Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In the Eye of the Eye

As previously mentioned, cuddle-bug is in Connecticut for the week to be in her aunt's wedding, but today my girl is in San Diego for a doctor's appointment, so I'm sitting here all by myself, doing the only thing I really know how to do: this; a kind of calm within the calm.  Having a two year old follow you around is one thing, having a thirty year old follow you around is something completely different.  I can joke about that, right?


I love them, so, whatever.

I'm just sitting here with my book, laptop, journal, beer, and rolled cigarettes, on my little mountain deck, basking in the orange glow of the sun setting behind a choking cloud of Southern California being on fire... again.  Life is rough.

I'm not sure if I successfully explained how difficult it was for me to get through Walden.  Nice segue, huh?  I have heard so many minds, whose opinions I respect, refer to Thoreau as a kind of Zen pioneer in the literary world, but he was Zen like Nietzsche was an optimist: it is there if you're really looking for it.  Honestly, if I have to read one more fucking word about how the ice cracks on his silly little pond I'm going to kill a puppy.  I don't care.  Plus, this work could have been so much better had he gotten to the point, or better points.  The deepest he got, aside from going on and on about the literal depth of the pond in relation to surrounding ponds (smashes can), was relating the pond itself, and landlocked water in general, to human intellect and understanding, which felt like it went on for about a paragraph.  As much as I heard so many people go on and on about how brilliant Thoreau and this work are, I fail to believe that this work took eight years and five drafts to be publish worthy.  Was the first draft scribbled on a cave wall with stick figures?  Plus, I will forever be turned off by the fact that he built his little shack on Emerson's property, and had plenty of visitors as there were people using the pond for various reasons and he was just outside of town.
That's like your kids demanding that they went camping after setting up a tent in your back yard and using it for about an hour before they came inside because they were hungry and the batteries in their flashlight were dead.    

He was no Kerouac, who, might I also add, had the luxury of always having a place to go home to, if he so wished.  I am not one to talk.  I had to refuge at my dad's twice in my life because I had no other options, for two completely different reasons, seventeen years apart.  My lowly father pales in comparison to Kerouac's parent's place, or Thoreau's fancy friends and well off parents, but I also don't pretend like I'm on my own and "roughing it" in my couch cushion fort that the fabric of which is likely worth more than my fucking car.  My solitude was self inflicted.  I can admit that.

I think this is a good time for me to breathe a little.  I'm just going to slowly back away from the computer and take my shoes off.


I'm good.

Now, let's take a peek into my unedited mind, a la random journal entry, that was supposed to be a post, but was lost forever into the endless sea of work, relationship, toddler, repeat and fade:  My only entry on August eleventh, a Thursday: "The young poet's life is destroy and be destroyed.  The old poet's life is leave me the fuck alone; these swollen, bloodshot eyes, tired from a full life lived, wont not look upon your childish trifles."

That's a bit harsh.  I am neither 'old', nor a poet, but these are the things that I write down.  I might also add that my life has not been fully lived; I have tried to fully take advantage of the opportunities I am presented with.  I still believe that most of what I write down, especially in these stacks of journals that no one should ever read, are partially my painful reality, and mostly whatever character I happen to be playing at the time.  I've been trying to explain to my girl that what I write in these vomit-bag-esque collections of "words, words, words,"* can not be fairly read without an interpreter, but she still sneaks peaks and flips her shit, as is to be expected.  Words have never been a fair interpretation for me as to what is really going on.
I could write volumes on how much I hate my life (wait... I have.  No one read it.), but that doesn't mean that I didn't secretly love all the absurdity and chaos that I had maliciously chosen for myself.  I am mostly past all that, so I can laugh at it, but it doesn't mean that I still don't have bad mornings where I just want to keep going straight where the road curves.  I write my frustrations down, generally in the voice of a serial killer, then smile and walk in to work, later to be transcribed into something with less of an edge than that of...well..... a serial killer, cause who is really entertained by that? other than the psychopath himself?

It just dawned on me that I haven't heard my trust-fund baby neighbor, who has never had to work a day in his life and is living in one of his parent's many cabins, choke on his bong in a couple days now.  I wonder if he is still alive?

Meanwhile, here's Bella dancing in the rain.  I had hoped to accompany these photos with an essay on "beauty," as all fucking over the place as that term has become, but I went on this tangent, so, sorry my dear that your work with me was set to the accompaniment of this drivel.  This particular potentially beautiful soul I have known since she was about eight, as I worked for her parents, the second owners of the theatre at which I spent a decade of my life.  Then, she called me "Kitty," a temporal social reference to the Pixar film Monsters, INC., and also beautifully, like painfully beautifully, described me, both socially and creatively.  I have since evolved, and she has since grown up.  She not only showed interest in shooting, at the ripe old age of eighteen, but she showed interest in photography, which always peaks my interest.  As of right now, she has disappeared into the question mark void of marriage, at the ripe old age of nineteen, but I have these, so I can appreciate these, and if she ever resurfaces, then that will happen; if she doesn't, that will also happen.

Things are not what they seem;
Nor are they otherwise.
 - Lankavatara Sutra

That was actually a decent segue into what I'm reading now: Namu Dai Bosa.  The term found me in John Daido Loori's The Zen of Creativity back in my epic 2010, in which he related his experience with Soen, Eido, and Maezumi, the latter of which transmitted to whom I have access to, or had access to before life happened, Tenshin, and whose kids I creepily went to school with.  Loori's use of the term was picked up directly from Soen, if I remember correctly, and I carried it with me since.  The punchline, if such a word is appropriate in this case, is that it is the name of the book that was written about Zen transmission to the West, a la Soen, Eido, and Nyogen (and yes, I am on a first name basis with all of them).
I had purchased it a short while back, when I still had the freedom (or oblivious negligence) to spend most my free time at my Zen center, but remained in the stack of books to be read, gradually getting bumped by debacles like fucking Walden (crushes another can).  Upon receiving the book, I opened the weathered cover to find an illustration of a monk heading off down a trail, with the words, "To America, Soen!," only the top of the "o" is broken, so it looks like it says "sven."  Not really that significant.  I mean, I'm already in America, so... I should've just read it then and there... in one sitting... shikantaza reading.  That's a bit of an oxymoron, but so am I.

"Peace as dualistically opposed to war is just tongue talk; peace is not a commodity to be negotiated.  Only peaceful men can be at peace." - xii - in the forward.

Alright, so that was a mind-full.

Aaaaaaaaaaand there's my neighbor choking on his bong.  He is alive.  Yay.

I wonder if he'd let me borrow some money so I could accomplish something with my life?

My Facebook memory this morning was a photo of me after almost being beaten to death four years ago.

This is madness.

*Hamlet.  Figure it out,

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Speaking of...

 The tyrannical toddler has been an absolute joy in my life.  Do not read me wrong.  I am usually being the ironically funny that people understand, but they don't want to understand.  I have been here long enough for her to not remember me not being here.  This is my girl... in between my only girl and my new girl.  Life is beautiful.

So very beautiful.


 Wow.  January 28th.  My last (first) post on this journey was six and a half months ago (did I math good?).

It is safe to say that I went into this with the best of all possible intentions, but it created a lot of problems at the time; a time when everything was still in a bit of a swirl of chaos, beautifully embodied by the (mostly) complete darkness of these full moon shots we got at Noah Purifoy's back in June; a consolation for my less than ideal birthday.  She is noticeably pregnant here, which I have been open about in my website blog, but has been absent here because...well, everything has been absent here.  I am a month away from being a dad, again, and there has been nothing posted about it on my new "life" blog that is dedicated to "everything consisting of beauty."  Truth is,  the last post (first post) was about the time she let me know she was pregnant, again, when I lived in a world where I couldn't have anymore children, but she had gotten pregnant immediately, then miscarried in August of last year.  After making it through a difficult end to 2015, this is happening.  I'm going to be a dad again, after trying for a decade and finally coming to terms with my painful reality.
 I've been dealing a lot with that realization, in between working six days a week to be broke, raising a two year old who sometimes likes me, and fighting about stupid shit, like people do.  Oh, and also feeling serious pressure to finish my book that I don't want anyone to read and accomplish something with my life, because I'm going to be responsible for another life, and I am yet to do anything to make the world a more beautiful place for her to live in, like I was supposed to do for my now 16 year old daughter who has little to nothing to do with my life (sorry Dag [do NOT pronounce that wrong]).
 Anywhoo, these are the random ramblings of a random Wednesday night, so my blogging mindset that two of you paid attention to might be back, maybe.  We'll see what kind of fight it causes. lol. 0_0

As of right now, I get a little time every night to compose some thoughts after the family has gone to bed, which has not gone without some bickering.  Well deserved, really: she goes to bed with the two year old, and while I do read some stories with the tyrannical toddler, they basically go to bed without me, and wake up without me, as I get up early to enjoy some reading as the sun breaks over my little mountain.
I am currently knee deep in Thoreau's Walden, which has obviously been on my list for a while, having been praised by everyone, always. First impression?: born into a decent family, financially; went to Harvard; had the means to start his own college; built his little shack for Walden on his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson's property? Wait. What? So far I have a great big 'go fuck yourself, you poor little rich boy' for the praised Henry David Thoreau, but I am yet to finish the book, so...

Give me four years at Harvard and friends like Emerson and see what I accomplish.  Just saying.

I'm still alive, and I'm doing it without those opportunities.

This should be fun.