to be listened to.


21 Mar

The layers of skin include the part that has the root of the hair.

Layer cakes as representing power and society.

Layers of the earth’s crust are jagged and uneven. Earthquakes can happen.

Layered clothes. Always sensible. Always stylish. Ask any hobo.

Layers of meaning. Sometimes dogs bark.

Layered music, sounds on sounds on sounds climbing over each other like waves on a beach.

Sleeping under many layers of blankets. A toad in a hole.

Inverse layer cakes as representing power and society.

Every prayer has many layers.

Van Gogh liked to paint very thickly, with layers.

Dante’s layers of hell: a pit with a winding road.

The different layers of atmosphere, each with a grand air-filled name, each a bubble of blue. Russian nesting dolls of oxygen, winds, and wandering clouds.

Pop Culture

19 Mar

Pop culture just isn’t for me.  It’s far too limiting.

Most pop culture is just fancy consumerism.  Really, point to any pop culture phenomenon and you will see chained to it, like Marley’s ghost, a dozen things to spend money on.  Not that I’m against consumerism–after all, it’s maintained a fairly peaceful society here in America, however it can be terribly empty.  Like a parrot who says things its heard you say and nothing more.  

The other thing about Pop Culture is that it’s always showing off the new, like any good market does.  However, new does not mean better by any means.  I had a thought the other day that the most important 30 books ever made probably doesn’t change that much from year to year, however you’d never know it from the lists that proliferate on a thousand websites, weighing, measuring, debating, arguing on each thing.  Many new things out right now will be forgotten 1 year from now; most in five years.  It’s all based on novelty, not art.  Novelty fades while art grows.  

For instance, it should not be a bore to read something twice–it should be better.  A third time?  Even better than that.  Same goes for watching movies, looking at visual arts, listening to music.  They should grow and change.  They should reward scrutiny.  Pop culture (in general, there’s always exceptions) does not.  With scrutiny it pops like a bubble.

Sometimes I wonder.  Our consumerist world creates a whole lot of physical pollution, for in the ideal consumerist society everything is discardable.  I wonder if we create culture pollution as well.  Not in the sense of songs that are unlikable and books that waste paper, but in the sense that they create debris of pop-culture junk that floats through our collective unconscious blocking whatever truth there is to be had.  No wonder we are a culture of distraction; it’s better business.